Dr. John Ching is the winner of the USask Provost’s Support of Teaching and Learning Award.

Ching’s ‘can-do’ attitude earns recognition

Dr. John Ching (PhD) is someone who goes out of his way to assist students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) — whether it’s during the college’s laboratory courses or outside of class.

By Jeanette Neufeld

Ching, a teaching co-ordinator in the WCVM’s Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences (VBMS), organizes and teaches laboratory courses to veterinary students. He’s also the 2022 recipient of the University of Saskatchewan’s Support of Teaching and Learning Award, which is annually given to selected staff members whose roles are supportive of teaching and learning.

“He has an optimistic, ‘can-do’ attitude that opens up opportunities for all instructors to try out new ways of demonstrating a concept or a topic that helps students’ learning,” wrote WCVM Dean Dr. Gillian Muir (DVM, PhD) in her nomination letter. Muir was head of Ching’s department when he first became an instructor in 2016. 

Originally from Vancouver, B.C., Ching first came to the WCVM as a graduate student in VBMS and eventually earned his PhD degree at the college. Shortly after completing his graduate training, Ching became a physiology lab instructor at the WCVM, and since then, his role has evolved with changes in the DVM program.

In recent years, Ching was instrumental in a recent curriculum revision of the WCVM’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program.

Well known for being helpful and accommodating, Ching and his dog Stella — a regular visitor at the college — also help to brighten the day for students who need a mini “dog therapy” break from their hectic academic schedules.

Q & A with Dr. John Ching

What motivates, inspires or excites you about your work?

There is a sense of achievement when I’m able to get students to understand a concept that they couldn’t understand from the lectures. It’s exciting to see the “aha moment” from the students. It’s very satisfying to convey a difficult concept and help them understand it. In a way, it’s making everyone’s life easier.

Tell us about a mentor or supporter who made an impact on your career.

I really admire Dr. Al Chicoine, an assistant professor in the WCVM’s Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences. I think he’s the best teacher that I’ve ever met. Even though we’ve only worked together for a short period of time, he’s become a role model in the way he teaches and the way he deals with things.

What is one piece of advice you would give to students, colleagues or others in your field?

Be considerate, whatever you do. Whether it’s sending emails or communicating with people in person, it’s important to be clear and considerate with others. It makes it easier for them to get their work done.