Senate of Canada Sesquicentennial Medal for community service

My nephew, James Sliter, was recently awarded a Sesquicentennial Medal from the Senate of Canada for his volunteer role in making our community a better place to live.  He was nominated by current Senator and former police chief of Ottawa, Vern White.

James has shown dedication and commitment towards the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ottawa organization (BBBSO) for many years.  He is a former big brother, a former Board President and currently sits on the business development committee.

Unfortunately, there was controversy swirling around the dispersion of the rest of the medals. These awards were supposed to honor community activists and volunteers or unsung heroes.  The Canadian Mint created the medals as part of our 150 birthday celebration.  That’s where the word sesquicentennial comes in.  Our 93 Canadian Senators were each supposed to nominate 12 deserving individuals to receive the 1500 medals.  However, many of the Senators, 47 to be exact, kept the medals for themselves or gave them to former senators.  The last time I checked no senators can be termed volunteers or unsung heroes.  This is pure greed on their part.

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Regardless of the controversy, Vern White got it right with his nomination of James.  The rest of my family and I are extremely proud of him!

 

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L to R my brother Jeff, James, and Vern White

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Dr. Shelly Wismath receives prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship

This article is about my sister Shelly, the eldest of six siblings in our family and my first teacher. Mom and Dad would be very proud of you!

University of Lethbridge professor Dr. Shelly Wismath can count herself among the best university teachers in Canada. She is one of 10 university teachers to receive the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, an award that recognizes exceptional teachers in post-secondary education.

Dr. Jan Newberry, Wismath’s nominator and U of L anthropology professor, describes her as a “teaching ninja” who possesses a subtle and diplomatic style.

“Shelly has served as mentor and inspiration to me and to many other colleagues and students,” Newberry wrote in her letter of nomination. “She represents the best of what teaching can be as a career, a vocation and a model for life and learning.”

Wismath spent many years as a mathematics professor and researcher in abstract algebra. In 2009, she moved to the Liberal Education program and began focusing her research on the scholarship of teaching and learning. She played a key leadership role in building and sustaining the U of L Teaching Centre and became the inaugural Board of Governors Teaching Chair in 2007. Wismath is currently spearheading the revitalization of Liberal Education. In addition, Wismath initiated and secured funding for the long-standing Women Scholars Speaker Series.

“My reaction was stunned silence on the phone. I couldn’t believe it,” says Wismath. “It’s a huge honour to be in that group. I love teaching; it’s always been a part of what I do. It’s amazing to have that kind of recognition.”

Wismath’s philosophy of teaching arises from her experience in both mathematics and liberal education. She combines the logical reasoning and search for pattern that characterizes mathematics and the critical thinking and problem solving that mark liberal education into a philosophy that hones in on how people think, learn and reason.

“My goal is to share with my students the interactive process of asking questions and formulating and testing out answers, and engaging in vibrant discussion to learn more about ourselves and the world around us,” she says.

Wismath works hard to build relationships with her students so they feel comfortable in the learning environment and the approach works. One student wrote “I recall the many thought-provoking articles she assigned with the hopes that we, as students, would question the content of. She did not want us to merely read and accept blindly what the authors had argued, but to come to our own conclusions and situate the information within our own understandings of the world.”

“The great thing about teaching is that we learn as much from our students as they learn from us and that’s been really true for me in the last few years with a problem-solving course I designed,” she says. “That course has been the capstone of my teaching career. I’ve learned that you don’t teach people problem solving. You facilitate their learning. It was a steep learning curve for me but the students were just tremendous. They taught me a lot and were very generous with their reflections, their attention and their thoughtfulness about their learning.”

Wismath also credits the U of L for providing her with the flexibility to continue her education and to pursue topics she’s passionate about.

“The U of L has been a great place to nurture teaching as well as research,” she says. “I’ve been very lucky to have had the flexibility that I’ve had to spend time on teaching instead of research at certain points in my career or to combine them or to take on projects.”

The 3M National Teaching Fellowship brings several opportunities. In addition to becoming a life member of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and the Council of 3M Teaching Fellows, Wismath will be invited to attend the annual conference in Halifax and a teaching and learning retreat. This is the second time a U of L professor has been awarded a 3M National Teaching Fellowship. Dr. Patricia Chuchryk, a sociology professor, received the award in 1999.

 

Source: Dr. Shelly Wismath receives prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship | UNews

Vote for my outdoor Christmas lights display

 

Our outdoor Christmas lights display has been nominated for a prize in our community here in Ottawa.  You can vote  for “Bulmer” at

http://www.ottawacommunitynews.com/whatson-story/7022495-holiday-lights-voting

The versatile blogger award

 

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I was recently nominated for the versatile blogger award by Inny97blog   Please check out their blog for further details.

I have been nominated for this particular award before, about a year ago, and although appreciative of the compliment, I do not like the format of these awards.  For the reasons outlined in this previous post, I will not repeat the motions of nominating others, or answering questions about myself.

I much prefer to read blogs as I find them, commenting on their content as I go.  If I enjoy the way a particular blogger writes, I will take the time to read their “about” page to dig a little deeper into their background.

If you wish to learn more about me, take the time to read my “about” page and check out my posts.

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca