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Teaching & Learning Community

U of R faculty members selected as finalists in the 2024 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards

16 April 2024
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Every year the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards celebrates the women who are the advocates, educators, community builders, leaders, and voices of change in the community. Over the weekend, two outstanding members of the University of Regina community were recognized for their advocacy, social action, and contribution to the community.

Dr. Nathalie Reid

Dr. Nathalie Reidis the Director of the Child Trauma Research Centre (CTRC) at the University of Regina and a Sessional Instructor with the Faculty of Education. She is a finalist in the Action & Advocacy category – an award that honours a woman or group of women who are leading social action, volunteering, and humanitarianism in the community.

When Dr. Reid began teaching high school more than 20 years ago, she started to notice that the systems and structures that had worked for her as a student were inadvertently harmful to some of the students she was teaching. She soon realized that she wanted to take a new approach to teaching – one that would put children and youth at the centre, and focus on them as human beings.

Choral music is about telling stories, and I really love to hear other people’s stories and I hope to share, understand and sing about them with the community that I am in.  — Dr. Melissa Morgan, U of R Music Department Head

This eventually led to her being involved with student social justice groups and researching trauma-sensitive teaching practises in schools. She soon realized that a new approach to teaching would have to include a thoughtful focus on both student and teacher. 

“If teachers are only trained to be trauma sensitive for students, and we’re not paying attention to the educators as well, then it all kind of falls apart,” says Reid. “That’s where my passion at the Child Trauma Research Centre comes from -- we are thinking about the experiences of children and youth, as well as those entrusted with their care.” 

In her current role, Reid is now involved in community engagement at all levels. The CTRC conducts innovative strength-based and trauma-integrated research to develop policies that promote the well-being of children and youth, and as well as the adults in their lives. By working with different community partners, Reid is able to take the research done by the CTRC and connect it with real-world applications. 

“Seeing the change in young people and the impact you can have on children, youth, and families is what keeps us going, and what keeps us pushing to advocate more and more for young people,” says Reid. “ 

When it comes to teaching (both high school and post-secondary), Reid has always felt that she learns just as much from her students as they learn from her. One class that especially stands out is a group of male youth who were considered to be at a high risk of dropping out of high school. 

“They taught me more about what good teaching is than anyone else,” says Reid. “They showed up at 8:20 every morning, and that motivated me to think ‘How have they been failed by the system to the point that they were willing to leave, and how can I be different?’” 

Reid adds that it is important to work with and walk alongside people with lived experience in order to advocate for change. 

Dr. Melissa Morgan

Dr. Melissa Morgan is an Assistant Professor, Director of Choirs, and Music Department Head at the University of Regina. She is a finalist in the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards Community Champion Category, which recognizes women who share their skills and passions, and mentor others in their area of learning. 

Music has always been a part of Morgan’s life. She began singing and playing the piano and flute at a young age. During her time as a student at the University of Regina, she sang with the University Chamber Singers. Then, after receiving a Bachelor of English and a Bachelor of Music Education Degree at the U of R, she went on to teach music at Campbell Collegiate and Luther High School for many years. She came back to the U of R in 2019 as a Sessional Lecturer and became the Music Department Head in 2020. 

Two individuals standing side by side holding framed certificates.
L to R) Dr. Melissa Morgan and Dr. Nathalie Reid at the Women of Distinction Finalists Reception. Credit: Photo provided by Dr. Melissa Morgan.

“Any work that I could do where I was making music, that’s what I wanted to do – I wanted to give back to my community. And I still do,” says Morgan. “It all started because I was so involved in community choirs. From Regina Lions Band to the Juventus Choir, it was the community organizations that are really why I am here today.” 

In her role as Director of Choirs, Morgan oversees three different choirs at the U of R. This includes the Concert Choir which includes students from several different faculties, along with faculty and community members; the flagship University Chamber Singers; and, the Musica Sacra series at Campion College. 

“In the Music Department, we have to collaborate and I am happy to engage with anybody who wants to work with our students or partner to create music together,” says Morgan. “When you are able to unite with organizations like the Cecilian Chamber Music Series, that brings in artists to our city. If those artists work with our students, then the level of excellence in our classroom rises. It also elevates what happens artistically out in the community.” 

Dr. Morgan has also made numerous contributions to the choral community through professional conducting, guest conducting, conference presentations, participating in workshops and panels, and serving as a committee and board member for various organizations. 

Find out more about what the Child Trauma Research Centre does for children and our community and how the U of R Music Department provides students with the opportunity to develop their artistic expression through the mediums of vocal, instrumental and electronic music, along with an understanding of the role of music in culture.

“Regina is a small community, and to be a successful musician you do need support from other people,” says Morgan. “I have a love for the art and a love for people. Choral music is about telling stories, and I really love to hear other peoples’ stories and I hope to share, understand, and sing about them with the community that I am in.” 

The 2024 award recipients will be announced at the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards Gala on May 25 in Regina.

Banner photo: (L to R) Dr. Nathalie Reid and Dr. Melissa Morgan were both named as finalists for the 2024 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. Photo provided by Dr. Nathalie Reid and Dr. Melissa Morgan.

About the University of Regina

2024 marks our 50th anniversary as an independent University (although our roots as Regina College date back more than a century!). As we celebrate our past, we work towards a future that is as limitless as the prairie horizon. We support the health and well-being of our 16,700 students and provide them with hands-on learning opportunities to develop career-ready graduates. Our research enterprise has grown to include 21 research centres and 12 Canada Research Chairs and brings in more than $51.2 million in funding annually. Our campuses are on Treaties 4 and 6 - the territories of the nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda peoples, and the homeland of the Michif/Métis nation. We seek to grow our relationships with Indigenous communities to build a more inclusive future.

Let’s go far, together.