The University of Lethbridge Calgary Campus is proud to announce the recipient of the 2017 Instructor of the Year, Kristene Coller (BA ’99, MSc ’04).
An instructor on the Calgary Campus since 2009, Coller has been teaching students how to manage responsibly in a global environment. For Coller, the University of Lethbridge is a place of familiarity.
“I studied at the University of Lethbridge main campus in 1995 as I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in 1999. I really felt part of the Lethbridge community as I refereed hockey and was a life guard at the Max Bell Regional Aquatic centre. Lethbridge was my home."
Coller also earned her Master of Science in Management from the University of Lethbridge in 2004, where two of her supervisors reached out to her to see if she would be interested in teaching at the U of L.
“I always knew I wanted to teach, so when I received a phone call to teach MGT 3031 on the Calgary Campus, I jumped at the chance. Here we are eight years later and I haven’t looked back.”
Her teaching inspiration came from two instructors she had while studying at the U of L who showed her that compassion and learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom.
“I did really badly on a paper in my history of sport class, so my instructor called me and a few other students in to say we didn’t meet his expectations. He gave us another chance at writing the paper. This really opened my eyes as I messed up but was given another opportunity. People struggle sometimes, we all struggle. Showing that compassion and consideration to others can go a long way.”
Knowing how far compassion can go in a classroom, it was an assignment from a sociology class that showed Coller how important experiences can be as well.
“I learned that teaching takes place all around us, not just in the classroom. I had this one assignment where we had to break the social norms. Like facing the back of an elevator instead of facing the door. I decided that I would walk up and down U-Hall talking to myself. I will never forget that experience seeing people’s reactions. This taught me to bring the classroom to the world and to bring the world to the classroom.”
Students on the Calgary Campus are coming back to school already having work and life experiences. Coller uses those experiences to have more enriched discussions in her class that allow her to make the course content relevant for them. Students can then can take what they’ve learned and bring it to their lives and into the workforce.
My students make me shine. I couldn’t teach the way I do without their participation, their experiences. There isn’t a single student in that classroom that can’t be successful, we just need to tap into their needs to help them along the way. Earning this award is recognition that all those activities, case studies, documentaries, and discussions meant something to those students. It tells me to keep doing what I’m doing and I love what I do. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”