Dr. Matthew Thompson Receives 2010/11 CUPE Award for Excellence in Part-time Teaching At Trent University


Tuesday, March 15, 2011, Peterborough

Trent University's union for contract faculty, CUPE 3908 Unit 1, is pleased to announce that Dr. Matthew Thompson of the Department of Chemistry has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 CUPE Award for Excellence in Part-time Teaching.

Professor Thompson, a physical chemist, has been teaching as a CUPE instructor at Trent University since 2003, with his most recent appointment during the summer 2010 term. During this time he has taught twelve half-credit courses ranging from first year to fourth year. The courses include: “Introductory Chemistry I” and “Introductory Chemistry II” at the first-year level; “Physical Organic Chemistry”, “Transition Metal Chemistry”, and “Elements of Physical Chemistry” at the second-year level; “Advanced Organic Chemistry” and “Quantum Chemistry Spectroscopy” at the third-year level; and “Inorganic Materials Chemistry” at the fourth-year level. 

“It is evident that his teaching has made an important and lasting impact on a number of our undergraduate students,” explained Dr. Melanie Buddle, the chair of the CUPE Teaching Awards Committee. “The quality of nomination letters for Prof. Thompson, as well as for many other CUPE 3908 Unit 1 members, speaks to the important role that contract faculty are increasingly playing in the academic lives of Trent students. The student nominators describe Prof. Thompson as someone who is devoted to both his profession and to the success and well-being of his students.”

“Just to receive a nomination is a very gratifying feeling, and I am deeply honoured to be selected as this year’s recipient. I cannot express enough gratitude to those students who cared enough to submit a nomination,” said Prof. Thompson. “It is a privilege to work in the Chemistry Department, where each day I look forward to working with my colleagues. There are so many talented, dedicated educators at Trent and I learn so much from them all the time. In that way, I certainly feel that this is a shared award, reflecting the fact that I have learned substantially from those who work and teach around me, and I greatly appreciate them for that.”

Originally from Peterborough, Prof. Thompson was the first member of his family to attend university.  Prof. Thompson received an Honours B.Sc. in Chemistry at Trent University in 2002 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Queen’s University in 2008 through the cooperative Trent-Queen’s Graduate Program.

In speaking to his experiences as a student at Trent University, Prof. Thompson said: “Trent has felt like home from the very days I arrived here as an undergraduate student, and even with the many changes that have occurred since, the university continues to be a place where I always feel incredibly welcome. When I began teaching here, I felt compelled to try and provide that same experience to each of my students as well. It is incredibly fulfilling to know that I have begun to contribute back some of the same experiences that helped me to be develop into the person and the academic that I am becoming.”

According to the student nominators, Prof. Thompson is successful in his efforts to contribute back to the student experience at Trent: “Matthew invests himself in teaching and is dedicated to providing the best possible explanation of every concept from every angle, which together with his personality creates a fun, interesting, and positive learning environment.”

The CUPE Award for Excellence in Part-time Teaching was established to honour the work of contract faculty within the Trent community, providing students and colleagues with an avenue to express their appreciation and respect for the high quality of teaching provided by contract instructors. Prof. Thompson is the first recipient of the award from the Department of Chemistry.

Previous recipients of the award include: Leigh Symonds, Anthropology (2010); Shaoling Wang, Modern Languages and Literatures (2009); Adam Stibbards, Psychology (2008) Brent Wood, English Literature (2007); Melanie Buddle, History (2006); Fred Pulfer, Mathematics and the School of Education (2005); Graham Murphy, Cultural Studies (2004); Wendy Kelly, Psychology (2003); Jim Cosgrave, Sociology (2002); and Jill Smith, Women's Studies (2001).

Prof. Thompson 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 more information regarding the teaching awards reception , please contact: Angie Best, Trent University, 705-748-1011 ext. 7254,