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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
July 3, 2015
Canadian Excellence

Testimonial: Jonathan Patch

The thing I liked most about my learning experience within the WLU Department of History was the access to faculty. I feel that this more than anything else proved beneficial to my development as a learner. I came to Laurier as a mature student, and initially I felt a lot of pressure and self-doubt in my academic skills; being able to meet regularly with professors and receive targeted assistance with writing and research allowed me to transcend my uncertainty and build a sense of self-confidence. In their role as educators – and in a few cases even mentors – my WLU history professors demonstrated an unwavering commitment to me as a student. This, combined with their interest in staying active as researchers, went far in providing me with a clear sense of what good teaching looks like.

Having taken a wide range of humanities courses at WLU, I consider the History department to be among the university’s strongest in terms of staff and course content. Specifically, I found the competence and personal attention of administrative staff members second to none in enabling access to the impressive selection of courses offered, while the confidence and relaxed professionalism exhibited by the department’s faculty members were attributes I came to recognize as instrumental in establishing a comfortable learning space. There can be no doubt that both the administrators and faculty members impacted my overall experience by facilitating learning and modeling expectations. Over the four years I attended WLU I was able to chart my own academic development, and I personally observed the progression of specific students in my cohort as they put into practice the analytical skills, research methods, and style modeled by Laurier history professors.

In my postgraduate degree in education, and in my current position as a teacher, I have come to appreciate the great strength of WLU’s history faculty in their ability to give critical feedback. Throughout my life I have both taken and taught many courses, so it is from a place of experience and reflection that I acknowledge the invaluable nature of the commentary and critique I received at Laurier – constructive without fluff, and, as often as not, in the form of a question that extended my thinking – as possibly the most helpful I’ve ever received. In my life after WLU I have truly benefitted from this inquisitive approach, and it is something that I put to practice in my daily life as a teacher.

Jonathan Patch, Teacher, Seoul, South Korea