Dr. Sarah Oosman (PhD) has been named this year’s recipient of the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching. The award recognizes teaching excellence in each college at the university.
“Honestly, it’s hard to put it into words. It means a tremendous amount to me,” said Oosman. “To receive an award like this indicates to me that my peers and my college recognize and honour the commitment that I’ve made to teaching.
“I love spending time with students and engaging with them,” she added. “When lightbulb moments happen, there is that thrill and excitement of making a learning connection with a student or group of students.”
Oosman teaches students in the masters’ of physical therapy (MPT) program. She notes that she actively engages learners by connecting students’ future career goals with learning priorities.
Oosman is also an Indigenous health researcher and takes “an engaged scholar approach to teaching.” She acknowledged there is overlap between her role as an educator and a researcher.
“I often try to bring some of the learning that I have from my research to inform physical therapy practice and professional practice skills among students,” explained Oosman. “I am passionate about experiential learning and creating opportunities for students to be able to engage with community, to make learning happen in a context that is real and meaningful with community members.”
Oosman also creates assignments with experiential learning in mind. One of the ways Oosman facilitates this is through MPT student practicums in a northern Saskatchewan Métis community.
“In partnership with community Métis colleagues, we’ve developed a clinical placement for students to spend time in community and understand community level priorities outside of a health facility,” said Oosman.
She added that experience and knowledge of the Métis worldview helps inform students’ own practice of cultural humility. Oosman emphasized that cultural humility is important to address inequities within the healthcare system.
Closer to home, Oosman’s students have worked with local community organizations such as the Parkinson Society and Saskatoon Cycles, creating messaging and educational materials that promote wellness. The students’ materials have also been used by the Saskatchewan Physiotherapy Association.
Award recipients are usually honoured at the Celebration of Teaching Award ceremony. Due to COVID-19, this year’s event was cancelled. Recipients will be recognized through the university’s website and social media channels.