Dr. Martin Boyne to receive the 2013 CUPE Award for Excellence in Teaching At Trent University


Wednesday, March 20, 2013, Peterborough

Trent University's union for contract faculty, CUPE 3908 Unit 1, is pleased to announce that Dr. Martin Boyne of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 CUPE Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Boyne graduated from Trent University in 1991 and has worked in various capacities at the university over the past twenty-two years. His employment has ranged from administrative work in the Registrar’s Office, to academic support in his roles as senior tutor and acting college head. He also held increasing levels of responsibility within the Academic Skills Centre, including six years as its Director. In 1993, while he was working at the Academic Skills Centre, Dr. Boyne expanded his role at the university to include teaching at the undergraduate level.  He started teaching part-time in various departments while pursuing his the University of Toronto and his Ph.D. at Lancaster University in England. Over the years he has taught for the Departments of Ancient History and Classics, English Literature and Modern Languages and Literatures. At present, he teaches first-year linguistics and second-year phonetics for the Modern Languages and Literatures Department.

“This excellence in teaching award recognizes the positive impact which contract teachers at Trent have on their students,” explains Stephen Horner, the President of CUPE 3908. “The committee was impressed by the nominations that were submitted over the time period of 2010 to the present, which described Dr. Boyne as an outstanding teacher and educator who has great influence on students and their learning. The quality of the nomination letters for Dr. Boyne, as well as many other CUPE 3908 Unit 1 members, speaks to the important role that contract faculty are increasingly playing in the academic lives of their students.”

Several themes across all nominations convinced the committee members that Dr. Boyne was very deserving of this award. The theme that quickly came to the forefront was the respect and admiration of Dr. Boyne by his students, and he for them. This respect doesn’t stem from one event: it permeates through his every thought and action and forms the basis of his philosophy of teaching. Examples cited range from his everyday efforts to learn all of his students’ names and the welcoming classroom community he fosters, to the interest he takes in his students’ academic ambitions and interests, and how he takes pride in – and appreciation for – his interactions with his students.

His nominators also speak of his academic preparation: “He gives you tools to expand your horizons so that you feel like you can take chances in your school work.  After all, isn’t university supposed to be about learning to test the boundaries that we know, to push ourselves further into academica so that we may discover what we can truly do?”    

One teaching innovation that illustrates clearly Dr. Boyne’s confidence in his students’ intellectual capacity was an assignment he developed this past summer for his upper-year course on historical linguistics. For their final project, students had to design an assignment, from scratch, using the skills they had gained from the course. They had to research a range of related languages, design a problem that was solvable, and then present everything to the class. Dr. Boyne then proceeded to use the assignments from the historical linguistics course for illustrative purposes in his first-year linguistics course. Students from the historical linguistics course were invited to attend some of Dr. Boyne’s discussions of the assignments with his first-year students, and to take part in some of the workshops. One nominator describes this innovative assignment as “an exceptionally challenging, and positive experience, and probably one of the best assignments I’ve ever had. Not many assignments keep teaching you things after the course is over and the marks are in, but this one did.”  

Students also refer to Dr. Boyne’s humour as one of his pedagogical strengths: “The field of linguistics, as a whole, is one that involves the creation of strange sounds and even stranger faces while trying to create sounds that are not in our native languages. This can be very daunting and distressful to some students who don’t like uncertainty or the idea that they may be wrong. I myself am one of these students but I have never felt fear in Dr. Boyne’s classroom. He is not afraid to look a little silly in order to help ease the minds of his students and he gains more respect for this.”

“I am thrilled to be selected as this year’s recipient of the CUPE Award for Excellence in Teaching,” said Dr. Martin Boyne. “It’s truly an honour to be nominated by my students and to be recognized for something I love to do. It has inspired me to continue to strive to make the classroom a challenging, exciting, and interesting place for all of us, and to seek new ways to keep the discipline of linguistics relevant, meaningful, and enjoyable.”

In 2012, Dr. Martin Boyne earned a Ph.D. from Lancaster University in England. His current area of research is in the field of literary stylistics: the intersection of linguistics and literary analysis. This work stems from his doctoral research on linguistic creativity in the 20th century novel Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. 

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.

Previous recipients of the award include: José Miguel Garcia Ramirez (2012), Matthew Thompson, Chemistry (2011), 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).

Dr. Martin Boyne will be among four teaching award recipients honoured at a special reception celebrating Trent’s teaching excellence on Thursday, March 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Alumni House in Champlain College. Presentations will begin at 6:45 p.m. All are welcome.

To learn more about Trent’s teaching excellence visit:

For information about Martin Boyne’s teaching and research, please contact:
Martin Boyne, Trent University,

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