Jovan Groen: Acting Director, Centre for University Teaching
With a penchant for climbing volcanoes and trekking in exotic places like Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest, Jovan Groen (B.Ed.'06, M.Ed.'09) also finds excitement and fulfillment in his role as Acting Director at the University of Ottawa’s Centre for University Teaching.
Jovan’s adventurous and curious spirit first led him to study physics at Trent University, using his B.Sc. as a springboard to work in Iceland, where he “liked to dip into volcanoes.”
While in Iceland, he discovered not only a few volcanoes, but also a passion for communicating science and for developing an understanding of how learners conceptualize and transform their own understandings of their experiences.
“I found communicating science energizing. I like trying to figure out how people learn and how they develop a passion for learning something, particularly things scientific.”
Electing to study at Queen’s for his B.Ed and subsequently an M.Ed. proved to be an excellent choice.
“Queen’s was able to give me a core understanding of how learning takes place both inside and outside of the classroom. I gained an appreciation for varied contexts of learning.”
Jovan began as an occasional teacher with the Limestone Board of Education, and being bilingual was called upon often to teach French. But his heart was, and remains in, teaching and learning science so he involved himself with local science fairs. To this day, he continues to promote the education of science with the Ottawa Regional Science Fair.
While occasional teaching in Kingston, Jovan decided to return to Queen’s for the Masters program, where he focused on motivation in science classrooms and professional development.
Jovan credits his Queen’s education for his success in the role he has now at University of Ottawa, where he is mostly involved in strategic and operational leadership in the development and implementation of teaching and learning support initiatives for faculty and instructional staff.
Some of his most memorable times at Queen’s involved working with Diane Lawrence to plan Science Discovery Day, where the Faculty doors open to the community and B.Ed. candidates explore scientific concepts with children and their families.
Jovan is now working on a Ph.D. in Higher Education and in this pursuit, there’s a Queen’s connection. Former director of the Queen’s Centre for Teaching and Learning, Joy Mighty, now at Carleton University, has been influential both in his work at the Centre and in his own professional development.
With the little downtime Jovan has these days, you might think he isn’t visiting many volcanoes or trekking anywhere far. Not so, he’ll be off to the Canary Islands in February and Patagonia in the not-too-distant future.