The University of Lethbridge Calgary Campus is excited to announce the recipient of the 2016 Instructor of the Year - Blake Kanewischer (BMgt ’06).
Kanewischer has been an instructor on the Calgary Campus since 2011, teaching Information Systems Management, but that’s not where his U of L story begins. In 2001, Kanewischer, a working, mature student, attended the Calgary Campus and earned his bachelor of management in 2006.
“I attended the U of L Calgary Campus because I could work and attend school. The instructors were good, Lorne Williams, Kelly Williams-Whitt, YJ Bao, Terry Prociuk, and so many more knocked it out of the park when it came to teaching.”
In addition to his BMgt degree, Kanewischer also holds a computer science diploma from Medicine Hat College, an applied technology degree from NAIT, a general studies degree from Athabasca University and an MBA from the University of Calgary. He has many certifications as well, including: Project Management Professional, Information Systems Professional and Information Technology Certified Professional, to name a few.
His entry into becoming an instructor would come in the final semester of his MBA program where Kanewischer thought he’d be a great mentor on the Calgary Campus.
“I went down to Lorne Williams’s office, the Calgary Campus director at the time, and said, I’m here, I can be a mentor. However, Lorne saw more in me and asked if I had ever thought about teaching. So, I sent in my resume and that following Monday and I was asked to teach in the fall. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I survived, and I learned a thing or two along the way. Before I knew it, Lorne asked if I could come back to teach again in January.”
Williams had taught Kanewischer in three of his classes and saw his capabilities.
“Blake distinguished himself in his undergrad program,” says Williams, now the assistant dean, northern campuses. “In the first classroom we shared, he submitted a paper that drew the attention of faculty members on the main campus and academic colleagues from the United States. There was obviously a lot of potential there.”
Now, beginning his fifth year with the Calgary Campus as a sessional instructor, Kanewischer is flipping the classroom.
“I worked for 17 years as a systems analyst for the City of Calgary and the private sector. Now I can take that experience and add value to the classroom and add real life to the textbook,” he says. “I know what it’s like to be a mature student and working. By the start of class at 6 p.m., most students have already worked a long day. Who wants to listen to me talk for three hours? I don’t! That’s why I experiment in my teaching by pre-recording lectures, having blogs and emphasizing collaborative learning.”
Collaborative learning is key in Kanewischer’s classroom.
“In information systems, students can’t see that there’s this big iceberg chunk under the water. We only see the little bit of the iceberg that’s above the water. My job is to help show what’s beneath the surface. But the info systems industry changes so constantly that even students bring new things to the table that I can learn from. They learn from each other, they learn from me, we learn together.”