Brock prof honoured for focus on leadership development

In the eyes of Kirsty Spence, challenge and support go hand in hand in the classroom.

“I believe it is important to explore the relationship between students’ development and their leadership capacity,” says the Sport Management associate professor.

It is this strategic, student-centred approach that has won Spence the 2017 Teaching Excellence Award from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, which was awarded during Wednesday’s Convocation.

“Each year we recognize one faculty member for their teaching excellence,” says Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Associate Dean Nancy Francis. “This year, the Teaching Advisory Committee selected Kirsty Spence because of her dedication to incorporating leadership development into her teaching methods. Her approaches consistently promote student engagement and nurture experiential learning.”

Spence explains how she uses leadership development theory and organizational behaviour topics to enhance student learning.

“By using various developmental frameworks, I have been able to incorporate various approaches and methods into my curricular design and programmatic review to promote students’ learning and their leadership,” she says. “In turn, this allows students to apply the practical skills they’ve gained in experiential learning and service projects that impact the community in what are intended to be transformative and positive ways.”

Spence stressed the need to treat students with respect and compassion from the moment they first walk into a classroom.

“It’s important to begin developing trust in the learning relationship from day one,” she explains. “I like to set clear expectations from the start and take the time to establish a rapport, particularly with first-year students.”

Before coming to Brock 13 years ago, Spence taught elementary aged children in both public and private institutions in southern Ontario, Moscow, Russia and Taipei, Taiwan.

She knew teaching was the right career path, but it wasn’t until she taught her first graduate-level class at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) as a doctoral student that she discovered her passion for developing experiential learning curriculum.

In 2011, Spence became certified from Integral Coaching Canada, which has further allowed her to utilize her coaching skills to complement her teaching and help students to develop their cognitive and behavioural capacity, as well as their communication and decision-making skills.

In considering what the teaching excellence award means to her, Spence says she’s “extremely grateful to be a part of students’ lives such that I see their significant development by the time they graduate.”  

Spence, along with Sport Management Assistant Professor Shannon Kerwin, were awarded the Chancellor’s Chair for Teaching Excellence in 2016, which has enabled them to pursue longitudinal research focusing on students’ ego development and occupational leadership efficacy.

Also recognized Wednesday was Anthony Bogaert, who was honoured as the recipient of the 2017 Research Excellence Award of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences for his outstanding contributions to human health.

Anthony Bogaert

Anthony Bogaert, a professor in the Department of Health Sciences, delivered the Convocation address during Wednesday’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences morning ceremony.

“The Applied Health Sciences Research Advisory Committee is impressed with Tony’s research achievements, international reputation and his outstanding contribution to science and Brock University,” says Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Associate Dean, Nota Klentrou. “We are proud to have him in our Faculty.”

Bogaert is a professor in the Department of Health Sciences. His primary area of investigation is human sexuality, including the origins of sexual orientation, asexuality and gender differences in sexual desire and arousal.

“I am pleased to receive this recognition from the faculty,” says Bogaert.  “It is an honour.”


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