Latest Faculty of Information News

Prof. Jenna Hartel Wins ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award

Submitted on Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, is pleased that Professor Jenna Hartel (pictured at far left) is the recipient of the 2016 Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award, presented at the ALISE conference awards ceremony on Thursday, January 19th.

As part of the award, Professor Hartel participated in an ALISE presentation on “cutting edge issues” in library education, a webinar, and is serving on the Awards Committee for the year.

Dean Wendy Duff says the iSchool community won’t be surprised by Jenna’s high level recognition: “Professor Hartel’s foremost strengths are her natural, unfettered exuberance for library and information science and her deep knowledge of the field’s history and values. This combination makes her a model citizen of the teaching profession.”

Prof. Hartel is a beloved professor. A key aspect of her teaching style involves her concern for all aspects of the student experience. Some of her courses begin with a 2-3 minute “Mindfulness Exercise,” a guided meditation or inspirational video, to start learning in a positive state and to recognize the stress inherent with graduate school.

Prof. Hartel also encourages her students to learn and create through unconventional assignments, such as original research utilizing the visual techniques perfected in her iSquare Research Program. After collecting original drawings of information concepts, students may submit an “arts-informed deliverable” which can take any format: poetry, painting, or sculpture, have all been submitted as mediums to explore central concepts such as information, Internet, and librarian, see: (link is external).

In a different assignment, the recent cohort of INF1300: Foundations of Library and Information Science, engaged foundational concepts in LIS by producing podcasts inspired by the BBC4 history of ideas program, In Our Time, see: (link is external)

“These kinds of unconventional projects can prepare our graduates for careers in the Information Professions with inventive methods and wide-ranging communication skills in their repertoire,” Dr. Hartel says.

Professor Hartel also credits the contribution of amazing iSchool Teaching Assistants to the success of her classes, and she wishes to recognize Ms. Elysia Guzik, Ms. Anh Thu Nugen, and Ms. Christie Oh.

Dr. Hartel began her career at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she studied under Dr. Marcia Bates, whom she lists as an influential mentor in her life, and earned her PdD through a dissertation on information in the hobby of gourmet cooking. In 2008, she joined the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information and has been a favorite teacher from the start. She is a pioneer in the study of information in leisure settings, which she shares with iSchool students in INF1005/6, Information Workshop on the Liberal Arts Hobby.

Along with teaching courses and pursuing her own research, Professor Hartel is chair of the U of T Masters of Information Recruiting and Admissions Committee.

The iSchool is proud of Prof. Hartel’s knowledge, enthusiasm, and fresh perspective that supports student engagement.

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