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Dr. Steve Bland wins 2017-18 MacNaughton Prize

May 3, 2017

The 2017-18 winner of the The John and Gail MacNaughton Prize for Excellence in Teaching has been announced. Congratulations to Dr. Steve Bland, Assistant Professor in Huron's Philosophy Department is this year's recipient of the prize.

"My prize project is to design a first-year, interdisciplinary course dedicated to developing and improving foundational skills related to research and learning, such as effective studying, critical thinking, information literacy, and clear writing," explains Dr. Bland.

"These skills are essential to good scholarship, but their development requires more time, effort, and practice than most content-based courses permit. Our academic service providers do a wonderful job of helping students in these areas, but this requires students to take initiative outside of class time. To bridge this gap, the course will be designed and implemented with the help of support staff from Research and Learning Support, Library Services, and Writing Services." 

The course will also feature faculty lectures that show students how these skills can be transferred across disciplines. He adds, "Lessons will use problem-based learning rather than the articulation and application of abstract theory, such that students are shown how to improve their scholarly habits, rather than told how to do it. The principal aim of the course is to cultivate in students an appreciation for the fact that research and learning, at all levels, consists in revisionary processes that can be incrementally improved, rather than visionary episodes that just happen"

In addition to this unique Huron course meant to refine transferable skills through hands-on learning, two student research assistants will be hired. "The student RAs will review the educational literature on academic skill development, and the pedagogical literature on how best to foster these skills. The course is thus a deeply cooperative endeavor that spans across the student-faculty-staff divides. The planning and departmental consultations have already begun, and we hope to launch the course in the 2018-19 academic year."

Congratulations to Dr. Bland from the entire Huron community!

"I am deeply honoured to be this year’s recipient of the John and Gail MacNaughton Prize for Excellence in Teaching, especially in light of the remarkable teaching talent that exists at Huron University College," Dr. Bland shares. 


Established in 2010 by Huron graduate John MacNaughton '67, The John and Gail MacNaughton Prize for Excellence in Teaching will recognize and honour superior teaching at Huron University College which advances the College’s learning objectives as defined in the academic plans of both faculties.  In recognizing and celebrating the College’s commitment  to teaching excellence, and that of its individual faculty members in this regard.