Teaching Strides

MRU Faculty Daring Greatly

All Episodes

Season 4, Episode 7: An interdisciplinary discipline: How women’s studies connects topics beyond gender


Politics, socio-cultural climates, oppression, and anti-racism are all disciplines that come into play in a women’s and gender studies course. But Maki Motapanyane, an associate professor in Mount Royal’s department of women’s and gender studies, takes the conversation beyond readings and lectures and asks her students to position themselves within the context of the issues.


Season 4, Episode 6: Thinking spatially: How geography interacts with our everyday lives


How much do we rely on Google Maps to get around? How do we track the way viruses spread? Can Twitter be used to address local issues? These are all questions Dr. Lynn Moorman, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and in the Department of General Education, says can be answered by thinking spatially — a concept you don’t need a background in science to get behind!


Season 4, Episode 5: Truth and reconciliation: how libraries can change the way we think about colonization


Libraries may be a space for keeping knowledge, but how often do we think about who is creating it? Jessie Loyer is the anthropology and Indigenous studies relations liaison at the Riddel Library and Learning Centre. She’s worked with students to help them develop their research skills but goes beyond that and asks them to think ethically about their sources. In this episode, we explore truth and reconciliation, interconnectedness and how libraries have played into both.


Season 4, Episode 4: Flipped: how this “read first, lecture second” model makes Chemistry accessible


Dr. Brett McCollum’s students loved his lectures so much that he stopped doing them. After realising that his students weren’t doing much reading outside of their classes, he wanted to introduce a new, problem solving-based approach. In a move to encourage them to read academic texts and engage with what they were learning, he developed the “flipped classroom.” In this episode, Dr. McCollum talks about the success of the approach and its benefits can be found outside of class and how it can encourage team building in a highly competitive discipline.


Season 4, Episode 3: All aboard the Medieval school bus: making Old and Middle English Literature come alive in the classroom


Dr. Kenna Olsen has been teaching in MRU’s Department of English, Languages and Culture since 2008. She teaches Old and Middle English Literature, but the tools she uses are anything but medieval — from tweeting the field’s best-regarded academics to feasting in the MRU Library’s Immersion Studio to Twitter.

You can follow Dr. Olsen on Twitter @KennaOlsen


Season 4, Episode 2: You Belong Here: celebrating and encouraging diversity, accessibility and good teaching at MRU


Dr. Tim Rahilly is MRU’s tenth President and first Vice-Chancellor, but he’s had an extensive teaching career before that. His journey through academia has taken him to Fraser University, University of Manitoba, Royal Roads University, Technical University of British Columbia and McGill University. Recently, he co-authored “University Pathways: A Global Perspective” and “Serving Diverse Students in Canadian Higher Education: Models and Practices for Success.” In this episode, Dr. Rahilly talks about what “good teaching” means to him, and why MRU’s slogan “You Belong Here” resonates with him.

You can follow Dr. Rahilly on Twitter @TimRahilly


Season 4, Episode 1: Runways and reconciliation: how classroom-based projects can shape their communities

In this first episode of the new season, we discuss how Otahpiaaki, a week in Calgary dedicated to Indigenous fashion and design, is driving the conversation about reconciliation and how Indigenous-led entrepreneurship created a space for creativity and passion. Spirit River Striped Wolf, an MRU policy studies student, and Patti Derbyshire, Associate Professor in Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, are both co-founders of Otahpiaaki. They walk us through how deeply the project’s roots really go and what its success has meant for the communities involved.

To learn more about Otahpiaaki, check out their website.

Season 3, Episode 6: Integrating Research into the Science Curriculum

Dr. Trevor Day

Dr. Trevor Day holds a B.Sc. and a Ph.D. from the University of Calgary. He is an Associate Professor of Physiology at Mount Royal University, where he teaches courses in basic and applied human physiology. His research interests include the integration and interactions between the heart, lungs, brain and kidneys in response to stressors. Professor Day is a recipient of the MRU “Distinguished Faculty Award” and the Faculty of Science and Technology “Excellence in Research and Scholarship Award”, the American Physiological Society “ADInstruments Macknight Early Career Innovative Educator Award”, the Canadian Science Writers Association “Science in Society Communication Award.”

Season 3, Episode 5: A Cross-institutional, Community-engaged Civic Innovation Course

Dr. Catherine Pearl

Dr. Catherine Pearl teaches in the Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation at Mount Royal University. She spent nearly twenty years in industry and ran a registered charity that operated as a social enterprise. She holds a PhD in Social Work from the University of Calgary. Professor Pearl designs teaching and learning experiences that are interactive and experiential. Over the past two years Professor Pearl has designed and piloted 3 of the 9 courses that comprise MRU’s minor in Social Innovation: Facilitating Social Innovation, Social Enterprising, and Civic Innovation. Her recent research explores social entrepreneurship among millennials, case studies on social enterprise, and inter-professional practice and perceptions between social work and business students.

Season 3, Episode 4: A First Year Course Re-design

Dr. Julie Booke

Dr. Julie Booke is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Physical Education at Mount Royal University.  She completed her PhD in Workplace and Adult Learning in the Graduate Division of Educational Research at the University of Calgary.  Her teaching interests are leadership, recreation program planning, and issues & trends within the field of sport and recreation.  Her research explores the impact of the Respect in Sport program on parent behaviour in youth sport, and the timing of major selection on student success and retention in university.

Season 3, Episode 3: Humour in Nursing Education

Dr. Mohamed El-Hussein

Dr. Mohamed El-Hussein is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Mount Royal University. Recipient of the MRU Distinguished Faculty Award Professor El-Hussein earned his PhD in Nursing at the University of Calgary. His research program focuses on innovative teaching approaches for enhancing critical thinking in students; his scholarly publications and presentations highlight teaching strategies that help students deconstruct complex ideas.

