Law prof receives Dr. and Mrs. H. H. Saunderson Award for her teaching excellence
Prof. Karen Busby recieves the honour at 2015 Fall Convocation
She not only ignites within them a passion for learning law but inspires them to find their own voice.
Professor Karen Busby develops citizen lawyers who defend human rights and democratic values. She is growing the next generation of advocates for social change—individuals who will fight back against oppression.
She leads by example. Prof. Busby was instrumental in bringing the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to the University of Manitoba, which will create opportunities for students across the country to learn about the impact of Residential Schools on Indigenous peoples. She played a lead role in the establishment of the Centre for Human Rights Research and has been involved in a proposal to develop an inter-disciplinary Master in Human Rights degree program.
She will tell you that she became a lawyer to change the world, and became a law teacher to change how law is taught. When she began as an educator in 1988, she made three rules for herself: don’t lecture, don’t make exams worth 100 per cent of a course’s grade, and don’t confuse rigour with ruthlessness.
She replaced passive lectures with active learning methods like in-class group activities and problem-solving tutorials. Her approach was novel enough that in her second year she was invited to join the faculty of the Canadian Law Teaching Clinic.
Prof. Busby has high expectations for herself as an educator and a willingness to share what she knows with new instructors at the University of Manitoba and colleagues across all disciplines at national conferences. Her recognition that no two students have the same life experience or learning needs guides her approach to teaching inside and outside the classroom.
She has been honoured with several community service awards and twice received the University of Manitoba Community Outreach Award. Prof. Busby empowers her students to lead their own pursuit of knowledge and learn in new ways beyond campus. She encourages students to learn about Indigenous laws from Elders, analyse their own experiences of sexual violence or consider the career impact of gender transitioning.
Prof. Busby has pioneered a transformation in law education, driven by a dedication and wonder that challenges us all to ask: ‘What can we learn about learning itself?’