Dr. Al Chicoine is the 2023 recipient of the Provost's New Teacher Award. Photo by Dave Stobbe.
Dr. Al Chicoine is the 2023 recipient of the Provost's New Teacher Award. Photo by Dave Stobbe.

Students’ positive energy powerful motivator for Chicoine

Bringing energy and positivity to the classroom, Dr. Al Chicoine strives to make his material engaging for students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).

“I want the students to understand that their instructor is motivated and tries to spread that enthusiasm to them. When I was a student, I remember the instructors who brought a real positive energy to the classroom. That really rubbed off on me and helped me develop my passion,” says Chicoine.

Chicoine, an assistant professor in the WCVM’s Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, is the 2023 recipient of the University of Saskatchewan (USask) Provost’s Outstanding New Teacher Award. The annual award, which includes a $1,000 prize, recognizes a faculty member who strives to achieve excellence and fairness in teaching.

Chicoine graduated from the WCVM’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program in 2003. He worked as a clinical practitioner for two years before deciding to return to the WCVM to take on post-graduate studies in veterinary pharmacology — one of his favourite subjects in vet school.

“I really enjoyed pharmacology because it’s applicable physiology. It’s trying to understand how to fix bodily function and use drugs more effectively,” says Chicoine.

He went on to earn his Master of Science degree as well as board certification with the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology in 2007.

Uncertain about his specific career path after completing graduate studies, Chicoine took on a one-year term position teaching veterinary biomedical sciences to WCVM students.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity because I could relate to the students, having recently been through the program. I had a sense of what they were going to need after they graduate. And it turned out that I loved teaching.”

Chicoine has been with the WCVM since then. After filling numerous teaching positions, he accepted a full-time, tenure-track position at the veterinary college in July 2018.

He has become a favourite among students, thanks to his passionate lectures and detail-oriented material. In turn, Chicoine says his students’ enthusiasm for learning makes him appreciate his role as an educator.

“When you’re teaching our students, you’re not trying to drag them through the material. They want to be here, they’re hungry for knowledge and they understand the practical uses for the information.”

Click here to read more about the WCVM award recipients at the 2023 USask Faculty and Staff Awards event.

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