Community Health and Biology Associate Professor named Laurier Teaching Fellow

Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University has named Richelle Monaghan, vice-dean of the Faculty of Science and associate professor of Community Health and Biology, as its Teaching Fellow for 2022. Monaghan is an award-winning teacher and mentor known for incorporating innovative, engaging learning experiences into her Biology, Community Health and Health Sciences courses.

The Laurier Teaching Fellowship program honors faculty members who demonstrate exceptional contributions to teaching and learning and have established an exemplary record of educational leadership across their department, program, faculty or campus.

“Richelle has built a reputation for student-centered learning, especially through the creative learning strategies she’s developed to help students learn challenging material,” said Mary Wilson, vice-provost of Teaching and Learning at Laurier. “Outside the classroom, she studies, teaches and mentors innovative teaching practices, elevating teaching excellence at Laurier in the process. With her commitment to pedagogical scholarship, years of award-winning teaching experience and incredible passion for student success, we’re thrilled to name her the Teaching Fellow for 2022. “

Monaghan recently completed her Doctorate of Education in the educational leadership in higher education field at Western University, with her dissertation focusing on how educational leaders can support faculty members’ professional development in teaching and experiential learning. She also has a PhD in Biology from the University of Waterloo.

Monaghan has presented and written peer-reviewed articles on related topics, including integrating arts into science learning, the use of mobile biofeedback technology in learning, and pedagogical approaches to teaching students who are blind or visually impaired. At Laurier, Monaghan has led professional development seminars through Teaching and Learning, trained tutorial instructors and mentored many faculty members.

As a professor, Monaghan is known for her engaging learning strategies, which help students master concepts in anatomy and physiology. In her di lei Human Anatomy and Physiology course, she has used Snapchat filters to help students learn the muscles involved in facial expressions. She also developed online videos using a home recording studio and human skeleton model to guide students through the musculoskeletal system. Monaghan regularly uses a flipped classroom model, through which students learn new content at home, including through recorded lectures, and use class time for exercises that deepen understanding.

“There is nothing more rewarding to me than being able to coach someone through the discomfort of transformational learning and their recognition of the difference in their before-and-after perspectives,” said Monaghan. “Since I teach topics related to human anatomy and physiology, transformational learning about their own body couldn’t be more relevant and allows students to be strong advocates for themselves and others. I feel fortunate to be among incredible educators and leaders in the sector at Laurier. It is an honor to be recognized as a Teaching Fellow. “

Monaghan previously won the Laurier Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence (2017); the Sam Drogo Technology in the Classroom Award (2020) and Gail Jenkins Teaching and Mentorship Award (2017), both from the international Human Anatomy and Physiology Society; and several Laurier Merit Awards (2016, 2017 and 2019).

She joins the following Laurier Teaching Fellows: Associate Professor Edmund Pries (2019), Associate Professor Bruce Gillespie (2017), Associate Professor Kenneth Maly (2015), Associate Professor Gavin Brockett (2014), Professor Emeritus Deena Mandell (2014), Professor Eileen Wood (2014), Associate Professor Steve MacNeil (2013) and retired Associate Professor Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts (2013).

Read more about Monaghan’s teaching philosophy.

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