For Dr. Jennifer Mather, being a great teacher is also about learning. She has dedicated herself to learning the craft of teaching since joining the University of Lethbridge as a psychology professor in 1985.
Her commitment to students has helped prepare them for lifelong learning and sent them into the world equipped to be responsible global citizens. For her contributions to education, the U of L is pleased and proud to present Mather with the Distinguished Teaching Award. She will receive the award at Spring Convocation, Ceremony I at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 1.
When she began her teaching career, Mather adopted a student-centered, inquiry-based approach. She emphasizes students’ learning, encouraging them to think critically, apply their knowledge and take ownership of their learning. To facilitate this, she ensures her students have opportunities to learn by doing. Mather has partnered with a variety of organizations to give her students the chance to take what they’ve learned in the classroom into the larger world. As a result, she has supervised more than 160 applied or independent studies and 11 honours theses.
Over the years, she honed her teaching skills by becoming involved in the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and she has been part of the U of L’s Teaching Centre from its earliest days. Mather has researched teaching methods and strategies, presented at teaching and learning conferences and written articles for teaching-related publications. She willingly shares her findings and experience with her peers in the teaching community.
As an undergraduate, Mather studied biology and eventually moved to the psychology department at Brandeis University in Massachusetts to work with a professor who studied the behaviour of octopuses. She went on to complete a doctorate in human sensory motor coordination and pursued a research fellowship in human sensory perception, all while continuing her animal work.
Apart from teaching psychology courses, Mather has continued to conduct research on octopuses, travelling to exotic locales to carry out studies. Given her knowledge of octopuses, she is frequently sought out for media comments.
The Distinguished Teaching Award was established in 1987 to recognize the importance of teaching to the philosophy and goals of the University.