Nancy Nelson’s commitment to excellence in teaching has been demonstrated time and again in her over 30-year career at Conestoga College. Her commitment is evident in her innovative and successful teaching, classroom management, and evaluation practices, her ongoing professional growth as an educator, and her drive to design, develop and provide academic leadership for Conestoga’s Electronic Systems Engineering (ESE) degree program.
Ms. Nelson was the force behind the ESE program and its Project Based Learning approach that provides students with a challenging, relevant learning experience that translates into skills-ready graduates, with well-honed knowledge. Since she first began at Conestoga College, Ms. Nelson has been an innovator. She was the founder of a faculty group interested in introducing bourgeoning computer-based teaching and learning tools in the late 80s and later co-developed a courseware preparation and delivery tool to adapt curriculum delivery to a student’s optimal learning style.
Ms. Nelson’s dedication to student success led her to develop and introduce a bi-weekly seminar for first and second year students where they can meet with their professors to clarify conceptual misunderstandings. She also implemented a weekly Supervised Project time where students receive assistance with projects that require the application, integration, and demonstration of newly acquired concepts and skills, and created a series of workshops designed to help first-year students develop a variety of academic and life-skills.
Ms. Nelson regularly contributes to the Canadian Engineering Education Association’s annual conference, presents papers on pedagogical methods and shares her education strategies and methodologies to aspiring and current teachers, including through websites and blogs that she maintains highlighting her teaching expertise. She also mentors incoming faculty, in addition to sharing her knowledge with current faculty.
Ms. Nelson has been the recipient of the McGraw-Hill Educational Innovation Award (1996), the Aubrey Hagar Distinguished Teaching Award at Conestoga College (2003), and Engineers Canada’s Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education (2016).