Nov. 16, 2020

Teaching and Learning Grants facilitate development in key areas of 'growth through focus' plan and Indigenous strategy

Submit your grant application or volunteer to adjudicate by Jan. 28, 2021
Houston Peschl and Pamela Roach
Houston Peschl and Pamela Roach

The University of Calgary Teaching and Learning Grants are designed to enhance student learning experiences through the integration of teaching and learning research and educational leadership. Since the start of the program in 2014, 225 teaching and learning research projects have received funding. Past grant recipients have achieved remarkable results through their research projects in diverse areas of development and innovation, and scholarship of teaching and learning.

Entrepreneurial thinking skills

The University of Calgary’s "growth through focus" plan, Unstoppable, puts the university on course to be Canada's most entrepreneurial university — one where students, faculty and staff face fewer barriers to innovation and more tools to change the world around them. It's a plan to empower a world-class faculty to tackle society’s big problems and to let the leaders that make up our student body write their own future.

Houston Peschl, an instructor in the Haskayne School of Business, received a 2018 grant for his project, “Development of Entrepreneurial Thinking in Undergraduate Students," in collaboration with graduate student research assistants Nicole Larson and Connie Deng. The primary goal of the project is to find support that entrepreneurial thinking competencies will benefit students in their personal and career goals.

“Students are graduating into great uncertainty, from climate change to exponential change in technology,” says Peschl. “As such, our students need the skills to be agile and lifelong learners to ensure success.”

Peschl spent six years engaging in trial and error to create a unique entrepreneurial thinking course, ENTI 317, that would focus on developing entrepreneurial skills in students who had no interest in an entrepreneurial career. A first of its kind, this mandatory course now serves 800 undergraduate business students per year. The grant has facilitated the creation of pre- and post- surveys to measure students in the course across seven entrepreneurial competencies:

  • Problem solving
  • Comfort with uncertainty
  • Failing forward
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Perceptions on receiving feedback
  • Approach to teamwork

“These competencies are critical because of their transferability, so they can be used in diverse contexts and environments," says Peschl. "As such, students with exposure to entrepreneurial competencies learn how to apply these competencies within uncertain environments and students become better equipped to handle diverse situations they may face during their careers."

This project has enabled Peschl to share his work with a global community of teaching and learning scholars and has established a new signature pedagogy for entrepreneurial education. The next goal is to publish the results of the data from three years of surveys, demonstrating that the pedagogy significantly improves student entrepreneurial thinking skills. The research team is currently looking for a new research assistant who has experience with Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research and an interest in entrepreneurial thinking skill development. If interested, please contact

Faculty development in reconciliation leadership

Dr. Pamela Roach, PhD, an Indigenous assistant professor in the Cumming School of Medicine, received a 2020 grant for her project, “Practical Leadership for University Scholars 3I: Indigenous Leadership”, in collaboration with Dr. David Keegan, MD, Kenna Kelly-Turner, and Dr. Amanda Lee Roze des Ordons, MD. The goal of the project is to create an executive level program to help faculty members lead effective reconciliation in the domains, projects and units they lead. It's the first program created within the top tier (Level 4) in the Practical Leadership for University Scholars (PLUS) faculty development series offered through the Office of Faculty Development and Performance in the Cumming School of Medicine.

“The course is designed to help faculty leaders committed to reconciliation know when and how to act, and not be frozen due to uncertainty,” says Roach.

The team had to adapt their planning for the course around the COVID-19 pandemic and were able to redesign it from a two-day, in-person course to four half-day sessions facilitated on Zoom. The content includes Indigenous health and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), antiracism and discussion around the importance of decolonizing our institutions. The first sessions of the course will be offered in January and February 2021.

“We hope that not only will this course provide information for leaders in our systems about Indigenous health and the TRC report and Calls to Action," says Roach, "but will provide mechanisms for leaders to see their role in making reconciliation happen where they are so we can create safer, anti-racist spaces for our students, staff and faculty in all settings."

The grant has allowed the team to engage with Indigenous Elders and community members in ethical ways and has ensured that they can design a program that meets the needs of leaders, learners and Indigenous communities.

ii’ taa’poh’to’p, the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, is a commitment to deep evolutionary transformation by reimagining ways of knowing, doing, connecting and being. Walking parallel paths together, ‘in a good way’, with meaningful and authentic engagement for all, UCalgary is moving toward genuine reconciliation and Indigenization.

Apply for a grant or volunteer to adjudicate

The Taylor Institute is currently accepting applications for the 2021 University of Calgary Teaching and Learning Grants program until Jan. 28, 2021. 

The success of the program is strengthened by the diverse perspectives of the university community through the adjudication process. Adjudication for the grants will occur during February and March 2021. Faculty, staff and students can apply to adjudicate grant applications and get unique insight into the program. Apply to be an adjudicator.

Pamela Roach is an assistant professor in the departments of Community Health Sciences and Family Medicine and member of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and The Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education at Cumming School of Medicine.

David Keegan is associate dean, Office of Faculty Development and Performance, associate professor, Department of Family Medicine and member of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the Cumming School of Medicine.

Amanda Lee Roze des Ordons is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Departments of Critical Care Medicine and Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine.

Kenna Kelly-Turner is Manager of Faculty Development and Performance for the Cumming School of Medicine.