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Donnelly to receive Excellence in Teaching Award

  • Published Mon Feb 23rd 2015

    Catherine Donnelly (Rehab’95, PhD’13) will be presented with the 2014 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Queen’s University Alumni Association Gala Awards on March 28. She was recently acknowledged in front of Queen’s Senate Committee members by Principal Daniel Woolf for the award.

    “I was completely shocked and humbled by the nomination,” says Dr. Donnelly. “The fact that it came from one of my students makes the honour even more meaningful to me.”

    Dr. Donnelly began teaching in 1996 as an occupational therapy preceptor and in 1999 became site fieldwork coordinator at the Leslie R. Peterson Rehabilitation Centre in Richmond, BC. This sparked her passion for teaching and led to her decision to complete her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Science at the University of British Columbia in 1997. At this time she also began teaching the Occupational Therapy Program at UBC as a teaching assistant and then as a guest lecturer.

    “As a teaching assistant I had the opportunity to observe three or four different teaching styles, gathering little nuggets along the way,” explains Dr. Donnelly.

    Later, as a PhD candidate at Queen’s, Dr. Donnelly says she learned the importance of meaningful assessment from her supervisor and mentor, Lyn Shulha (MEd ’85).

    In 2004 Dr. Donnelly returned to Kingston and began teaching as a Sessional Adjunct at the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. Only a year later, she was appointed as Assistant Professor, Term Adjunct focusing her teaching in the classroom. In 2006 Dr. Donnelly returned to fieldwork education, and would remain outside the traditional classroom until 2012. During this unique educational role, Dr. Donnelly completed her PhD at Queen’s Faculty of Education, with a specialization in assessment and evaluation.

    “Teaching outside the classroom has challenged me to recognize that what students learn in the traditional classroom is just a portion of their overall learning,” says Dr. Donnelly. “When these studies are applied in the clinic, they can see the context and complexities of what they are learning.”

    Dr. Donnelly has contributed to the Queen’s community, both inside and outside the classroom, accrediting her unique learning and teaching experience to the culture that only Queen’s offers.

    “The difference here at Queen’s is that it’s a community, and once you’re a part of it, as a student or as a teacher, you become a part of the culture,” she says. “It really is a unique experience.”

    Dr. Donnelly joins a prestigious list of outstanding and inspirational teachers who make Queen’s a leading academic institution. Award recipients will be honoured at the QUAA Gala Awards on March 28.