Season 3, Episode 2: A Modified Flipped Classroom

Dr. Sarah Hewitt

Dr. Sarah Hewitt is an associate professor in the Biology Department at Mount Royal University, where she specializes in neuroscience and physiology. Three years ago, she started to use a modified flipped classroom to teach first year physiology and produced a series of concept maps and video lectures for the course. This led to a wider research project on using flipped classrooms in teaching physiology, and together with Michelle Yeo and Joanne Bouma from Mount Royal University, they won the TransCanada SoTL Grant in 2016. Some of the findings from this work have been presented at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna, at a SoTL symposium in Banff, and at EuroSoTL in Lund, Sweden.

Season 3, Episode 1: Indigenizing University Education

Dr. Liam Haggarty

Dr. Liam Haggarty is an associate professor of Indigenous Studies in the Department of Humanities and Coordinator of Indigenization for the Division of Academic Affairs.  He is a settler scholar originally from Victoria, BC, unceded Coast and Straits Salish territory, where he received his BA and MA from the University of Victoria.  He completed his PhD at the University of Saskatchewan in Treaty 6 territory before arriving at Mount Royal University in 2011.  His research focuses on Indigenous education and cross-cultural relationship building as necessary elements of Indigenization and reconciliation in Canada today.

Dr. Jennifer Pettit

Dr. Jennifer Pettit is a Full Professor in Indigenous Studies and History and Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Mount Royal University. Her research in Indigenous history and Canadian history has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Department of Canadian Heritage. As an advocate for experiential and service learning, Professor Pettit is a multi-award winning educator, having been recognized with the MERLOT Classic Award for History, the prestigious Pierre Berton Award, four Teaching Excellence Awards from the Mount Royal Students’ Association, two Distinguished Faculty Awards, and an Award for Teaching Innovation from the Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculty Association.

Special Episode

Professor Mark Lafave

Professor Mark Lafave is a professor in Athletic Therapy at Mount Royal University. His PhD was in the realm of measurement and evaluation. His research has included studying competency development primarily using a psychometric approach. Recently he started to employ a mixed methodological approach in his SoTL research. His current research interests include competency development with undergraduate students and bridging theory to practice for professional programs like Athletic Therapy.

Professor Michelle Yeo

Professor Michelle Yeo is an Associate Professor at Mount Royal University, with a PhD in Education. She has worked as a faculty developer in the Academic Development Centre since 2007, specializing in curriculum, and working to support faculty members in their teaching practice. She conducts educational higher education research and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning on student and faculty experience of teaching and learning, and faculty development in SoTL. Recent SoTL projects focus on curriculum transformations. Professor Yeo is the newly appointed Director of the Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Mount Royal University.

Professor Sally Haney

Professor Sally Haney teaches journalism in the School of Communications at Mount Royal University. A Nexen scholar, her research on the use of personalized learning plans in capstone courses was recently published in the Journal, Teaching Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also involved in a (Transcanada) collaborative research project that seeks to better understand how journalism students navigate ethics. The first leg of that research was recently published in the international journal – Journalism.

Season 2, Episode 6: Richard Harrison – Writing Your Own Poems is Stepping out of Your Way

Professor Richard Harrison

Richard Harrison teaches Creative Writing, Essay Writing, and Comics and Graphic Novels in the Department of English, Languages, and Cultures at Mount Royal University. He is the author, co-author, or editor of eight books, including, with Lee Easton, Secret Identity Reader: Essays on Sex, Death, and the Superhero, and 6 books of poetry, among them the Governor-General’s Award nominated, Big Breath of a Wish, poems about how we learn to talk, and Hero of the Play, poems in the language of hockey and the first book of poetry launched at the Hockey Hall of Fame. His most recent book, set here in his life in Alberta, is entitled On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood. Richard is most recently a recipient of Mount Royal University’s Distinguished Faculty Award (2015) and Effective Team Award (2016).

Season 2, Episode 5: The Power of Vulnerability, the Veracity of Experience

Paul Brandt

Paul Brandt is the most awarded male Canadian Country singer in history. His 11 career albums have spawned hit singles, multiple Album of the Year Awards, gold, platinum, and multi-platinum performances. As a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award, and numerous other national and regional humanitarian nods, Paul is committed to meeting the needs of the world’s poor through his Buckspring Foundation. Paul is currently Mount Royal University’s “Storyteller in Residence”, working alongside the Bissett School of Business on Social and Business enterprise projects using the power of story.

Season 2, Episode 4: Reversing Roles for Learner Engagement—Students Assess Their Teachers

Janice Miller-Young

Janice Miller-Young completed her BSc in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering (Biomechanics) from the University of Calgary. At Mount Royal University, she designed and delivered courses in both the (former) Engineering transfer program and General Education. Professor Miller-Young strongly believes in the importance of experiential learning and student-centered learning environments. She integrates into her teaching such creative pedagogical devices as a problem-based ‘CSI project’, the flipped classroom, and active learning. Her research focuses on teaching and learning, in particular, helping students increase their learning by making certain concepts and processes explicit and narrowing the gap between novice and expert thinking. Professor Miller-Young served as the Director of the Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Mount Royal University from 2013-2016.

Season 2, Episode 3: Indigenizing Education—A Blackfoot Artist’s Journey

Cowboy Smithx

Cowboy Smithx is a filmmaker, writer, radio host, and performing artist from the Piikani and Kainai tribes of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Through his role as the Artistic Director of the Iiniistsi Treaty Arts Society, Cowboy Smithx serves as an advisor to the Indigenizing Education Initiative at Mount Royal University. Cowboy Smithx is also the founder and curator of REDx Talks and host of the Silent X Podcast.