Campus News

COVID may have changed the college experience the past two years, but it seems to have inspired students’ appreciation of their teachers at Lethbridge College.

The Lethbridge College Faculty Association (LCFA)/Lethbridge College Students’ Association (LCSA) Teaching Excellence Awards resumed after a two-year break, and 170 students stepped up to nominate 83 faculty members. The awards committee recognized two Rookie of the Year recipients for new instructors for 2020-21 and 2021-22, and one Teaching Excellence Award recipient. All three recipients are also graduates of Lethbridge College.

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James Reimer, chair of Lethbridge College's School of Business.

James Reimer, chair of Lethbridge College’s School of Business, is the 2021-22 Teaching Excellence Award winner. Reimer graduated from the college’s Business Administration – Accounting program in 1990, and he has been a college employee for almost 32 years. He first worked in the Accounting Services department and has been a full-time Business Administration instructor for the past 17 years.

This is Reimer’s second LCFA/LCSA Teaching Excellence Award. He first won in 2014. Reimer’s students say he is passionate about teaching, and goes above and beyond by creating a positive, engaging and fun environment. They say Reimer is approachable and inclusive and because he understands that all students learn differently, he incorporates a variety of teaching styles in the classroom. “My best day as a teacher is when I see a student’s face light up with understanding and they develop a passion for the material,” says Reimer. “I love being in the classroom and helping students achieve their respective academic goals.”

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Eric Mitchell, Automotive Services pre-employment instructor.

Eric Mitchell, Automotive Services pre-employment instructor, has been selected as the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year. He completed his four-year Automotive Service Technician apprenticeship at Lethbridge College in 2010 and is now teaching alongside his former instructors. He was previously employed at Wilderness Vans where he helped build specialized camper vans and off-grid backcountry RVs. “My rookie year has been fantastic,” says Mitchell. “The course content is what I’ve been doing for years so I can really share my experience and knowledge with students. Seeing them as they start to understand concepts, that at first were a mystery, is very exciting for me.”

Mitchell’s students say he keeps theory interesting and engaging through demonstrations and fantastic teaching techniques. They say he is always willing to lend a hand or give extra help, and he goes the extra mile to ensure everyone understands and is comfortable with the lesson.

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Gord Ryall, Justice Studies instructor.

Gord Ryall, Justice Studies instructor, is the 2020-21 Rookie of the Year. He graduated from the Law Enforcement program in 1990. After spending several years with the British Columbia Sheriffs, Ryall joined the Alberta Sheriffs in 2006 and was posted to Lethbridge in 2008. He earned a master’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2019 and was hired full-time at the college in December 2020.

Nominating students say Ryall is devoted to their success and takes the time to explain concepts until everyone understands. They say he makes himself available any time of day, with one student saying Ryall even called from the golf course to help clarify a question about references in research papers. “The best decision I ever made was to join the School of Justice,” says Ryall. “Teaching during the pandemic had its challenges, but I had a great team of instructors supporting me along the way. Much like our students, I continue to learn and develop.”

The quality and unprecedented number of nominations – 83 different faculty members receiving 170 nominations – is a “testimony to the excellence in teaching delivered in programs across campus,” says Edith Olson, chair of the LCFA/LCSA Teaching Excellence Awards Committee. “Students spoke of support, encouragement, engaging classroom experiences and the dedication of instructors to the students in their classes. It made choosing winners in each of the three categories a challenge for the committee, as there were so many excellent faculty members nominated.”

“Each person nominated continues to exemplify excellence in the classroom and beyond,” says Dr. Samantha Lenci, Lethbridge College Provost and Vice President Academic. “Congratulations to each winner. And to all our faculty, thank you for putting students first and making their time at Lethbridge College an experience they’ll never forget.”

The three award recipients will be recognized at Spring 2022 Convocation on Friday, May 27, during the both the morning and afternoon ceremonies.