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Meet 3 Concordians who are making their mark through innovative approaches to pedagogy

2024 SALTISE Conference recognizes instructors, educational developers and students for their academic excellence and support of the professional learning community
June 28, 2024

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Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) hosted the 2024 edition of the SALTISE conference on June 3 and 4. Supporting Active Learning and Technological Innovation in Studies of Education, or SALTISE, is a professional learning community made up of educators from both French and English institutions in greater Montreal and beyond.

The 13th annual conference honoured the winners of the SALTISE Best Practices and Pedagogical Innovator Award. It recognizes instructors and educational developers who excel at promoting academic excellence, using innovative pedagogies and supporting their academic communities.

The Students as Educational Innovators Award recognizes students who stand out as contributors to the SALTISE community through their achievements in academic excellence, promotion of innovative pedagogies and their roles as research or teaching assistants.

Three members of the Concordia community received awards across three categories.

Smiling woman with long dark hair, and holding a cellphone Giuliana Cucinelli

Giuliana Cucinelli, education tech specialist

Giuliana Cucinelli received the 2024 SALTISE Best Practices and Pedagogical Innovators Award for university instructors.

Cucinelli is an associate professor in the Department of Education, specializing in educational technology. Since her arrival at the university in 2014, Cucinelli has distinguished herself as an exceptional and innovative instructor who integrates student-centred pedagogy.

She uses Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in all her lectures, class activities and assignments. She also provides students with opportunities to engage with subject-matter experts and local professionals to help complete their course work.

Cucinelli teaches courses that integrate creativity in the design of instruction with the fundamentals of using technology to achieve the designs.

She has been presenting annually at SALTISE conferences since 2020. She made special contributions to the community of teaching by serving on the university-wide working group on UDL and on the departmental equity, diversity and inclusion committee.

She has also arranged workshops on accessibility, Indigenous teaching and applications of inclusive design principles to influence teaching for her colleagues.

Cucinelli is always searching for new ways to teach, notes Saul Carliner, professor and chair of the Department of Education.

“Giuliana continually involves community partners to work directly with students on real-world issues. She encourages students to always balance innovations with the practical realities of the contexts in which they are working — while also ensuring that their work honours all aspects of equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Smiling man with short, light brown hair, wearing a plaid shirt John Bentley

John Bentley, pedagogical innovator

John Bentley received the 2024 SALTISE Best Practices and Pedagogical Innovators Award for educational developers.

Bentley is a senior instructional developer at the CTL and a highly respected member of Montreal’s education community. He is known for his dedication to supporting faculty and graduate students, pushing for high-impact pedagogical practices and spaces that promote the adoption of active learning.

At the core of Bentley’s practice is peer-based faculty development. For many years he has led peer-to-peer faculty interest groups providing colleagues with opportunities to discuss their challenges and experiences on a regular basis. A few of the groups Bentley has led include blended learning, active learning and his recent book club for Teach Students How to Learn.

“John has been actively dedicated to pushing the boundaries of teaching and learning at Concordia and has been at the forefront of the adoption of active learning classrooms at the university,” says Alicia Cundell, teaching consultant at the CTL.

“He played a key role in the design and installation of the first active classroom and worked diligently to promote the importance of active pedagogies to faculty across the university.”

Bentley has also pushed the boundaries of educational technology infrastructure at the university, implementing the first lightboards for faculty to use in the flipped-course learning environment.

Smiling young man with short, red hair, on a boat with a river in the background Andrew Rochon

Andrew Rochon, student leader

Andrew Rochon is the recipient of the SALTISE Students as Educational Innovators Award. He is currently completing his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. 

Rochon is a past student in the Video Games and/as Theory course (ENGL 300), taught by Darren Wershler, professor of English. In it, he distinguished himself as a major contributor to the course demonstrating his technical and research skills and his initiative and leadership.

Wershler eventually invited Rochon to join the pedagogical research project as a paid research assistant associated with the course and with the ongoing research project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, that emerged from the course.

In addition to making significant contributions to the success of the student research group, Rochon along with his team have presented their work at several conferences including the 2023 Canadian Game Studies Association Conference and the 2022 SALTISE Conference.

“Andrew’s accumulated experience as an undergraduate student in an innovative classroom has earned him a role as a full member of a research team committed to exploring innovative pedagogy using video games and as a research assistant working on new educational technology,” Wershler explains.

“His commitment to broadening his notion of what an undergraduate education looks like, working with faculty as a pedagogical innovator and helping to promote transformative teaching, are just some of the criteria that he has fulfilled to earn the award.”

Learn more about the
2024 SALTISE Conference and all the award recipients.



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