Trent University logo  
Daily News

Calendar of Events

Search the Site

Daily News

News Releases

Sporting News

Special Bulletins

Daily News Archives

Weekly Feature Archives

The View from Trent

Trent Magazine

Focus Trent

Build 2000


Award Recognizes Excellence in Part-time Teaching

While there's no doubt that teaching takes a great deal of dedication, energy and enthusiasm, Prof. Graham Murphy, the recipient of this year's CUPE 3908-1 Teaching Award, says he gets great satisfaction from his work with students.

"I get to see new things through their (the students') eyes," says Prof. Murphy. "I guess I'm like an academic vampire, I feed off their emotional response."

Prof. Murphy was presented with the award earlier this month at the union's Annual General Meeting. The award, valued at $600, recognizes part-time teachers' outstanding contributions and deep commitments to teaching and learning at Trent University.

A teacher in the Cultural Studies department at Trent for the past three years, Prof. Murphy is teaching in the English Department for the first time this year. He says he is very honoured by the award, adding the nomination means a lot coming from his students.

His "dedication to teaching," and his "passion and enthusiasm" for learning were among the reasons Prof. Murphy's students felt moved to nominate him for the award. Says one student, "Graham Murphy ... has renewed my passion for school. He cares and it shows".

Making a connection with the students, Prof. Murphy says, is something he strives for every day. Often he does so, by bringing the classroom material at-hand, into a realm of discussion that motivates the students. He will, for example put a novel into cultural context for the students by playing for them the music of the time. Prof. Murphy may then ask the students to think about the book "through the lens" of a song.

"I think I bring an energy to the classroom that they feed into and they respond in kind," he says.

And that response, Prof. Murphy says, is incredibly fulfilling. In teaching, he has the opportunity to re-experience the material vicariously through the students. Even as an undergraduate, it was Prof. Murphy's intention to earn his Ph.D. so that he could become a teacher.

His approach is hands-on, both literally and figuratively. His passion plays out, he says, as he interacts with the students and encourages them to see works of literature, not as museum pieces, but as experiences.

"I want them to see it, touch it, feel it," he says. "I want to make sure everyone gets at least something out of the text."

In addition to teaching a range of courses at Trent, including Science Fiction, English Literature, and Shakespeare, Prof. Murphy also teaches at Seneca College. He is also an active and prolific scholar in the areas of his teaching expertise. He has published in many peer-review journals, and has several forthcoming articles, including one in Foundation: International Review of Science Fiction and another in the upcoming anthology Queer Universe: Sexualities in Science Fiction. He has also completed an interview project, is co-writing a book, and is co-editing a collection of essays.

Mr. Murphy is the fourth recipient of this award. Previous winners are Jill Smith (2001), Jim Cosgrave (2002) and Wendy Kelly (2003).

Part-time faculty members at Trent can be nominated by their colleagues, students or support staff to receive this annual award. The award committee is composed of faculty, students, and staff representatives. In February, nomination forms will be distributed throughout the University for the 2004-05 competition.

Posted October 27, 2004


Return to Trent University Home
Go to Trent University Site Index
A to Z
Maintained by the Communications Office
Last Updated November 10, 2004