Actively planting new ideas

At the 2024 Robert W. Tait Lecture, the recipient of this year’s Implementing Teaching Excellence Award Dr. Lisa Wood will share insights and ideas on creating an engaging learning environment.

March 13, 2024
Person wearing purple t-shirt and red sweater rests arms on edge of a table displaying tree ring wedges.
Dr. Lisa Wood's research interests include forest and plant ecology, climate change and silviculture. She incorporates some unique teaching tools to transfer her love of learning to her students.

Ecosystem Science and Management Associate Professor Dr. Lisa Wood has seen the powerful impact active, hands-on learning opportunities have in transforming concepts in the classroom into true understanding and new knowledge for students.

“My personal teaching philosophy centres on the active engagement of students through experiential and problem-based learning,” says Wood. “I believe the integration of various learning activities throughout a lecture not only caters to diverse learning styles, it also improves students’ abilities to understand the concepts presented.”

Wood will highlight her Ethnobotany (BIOL 350) class as a case study on active engagement during this year’s Robert W. Tait Lecture on Friday, March 15, at 12 p.m. in room 8-166.

Dr. Robert Tait played a pivotal role in enhancing the profile of learning and teaching at UNBC. As Chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee, Tait sought action, not discussion. The Implementing Teaching Excellence Award acknowledges innovations that amplify student learning experiences inside and outside of the classroom.

Students in one of Wood’s recent Ethnobotany classes played a role in phase one of the First Nations Centre’s revitalization of the Wabooz Garden. Wood says she found the students embraced the opportunity to apply some of what they had been learning to a real-life situation that was meaningful to their current community, the University.

“Encouraging students to engage in activities related to new knowledge provides context to theory and is often very memorable,” she says. “These aspects of active learning lead to student success by fostering critical thinking and a lifelong love for learning.”

Wood will share more on designing a course for active engagement, her ideas on innovative assessment and how her teaching philosophy has shaped her other courses at UNBC during Friday’s luncheon lecture.

For those unable to attend in person, the lecture will be available live on Zoom and a recording will be uploaded to the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology video archive.