Trent University Announces 2009/10 Teaching Award Winners
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Recipients of Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, Educational Leadership and Innovation, Excellence in Teaching Assistance Awards and CUPE 3908-1 Award for Excellence in Part-time Teaching to be Honoured at April 7 Reception
Tuesday, March 10, 2010, Peterborough
Media Invited to Teaching Award Reception
Wednesday, April 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Great Hall at Champlain College, Trent University
Presentations will begin at 4:30 p.m.
Please contact Angie Best for further information at 748-1011, ext. 7254
Trent University is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2009/10 Teaching Awards: the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching has been awarded to Dr. Paul Shaffer of the Department of International Development Studies; the Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation has been awarded to Dr. James Struthers of the Departments of Canadian Studies and History; the Excellence in Teaching Assistance Award has been awarded to Yani Kong, a master’s degree student in the Theory, Culture and Politics graduate program and a teaching assistant in the Department of Cultural Studies; and the CUPE 3908-1 Award for Excellence in Part-time Teaching has been awarded to Dr. Leigh Symonds of the Department of Anthropology.
All winners of the internal teaching awards will be honoured at a special reception on Wednesday, April 7 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Great Hall at Champlain College. Presentations will begin at 4:30 p.m.
Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching
Dr. Paul Shaffer, Assistant Professor, Department of International Development Studies
Professor Paul Shaffer started teaching at Trent in January 2007 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Development Studies. The Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes Professor Shaffer for his teaching, mentoring and support of undergraduate students.
The nominations submitted by students refer to his respectful, encouraging and generous attitude, his commitment to ensuring an accessible learning environment, his innovative and effective approach to teaching, and his use of humour to help relieve the stress in learning to what some students feel are difficult topics.
One of the nominators commented: “Professor Shaffer is an economist by training, and his goal in his teaching is to make the language of economics accessible, and help students understand the application of economics to the real world, and in the context of the entire world, not simply our Western enclave.”
In learning about this award recognition, Professor Shaffer commented: “I am very fortunate to have great students and excellent colleagues who share this award.”
Established in 1976, the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is available through the generous support of Professor 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.
Award for Educational Leadership & Innovation
Dr. James Struthers, Professor, Department of Canadian Studies & Department of History
Professor James Struthers started teaching in Trent’s Department of Canadian Studies as a Lecturer in July 1977 and was hired as an Assistant Professor in July 1978. He has held the position of Full Professor since 1990. Professor Struthers is also cross-appointed to the Department of History and affiliated with the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies.
The Award for Educational Leadership & Innovation recognizes the sustained contributions of Professor James Struthers in "helping to establish Trent’s reputation for interdisciplinary teaching.”
The nominators describe his “models of imaginative and creative pedagogy,” and how “his courses were (and remain) templates for success,” as they “reveal an understanding of how we can reach beyond the conventions and restrictions of the disciplines while still accepting their value.”
The nomination submissions also recognized Professor Struthers for his “quiet commitment to facilitating the achievement of his peers,” and for helping to “introduce the marriage of student learning with the needs of the community” through his involvement with the Trent Centre for Community Based Education both as one of the founding members, and as a member of its management committee.
“I am delighted and deeply honoured to receive this award,” said Professor Struthers. “I am also immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to be inspired by so many outstanding teachers during my 33 years at Trent University, and to have encountered so many remarkable students. Trent has been an ideal setting to communicate and integrate the joys of teaching and research.”
Excellence in Teaching Assistance Award
Yani Kong, M.A. Candidate, Theory, Culture and Politics graduate program
In September 2008, Ms. Yani Kong became a master’s degree student in the Theory, Culture and Politics graduate program and a teaching assistant for the Department of Cultural Studies. The Excellence in Teaching Assistance Award recognizes Ms. Kong for the outstanding support she has provided in both of her roles at the university.
The student nominators speak of their “enhanced learning experience” and Ms. Kong’s "willingness to go beyond what is required of her” so that her students will succeed in her courses. “Yani pushes students to not just work toward a mark, but to work toward bettering our knowledge of all the course themes which we are presented,” explains one of her nominators. Her influence and support is also felt by a graduate student colleague whose teaching experience was enriched by Yani, who was “a much needed pillar of support.”
“I am very excited and honoured to receive this award,” Ms. Kong said. “I take my work as a T.A. very seriously, and try to impart my passion for the study of culture to my students. I am amazed by my students every class. I am so impressed by their sensitive understanding of their subject and the world around them. I sincerely thank the students of my seminar for this amazing recognition.”
CUPE 3098-1 Award for Excellence in Part-time Teaching
Dr. Leigh Symonds, Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology
The CUPE Award for Excellence in Part-time Teaching recognizes Dr. Leigh Symonds for the strong positive impact she has had on her students’ learning. Professor Symonds is an Adjunct Professor (Undergraduate and Graduate) with the Anthropology Department at Trent University where she has taught courses for the Department since 2003/04.
The student and alumni nominators describe Professor Symonds as someone who is “entirely devoted to her craft”. They praise the “insight she brings to the classroom” and her efforts to extend learning beyond the traditional classroom by providing extra help, consultation on future career aspirations, and for organizing a number of field trips to provide alternative opportunities to learn about Archaeology.
In learning about this award recognition, Professor Symonds commented: “I am overwhelmed and very, very honoured. Teaching is a gift that goes both ways. I derive so much pleasure from my students. Watching them accomplish their goals has been one of the highlights of my life.”
She goes on to say, “I hope that I have inspired them to reach beyond their expectations and
to strive to do what makes them truly happy.”
“This award means so much because it lets me know I have succeeded in my goal, which is to not only give students a strong background in their subject but to give them the confidence to succeed at whatever they choose to do and to understand that failure is not to be feared but overcome.”
Nominations for the teaching awards were submitted to Trent’s Teaching Awards Sub-committee and the CUPE Teaching Awards on behalf of University faculty, staff and graduate student teaching assistants.
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For more information, please contact:
Angie Best, Instructional Development Centre, Trent University
Phone: 705-748-1011, ext. 7254