Rhonda Amsel
Psychology, McGill University

Rhonda has an exceptional gift to mold the curriculum so that it serves her students. Her genuine, whole-hearted respect for students and her ability to put them at ease is at the heart of creating an environment where learning is active and engaging. In her nomination letter it is stated that “Even in an auditorium of hundreds, everything in her demeanor conveys that she is speaking directly and personally with every student present.” It is not surprising that Rhonda has been showered with teaching awards including the Psychology Student Association Teaching Award, the Leo Yaffe Award for Excellence in Teaching[...]

Rhonda has an exceptional gift to mold the curriculum so that it serves her students. Her genuine, whole-hearted respect for students and her ability to put them at ease is at the heart of creating an environment where learning is active and engaging. In her nomination letter it is stated that “Even in an auditorium of hundreds, everything in her demeanor conveys that she is speaking directly and personally with every student present.” It is not surprising that Rhonda has been showered with teaching awards including the Psychology Student Association Teaching Award, the Leo Yaffe Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Faculty of Science and the CASE Canadian Professor of the Year award.

Rhonda’s abilities extend beyond the classroom. In so many ways, she has enhanced the teaching and learning experience of Teaching Assistants, Staff members, peers, administrators and others inside and beyond her institution. For example, Rhonda is responsible for establishing the First Year Office that supports the overall learning environment for first-year students. She has designed TA programs that include the recognition of a Teaching Excellence award for them. As well, Rhonda regularly presents at McGill’s Centre for Teaching and Learning and is a co-facilitator for the annual Course Design and Teaching Workshop.

Rhonda has demonstrated her leadership on issues concerning university teaching and particularly on teaching students with disabilities. She continues to be an active member of STLHE and has published and disseminated information on adaptive educational technologies. Rhonda is an example of someone who consistently “teaches from the heart” and someone who deeply values friendships. She continues to work closely to mentor both students and colleagues.

Rick Butler
Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University

Richard has a campus-wide reputation as an outstanding instructor at McMaster University. He teaches in two different faculties, Health Sciences and Science as an associate member in the departments of Biology and Physics and Astronomy. Richard consistently ranks at or near the top of faculty members teaching in the Faculty of Science. In Health Sciences he has taught medical, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy students and these students have all indicated that his courses have made a significant impact on them and the way they study. According to one student: “This is the first time that I’ve been asked[...]

Richard has a campus-wide reputation as an outstanding instructor at McMaster University. He teaches in two different faculties, Health Sciences and Science as an associate member in the departments of Biology and Physics and Astronomy. Richard consistently ranks at or near the top of faculty members teaching in the Faculty of Science. In Health Sciences he has taught medical, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy students and these students have all indicated that his courses have made a significant impact on them and the way they study. According to one student: “This is the first time that I’ve been asked to think instead of memorize and it has restored my faith in professors.”

It is not surprising, therefore, that he has won a number of teaching awards at McMaster including the Medical Class Teaching Excellence Award, the McMaster Students’ Union Award, the Overall Teaching Award for the University, and the President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction. He has also won the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations Award.

Richard’s energy and enthusiasm are not just directed towards classroom instruction and personal communication with his students. He has successfully created new courses, and incorporated a problem-based, self-directed approach into all courses that he teaches. The exceptional quality of his teaching materials are such that they are used at several universities in and outside Canada.

When he was chair of the Undergraduate Council, the Council introduced significant changes for undergraduates, among them the continuation of Theme Schools and the approval of new ones such as Globalization. He has also had a successful history of applying for and receiving teaching and learning grants from the university. Richard has been invited to participate in educational meetings and forums in Canada, Italy, and the United States.

His delight in education is infectious and he continues to have a dramatic effect on his students and peers.

James Cassels
University of Victoria

Jamie has had a profound impact on the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria and on how law is taught at the institution. He has been a leader in the areas of teaching and learning since his arrival at UVic in 1981 and his legacy is the educational milieu for which that faculty is nationally renowned. It is no coincidence that graduates across Canada have ranked the Faculty of Law as number one in Canada for the last six of seven years and that Jamie Cassels was in a leadership position during that period. As both Associate Dean[...]

Jamie has had a profound impact on the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria and on how law is taught at the institution. He has been a leader in the areas of teaching and learning since his arrival at UVic in 1981 and his legacy is the educational milieu for which that faculty is nationally renowned. It is no coincidence that graduates across Canada have ranked the Faculty of Law as number one in Canada for the last six of seven years and that Jamie Cassels was in a leadership position during that period. As both Associate Dean and Dean, he was a strong promoter of teaching excellence and he pioneered a number of innovative teaching initiatives. Jamie has cited his role in the development and implementation of the Akitsiraq Law School Program in Nunavut for Inuit students as the curriculum development effort of which he is most proud.

