Popular Lethbridge College instructor receives provincial teaching honour

30, Apr, 2024

EDMONTON, April 30, 2024 – A popular Lethbridge College engineering technology instructor has been honoured at the provincial level. Jim Pinches is the recipient of the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta’s (ASET) 2024 ASET Outstanding Educator Award.

The ASET Outstanding Educator Award showcases an educator who demonstrates excellence in teaching, educational innovation, and commitment to the advancement of knowledge and technological studies.

The award was presented to Pinches, a certified engineering technologist (CET) in the survey and geomatics discipline, during an awards event at ASET’s annual general meeting (AGM) on April 19 in Banff. He was recognized for his unwavering support of the success of his students through engagement beyond the classroom and even after graduation, including mentoring and advising them.

The 2024 ASET Awards event also gave him the opportunity to reunite with Lethbridge College engineering technology graduates Emilee Kaupp, Wade Weaver and Adam Campbell, each of whom went on to serve as president of ASET council.

An ASET member since 1989, Pinches is renowned and respected for his devotion to his students. He is a field lab instructor for three engineering technology programs, which means being outside with surveying students on the coldest and hottest of days. He creates mnemonics to help his students remember calculations, and follows them as they progress in their careers. He is also active on social media, promoting the profession.

When a team from Lethbridge College was the 2022 winner of one of engineering technology education’s highest achievements, the ASET Capstone Project of the Year Award, Pinches was quite possibly the proudest person in the room.

He has become legendary for his unique teaching style, employing humour, over-the-top drama, and singing and dancing to add levity to the learning process for his students. For example, he created a rap song to convey the proper order for doubling an angle on a total station. (A total station is a modern surveying instrument that integrates an electronic theodolite with an electronic distance meter. A theodolite uses a movable telescope to measure angles in both the horizontal and vertical planes.)

“Students are often under stress as they try to balance their homework loads or they are feeling homesick, so I try to keep things upbeat and light,” said Pinches. “We are still learning, but in a creative way.”

Pinches became a Lethbridge College instructor after being in the engineering technology profession for 24 years and was contemplating his next career move. An advertisement for a survey engineering technologist position at Lethbridge College caught his attention. He had worked with young adults at his church and enjoyed their energy and curiosity. He also always liked talking with people and explaining the great history of surveying in the prairies. He applied, had an interview, landed the job, and the rest is history.

In terms of his contributions to ASET, Pinches was on the competency and exam project for geomatics engineering technology in May and June of 2014. On campus, he encourages students to become ASET members. He and his college colleagues have invited ASET representatives to visit the campus and provide students information about the association.

“Long-time Lethbridge College instructor and ASET member Jim Pinches must be lauded for his dedication to his engineering technology students,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh. “Almost two decades of students have benefited greatly from his refreshing teaching style and boundless commitment to them.”

About ASET
ASET is the professional self-regulatory organization for engineering technologists and technicians in Alberta. ASET currently represents over 17,000 members, including full-time technology students, recent graduates and fully certified members in 21 disciplines and more than 120 occupations across a multitude of industries.

Media Contact:
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET


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