West Coast Teaching Award badgeErin has shoulder-length hair dyed a playful blue and purple and wears glasses, earrings, and a green shirt.Dr Erin McGuire, a professor of anthropology at the University of Victoria (UVic), has been recognized with the Distinguished Teaching Award from the British Columbia Teaching and Learning Council. The award celebrates her reflective and intentional approach, commitment to enhanced student engagement and learning, and dedication to teaching that implements Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Cwélelep is one of six Lil’wat principles that apply to education in general and to decolonizing institutions in particular; it recognizes the need to sometimes be in a place of dissonance and uncertainty so as to be open to new learning. Dr. McGuire actively applies it to her own and her students’ education.

“My courses cover difficult topics, such as extremism, gender inequality and systemic racism,” Dr. McGuire says. “I acknowledge that these topics are uncomfortable for many students and I encourage them to sit with that discomfort for a time. My office door is always open, because I know that sometimes the best learning comes after the lectures. I have spent hours with students who have deeply ingrained views that they find themselves questioning. It is this self-examination that I strive to encourage through my teaching, because it forms the basis for critical thinking that I believe is fundamental to a university education.”

Dr. Elizabeth Croft, UVic Vice-President Academic and Provost, says, “Dr. McGuire’s wellconsidered innovations are transformative. She provides opportunities for reflection and creates a more personal learning environment that are immensely beneficial to our students.”