McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Exceptional McMaster teachers share their stories

Published: February 25, 2016
Anne Wong interviews Bruce Wainman for podcast series Soul on Fire: Narratives that Inspire
Anne Wong, professor and assistant dean of the Program for Faculty Development at the Faculty for Health Sciences, interviews Bruce Wainman, one of seven exemplary McMaster teachers featured in a new podcast series, Soul on Fire: Narratives that Inspire.

I took this group of students to the top of a volcano and just watched their faces as they took the environment in … that's what inspires me.

Carolyn Eyles, 3M National Teaching Fellow and director of McMaster's Integrated Sciences Program

Eyles' experience is just one of the many stories that make up Soul on Fire: Narratives that Inspire, a new series of podcasts featuring conversations with some of McMaster's top teaching faculty.

The series was developed by Anne Wong, professor and assistant dean of the Program for Faculty Development at the Faculty for Health Sciences. Her goal is to use narrative as a way to approach faculty development.

"I wanted to do something out-of-the-box and go beyond instructional courses and workshops," says Wong. "Narrative is so powerful. It's a way of getting into someone's thought process and finding out what inspires them. I thought this would be a really great way to engage faculty and help ignite, or reignite, their 'spark' for teaching."

Wong began by contacting seven instructors known for being exemplary teachers from a range of disciplines and at varying stages of their careers. Then, working in partnership with faculty and staff from the McMaster Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (MIIETL), she set about capturing their stories.

The podcasts cover a number of topics from personal growth and career development to teaching philosophies. They also provide concrete, "take-home" advice to faculty, such as tips on how to engage students.

The series was funded through Forward with Integrity as part of a process aimed at finding new ways to support faculty development at McMaster. Wong says she plans to expand the project and will be working with MIIETL to create more podcasts.

"We have so many exceptional McMaster faculty," says Wong. "I hope that by hearing from instructors who are so energized by what they do, it will inspire faculty to realize their own academic potential and help them move forward with their personal and professional journey."

As part of the project, Wong will research the effectiveness of narrative in faculty development and gather data from the surveys that accompany each podcast, as well as through social media and focus groups with students and faculty.

Instructors featured in Soul on Fire: Narrative that Inspire include:

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