Jamie is an extraordinary teacher who is exceptionally well organized, clear, insightful and knowledgeable. According to a former student, “he was the exemplar at the University of Victoria Law of how to be an effective, challenging and ever inspiring professor.” It is no great surprise then that he has been the recipient of multiple teaching awards at the faculty, university and national level. He has also been identified as one of the relatively small group of regular faculty members who has had a consistent and supportive affiliation with the Learning and Teaching Centre. In summary, a very important part of Jamie’s educational leadership has been his contributions to the learning culture at the University of Victoria.

Janna Fox
Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies, Carleton University

The Director of her school says, “In my 38 years of university teaching, Janna Fox is undoubtedly the most skillful, versatile and multi-talented teacher I have ever encountered, and a truly outstanding educational leader.” Her nomination letter goes on to say, “As a teacher she is simply outstanding; I know of no other teacher who has realized so completely and with such dedication and enthusiasm, the ideal of a learner-centred classroom. At the same time, as an educational leader she is an irresistible transformative force who in her own quiet but determined manner has wrought change, always to the benefit[...]

The Director of her school says, “In my 38 years of university teaching, Janna Fox is undoubtedly the most skillful, versatile and multi-talented teacher I have ever encountered, and a truly outstanding educational leader.” Her nomination letter goes on to say, “As a teacher she is simply outstanding; I know of no other teacher who has realized so completely and with such dedication and enthusiasm, the ideal of a learner-centred classroom. At the same time, as an educational leader she is an irresistible transformative force who in her own quiet but determined manner has wrought change, always to the benefit of learners, in educational theatres as grand as the national educational system of the Seychelles and as modest as the classroom of her own department.”

In a department that achieves some of the highest teaching scores in her university, Janna consistently achieves scores significantly above the departmental mean. It is perhaps not surprising that she has won the Professional Achievement Award, the only university teaching award for which she is eligible, an unprecedented four times. The letters written by her students reveal that she is a teacher with an extraordinary ability to inspire and motivate them.

But it is not just in her teaching that Janna excels. From the day of her arrival at Carleton, she has worked continuously with individual instructors, with Teaching Assistants, with departments and even whole faculties to transform teaching strategies and course and curriculum design. Janna has also led the development of CAEL, the Canadian English Language Assessment, which is being adopted by an ever-growing national and international audience of universities instead of TOEFL. Janna has been successful in bringing her scholarly expertise and commitment to student learning to her own classroom as well as throughout the university and in classrooms beyond Carleton, both nationally and internationally.

Len Gusthart
Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan

Len has served his university as a teaching mentor, an administrator, a leader, an innovator, and an advocate. He has won both the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award and the Master Teacher Award, the university’s highest teaching honour. Len is one of only three professors to have received both these awards.

Len exemplifies the ideal teacher: he is concerned about his students, he gives generously of his time and energy to all aspects of his students’ development, and he is eager to share his knowledge with others. The great importance he attaches to teaching, the time and[...]

Len has served his university as a teaching mentor, an administrator, a leader, an innovator, and an advocate. He has won both the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award and the Master Teacher Award, the university’s highest teaching honour. Len is one of only three professors to have received both these awards.

Len exemplifies the ideal teacher: he is concerned about his students, he gives generously of his time and energy to all aspects of his students’ development, and he is eager to share his knowledge with others. The great importance he attaches to teaching, the time and energy he invests in it, and the impact he makes on his students’ learning, are all qualities that underscore his dedication to his profession and to his students.

“This man wants to be in the classroom,” “he wants us to learn,” “always on time and with a smile on his face,” “he enjoys teaching, it is apparent in his lectures,” are but a few of the many very complimentary comments of his students which convey his genuine enthusiasm for teaching.

Len has been actively involved in educational leadership on the campus and beyond. He has conducted workshops and presented seminars to his colleagues, he is a regular presenter at the Orientation program for new instructors, and he acts as a peer consultant. His influence extends far beyond the University of Saskatchewan campus to include conference presentations throughout North America, particularly on student evaluation of teaching.

As a well respected mentor, administrator, leader, innovator and advocate, Len exemplifies the best qualities of an educator.

