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Professor Ivana Elbl to Receive 30th Annual Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching
March 3, 2007

Top Teaching Award to be Presented to Trent History Professor at Spring Convocation

Trent University is pleased to announce that Ivana Elbl, associate professor in Trent’s Department of History, will be presented with the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching at the 2007 spring convocation ceremonies.

The Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching is Trent University’s most prestigious teaching honour. Established in 1the award is presented annually to a faculty member who displayexemplary teaching, as well as concern for students. This is the 30th year that the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching has been conferred.

"Prof. Elbl is a most fitting recipient of the Symons Award on the occasion of its 30th anniversary,” said Professor David Poole, the associate dean of Arts and Science (Teaching and Learning). “She epitomizes the kind of teacher that has made Trent such a unique institution: enthusiastic, spontaneous, caring, and genuinely concerned for student learning, both in and out of the classroom."

Professor Elbl came to Trent as a part-time instructor in 1987, after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. In 1994, she was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor in the Department of History. She teaches courses on the history of European overseas expansion and pre-1800 global history. Her research involves late medieval Portugal and its overseas expansion, as well as the early Portuguese presence in Africa. She is also the chief editor of an international journal, the Portuguese Studies Review.

During her time at Trent, she served as head of Otonabee College from 1999 to 2003 and has been nominated for several prestigious awards, including the 2002 Office for Partnerships for Advanced Skills (OPAS) Award for Teaching with Technology and TV Ontario’s Best Lecturer in 2006, both for which she was co-nominated alongside her husband, Martin M. Elbl, an adjunct faculty member in Trent’s Department of History.

In response to receiving notice of this distinction, Prof. Elbl said “I hardly can find the words to say how much it means to me to be the 30th recipient of the Symons Award. It will always be one of the defining moments of my life. The Symons Award resonates deeply in the Trent community. In many ways, it embodies the spirit of Trent. It reflects the intangible principle that underscores Trent’s record of excellence and makes the University so special.”

In addition, she noted: “I am fortunate to work alongside the many excellent and dedicated scholars who comprise Trent’s faculty, all of them deserving of the Symons Award. Above all, I am fortunate in my students. I am deeply grateful to teach in an institution where I actually get to know them as individuals. I am continually moved by my students’ accomplishments, their willingness to rise to the considerable challenge my courses represent, their readiness to learn and to accept guidance, and by the many examples of great personal courage in the face of obstacles that are all too often overwhelming.”

The sentiments expressed by the students who nominated Prof. Elbl spoke of her "personality, flair, and passion", her "happy and captivating nature", abundant good humour, and her sincerely encouraging attitude towards her students. All of the letters stressed how deeply she cares for her students, inspiring them to do their best work and reach their full potential. Her passion for her subject, and for the art of teaching, translates into memorable class experiences, where her students catch her infectious enthusiasm and become involved and engaged. One student stated simply, "I want to be a teacher. Ivana is a prime example of a great role model and if I could impress my students as much as she has, I would be successful indeed.”

The Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching is named for Professor T.H.B. Symons, the founding president of Trent University, and is made available through the generous support of Prof. Symons and his wife, Christine. The recipient of this award is determined by the Teaching Awards Sub-committee.

Trent University’s convocation ceremonies will be held on May 30, May 31 and June 1. The Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching will be presented to Prof. Elbl during the afternoon ceremony on Wednesday, May 30.



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