Carleton University is pleased to announce Professor James McGowan (School for Studies in Art and Culture: Music) has been named the 2020 Carleton University Chair in Teaching Innovation.

“On behalf of Carleton University, I am pleased to acknowledge and congratulate James McGowan on this achievement,” said Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Jerry Tomberlin.

“The Chair in Teaching Innovation is an important appointment that plays a significant role in furthering teaching excellence across Carleton.”

Prof. James McGowan

Prof. James McGowan (Photo Jenna Gernon)

Established last year, the Chair in Teaching Innovation is awarded annually to an educator who has demonstrated teaching excellence and innovation across their academic career. It provides faculty with a $45,000 grant spanning three years to undertake projects that advance the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and student success at Carleton.

“James is an outstanding educator who is fully invested in providing students with creative and engaging learning experiences,” said Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) David Hornsby. “We’re looking forward to seeing his project implemented and the impact it will have throughout the Carleton community and beyond.”

McGowan, who has been teaching at Carleton since 2010, sees the important role the performing arts play in student success, mental health and wellbeing, and fostering a sense of community. With this award, he plans to create and support a network of like-minded instructors, students and staff using the principles of Performative Learning and Artistic Communities of Engagement (PLACE).

The network will identify opportunities for performative learning, exploring experiential arts-based approaches to engage students in a variety of disciplines, and create artistic communities of engagement that allow students to find means of expression beyond course work.

“Receiving this distinction signifies to me that the university is ready to be a leader in applying and researching innovative approaches that allow students to experience a wide range of disciplines of study enhanced by the intentional exploration of the arts,” said McGowan.

“It seems more than ever that we as a university community want to grow in ways that create meaningful, exciting and safe experiences to challenge students to thrive and engage artistically with communities on campus.”

While PLACE will start this Fall with online programming of songwriting and community music at Carleton, McGowan plans to extend the network to include a variety of arts and non-arts-based disciplines, and eventually expand outside of the university.

“Professor McGowan’s ambitious project will employ arts-based approaches to learning in disciplines far beyond the humanities, offering students unique opportunities to integrate performative learning into any field of study,” said Pauline Rankin, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “Professor McGowan’s extensive experience with diverse forms of performance studies makes him the ideal champion for this exciting experiment at Carleton. His vision for the Chair in Teaching Innovation is particularly relevant at a moment in which many of us are turning or returning to the arts to sustain and inspire us during this unprecedented period.”

Through the PLACE initiative, McGowan says he hopes to enrich the student experience at Carleton and promote student engagement within the community, while acting as a resource for colleagues in developing innovative educational strategies.

“The biggest hope I have is that the PLACE initiative will give students a richer experience at Carleton. For some students, that might mean that they see opportunities to reach out to others to explore interdisciplinary conversations. For others, this might mean that they simply enjoy a creative activity with other students, helping to sustain them through the inevitable darker days,” said McGowan.

“Ultimately, I truly hope that applying PLACE principles at Carleton will create and support programming that will enhance students’ connection to this beautiful campus community. In tandem with this goal, I hope that we—colleagues with common interests and I—will be able to explore and share the results of studying the impact of this programming more broadly.”

Prof. James McGowan

Photo Kelly McDonald

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020 in
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