University of Saskatchewan Names Outstanding Vet Professor

Dr. Gillian Muir, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Saskatchewan Western College of Veterinary Medicine, recently was recognized for outstanding teaching.

Dr. Gillian Muir was recently recognized for outstanding teaching.

Caitlin Taylor

Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM), recently received the 2016 Provost’s College Award for Outstanding Teaching. Dr. Muir is head of the WCVM’s Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences.

The award, offered annually through the University of Saskatchewan Gwenna Moss Center for Teaching Effectiveness, is presented to one professor from each college who demonstrates outstanding teaching in his or her field.

“I’m flattered — I’m honored to get an award like this,” Muir said. “It is always surprising to be rewarded for something that is already so rewarding.”

During her time as a professor, Muir has perfected her teaching method both in the lecture hall and in the lab, according to the university, which announced the award in late May. Unlike many professors, the university noted, Muir prefers talking and drawing on the board — or “chalk talk” — rather than using PowerPoint slides.

“What I like about teaching from the board is that I can develop and adapt the lecture to the students’ needs as the hour goes on,” Muir said. “I’m not stuck to a set of slides.”

Muir also incorporates videos, images, drawings and other multimedia forms into her teaching.

To help students keep up with the lectures, Muir is working with Susan Taylor, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, a small animal internal medicine specialist, to develop a neuroscience teaching website. The website will have more in-depth versions of Muir’s chalk talks as well as videos of animals with lesions in action, according to the university.

“Students will be able to watch an animal with a lesion in a particular part of the nervous system, watch how they move and then go to an explanation of why that’s occurring using the anatomy and the physiology from the talks,” Muir said.

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