Campus Life

Love of teaching inspires Distinguished Teaching Award winner Dr. Harold Jansen

To put it simply, Dr. Harold Jansen loves to teach.

A political science professor in the University of Lethbridge’s Faculty of Arts & Science, Jansen is the winner of the Distinguished Teaching Award. He will receive the award at 2019 Spring Convocation Ceremony II at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 30 in the 1st Choice Savings Centre gymnasium.

Jansen has been teaching his entire adult life – and then some. He first discovered his predilection for the craft during his high school years, when he led ad hoc Chemistry 20 tutoring sessions for his classmates, filling in the gaps left by an underwhelming high school teacher.

He worked as a teaching assistant for both chemistry and history classes while an undergraduate student at the King’s University College in Edmonton. Later, when completing his BA at the University of Alberta, his master’s at Carleton University and then his doctoral studies back at the U of A, Jansen always found himself at the front of a classroom.

At the heart of his teaching philosophy is a focus on empathy, understanding what it is like for his students who are approaching a subject for the first time, or are learning about it from him for the first time. Jansen strives to capture the excitement of being a student while quelling the uncertainty students feel exploring new concepts and big ideas.

In Maclean’s annual guide to universities and colleges, Jansen was named one of the U of L’s popular profs for six consecutive years, while his Digital Politics class was cited in 2018 as one of two cool classes at the University. In 2018, he was also awarded the Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union.

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