Meet the winners of our HSD teaching awards

Jennifer Nutton Kim Daly  Dillon Chrimes

A social work scholar dedicated to decolonizing her teaching practices, a chat-bot curious health information science team, and a community of nurses dedicated to anti-racist education are the recipients of the 2023 Faculty of Human and Social Development (HSD) teaching awards.

Jennifer Nutton (pictured left), an assistant teaching professor in the School of Social Work, is the winner of HSD’s Award for Teaching Excellence and Educational Leadership. 

Two teams are recipients of the 2023 HSD Internal Teaching Scholarship Grant: Kim Daly (pictured centre) is principal investigator of a School of Nursing communities of learning initiative, while Dillon Chrimes (pictured right) will lead a Health Information Science team on a chat-bot project. 

Read more about the winners:

Jennifer Nutton - HSD Award for Teaching Excellence and Educational Leadership

Jennifer Nutton took up her position as an assistant teaching professor in the University of Victoria’s School of Social Work six months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a tough time to start a new job and to shift to teaching in a completely online environment.  

She was faced with a challenge: How could she keep her commitment to a decolonized approach to teaching that focuses on building relationships and challenging traditional classroom structures?

In a short period of time, Nutton figured it out, using a variety of tools, including reflections that she recorded for students, group work, and special Zoom sessions so students could engage with the course content outside of their lectures. 

It’s clear from her award nomination letters that Nutton has made a deep, positive impression on students.

“I have witnessed many good instructors but there are only a few that I would consider exceptional,” former social work student Wasilla Iddrisu Abudu writes. “Jennifer Nutton is one of the instructors I would consider exceptional.” 

Nutton’s teaching philosophy is grounded in relationality, a concept she describes as being in an interdependent relationship with other people, all living things, including the land and past and future generations, and with knowledge.  

Nutton, who is also co-associate director of field education and student support in the School of Social Work, says a key part of that approach includes working in circle and allowing students to get to know her and each other. She found this especially important over the pandemic, a time in which she says students felt isolated and disconnected, with many experiencing increased mental health issues.

“Students are coming as whole people into the classroom with their experiences, and for us in social work, having lived experience is really important,” she says. “Whereas professors have a lot of power and authority, when working in circle, we share knowledge equally.”  

Describing herself as learner, Nutton says she is grateful to the leadership of scholars including the School of Social Work’s Professor Jeannine Carriere and former director Kundoqk, Jacquie Green, who is now executive director of Indigenous Academic & Community Engagement (IACE) at UVic. 

“I’m still learning, still curious," Nutton says. "I feel it’s my responsibility, if we’re committed to reconciliation and decolonization, to understand and work with Indigenous ways of knowing in a good way.” 

Kim Daly - HSD Internal Teaching Scholarship Grant

Kim Daly says white settler nurse educators have important roles to play in addressing systemic racism, but they often lack the competence and confidence to teach anti-racism or to lead students in disrupting racism in clinical practice. 

Daly, an assistant teaching professor in the School of Nursing, is leading a team that will evaluate the impact of communities of learning established as part of the school's anti-racism strategy.

The project involves interviewing nurse educators and staff who have participated in six learning sessions. Daly hopes the work will support effective anti-racist strategies and create safer spaces for teaching and learning for staff, faculty and students. 

"This work may show how faculty and staff, by developing a greater understanding of Indigenous-specific racism, can enhance their relationship with students, offering knowledge and tools to advocate for equity and also disrupt racism within their own teaching and research practices," Daly says.

The team's research collaborators include Director Vera Caine, Assistant Teaching Professor Leanne Kelly and Julie Mooney, from the University of Calgary, who will advise on the project.

Dillon Chrimes - HSD Internal Teaching Scholarship Grant

Chat bots are not commonly used in higher education, but a Health Information Science team says these automated digital assistants could benefit universities. 

Assistant Teaching Professor Dillon Chrimes says chat bots have the potential to highlight questions around enrolling in HSD programs while simplifying and streamlining the enrolment process. He says they could also improve student support by placing special emphasis on usability for young generations thinking about undergraduate studies.

Over the year, Dillon, along with co-applicants Assistant Teaching Professor Simon Minshall and Professor Abdul Roudsari, will work to build decision-tree frameworks and test chat bots with structured equation modelling.

"The goal is to showcase the importance and uniqueness of seven programs across HSD and to support students' experiential learning with detailed program descriptions," Chrimes says.