Dr. Linda Pearse honoured with 2023 Tucker Teaching Award
SACKVILLE, NB – Music professor Dr. Linda Pearse is the recipient of the 2023 Herbert and Leota Tucker Teaching Award at Mount Allison University. The award is the highest teaching honour at the University.
“Linda’s commitment to teaching excellence goes far beyond the classroom study of music,” says Mount Allison Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research Dr. Jeff Hennessy. “Her pedagogy is community-centred and grounded in principles of equity, justice, and universal design for learning. I am thrilled that she has been named the recipient of the 2023 Tucker Teaching Award.”
Pearse credits the mentorship she received from other exceptional educators.
“There are so many wonderful teachers and scholars at Mount Allison, people who successfully blend teaching and research with high-impact pedagogical approaches,” says Pearse. “It is one of our greatest strengths and I have certainly benefited from exposure to such a vibrant community. In addition to Mount Allison’s students, this community is what has nurtured my interest in teaching and sustained it.”
Pearse’s approach to teaching is to create a classroom dynamic where students can explore challenging material, such as colonialism, race, and gender and its relation to music, in a respectful environment.
“Once we establish respect in the classroom, we can take on difficult subjects and really challenge ourselves to think in ways that would not be possible otherwise.”
She says a big component of her teaching is helping students make connections between their own lives, the real world and what is happening in the classroom.
“In order to do this, I engage in experiential learning and a lot of collaborative work with the community or people outside of the university,” says Pearse. “That’s where an education really comes alive.”
Pearse received Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) funding, which allowed 44 students to travel to Montreal to interview musicians and a harpsichord maker while studying music’s connections with culture. In small teams, the students worked with a CBC sound producer to create podcasts that showcase the artists’ lives and creative processes. The project, called “The Harpsichord Maker’s Workshop,” helped students build real-world skills that extend beyond the classroom environment. The podcasts will be available on the music department’s website.
With funding from a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, the Changing Colonial Narratives project supports Pearse’s Sackville Undergraduate Music Research (SUMR) Diversity Lab, where students conduct research related to equity, diversity, identity, and decolonization. Each summer, three to ten students have the opportunity to join the lab for six weeks of paid work in which they identify, catalogue, and summarize scholarly writings that challenge colonial historical narratives in music prior to 1750. In turn, the students use their research to create their own teaching materials that are then integrated into Pearse’s courses. Through this collaborative approach, students contribute to the creation of course materials and assignments, and have the opportunity to share their research with their peers the following year.
Students Emma Yee and Kiran Steele participated in the SUMR Diversity Lab last summer and had the opportunity to travel to Vienna with Pearse in the winter term. The students assisted with archival research at major Austrian repositories and experienced cultural events within the city. Over the next few weeks, Pearse will help five lab members prepare workshop materials for their student-directed presentation at the Canadian University Music Society (MusCan) Conference in Quebec City from May 17 – 21.
Established by Edmund, Harold and William Tucker in memory of their parents, the Herbert and Leota Tucker Teaching Award is intended to encourage excellence in teaching at Mount Allison University by acknowledging those who exemplify this excellence.