A slate of new faculty awards is honouring the profound impact of Trent University faculty members, spanning the Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences, School of Education, Trent University Durham GTA, School of Nursing, and the School of Graduate Studies with the inaugural Decanal Awards.
“These hardworking and innovative educators exemplify the excellent standard of teaching that is synonymous with Trent University,” shares Dr. Fergal O’Hagan, acting associate dean of Teaching and Learning at Trent. “We are delighted to recognize the meaningful and lasting impact they have on our students and institution.”
The Decanal Awards for Teaching Excellence were created to recognize imaginative approaches to teaching, including course design, instructional strategy, and assessment. Nominees must demonstrate the ability to create well designed course materials and to support critical thinking, social inquiry, and deep learning. These awards honour extraordinary teaching within a particular course or teaching project that promotes rapport and ongoing engagement with learners and enables students to achieve desired learning outcomes.
The School of Graduate Studies Awards for Outstanding Graduate Mentorship recognize faculty who have had a significant impact on graduate student achievement. Recipients of these awards are recognized as extraordinary mentors who inspire and challenge students, as well as support the development of critical skills and professional competencies.
"On behalf of the Deans, I believe the development and delivery of these inaugural awards mark a deeper recognition of the importance and celebration of excellence in pedagogy at Trent University," said Professor Claire Mooney, acting dean of Education, Teaching and Learning.
2021-2022 Recipients of the Inaugural Decanal Awards for Teaching Excellence and Outstanding Graduate Mentorship
Professor Bente Graham, Decanal Award for Teaching Excellence in Education
Through lengthy testimonials, nominators recognized the ways in which School of Education faculty member Prof. Graham continually developed new teaching strategies and demonstrated excellent pedagogy. A theme that carried through her nominations was her deep care and concern for students, and the long-lasting impact of her work.
“Prof. Graham has a wonderful way of knowing how to get the best out of her students through support, intentional planning, and teaching and scaffolding of their learning in her courses. [She] encourages students to do their best work,” shared one of her nominators.
Dr. Amy Spendik, Trent Durham GTA Award for Teaching Excellence
Professor Spendik, coordinator of the Policing and Community Well-Being program at Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, received many nominations which spoke of the impact she has had on student learning, and her imaginative and adaptive approaches to course design and delivery. One of
Prof. Spendik’s nominators noted, “the most important thing I can convey is that Prof. Spendik is a caring, empathetic professor who has invested in her students' success in the classroom and beyond.”
Dr. Abeer Omar, Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence in Nursing
Trent/Fleming School of Nursing Professor Omar received passionate nominations which commended her ability to create course materials and curriculum design which fostered motivating learning environments.
“Prof. Omar’s genuine concern for our success and her passion for teaching were apparent. She challenged us with high expectations, while at the same time doing whatever she could to help us achieve them,” shared one of her nominators.
Dr. Neal A. Smithwick, Decanal Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Professor Smithwick received many nominations that reflected his ability to engage and inspire students, motivating them to pursue a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
One nominator shared, “Prof. Neal Smithwick is an exemplary professor. His lectures are detailed and informative, and his delivery of material is superb. He moves about the room, engaging students in discussion, asking questions, opinions, and is very enthusiastic about teaching and helping us achieve the answers.”
Dr. Shannon Accettone, Decanal Award for Teaching Excellence in the Sciences
Professor Accettone, an assistant professor in Chemistry and Forensics, received nominations which spoke to her innovative course design and assessment strategies, and her willingness to incorporate student feedback into the development of her courses.
One nominator shared “Prof. Accettone’s dedication to advancing her student learning experiences has provided an environment that encourages students to come to her and discuss issues that they are having not only in their academic careers but in their lives in general.”
Dr. David Beresford, Decanal Award for Teaching Excellence in the Sciences
Professor Beresford, from the Department of Biology and the Trent School of the Environment, received many nominations speaking to the dynamic and engaging hands-on learning experiences he created with students. Student nominators described the lasting impact of experiential learning they undertook with Prof. Beresford. “Dave makes all students feel at ease and goes above and beyond to make the course enjoyable and memorable,” shared one nominator. “I would recommend his classes to all of my peers and will take all of the classes that he offers.”
Dr. Jonathan Bordo, School of Graduate Studies Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentorship for Senior Mentors
Nominators recognized the willingness of Cultural Studies Professor Jonathan Bordo to embrace new ideas and methodologies, lauding the encouraging way in which he helped his students to develop their
own research practice. One nominator shared that “Prof. Bordo’s approach is encouraging and inspiring, growing and stretching his students and their thought, helping them to find their feet as academics.”
Dr. Wesley Burr, School of Graduate Studies Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentorship for New Mentors
Student nominators lauded Mathematics Professor Wesley Burr’s accessible and responsive approach to mentorship, as well as his ability to create collaborative opportunities for students. “He exhibits a contagious passion for science and research, and consequently instills a similar passion in the students for whom he acts as a mentor,” shares one nominator.
Celebratory Display at Bata Library & Trent University Durham GTA
During the week of September 12, 2022, students and faculty are invited to visit the Bata Library lobby display and Trent Durham display, featuring the recipients of the 2021-2022 Decanal Awards for Teaching Excellence and Outstanding Mentorship. This year’s inaugural award recipients have made a tremendous difference at Trent University through their dedication to teaching.
Additionally, each award winner will be recognized through the Centre for Teaching and Learning’s social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
To learn more about the Decanal Awards for Teaching Excellence and Outstanding Mentorship, including more details about Trent’s teaching awards and past teaching award recipients, please visit the Centre for Teaching and Learning.