CHA Prizes

This annual prize seeks to recognize post-secondary instructors teaching in any geographical, thematic, or temporal field in historical studies who have a record of excellence in emphasizing student engagement with primary sources in their courses in effective, critical, sustained, and, possibly, innovative ways. Effective teaching about the question of primary sources and how people today should contend with them are the central aspects of this award.

In the Spring of 2020, the CHA Teaching and Learning Committee awarded the first two teaching awards that responded to CHA members that have supported a greater recognition of teaching and learning among members.  We are happy to announce that nominations for the CHA Teaching Awards are open until 31 March, 2021.  These awards will be announced at the Annual Meeting of the CHA that will be online this year. The committee is also grateful to the CHA Council that has also added a monetary prize of $ 250 for each prize to the winners.

FOUR (4) winners will be chosen: two in the category of “Early or Alternative Career”: One in Canadian history and one in other than Canadian history and two in “Open Career State”: One in Canadian and one in other than Canadian history.

As indicated last year, we would like to emphasize that the awards are open to any post-secondary instructor teaching in any geographical, thematic, or temporal field in historical studies who has a record of excellence in emphasizing student engagement with primary sources in their courses. So not just full-time faculty, not just Canadianists, not just people teaching courses in and for history departments.  Please consider applying! The deadline for applications is March 31st and specific details can be found below and on the CHA Prizes website. 

We would very much like to introduce more teaching awards into the CHA Prize roster but those plans are contingent upon the success of these awards so please consider applying or bringing this to the attention of a colleague who you think deserves to be recognized for their teaching excellence.

The CHA’s Excellence in Teaching with Primary Sources Awards

These annual prizes seek to recognize post-secondary instructors teaching in any geographical, thematic, or temporal field in historical studies who have a record of excellence in emphasizing student engagement with primary sources in their courses in effective, critical, sustained, and, possibly, innovative ways. Effective teaching about the question of primary sources and how people today should contend with them are the central aspects of this award. 

·      Our definition of “primary sources” should be understood in the broadest terms and includes visual, aural, verbal, material, digital, and memorized or remembered items.

·      These prizes do not preclude the consideration of historiographical teaching (i.e./ approaching secondary and tertiary sources as primary sources).

·      These prizes do not preclude, and indeed encourage, pedagogy that fosters critical approaches to historical empiricism and “the archive” as embroiled in past and present political struggles.

FOUR (4) winners will be chosen: two in the category of “Early or Alternative Career”: One in Canadian history and one in other than Canadian history and two in “Open Career State”: One in Canadian and one in other than Canadian history.

Winners will be announced at the 2021 CHA Annual Meeting (at the Annual CHA Prize Ceremonies). The deadline for nomination packages will 31 March 2021.  Nomination packages must be sent to teachingblog@cha-shc.ca on or before the deadline.  For information about nomination package content and judging criteria, see below.

1) Early or Alternative Career Award

·      open to any post-secondary part-time or contract instructor, adjunct professor, or early career (0-5 year), untenured full-time instructor/professor who can

·      demonstrate excellence in teaching with primary sources across a minimum of THREE (3) courses (note: this includes the same course being taught three times, even if all three iterations happened in the same semester)

·      the courses do NOT have to be taught out of a history department but should feature an ongoing historical component to them

·      this category is not open to emeritus faculty

·      people can nominate themselves for this award or be nominated by a peer or department/unit chair 

·      nomination packages can be up to 15 pages long, exclusive of syllabi and the nomination cover page, and must be submitted as a single pdf file
  

Nomination packages may include (this list is not exhaustive or mandatory, just meant to offer examples):

·      a 500-word statement from the instructor outlining and explaining their approach to teaching with primary sources and the three courses (minimum) with which they are applying;

·      a letter of support from the department chair or other full-time faculty member in which the instructor has taught who has witnessed the instructor’s teaching with primary sources and can provide a detailed qualitative assessment of the instructor’s teaching effectiveness;

·      one or more course outlines/syllabi, complete with details of the number of people in the class, assigned readings, and the structure of assignments;

·      testimonies from students who were registered in one or more classes about the teaching effectiveness of the instructor, ideally focused on engagement with primary sources;

·      a detailed assignment from a syllabus that showcases primary source engagement and how this was assessed by the instructor;

·      a detailed lesson plan with a paragraph or more reflecting on the success of the plan

·      formal teaching evaluation reports, or information culled from them (note: this is not mandatory and the adjudicators will be made aware of the numerous critiques that exist about the validity of teaching evaluations)   

Adjudication criteria:

·      teaching how to be critical about primary source engagement

·      depth of focus on primary sources in specific sessions or with specific assignments

·      consistency of focus on primary sources throughout a course and/or throughout 3 courses

·      “focus on primary sources” can mean teaching about: “silences” in the archive, the range of sources available, where to find sources and how to work with them, historical or archival theory especially via specific primary source examples, and/or assignments that incorporate the critical use of primary sources

·      other criteria taken into consideration may include: ability to incorporate a focus on primary sources across a range of courses (i.e./ from low-enrollment seminars to high-enrollment survey courses); ability to teach about a range of types of sources; innovation (factoring in what this might mean for different types of courses); evidence of student satisfaction and teaching effectiveness; the incorporation of non-written, non-English, non-Western, non-modern sources in effective ways. 

Nomination packages can be up to 15 pages long, exclusive of syllabi and the nomination cover page, and must be submitted as a single pdf file. Packages should be emailed to teachingblog@cha-shc.ca.  

