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Trent Professor Honoured by Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG)


Dr. Susan Wurtele Presented with CAG Award for Excellence in Teaching Geography at Annual Meeting in Quebec on May 23

Tuesday, May 27, 2008, Peterborough

The Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG) has recognized the innovative teaching style of Trent University Geography professor Dr. Susan Wurtele by naming her the 2008 recipient of the CAG’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Geography.

Prof. Wurtele was presented with the award during the CAG’s annual meeting in Quebec City on Friday, May 23.

“I am thrilled to be this year’s recipient of the CAG Teaching Award,” said Prof. Wurtele. “I think teaching is profoundly influenced by two groups: our own students and our own teachers - and throughout my career I have been very fortunate to connect with phenomenal students and colleagues."

A professor in Trent’s Geography Department since 1994, Prof. Wurtele received her undergraduate degree from Trent University. In terms of teaching, she is known for her good humour and for placing value not only on academic rigour, but on challenging her students to grow as thinkers, citizens and mature human beings.

At Trent, Prof. Wurtele teaches a range of courses including human geography and upper year courses on urban environments and feminist geographies. In addition to undergraduate teaching she is an active member of the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies where she works with Trent students at both the Master's and Ph.D. level.

As an early adopter of the principles of Universal Instructional Design, Prof. Wurtele has been able to effectively encompass all types of learning, which allows the individual to learn and excel in a manner which suits them. She also uses a variety of content delivery modes such as group activities, dynamic (and typically humorous) lectures, films, field trips, and work in the geography lab and assessment options such as mind maps, reflection papers, reading summaries, film reviews and formal letters to acknowledge the different ways students take in information and express themselves .

“Trent is a university that prides itself on teaching excellence. There are many faculty members who are exceptional educators. Professor Wurtele stands out as a colleague dedicated to her students and to the profession of teaching. She has made exceptional contributions both within in her home discipline of Geography and across the University,” said Dr. Christine McKinnon, dean of arts and science at Trent University.

As a cultural geographer, Prof. Wurtele is also deeply committed to community, a passion she shares with her students at every opportunity. She is a leader in community-based education initiatives, leading students in tours of downtown Peterborough to make particular points about the urban environment and encouraging students’ engagement with the wider Peterborough community. She also plays a key role with the Trent Centre for Community-Based Education.

The CAG Award, which recognizes the primary importance of teaching excellence in geographic education, is the most recent honour Prof. Wurtele has received for her teaching. She is also a past recipient of Trent University Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching (1999), the Ontario Confederation of Faculty Associations’ Teaching Award (2005), and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’s prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship (2006).

The Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG) is the national organization representing practising geographers from public and private sectors and from universities.


For more information, please contact:
Dr. Susan Wurtele, professor, Geography, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x7454