Innovative history professor Dr. Sheila McManus to receive Distinguished Teaching Award

Known as an innovator in the classroom, Dr. Sheila McManus has developed a set of teaching values that gives her students a unique learning experience by using active learning strategies and student-centred assignments that emphasize critical thinking skills over memorization.

A conscientious and beloved history professor, McManus approaches teaching as scholarship and consistently works to improve her practice. The University of Lethbridge is proud to present Dr. Sheila McManus with the Distinguished Teaching Award. She will receive the award at 2018 Spring Convocation, Ceremony II on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. in the 1st Choice Savings Centre gymnasium.

The core values that have guided her teaching practice from its earliest days centre around maintaining respect for her students as adults and learners. McManus has reduced or eliminated lectures in her classes to focus on student-centred active learning opportunities. These include workshops where students gain hands-on experience with primary sources or develop specific research and writing skills, as well as classroom debates about issues and evidence. She has replaced exams with writing assignments designed to foster critical thinking skills.

McManus is equally committed to helping other teachers improve. Since 2012, she has co-facilitated teaching workshops for faculty and instructors at the U of L, Lethbridge College and Olds College. During her two-year term as Board of Governors’ Teaching Chair her initiatives included creating a “Doors Open” series for faculty to visit the classrooms of and observe some of the best teachers at the University. She has also led workshops for K-12 teachers during the annual teachers’ conventions in Lethbridge and Calgary. McManus makes it a priority to keep up with the latest research in the field of teaching and learning in higher education, so she can apply it in her own classrooms.

McManus completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours and Co-op) at the University of Calgary and Master of Arts at the University of Victoria. In 2001, she completed a doctoral degree at York University. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University, she joined the history department at the University of Winnipeg. McManus joined the U of L’s Department of History in 2003 and became a full professor in 2016.

The Distinguished Teaching Award was established in 1987 to recognize the importance of teaching to the philosophy and goals of the University.