The due date for packages to be received is 31 March 2021. Winners will be announced at the 2021 CHA Annual Meeting. 

2) Open Career State Awards

·      open to any post-secondary instructor (part-time, full-time, contingent, untenured, tenured, emeritus, et cetera) who can demonstrate

·      a record of excellence in teaching with primary sources across at least SEVEN (7) courses, of which THREE (3) have to be entirely different courses

·      team-taught courses can count and, in instances where teams have been teaching for FIVE (5) or more courses, teams can apply for this award

·      the courses do NOT have to be taught out of a history department but should feature an ongoing historical component to them

·      people can nominate themselves for this award or be nominated by a peer or department/unit chair. 

·      nomination packages can be up to 25 pages long, exclusive of syllabi and the nomination cover page, and must be submitted as a single pdf file

Nomination packages may include (this list is not exhaustive or mandatory, just meant to offer examples):

·      a 500-word statement from the instructor outlining and explaining their approach to teaching with primary sources and the courses with which they are applying;

·      up to two letters of support from full-time faculty members in the department in which the instructor has taught who have witnessed the instructor’s teaching with primary sources and can provide a detailed qualitative assessment of the instructor’s teaching effectiveness;

·      three or more course outlines/syllabi, complete with details of the number of people in the class, assigned readings, and the structure of assignments;

·      testimonies from students who were registered in one or more classes about the teaching effectiveness of the instructor, ideally focused on engagement with primary sources;

·      a detailed assignment from a syllabus that showcases primary source engagement and how this was assessed by the instructor;

·      a detailed lesson plan with a paragraph or more reflecting on the success of the plan

·      formal teaching evaluation reports, or information culled from them (note: this is not mandatory and the adjudicators will be made aware of the numerous critiques that exist about the validity of teaching evaluations)  

Adjudication criteria:

·      teaching how to be critical about primary source engagement

·      depth of focus on primary sources in specific sessions or with specific assignments

·      consistency of focus on primary sources throughout a course and/or throughout 7 courses

·      “focus on primary sources” can mean teaching about: “silences” in the archive, the range of sources available, where to find sources and how to work with them, historical or archival theory especially via specific primary source examples, and/or assignments that incorporate the critical use of primary sources

·      other criteria taken into consideration may include: ability to incorporate a focus on primary sources across a range of courses (i.e./ from low-enrollment seminars to high-enrollment survey courses); ability to teach about a range of types of sources; innovation (factoring in what this might mean for different types of courses); ability to teach about primary sources to different levels (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th-year, MA, PhD; taking into consideration how not all instructors have access to graduate teaching); evidence of student satisfaction and teaching effectiveness; the incorporation of non-written, non-English, non-Western, non-modern sources in effective ways. 

Nomination packages can be up to 25 pages long, exclusive of syllabi and the nomination cover page, and must be submitted as a single pdf file. Packages should be emailed to teachingblog@cha-shc.ca.   

The due date for packages to be received is 31 March 2021. Winners will be announced at the 2021 CHA Annual Meeting.

 

2020 – Winner

  • 2020

    Early or Alternative Career Award

    SemmensKristin Semmens

    Prof. Semmens is an assistant teaching professor in the departments of history and Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Victoria. Her nomination package impressed with the wide range of different types of primary sources she routinely uses in her teaching, from graffiti to musicals, 1930s travel brochures to rocket parts, oral testimonies to government documents, whether in large survey courses or smaller upper-level seminars. Interested in the area of Holocaust education, Prof. Semmens integrates concerns about public history into her courses by both leading excursions through Victoria or the Royal BC Museum and guiding her students to create their own exhibits, documentaries, walking tours and such based upon students’ own engagement with primary sources.  Her upper-level seminars on the history of the Holocaust showcase intense debate about the archive and the use of primary sources in creating historical argument.

     

    Honourable Mention

    ChaktarisMary Chaktsiri

    Prof. Chaktsiris is an assistant professor and fellow at the L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University. She teaches courses on Canada and the world, Canadian history, World War One, military history, and digital humanities. She e-publishes frequently on digital resources and digital humanities in the history classroom.

     

     

     

    Open Career State Awards 

    Elise ChenierElise Chenier

    Prof. Chenier is a full professor in the department of history at Simon Fraser University, Director of the Archive of Lesbian Oral Testimony, and Associate member of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies department. Her nomination package highlighted her commitment to not only fostering critical engagement with different types of primary sources but empowering students to add to the archive themselves and grapple with their own relationships to knowledge production and the community at large. Students in Prof. Chenier’s Hist 451 course (Fall 2019) collected oral testimonies and exhibited what they learned of the lived experiences of lesbians in Vancouver active in the women’s movement in the 1970s and 80s in “pop-up museum” projects, for example. Likewise, in her first-year introductory course on the history of sexuality, she uses her website “How to Think Like a Historian” to model reflective, feminist historical methodology that students then apply to their own engagements with primary sources.

     

    Honourable Mention

    Mairi CowanMairi Cowan

    Prof. Cowan is an associate professor (teaching stream) in the department of historical studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga.  A medievalist by training, she teaches a truly staggering array of courses that include topics on world history, early Canada, medieval and early modern European history, women’s history, religion, food, ecology, and music. She has developed resources for mentoring TAs and is the co-author of Writing History: A Guide for Canadian Students, 5th Edition, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019).

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