Trent University Names Dr. Stephen Hill as the 2010/11 Recipient of the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching


Faculty member displays exemplary teaching in Environmental and Resource Science/Studies

Wednesday, March 9, 2011, Peterborough

Trent University is pleased to announce that Dr. Stephen Hill, an assistant professor in Trent’s Environmental and Resource Science/Studies (ERS) Program, will be presented with the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching at the 2011 spring convocation ceremonies.

Established in 1976, the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching is made available through the generous support of Trent’s founding president, Professor Tom Symons and his wife, Christine. The award is presented annually to a faculty or staff member who displays exemplary teaching and concern for students. This is the 34th year that the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching has been conferred.

Professor Hill joined the Environmental and Resource Science/Studies Program in September 2003 on a limited-term appointment, and subsequently began his tenure-track appointment as an assistant professor in July 2006. Since July 2006, Prof. Hill has taught “Introduction to Environmental Science/Studies” (a first-year course), “Energy Science and Technology” (a second-year course), “Canadian Environmental Policy” (a third-year course) and “Canadian Environmental Policy” (a graduate course). In addition to these courses, Prof. Hill regularly supervises directed study courses, honours theses, and projects through the Trent Centre for Community-Based Education, based in Peterborough and ULinks, based in Haliburton. Prof. Hill also supervises graduate students in the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies and the Sustainability Studies graduate programs.

Prof. Hill’s research interests focus on environmental and renewable energy management and policy in Canada. He is working to understand the nature of controversy and conflict surrounding renewable energy technologies (supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council). He also works on processes of social learning and innovation around community-based environmental management and policy, particularly within the Peterborough area. Prof. Hill’s work attempts to cross boundaries of disciplines and institutions, and to connect ideas, theory and practice. He brings a unique background to his research, spanning policy, management, science, and engineering.

“The Symons Award not only recognizes outstanding teaching at this university, but also, and especially, exemplary concern for students,” explained Dr. Steven E. Franklin, Trent’s president and vice-chancellor. “In Prof. Hill’s case, it is evident from the student testimonials that he embraces his professorship with genuine interest in the success of his students and sheer enthusiasm for the subjects that he teaches. His nominators speak of his teaching as thoughtful, accessible and inspiring. They also refer to the opportunities that he has provided through his mentorship which has increased their confidence and achievement, and the importance of having him as a role model who lives a balanced life.”

In speaking to his effective pedagogical approach, one nominator commented, “Teaching large classes is a challenge well recognized by educators. Prof. Hill thrives, teaching in this environment and is able to use his energy to keep students engaged in the materials and generate interesting conversations in the classroom.”

“It is clear that Prof. Hill has made a remarkable impact upon his students. Many of the nominations referred to his compassion, selflessness and guidance, his commitment to ensuring their success, and how he has mentored them in such a way that they have excelled not only in their education at Trent, but also in their personal involvement within the Trent and Peterborough communities,” explained Dr. Richard Hurley, the chair of the Teaching Awards Sub-committee. “The qualities Prof. Hill exemplifies demonstrate clearly that he has been successful in his efforts to improve the student experience at Trent: an achievement of which he may be justifiably proud.”    

In learning about this award recognition, Prof. Hill commented, “It's a privilege to spend my work day at a university, learning with students and colleagues about environmental issues and their solutions. It's inspiring to work with so many thoughtful and dedicated teachers who are equally deserving of this award. I would like to particularly thank and acknowledge Rob Loney as he and I have worked very closely on Introduction to Environmental Science/Studies for a number of years. As the ERS demonstrator-technician, Mr. Loney is a wonderful and caring teacher and has been central to the success of this course for many years; I often refer to him as the glue that holds the course together. He is always there to help me, teaching assistants, and students.”

Prof. Hill will be among six teaching award recipients honoured at a special reception celebrating Trent’s teaching excellence on Wednesday, March 30 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Lady Eaton College’s Pit. Presentations will begin at 4:15 p.m. All are welcome.

To learn more about Trent’s teaching excellence visit:


For information regarding the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching reception, please contact: Angie Best, Trent University, 705-748-1011, ext. 7254,