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University lecturer Chantal Gibson awarded 3M National Teaching Fellowship
Chantal Gibson is known by her students and colleagues for her kindness, inclusion and human-centred teaching practices.
Her remarkable contributions to teaching have recently earned the School of Interactive Arts and Technology university lecturer a 2021 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award.
The fellowship, awarded by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, recognizes exceptional teachers in post-secondary education. It celebrates the tremendous impact of Gibson’s writing and her anti-racism and decolonizing work in her own classroom, and in schools and cultural institutions across Canada.
One of Gibson’s teaching priorities is to create an inclusive space for learners.
“I try my best to listen and pay attention to what is going on in the world, and to relate and integrate societal issues that may be affecting my students and use them to frame or introduce my lectures and coursework,” says Gibson, of her teaching. “Sometimes this means letting go of the controls for a while and letting students lead the class.”
In her classes, Gibson hopes to provide students with a critical and creative toolkit, for not only design communication, but also for empathy building and problem-solving, that will stick with them long after the class is over.
“Doing this means helping students recognize their unique personalities, skills, and talents,” comments Gibson. “It also means balancing new ways of learning and knowing, alongside some tried and true strategies for constructing a credible and trustworthy ethos.”
Gibson is also an award-winning poet and nationally recognized artist. Her poetry book How She Read (Caitlin Press, 2019) challenges colonialism in the classroom and addresses how Black women are represented in Canada. How She Read won the 2020 Pat Lowther Award for Best Book of Poetry by a Canadian woman as well as the 2020 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize (B.C.).
As an artist, Gibson’s work has been featured in libraries, galleries, and museums. Her mixed-media artwork Who’s Who? is currently on display in the foyer of the Canadian Senate Chamber. The piece honours Black artists in Canada and explores the exclusion of Black voices in Canadian historical texts by altering books with braided and twisted black thread.
“Both my written and visual work investigate the representation of Black people across the Canadian cultural landscape,” explains Gibson. “My goal is to unpack mechanisms of power and systemic oppression and to create what I hope are interesting and compelling works that invite audiences to question the works as well as the institutions they function in.”
The 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award recognizes Gibson’s inclusive and empathetic approach to teaching that resonates so profoundly with her students.