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Trent University Durham English Literature Professor Honoured with Two Distinguished Teaching Awards

April 25, 2016

Dr. Joel Baetz honoured with OUSA Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching

Professor Joel Baetz standing beside another male presenter in front of a podium doling an award

Recognized as an enthusiastic and insightful educator and mentor whose carefully considered teaching methodologies engage students as active participants in the process of learning and discovery, Dr. Joel Baetz, English Literature professor at Trent University Durham, was recently awarded both the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching by Trent University and the 2016 Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA).

The award from OUSA, a student organization representing universities throughout the province, was recently presented to Prof. Baetz in honour of his commitment to improving the university experience, both inside and outside the classroom. The 2016 Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes outstanding and inspirational faculty and staff at Trent who encourage learning, bring unique experiences, challenge students to do their best work and demonstrate exemplary concern for students, will be presented to Professor Baetz at the Trent University Durham convocation ceremonies, to be held for the first time in the Durham Region, on June 3.

“They're both great honours; I feel very fortunate,” Prof. Baetz stated in response to the awards. “At a recent dinner for prospective students, President Groarke pointed to the high-quality learning experience that happens at the Durham campus. I'm happy to have my contributions to that reputation recognized. These awards are high praise.”

Prof. Baetz received the OUSA award as an educator who excels at unlocking students’ potential and sparks their desire to learn. The OUSA announcement read: “He is an uncommonly kind and personable intellectual who is deserving of this recognition. He encourages critical thought, the critical evaluation of text, and brings to his students a profound understanding of English Literature.” He was presented with the award on April 5, 2016 at a special event, among winners from several other Ontario universities.

One of his nominators for the Symons Award praised Prof. Baetz by saying: “What supersedes Joel’s guidance toward academic excellence is his enthusiastic, insightful and engaging instruction which ignites a passion and desire in his students to pursue excellence, advance critical thought, and relate our studies to the world and life around us.”

“Someone once told me that 'education' comes from the Latin 'educere,' which means to lead from,” said Prof. Baetz.  “And he is right; learning is a journey, a process. I try to find ways to prove to students that our efforts, our curiosity will always be rewarded and that their ideas matter. It really comes down to helping students mean what they say and find meaning in what they say.”

Prof. Baetz’s research interests include Canadian literature, Anglo-American modernisms, American comics and poetry.

About Trent University

One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.

For more information, or arrange to an interview, please contact: Kate Weersink, media relations & strategic communications officer, Trent University, 705-748-1011 x6180 or