UCalgary campus
Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Oct. 25, 2022

Two faculty recognized with Killam mentorship and supervision awards for their outstanding contributions to student experience

Mindi Summers and Christine Walsh recognized for their commitment to students

Every day at UCalgary, instructors and faculty members contribute to creating high-quality learning environments. They guide students through a high-quality education that is enriched by research and experiential learning; preparing them for meaningful futures.

As part of the 2022 Killam Awards, Dr. Mindi Summers, PhD, and Dr. Christine Walsh, PhD, have been recognized for their excellence in student mentorship.

“At UCalgary, we believe in celebrating the inspiring contributions our faculty make to student experience through teaching and learning,” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research).

“Dr. Summers and Dr. Walsh seize the tremendous opportunity of mentorship to make a positive impact on a student’s future. They are encouraging, patient, respectful, and believe in their students’ capacity for excellence.”

Killam Undergraduate Mentorship Award

Dr. Mindi Summers, PhD – associate professor (teaching), Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science

Mindi Summers

Mindi Summers, recipient of the 2022 Killam Undergraduate Mentorship Award, pictured with Killam Trustee Brenda Eaton, left, and Interim Provost Penny Werthner, right.

Sean Phillips, Riverwood Photography, for the University of Calgary

Summers works at the intersection of education, research, and conservation. Her research focuses on student learning and undergraduate research experiences in biology education and invertebrate and pollinator biodiversity, evolution, and ecology. For her important and impactful work within Calgary and beyond, Summers has been recognized by her peers and students. She has won numerous awards from the University of Calgary recognizing her contributions both to teaching and scholarship.

Summers believes that students should have full learning experiences by empowering them do what scientists do. This immersive and experiential teaching philosophy is a holistic training experience.

Since 2016, Summers has mentored undergraduate students in self-directed research and teaching experiences and has worked to incorporate experiential learning focused on student research experiences and community-engaged learning into courses to train students to understand, discover, and contribute knowledge on local biodiversity.

“It is an honour to be recognized through the Killam Award for Undergraduate Mentorship. Collaboration with students has been instrumental to my career, and I would like to especially thank each of the undergraduates I have partnered with,” says Summers.

“Student creativity has been the driving force behind the new experiential learning and research opportunities recognized through this award, and students have played an important role in sharing knowledge and building connections within the Calgary community. I look forward to continuing to develop my mentorship practice in partnership with students and as a member of the Killam Laureates community.”

Summers’ mentorship and teaching stand out as high-impact learning experiences because she collaborates with community partners to connect student work to needs in the community. Summers partners with The City of Calgary, the Calgary Humane Society, the Alberta Farm Animal Association and other organizations to provide direct research experiences to students.

Learn more about Mindi Summers’ Zoology 435 course and her effort to make UCalgary a Bee Campus.

Killam Graduate Supervision and Mentorship Award

Dr. Christine Walsh, PhD – Professor, Faculty of Social Work

Christine Walsh

Christine Walsh, recipient of the 2022 Killam Graduate Supervision and Mentorship Award, with Killam Trustee Brenda Eaton, left, and Interim Provost Penny Werthner, right.

Sean Phillips, Riverwood Photography, for the University of Calgary

Walsh is an accomplished and highly respected social work scholar with a well-established program of research in gerontology, homelessness, newcomer research, violence prevention, and gender equity. Walsh is celebrated for her leadership by her peers and students, and has received numerous teaching and mentorship awards in her career thus far.

Walsh is a much sought-after supervisor. She creates effective working relationships and constructive interactions with graduate students. She approaches each supervisory relationship by considering the student’s unique learning needs and styles. Through constructive interaction, they discover the practices and approaches that are best suited to promote each student’s success. In Walsh’s philosophy of supervision, she prioritizes inspiring students to identify, pursue, and achieve excellence in their self-determined goals.

“It is truly an honour to receive the Killam Graduate Supervision and Mentorship Award. Much of this recognition goes to the amazing, albeit sometimes challenging, graduate students, who I have been fortunate to work with,” says Walsh.

“Through their patience and perseverance, I have learned much. Attending to their unique needs and learning styles guides my mentorship practice and helps them achieve their own academic goals. With this recognition, I will continue to reflect ways to enhance my teaching and mentorship practices to be more effective in shaping the next generation of future social work academics.”

When she began her position in the Faculty of Social work in 2004, Walsh co-developed the inaugural social work research practicum. She has been incredibly active since, providing research practicum to both graduate and undergraduate students and disseminating the practicum model in conference presentations and publications.

Walsh has also led and co-led numerous competitive grants with extensive student training and mentorship components, contributing to building graduate supervision and mentorship capacity in participating universities across Canada and worldwide.

Learn more about Christine Walsh’s research and teaching, and Aging in the Right Place (AIRP) project.