Dr. Heather Sparling Awarded 2012 Anne Marie MacKinnon Educational Leadership Award

In an effort to encourage excellence in teaching and educational leadership in the universities of the Atlantic region, the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) annually sponsors the AAU Distinguished Teaching Award and the Anne Marie MacKinnon Educational Leadership Award. These awards acknowledge individuals who exemplify excellence in teaching and those who contribute more generally to the improvement of the quality of university teaching.

Dr. Heather Sparling, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at CBU, is the 2012 recipient of the Anne Marie MacKinnon Educational Leadership Award. Dr. Sparling is a tireless academic leader who is innovative, energetic and committed to excellence. Rob Nicholls, Dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Cape Breton University, a strong supporter of Dr. Sparling’s AAU nomination, notes that she has influenced the school and the entire institution in “diverse and significant ways.”

Dr. Sparling’s work in program and course development is awe inspiring. In her first few years at CBU she led the way in establishing a concentration in Celtic culture, and a minor and a certificate in Ethnomusicology within the Bachelor of Arts degree. In developing these programs, Dr. Sparling took a lead role, working collaboratively with colleagues to develop a total of 17 courses to service these programs.

In addition to her impressive work in course and program development, Dr. Sparling also contributes to the educational development of her colleagues through facilitation of various workshops. She is also responsible for initiating the “teaching squares” program at CBU and for introducing her colleagues to the Ideas, Connections, and Extensions (ICE) approach to assessment. Serving as a consultant for the Teaching, Learning, and Evaluation Committee of Senate, Dr. Sparling played a key role in the development of a new standard student course evaluation for CBU.

Dr. Sparling’s leadership style draws strength from her continuous reflection on her own teaching practice and efforts to be more effective in the classroom. She participates in educational development sessions offered through the Centre for Teaching and Learning at CBU and has presented her Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at regional and national conferences. 

The CBU community recognized Dr. Heather Sparling’s extraordinary contributions by awarding her the 2011 CBU Instructional Leadership Award. The addition of the 2012 Anne Marie MacKinnon Educational Leadership Award is a fitting tribute to her ongoing leadership in educational development.

Read Dr. Sparling's acceptance speech. The Power of the Arts.