Sheila Rutledge Harding
Master Teacher Award - Spring 2003
The Master Teacher Award was established to emphasize the importance of teaching at the University of Saskatchewan and to recognize and honour those faculty members who excel in teaching. The Selection Committee has chosen Professor Sheila Rutledge Harding of the College of Medicine to be the recipient of this prestigious award at this Convocation. Born in Peterborough, Ontario, Professor Harding earned her M.D. at the University of Western Ontario in 1981. Before coming to the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, in 1988, she did residency training in Internal Medicine and Hematology in London, Ontario, and Toronto. In 1997, she was a Lecturer at the University of Toronto. She was also Hematologist-in-Charge of the Blood Transfusion Laboratory, Toronto General Hospital. Dr. Harding is currently a Professor in the Department of Pathology, with a specialty in Hematology.
Among her students and colleagues, Dr. Harding is a respected educator, highly regarded for her teaching and her desire to help her students succeed. It is hard to decide which is her major strength: rapport with students or her ability to communicate and teach effectively. One of her students has written, "Her ability to break down complex problems into logical sequences has made these topics memorable . . . . As first-year medical students, we often heard that medical school was like 'drinking from a fire hose.' Dr. Rutledge Harding made sure we knew we weren't the first to feel overwhelmed." Another student says, "As an educator, she was responsible for the curriculum changes that have been recently made at the U of S, resulting in a much greater emphasis on student-centered learning." This kind of skill and dedication has led to her being nominated for several teaching awards, including the Teaching Excellence Award, College of Medicine, in 1999. All who wrote on Dr. Harding's behalf celebrate the breadth of her expertise and the depth of her enthusiasm for medical education.
With Dr. Jim Spooner, she helped to bring the Teaching Improvement Project Systems (TIPS) course to Saskatoon. She trained as a TIPS facilitator in Philadelphia and here, assuming local responsibility for the course in 1995. Dr. Harding's TIPS course developed a reputation for excellence beyond the city limits. The University of Calgary asked her to begin a TIPS course there, helping them organize and train their own facilitators. Their Director of Surgical Education, Dr. J. G. DesCoteaux comments: "She carries an incredible baggage of techniques and approaches, keeping the learning experience motivating and helping the learner retain the new knowledge."
A Master Teacher is expected to be a worthy researcher as well. Dr. Rutledge Harding has published numerous articles in refereed journals, participated in several research studies, and contributed to many conferences and conference proceedings. She is a highly respected and much sought-after professional hematologist and physician.
Students say that Sheila Rutledge Harding wears her outstanding academic achievement lightly. She has made outstanding contributions to this institution and to wider medical education and the higher education community in teaching and leadership. In the words of a fourth-year student: "Dr. Harding is amazing!" Her teaching is exemplary, as attested by both students and faculty. She has demonstrated leadership locally, nationally, and internationally.
Graduate students seem unusually forthcoming with Dr. Matheson: "encouraging, conscientious, and supportive," with a "sense of humour worked nicely in conjunction with his openness to new ideas," his "attitude was. . . empowering to a graduate student." Matheson does not try to master anyone but nourishes what grows from the engagement of his abilities with the abilities of the student.
Professor Matheson's research and scholarly work are wide-ranging, publishing on American, Canadian, and Romantic literature, on science fiction and popular culture. His remarkable book, Alien Abductions: Creating a Modern Phenomenon (1998), obliges readers to understand these strange narratives in original ways.
Terry's colleagues believe that his dedicated service to teaching, his accommodation to the challenges of different classroom formats and distance education, for which he received the Garth Ferguson Award, his availability to students at every stage of their careers, his generous collegiality, and his pedagogical wisdom make him an ideal recipient of the Master Teacher Award.