Trent University Announces 2008/09 Teaching Award Winners
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Recipients of Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, Educational Leadership and Innovation in Instruction, and Excellence in Teaching Assistance Awards to be Honoured at April 6 Reception
Wednesday, March 11, 2009, Peterborough
Trent University is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2008/09 Distinguished Teaching Awards: the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching has been awarded to Molly Blyth, a contract course instructor and Ph.D. candidate in the Canadian Studies Ph.D. program; the Distinguished Teaching Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation in Instruction has been awarded to Dr. Zailig Pollock of the Department of English Literature; and the Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance has been awarded to
Kristina Ottosen, an M.A. student in the Public Texts graduate program.
All winners of the internal teaching awards will be honoured, along with Dr. Carolyn Kay, recipient of the OCUFA Teaching Award, Dr. Sarah Keefer, recipient of the national 3M Teaching Fellowship, Dr. David Poole, recipient of the Canadian Mathematical Society Teaching Award, and Dr. Susan Wurtele, recipient of the Canadian Association of Geographers’ Teaching Award, at a special reception on Monday, April 6 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Champlain College’s Great Hall. Presentations will begin at 4:30 p.m.
Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching
Molly Blyth, contract course instructor and Ph.D. candidate in the Canadian Studies Ph.D. program
Professor Molly Blyth started teaching at Trent on a contract basis in 1986. Since then she has been affiliated with a number of departments, including Canadian Studies, Cultural Studies, English Literature and Indigenous Studies. The Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes Prof. Blyth for her teaching, mentoring and support of students across the University.
Nominations submitted by faculty, students and alumni, speak to her “passionate ability” to encourage students to become “more critically and positively engaged citizens of the world.” Prof. Blyth is described as a teacher of great "vigour”, one “who allows for deep discussions, with constructive criticism”, and one who “pushes her students to be better scholars”.
“I am delighted to receive this award. I have always loved teaching at Trent and, from my experience, believe that we continue to attract some of the brightest and best students,” Prof. Blyth said. “I’m also honoured to be the recipient of an award named for T.H.B. Symons, our visionary first president, for whom excellence in teaching was a founding principle. As a contract faculty member, my hope is that this prestigious award also recognizes the invaluable contribution to teaching by Trent’s part-time faculty.”
Established in 1976, the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is available through the generous support of Prof. Symons and his wife, Christine, is presented annually to a faculty or staff member who displays exemplary teaching, as well as exemplary concern for students.
Distinguished Teaching Award for Educational Leadership & Innovation in Instruction
Dr. Zailig Pollock, Professor, Department of English Literature
As the winner of the Distinguished Teaching Award for Educational Leadership & Innovation in Instruction, Dr. Zailig Pollock is recognized for his role in the advancement of good teaching and innovative pedagogy within the Department of English Literature at Trent.
Since starting at Trent in 1976, Professor Pollock has been a “guiding force” within the department. He has been an extraordinary mentor to his colleagues, and has shown exemplary leadership in program development and scholarship. His nominators spoke to his ability to construct a “unified vision” from the wealth of ideas put forward by faculty and students, piecing together an effective plan not only for the re-design of the Department of English Literature’s undergraduate program, but also the newly established M.A. in Public Texts program.
The award also recognizes the important role Prof. Pollock played in the negotiation and development of an internship track for the M.A. in Public Texts - an unprecedented option in graduate studies in Canada.
“I think an active research career and a commitment to teaching can and should complement one another,” said Prof. Pollock, whose research focuses on the editing of Canadian poetry and on computing and the humanities. “I have found Trent a very congenial place to pursue both.”
Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance
Kristina Ottosen, master’s candidate, M.A. in Public Texts graduate program
“Any student would be fortunate to have a teaching assistant who is half as considerate, tolerant, and compassionate as Kristina is,” wrote one nominator about Kristina Ottosen, the winner of the 2009 Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance.
As this year’s winner, Ms. Ottosen, a master’s student in the Public Texts M.A. program at Trent since 2007, is being recognized for the outstanding support she has provided as a teaching assistant to her students in the Medieval and Renaissance Literature course.
“I am surprised and elated to receive this award,” Ms. Ottosen said. “Growth is important to me and I sincerely hope that every student that I have encountered has grown in some way; learned a new way of looking at something; approaching a problem; or simply asking for help when they need it. Each of my students has my deepest respect and it is my hope that this is a demonstration of their respect for me and what I do.”
All of Ms. Ottosen’s nominators praised her extensive knowledge of - and great passion for - English Literature, the variety of innovative teaching methods that she employs, and her willingness to incorporate student feedback into her lesson plans. The selection committee was particularly impressed with the extent to which Kristina “went above and beyond” to engender a learning environment that not only offered abundant encouragement to her students, but also challenged them to better themselves and the work that they submit.
The Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance acknowledges the contributions of academic assistants and those that facilitate learning in workshop, tutorial, seminar, laboratory, and field settings.
Nominations for the teaching awards were submitted to Trent’s Teaching Awards Sub-committee on behalf of University faculty, staff and graduate student teaching assistants. This is the third year the Distinguished Teaching Awards have been awarded and the 32nd year that Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching has been conferred.
For more information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence, Communications Officer (Media Specialist), Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6185