U of S professor receives Desire2Learn's innovation award in teaching and learning

University of Saskatchewan's Ken Van Rees, professor in the Department of Soil Science has been awarded the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) and Desire2Learn's Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning for 2014.

Van Rees, is one of five award winners across Canada being recognized for his exceptional dedication to teaching and learning and his innovative practices. The award was created to support exactly the type of activities that Van Rees applies in his teaching.

Van Rees was recognized for developing an innovative field course that combines art and ecosystems that allows students to connect with the landscape in a different way.

"I believe this award signifies that it's okay to follow your creative ideas, even if they do appear crazy, as they can lead to wonderful opportunities for innovation and learning," said Van Rees. "This award indicates to me that others also feel this way and, more broadly, that there is a real interest for combining science and art into teaching as well as experiential learning as an important component in a student's education."

In his class students spend time carefully observing the landscape, then drawing or painting what they see. They also learning to make their own pigment from the organic material in the landscape which they use in their art.

Van Rees will receive his award alongside four other winners on June 18 at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario at the 2014 STLHE Annual Conference. Each of the five winners will receive a two-year membership in STLHE as well as funds for travel and registration costs to attend the annual D2L conference, FUSION 2014, in Nashville, and the STLHE Annual Conference.

Van Rees also joins past University of Saskatchewan recipients of this award Jay Wilson (College of Education) and Sandra Bassendowski (College of Nursing).

For more information, contact:

Wenona Partridge

Instructional Design Assistant

Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness

University of Saskatchewan

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