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Outstanding Teachers at Trent University Honoured at Celebration of Teaching Excellence

Annual event recognizes passionate and inspiring educators


Building on Trent University’s reputation for excellence in teaching, faculty, staff and students gathered today to honour extraordinary faculty members and instructors in Psychology, Nursing, Canadian Studies, and Ancient Greek and Roman Studies as the recipients of the 2017 Teaching Awards at the annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence.

“A large part of what makes the Trent community so unique is the commitment and passion that our faculty members and instructors have for their students and their teaching,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor at Trent University. “Today we celebrate that passion and dedication. We congratulate our award winners and the contribution they make to teaching and learning at Trent.”

The following teachers were presented with a 2016/2017 teaching award: 

  • Deborah Kennett, Psychology: Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Jane Mackie, Nursing: Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation
  • Mike Perry, Canadian Studies: Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance
  • Carla Ionescu, Ancient Greek and Roman Studies: CUPE 3908-1 Award for Excellence in Teaching

Profiles on each recipient including recipient quotes can be found below:

Deborah Kennett, Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching

As the 2017 recipient of the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, Dr. Deborah Kennett, a professor in the Psychology program, is recognized as an approachable, compassionate, and inspiring teacher and mentor whose patience, concern for students, and open door policy ensure that students have the support and encouragement needed to succeed.

The classroom environments that Professor Kennett creates are lauded for the ways in which they nurture curiosity and allow students to be immersed in both theoretical learning and practical application. Her students also appreciate how Prof. Kennett carefully plans and organizes each class so as to introduce complex statistical concepts in systematic, accessible, and interesting ways; how she is able to explain difficult concepts with simplicity while still maintaining the integrity and complexity of those concepts; and how her effective instruction, insightful guidance, and thorough and meaningful feedback enable undergraduate and graduate students to further develop their understandings of challenging and comprehensive material.

“I am humbled by the great honour of receiving the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching,” Prof. Kennett said. “This award, however, would not have been possible without the continued support of faculty and staff of the Psychology department and the dedicated teaching assistants I have been fortunate to have over the years – to them I owe my innermost gratitude. Importantly, I want to thank the students. Watching them successfully persevere with academic challenges and intellectually mature has been immensely satisfying.”

Jane Mackie, Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation

"Supporting student learning and development is my passion. To receive this acknowledgement from the Trent community is a real honour,” said Dr. Jane Mackie after learning that she was named the 2017 recipient of the Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation.

Prof. Mackie, a faculty member in the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing, is recognized for her innovative pedagogy, particularly her teaching of challenging content through the use of a flipped classroom approach complemented by faculty and student led seminars and case study discussions. She is also recognized for her approachability and professionalism in all of her engagements with students and colleagues; her leadership in the development of online resources to assist students in their learning; her dedication to ongoing curriculum development; and her roles as a staunch advocate for students and the student experience and as a strong voice for excellence in teaching.

Mike Perry, Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance

Mr. Mike Perry, a graduate student teaching assistant in Canadian Studies, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance Award. In receiving this award, Mr. Perry is recognized for his enthusiasm, passion, and commitment to supporting student learning and success, and for his dedication to both teaching and learning from his students. He is highly regarded by his students for creating dynamic, positive, and comfortable learning environments that stimulate critical thinking and engage students in discussions about the implications and consequences of Canadian historical events.

In learning about the award, Mr. Perry said: “To me, teaching is about relationships; caring about people and wanting them to learn and succeed. I learn from students all the time. Teaching comes with a duty to make learning fun, challenging and meaningful.”

Carla Ionescu, CUPE 3908-1 Award for Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Carla Ionescu, an instructor in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies at the Trent University Durham - GTA campus, has been named the 2017 recipient of the CUPE 3908-1 Award for Excellence in Teaching. In receiving this award, Professor Ionescu is recognized as an engaging educator whose teaching is enthusiastic and informative. Her students appreciate how Prof. Ionescu creates an active, relevant, and accessible learning environment, and how she engages students in deep and meaningful dialogue about the material. Prof. Ionescu is applauded for her approachability, her commitment to student learning and success, her skill in drawing links between the ancient past and the pressing topics of today, and for how she motivates students to both appreciate and critically reflect on the commonality of human experience over time.

“This award is a great honor, and I truly appreciate the recognition I've received from my students this year,” said Prof. Ionescu upon learning of the award. “I promise to continue working hard to improve the learning experience in the classroom, and do my best to share my passion for history and archeology with my students.”

Learn more about the Celebration of Teaching Excellence, including details about the teaching awards and past teaching award recipients. 

Posted on Monday, March 20, 2017.

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