Art history lecturer Nathalie Hager receives teaching award

Nathalie Hager

Nathalie Hager

The 2020-21 recipient of the FCCS Teaching Excellence and Innovation Award is Nathalie Hager. Dr. Hager received this award on the basis of students support and teaching evaluations. She teaches in the Art History and Visual Culture program, offering courses in art and visual cultures of the world, History of the 20th Century Art, contemporary art history, art in Canada and in public art.

This award is designed to recognize faculty members for teaching approaches that develop experiential learning, interdisciplinarity, internationalization, undergraduate research and scholarship.

Hager’s students note that her lectures are engaging, and that she makes art history very interesting and fun to learn about, she presents the content of her classes in a clear and concise manner, she invites her students to offer their own perspective and creativity to projects, and even in the larger classes, students were given individualized treatment and she makes the effort to get to know each of her students.

Dr. Hager says that she believes in offering all students learning freedoms on par with their learning level and abilities. “My students are encouraged in their group or individual projects to research areas of the course that interest them the most, and to blend new learning with personal creativity for an empowering effect.”

She works to engage students by engaging listening and responding to them. “I learn from students how best to offer a transformative learning experience that will share with them my love for art and its history.”

One example of this is a project that Dr. Hager offered her students for bonus marks in 2020. The students in one of her first-year classes were invited to submit a Getty Challenge, to pick a favourite museum artwork, and find three things lying around the house and use them to recreate the artwork. The results were outstanding. The students were able to use what they had learned in the class and be truly creative with this project. View the results here.

She adds that when expectations are made clear and explicit, and when opportunities for practice and feedback are provided often, students gain confidence and take learning risks. “It is imperative to me that students walk away from the classroom and the course not only with a mastery of content but with a positive learning experience.”

In a 4th year Public Art course, students get an overview of the field of public art and social practice and the role that public art plays in communities. To do this, Nathalie takes the students on a tour of public art in our local community. The images below show site visits to murals painted by visual arts students alongside instructor David Doody; a bee house created as part of the Pollinator Pasture project by creative writing prof, Nancy Holmes; and works around the UBC Okanagan campus that are part of the Public Art Collection.

Art history students visiting the mural site on Pandosay, summer 2022

Art history students doing a tour of public art at UBCO, pictured here with sn̓ilíʔtn (Story Poles) outside of the administration building

Art history students visiting the Pollinator Pasture project at the Grist Mill location near Dilworth mountain