Posted on May 11, 2010 by Tia Lalani

Christopher Thrall interviews Dr. Roxanne Harde, McCalla Professor, about her upcoming research project.

By Christopher Thrall –

The University of Alberta’s McCalla Research Professorships provide faculty members with the opportunity to integrate their teaching, learning and research: selected academics are given valuable time to focus on a major project. Dr. Roxanne Harde, Associate Professor of English at Augustana, is a McCalla Professor for 2010/11.

“Each of the smaller faculties can put forward one nomination,” says Dr. Harde, who has been at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus for five years. “I still feel new at Augustana, but Dean Epp encouraged me as a strong candidate, and now I can follow through with some important research on peer instruction and team-based learning.” Out of the four years that our professors have been competing with 10 other University of Alberta faculties, Augustana has been awarded three McCalla Professorships.

Professor of Music and Director of Music Dr. Milton Schlosser received his McCalla Professorship in 2007/08 to investigate neuroscience-based strategies for the effective use of video recordings by pianists and piano teachers. Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies Dr. Glen Hvenegaard’s award in 2008/09 allowed him to examine fieldwork instruction, from effective general practices to the fieldwork components of his own courses.

Through her McCalla research, Dr. Harde will evaluate peer education. In 2006, she helped start Augustana’s Writing Centre, which offers students one-on-one consultations with a peer tutor, workshops on all stages of the writing process and access to a writing reference library. Her research will generate a description of best practices for training Writing Centre peer tutors, with a focus on faculty engagement. “Right now, we have about 60 tenure-stream professors at Augustana,” explains Dr. Harde, “and I wonder what we can do to get them all involved in the Writing Centre.”

She also hopes to find new strategies for teaching in the senior-level literature classroom. “I want to get students to engage in 19th Century literature the same way I do!” says Dr. Harde. “I intend this research to take what I have already learned about peer education and team-based learning, and extend it both into my own classroom and into the practices of faculty members at large.” Harde will take some of her findings to an international conference on writing centres in the fall.

“Dr. Harde is someone who is not only invested in teaching and supporting the Writing Centre, but who is also thinking about how writing is taught,” says Dean Roger Epp. “I am glad to see her interest in the pedagogy of writing recognized with a McCalla Award.”

McCalla Professor Dr. Roxanne Harde teaches courses in American Literature and Culture, covering the subject by period (before and after the Civil War), by genre (including children’s literature), and by theme (including environmental writing and feminist theory). Roxanne also studies contemporary culture, and has edited a forthcoming collection on the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen.

McCalla Research Professorships were named for Dr. Arthur McCalla, the first dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

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