Connie Varnhagen (2012)

connieAffiliation at the time of the award: University of Alberta, Psychology.

Citation: Doing What Works”: these words define Connie Varnhagen.

Using efficient, effective, and accessible approaches, she ‘does what works,’ giving her students varied learning opportunities. Connie believes in creating learning environments based on trust, respect, and caring; each and every student has potential to learn. Students respond: “I liked how enthusiastic the teacher was, making the material easy to understand,” and “I liked how interactive the class was and enjoyed learning information that was applicable to my everyday life.”

Breaking down disciplinary silos, Connie was instrumental in the design, implementation, and effective delivery of the interdisciplinary Science 100 course. Connie’s enthusiasm for integrating research into teaching led to one student’s writing: “She instilled in me a love for science and taught me how to think critically and encouraged independent thought and discovery based learning.”

An advocate for evidence-based teaching, Connie collects valuable data on student learning to inform her practice and abundantly shares in presentations and in publications. As noted in one letter of support Connie’s “workshops on teaching large enrolment classes are so well known for their valuable information she provides that a room holding 100-150 has to be booked and even at this, there is often standing room only.”