Sault College Professor Receives Provincial Recognition for Innovation in Learning

(Sault Ste. Marie, ON February 6, 2023) – One of Sault College’s shining stars received provincial recognition for innovation in learning. Joanna MacDougall, an Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant (OTA/PTA) Professor, was chosen as the recipient of the 2021-22 Ministry of Colleges and Universities Minister’s Awards of Excellence for Future-proofing Ontario’s students. This award was presented to a faculty and/or staff who have led the way in adapting programming that supports new ways of learning.

Joanna was selected as an award recipient among the more than 540 nominations received across the five award categories, which represented individuals from both Colleges and Universities throughout the province of Ontario. Joanna took the challenges of the pandemic to find new and creative ways for student learning. She took the opportunity and researched a valuable tool to enhance the delivery for Anatomy and Physiology (A & P) and then integrated the tool into the programming when students returned to in-class. The software and use of virtual reality (VR) goggles allowed students to view anatomical parts in ways not possible with textbooks or anatomy models.

The enhanced learning using VR was so well received by students that Joanna collaborated with science faculty to expand use in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing A & P courses, which has been a success to date. Joanna’s work has ignited interest by other faculty who are considering incorporating such innovation into their respective courses.

"I am truly honoured to receive the Minister's Award of Excellence. It is humbling to be selected among all of the incredible post-secondary educators nominated and to be recognized at this level. I have had fantastic support at Sault College for my work and I am very grateful for that," says Joanna.

“Sault College strives to provide an exceptional student experience with students gaining the skills and knowledge needed to be successful,” said Dr. Ron Common, President Sault College. “Joanna’s innovative thinking has taken learning to a new level, and in a rapidly changing world, this has significant and positive impacts on our students and the future of education. On behalf of Sault College, I congratulate Joanna on this amazing accomplishment. We also want to congratulate the four other Sault College nominees for their dedication and commitment to our students and our College.”

The following Sault College employees were also nominated for these prestigious awards:

Colleen Brady: Equality of Opportunity(Faculty and staff who have excelled at creating opportunities in postsecondary education for marginalized and underrepresented groups)

  • As an Early Childhood Education faculty, Colleen is on an active journey towards Truth and Reconciliation through education. Over the last few years, she’s made it a priority to learn about the history of First Nation, Metis and Inuit people and the role Canadian institutions have played in the harm/genocide of the First Peoples of this land. This work is important to her path towards reconciliation and provides educational opportunities to her students. ECEs have the professional responsibility to recognize and respond to the unique needs and culture of Indigenous people. Colleen has made intentional efforts to include Indigenous resources, stories, speakers, and experiences within the ECE program. She is revising the ECE curriculum and pedagogy to embed Indigenous ways of knowing and practices that are also hand-in-hand with non-Indigenous practices and approaches. Colleen has established a volunteer faculty Community of Practice comprised of Indigenous staff and non-Indigenous allies bringing together faculty that are on a similar journey to embed and reflect on Indigenous ways of knowing and the curriculum while also incorporating Indigenous pedagogical practices into the way they deliver their courses.

Jennifer Mosley: Innovation and Entrepreneurship(Faculty and staff who are working with industry and business to drive economic development)

  • Jennifer is a leader in e-learning and innovation at Sault College. In this past year, she has fostered many business partnerships to co-develop online learning micro-credentials, mainly for professionals to upskill their knowledge. Partnerships include OLG, Project Learning Tree, Charity Village, Xahive, ADHS Momma, WoundPedia and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig. In working with the various partners, Jennifer has taken Sault College’s Micro-Credential platform at from 30 offerings to over 100 offerings in just one year. Jennifer’s strategic leadership has sparked tremendous growth of our e-learning micro-credentials, having secured enrolment from individuals from around the globe such as India, Philippines, United States, Nepal, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Nigeria, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Peru, Poland, Brazil, China, Germany, Tanzania and many others. By leading summer students and co-op students, Sault College has secured business contracts with various municipalities and companies that require their training turned into online modules. Jennifer has a passion and commitment to innovation through educational technology.

Jessica Barbet: Everyday Hero Award (Recognizes faculty and staff who have stepped up and made a difference in the lives of their students, colleagues or the general public during the 2021–2022 school year)

  • Jessica always goes and above and beyond to assist our international students. She does so with a genuine passion and desire to help. Often when a student is facing a particularly challenging or sensitive situation, students will specifically ask for Jessica. She treats them as her own family and creates a safe space to share their concerns and ensures they know she’s in their corner. Being so far from home and family, Jessica’s ability to form genuine connections with vulnerable students is an absolute asset to students. A two-time Northern Lights Employee Excellence Award recipient, Jessica has been a constant, friendly face in the international office. She has been there as the department and international student population grew all while ensuring the students received the support they needed to be successful. Jessica has been particularly helpful in providing support to international students who become parents while in Canada. Most are away from their familiars, partners and the extra support that Jessica provides is exceptional. She advocates for them, checks in, visits and connects them with community supports. This pattern of support is second nature and she never thinks twice about helping a student and she is hands-down an everyday hero to our students.

Marc Pilon: Rising Star(Graduate students or faculty who are under 35 and are making a difference in education, inspiring students, or conducting innovative research in the postsecondary education sector)

  • Marc has made a tremendous impact on our students. He is a mentor who is passionate and enthusiastic about the engineering profession and programming. He takes every opportunity to share this and his knowledge with learners of all ages. As a Professor, Marc takes every opportunity to promote and highlight the College’s engineering programs within the community and beyond through presentations and interactive events. He creates hands-on learning opportunities that build excitement and curiosity. Although COVID-19 changed our operations, Marc ensured that the long-standing College Bridge Building competition took place for local elementary and high school students last year. He found innovative ways to ensure the event could take place safely even using his own time to offer bridge building tutorials to participants via Teams. Marc’s innovation, dedication and desire to engage early learners and immerse them into this field led to a successful event. Marc is also Chair of the Professional Engineering Ontario Algoma Chapter further supporting his continuing education and ability to remain current in the field, which positively impacts his students. Each academic year, Marc also goes into elementary classrooms to share his knowledge and expertise doing exercises, like making concrete, building an excitement to learn more. Marc is an exceptional professor who goes above and beyond for his students.