Christopher Knapper
Psychology, Instructional Development Centre, Queen’s University

Chris Knapper has been a university teacher for over 40 years – first in his native England and, since 1966 in various Canadian institutions. Trained as a psychologist, Chris has held appointments in a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, education, environmental studies, and drama. He was one of the first Canadian educational developers and in 1977 became founding director of the Teaching Resources Office at the University of Waterloo. In 1992 he also established the Instructional Development Centre at Queen’s University, and retired from that position in 2002. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Queen’s and works[...]

Chris Knapper has been a university teacher for over 40 years – first in his native England and, since 1966 in various Canadian institutions. Trained as a psychologist, Chris has held appointments in a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, education, environmental studies, and drama. He was one of the first Canadian educational developers and in 1977 became founding director of the Teaching Resources Office at the University of Waterloo. In 1992 he also established the Instructional Development Centre at Queen’s University, and retired from that position in 2002. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Queen’s and works as an independent consultant on university teaching and educational development.

Chris has written extensively on the improvement of university teaching, including eight books and many dozens of articles and reports. He has also given hundreds of workshops on teaching and learning on five continents. Chris was a founder and first president of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and is also a founding editor of the major international educational development journal, the International Journal for Academic Development. He was one of the group who, in the late 1970s, first developed the idea of the teaching dossier, a means of documenting teaching that is now in use in universities all over the world. In 2002 STLHE created the “Christopher Knapper Lifetime Achievement Award” in his name, and made him the first recipient. The same year he received the McKeachie award from the American Educational Research Association, named after Wilbert McKeachie, the “father” of educational development in the USA.

Chris is still active as a teacher, researcher, and educational developer. He believes passionately that the quality of student learning is the core responsibility of universities, and that teaching undergraduates is a professor’s most important role, something that will influence our students for the rest of their lives.

Brent MacLaine
English, University of Prince Edward Island

Brent’s remarkably successful approaches to teaching engage participants in a high degree of active learning and interaction. The hallmarks of his classroom include team-based learning, the use of CRITS (Critical Reading and Issues Tests) and peer evaluation. A champion of the importance of the “human touch” in teaching-learning situations, Brent’s teaching constantly demonstrates his commitment to design strategies that enhance student learning.

His passionate attachment to both teaching excellence and innovation are expressed in his faculty development workshops on critical thinking, small group work and the use of lists to enhance learning, all of which are popular within his university[...]

Brent’s remarkably successful approaches to teaching engage participants in a high degree of active learning and interaction. The hallmarks of his classroom include team-based learning, the use of CRITS (Critical Reading and Issues Tests) and peer evaluation. A champion of the importance of the “human touch” in teaching-learning situations, Brent’s teaching constantly demonstrates his commitment to design strategies that enhance student learning.

His passionate attachment to both teaching excellence and innovation are expressed in his faculty development workshops on critical thinking, small group work and the use of lists to enhance learning, all of which are popular within his university and at teaching-learning conferences. One outstanding example of his creative approaches to curriculum development is his linking of courses from two disciplines, English and History, in the creation of a learning community for students. Brent’s unique and creative approaches to learning have been celebrated in the several teaching awards he has won, including the 1996/7 University of Prince Edward Island Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2001 Association of Atlantic Universities Distinguished Teacher Award.

According to his VP Academic Development, Brent’s approach to teaching is “to empower and enthuse… He is a team member and contributes to campus life by his active involvement in campus activities and his wonderful attitude and participatory nature. He is always promoting the concept of a university as a learning community.”

Described as having a profound intellectual understanding of literature, teaching and people, Brent offers his students the unique experience of repeated opportunities to develop critical thinking skills while working collaboratively with each other.

Mhairi (Vi) Maeers
Centre for Teaching and Learning, University of Regina

Teaching for Mhairi is synonymous with “inspiring others to learn.” A dedicated and innovative teacher, she has been inspiring students and teachers in the local and provincial community to learn mathematics and the art of teaching mathematics since the early 1990s. She has a unique ability to make even the most “math phobic” student enthusiastic about the subject and to take pride in learning. One student writes, “she showed me that math was not a subject where students had to memorize rules, but an area of exploration and discovery. She introduced me and my classmates to ideas and activities which[...]

