Windsor and Essex County is a healthier region thanks to Judy Bornais.
The University of Windsor nursing professor’s passion for learning and care for others has won her recognition from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as one of its 2018 3M National Teaching Fellows.
“Judy’s influence is palpable in the health care education landscape of southwestern Ontario, benefitting not only the students and institutions with whom she works, but all of us — the people who rely on the health care system in this region,” said University of Windsor provost Douglas Kneale.
“The 3M Teaching Fellow recognizes not just the outstanding, transformative leadership that Judy provides in the classroom, the lab, and the hospital, but the exemplary support she generously gives to colleagues in the cause of enhancing teaching and learning at the University of Windsor.”
Bornais said she was honoured to be included in the fellowship, described by many educators as the “Stanley Cup of Higher Education.”
“A call came through one day with a name I didn’t recognize and when the lady on the other end said she was from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, I started feeling palpitations,” Bornais laughed.
“It’s a huge honour and words can’t describe what it really feels like.”
Tallying Bornais’ contributions to teaching and learning would rival the number of pages in an atlas of anatomy, but there are a number that standout.
She established the Standardized Patient Program, designed the simulation suites in the medical education building and established the simulation program, which is integrated throughout all four years of Windsor’s nursing curriculum and used by the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.
“Simulation allows students to apply what they have learned in the classroom in life-like situations,” Bornais explained, adding that she now co-ordinates the program with Debbie Rickeard.
“These are situations they may not have the opportunity to experience in their clinical before they graduate and it allows us to ensure standardization in key areas for all of our students.”
Bornais also established, in collaboration with human kinetics professor David Andrews, the University of Windsor Peer Collaboration Network.
Nursing professor Judy Bornais teaches in the simulation suites in the University of Windsor's medical education building. (Jason Jones/UWindsor)
Faculty are given the opportunity to engage in reciprocal classroom observations where, as peers, they can discuss teaching and learning and seek feedback on their teaching practices.
“We receive student feedback which is valuable but it is also really helpful to have the opportunity for a peer to come into your classroom and observe specific aspects of your teaching,” Bornais said.
“For example, when trying a new active learning approach, having a faculty colleague watch how it is going and provide feedback is amazing, it really helps us to develop and grow, and ultimately enhance the teaching practices on campus.”
But above all, Bornais said she’s most proud of the connections she has been able to build with her students.
She said having the opportunity to read letters the students wrote for her 3M Fellowship nomination was the “greatest honour.”
“There was one gentleman who graduated about 12 years ago and wrote that to this day he still quotes things I said in the classroom and remembers them when caring for his patients,” Bornais said.
“Sometimes in the day-to-day business of academia, you forget the impact we really have on students, and relationships really matter.”
Fourth-year nursing student Melanie Renaud said Bornais rekindled her love for education.
“She transformed a student who despised research and was exhausted with post-secondary education into a keen researcher with a passion for higher learning,” Renaud said.
Faculty of Nursing dean Linda Patrick reinforced that the entire community is better because of Bornais’ passion.
“Judy is a collaborative team member whose unflagging devotion to student learning energizes those around her,” Dr. Patrick said. “I am confident that Judy will use the opportunities for professional development that accompany this prestigious award to enhance her already stellar academic accomplishments.”
Previous recipientss of the 3M Fellowship at the University include Veronika Mogyorody, Donna Marie Eansor, Ken Cramer, Ralph Johnson, and Joseph Habowsky.
For more information about the Fellowship, visit www.stlhe.ca.