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Five Trent Professors Honoured with Inaugural Provincial Teaching Award
August 8, 2007

Leadership in Faculty Teaching (LIFT) Award Created by Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to Recognize Teaching Excellence in Ontario

Five Trent University professors – Drs. Deborah Berrill, Ivana Elbl, Margaret Hobbs, David Poole, and Elizabeth Popham – are among the first 100 recipients of the inaugural Leadership in Faculty Teaching (LIFT) Awards, developed by the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to recognize and encourage teaching excellence at colleges and universities in Ontario.

"We are delighted that Trent’s strong reputation for excellence in teaching has been recognized once again with this new award," said Susan Apostle-Clark, Trent’s vice-president (academic). "These five recipients are entirely deserving of this recognition. Each one of them contributes in a very significant way to the experiences of Trent students across a variety of disciplines both inside and outside of the classroom."

The LIFT Awards are given to faculty who "influence, motivate and inspire students as well as demonstrate leadership in teaching methods." Each of the five Trent winners receives a total of $20,000 over two years.

"This provincial initiative demonstrates the importance of a student-centred education which focuses on post-secondary teaching that motivates students to exceed their expectations, think critically, and integrate creativity in their work," said Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal. "I would like to congratulate the five successful professors at Trent University who have received this prestigious award for their ongoing dedication to the success of Ontario's future leaders."

Details on each of the five Trent recipients are as follows:

Deborah Berrill

Dr. Deborah Berrill is the founding director of Trent University’s School of Education and Professional Learning. The LIFT award recognizes Dr. Berrill’s dedication to teaching the province’s future teachers, and recognizing every student’s potential. She is also recognized for her work on the innovative Pen-Pals Program, which connects elementary school students and university students through an exchange of letters, and for her continued support for lifelong learning through mentoring and tutoring. A noted expert in her field, Dr. Berrill is also the founder of Trent’s Bachelor of Education program and has devised an interactive web site to assist students in the creation of professional teaching portfolios. In 2006, Dr. Berrill was awarded a prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship, one of Canada’s highest honours for post-secondary teachers. She is also a recipient of Trent’s Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Ivana Elbl

Dr. Ivana Elbl's reputation as a dynamic lecturer does not go unnoticed by her students and colleagues. Described as a "pioneer" in evolving the classroom, Dr. Elbl cultivates young, passionate researchers. As a history professor at Trent, she has stimulated debate in seminars, encouraged skills development and invited students to challenge viewpoints of scholars - including her own. Since coming to Trent in 1987, Prof. Elbl has served as head of Otonabee College 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 2007, Prof. Elbl received the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, the University’s highest teaching honour.

Margaret Hobbs

Dr. Margaret Hobbs' commitment to Women's Studies and her participation in the founding of the Trent Centre for Community-Based Education (TCCBE) speaks to her dedication to creating unique learning opportunities for students and to integrating academic research with community development. She is well-known for writing pages of constructive and critical feedback on assignments that encourage her students to reach beyond themselves and take their academic work further. Chair of the Women’s Studies Program at Trent and a Trent alumna, Prof. Hobbs has been teaching full-time in the Women’s Studies Program since 1990. In addition to Women’s Studies, Prof. Hobbs is also involved with Trent's Master's program in Canadian Studies and Native Studies, and with the Ph.D. program in Canadian Studies. In 2007, Trent University honoured Prof. Hobbs with the 2006-2007 Distinguished Teaching Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation in Instruction.

David Poole

To teach mathematics, award-winning professor and associate dean of arts and science (teaching and learning), Dr. David Poole relies on innovative approaches - group activities, videos, hands-on investigation - that ignite his students' curiosity and make math accessible and enjoyable. Solidifying his reputation as a leader in mathematical teachings, Prof. Poole is the author of Linear Algebra: A Modern Introduction – a textbook used at more than 80 universities and colleges worldwide. Prof. Poole has been a mathematics professor at Trent University since1984, and was chair of the Mathematics Department from 1996-2002. His is also a recipient of several prestigious teaching awards, including the prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) Teaching Award and Trent’s Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Elizabeth Popham

Dr. Elizabeth Popham is an innovative professor of English Literature who uses non-traditional exercises and assignments such as classroom debates and the creation of anthologies to challenge and motivate her classes. Her traditional lectures are well prepared and researched and combine examples from a variety of mediums such as painting and pop culture to illustrate the literary points under discussion. Since joining Trent, Prof. Popham has served as associate dean of arts and science and principal of Julian Blackburn College (JBC) and is well-known for creating a learning environment that is beneficial and challenging for both new students and mature students.

The new awards program was announced by Minister Chris Bentley in 2006. The inaugural recipients of the 2007 LIFT Award were nominated by students and colleagues. An independent selection committee comprised of ministerial appointees consisting of three students, two university faculty members, two college faculty members, one senior university administrator and one senior college administrator selected the winners. MCTU will be publishing a complete list of all winners in the fall.



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