Teaching for Mhairi is synonymous with “inspiring others to learn.” A dedicated and innovative teacher, she has been inspiring students and teachers in the local and provincial community to learn mathematics and the art of teaching mathematics since the early 1990s. She has a unique ability to make even the most “math phobic” student enthusiastic about the subject and to take pride in learning. One student writes, “she showed me that math was not a subject where students had to memorize rules, but an area of exploration and discovery. She introduced me and my classmates to ideas and activities which sparked our own imaginations and allowed us to make connections which we may never have seen.” In 1999, Mhairi was awarded the University of Regina Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Mhairi’s effectiveness as a teacher extends far beyond the classroom. She has received funding to establish a Centre for Mathematics, Science & Technology Education and to implement a collaborative research project on developing an instructional model for teacher education. Her commitment to collaboration in interdisciplinary work is evident in her active involvement in the University’s Teaching Development Centre where she selflessly assists other faculty members. She has successfully pioneered technology integration projects that are geared to enhance student learning.

Mhairi’s leadership is exemplified by her ability to bring together faculty and students to build on each other’s strengths and to benefit from cooperation and collaboration. For example, she has engineered a project on Mathematics in a Cultural Context which includes faculty and students of First Nations and Metis heritage. In the words of one of her colleagues, “Mhairi is ‘a teacher of teachers’ like all truly great teachers she is human and loving and lives a life of service to others.”

Shane O’Dea
English, Memorial University

Shane is a master teacher recognized for his craft, for his deep commitment to help students learn and for his extraordinary service to the community. Shane’s former students as well as many parents provide unsolicited thanks for his abilities to foster learning, understanding and confidence.

One student wrote: “One of the most salient lessons from this academic experience is one that your example taught me: that scholarly integrity is immeasurably enhanced by a human touch. And although I was frequently exasperating and occasionally bordering on the hysterical. . . your willingness to bet that there was something to work with[...]

Shane is a master teacher recognized for his craft, for his deep commitment to help students learn and for his extraordinary service to the community. Shane’s former students as well as many parents provide unsolicited thanks for his abilities to foster learning, understanding and confidence.

One student wrote: “One of the most salient lessons from this academic experience is one that your example taught me: that scholarly integrity is immeasurably enhanced by a human touch. And although I was frequently exasperating and occasionally bordering on the hysterical. . . your willingness to bet that there was something to work with underneath, made me believe it too.”

Shane has been the recipient of several teaching awards including the Canadian Professor of the Year awarded in 1988. In addition, Shane has been at the forefront with his educational leadership activities having been involved in numerous committees, workshops and panels. He has mentored new faculty and consulted with peers embracing them with his infectious joy of teaching. According to Shane’s VP Academic, “words of eloquence flow regularly in Professor O’Dea’s role as the official University Orator. . . his introductions leave all of our graduating students something to remember and an example of teaching and learning to try and emulate.”

In his dedication to the community, Shane has served on countless boards and associations and was recognized for his efforts in preserving heritage architecture with the Lieutenant Governor’s Award in 1990. As one writer has stated, “. . .if time is money, Shane O’Dea has made a princely, voluntary contribution to his community.”

Gosha Zywno
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ryerson University

In his support for Gosha’s nomination, the VP Academic at Ryerson writes: “Rarely have I encountered a faculty member who engenders such respect for her single minded determination to provide the best possible learning experience for students.” Simply stated, Gosha has been a driving force behind the pursuit for educational excellence at Ryerson. This description captures the passion, energy and expertise Gosha brings to both her classroom teaching and educational research activities.

Gosha’s achievements are remarkable considering the barriers she has overcome. Gosha came to Canada from Poland as a government sponsored refugee, after refusing to join the Communist Party[...]

In his support for Gosha’s nomination, the VP Academic at Ryerson writes: “Rarely have I encountered a faculty member who engenders such respect for her single minded determination to provide the best possible learning experience for students.” Simply stated, Gosha has been a driving force behind the pursuit for educational excellence at Ryerson. This description captures the passion, energy and expertise Gosha brings to both her classroom teaching and educational research activities.

Gosha’s achievements are remarkable considering the barriers she has overcome. Gosha came to Canada from Poland as a government sponsored refugee, after refusing to join the Communist Party or work for the secret police. Currently, she visits high schools to talk about the engineering profession and mentors female high school students to consider non-traditional careers. For her contributions to the community, Gosha was honoured with a “New Pioneer Award” in 1996.

Gosha’s work on the efficacy of hypermedia in learning, technology integration and learning styles attests to her student centered approach in creating effective learning environments. It is also extraordinary that Gosha has earned international recognition for her leadership in educational research. For the third time, her paper was recognized at the UNESCO International Centre for Engineering Education.

Gosha remains extremely active in faculty development and regularly contributes her expertise and pedagogical insights at numerous seminars and workshops at Ryerson. She has also been invited to lead seminars and as a keynote speaker at several institutions across Canada and Europe.

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