2021 Award Recipients
Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching (2021)
Shannon Accettone (Chemistry and Forensics)
Recognizes faculty and staff members who encourage learning and who offer unique experiences to their students, challenge them to do their best work, and inspire them to learn.
Shannon Accettone, an Assistant Professor, Teaching Intensive in Chemistry and Forensics, is this year’s recipient of the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching. Even at this early stage in her career, Professor Accettone has a well-earned reputation for sharing her passion for chemistry with her students. She is a creative, inspiring, and generous teacher. She finds new and varied ways to explain difficult concepts and constantly reworks her courses, with the aim of giving students their best chance to learn challenging material. Professor Accettone has inspired students to expand their horizons and deepen their understanding of their own abilities. Her expectations are high; but she is unwavering in her support for students to meet them. The result, for students, is “a newfound love of chemistry” and an appreciation of “their actual potential as a student.” And from their mistakes or the challenges they face, Professor Accettone helps them “to grow … to become a better student.” Undergraduate and graduate students, along with alumni and staff, celebrate Professor Accettone’s exemplary concern for students’ well-being and her willingness to show her care for her students’ learning, and they highlight that, in addition to all else, she “serves as an inspiration to future female scientists in academia.” Professor Accettone will be honoured at Trent’s Celebration of Excellence for her extraordinary contributions to teaching and learning at Trent.
Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation (2021)
Aaron Slepkov and Rayf Shiell (Physics and Astronomy)
Recognizes faculty and staff who have distinguished themselves through their educational leadership, teaching, innovation, and successful communication.
Aaron Slepkov and Rayf Shiell, professors in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, are recognized for their innovations and leadership through the development of the “integrated testlet.” This evaluation technique has reshaped traditional assessment methods by creating sequenced multiple-choice questions that hone students’ analytical skills and provide them with immediate feedback on their work. Through rigorous research studies, Professors Slepkov and Shiell have documented the integrated testlet’s advantages and they have further demonstrated educational leadership by generously sharing their research on this technique with colleagues at Trent and beyond. Their work has led to widespread interest in and adoption of the integrated testlet at both Trent and other Canadian universities, including University of Saskatchewan, Wilfrid Laurier, and University of Toronto. Professors Slepkov and Shiell will be honoured for their innovation and leadership in education at Trent’s Celebration of Excellence.
Award for Excellence in Online Teaching (2021)
Brent Bellamy (Cultural Studies and English Literature)
Recognizes instructors who have demonstrated a passion for, and commitment to, online teaching and who have implemented effective approaches to fostering active learning and student involvement.
Brent Bellamy, instructor with the departments of English and Cultural Studies, is recognized for his creative course design and ability to engage students in online learning. Students appreciate Professor Bellamy’s imaginative, deliberate, and engaging approach to online learning. His modules are filled with relevant images, readings, discussion prompts, and quizzes, which encourage students to understand the course material and see its relevance to their own lives. He guides students, with patience and thoughtfulness, through challenging and helpful ideas; and he is able to make students, in large classes, feel as though they are receiving his immediate and close attention, a crucial aspect of any online course. Faculty and staff appreciated Professor Bellamy’s willingness to share his insights into online learning with others by making his course available to instructors new to online learning and speaking at many workshops designed to support the transition to remote teaching. Professor Bellamy will be honoured for his contributions to online teaching and learning at Trent’s Celebration of Excellence.
CUPE 3908-1 Award for Excellence in Teaching (2021)
Mike Perry (School for the Study of Canada)
Recognizes contract faculty who have a strong, positive impact on students’ learning.
Mike Perry, an instructor with the School for the Study of Canada, is recognized for having a strong, positive impact on student learning through his engaging class activities and concern for students’ success. During class activities, Professor Perry demonstrates his extensive knowledge of and passion for the law, and his seminars frequently feature distinguished guest speakers, allowing students to understand the field and the people in it, and apply course concepts to discussions of contemporary issues in law and politics. Students appreciate Professor Perry’s interest in their intellectual and professional development, which he cultivates through individual meetings with each student, as well as his empathetic concern for their well-being and comfort throughout the course. Professor Perry will be honoured for his contributions to teaching and learning at Trent’s Celebration of Excellence.
Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance (2021)
Emma Pirie (Indigenous Environmental Science and Studies)
Recognizes teaching assistants who excel at encouraging learning in workshop, tutorial, seminar, laboratory, or field settings
Emma Pirie, a teaching assistant in Indigenous Environmental Science and Studies, is recognized for her extraordinary support for students’ learning. Students and faculty see the ways in which Ms. Pirie goes to astonishing lengths to help students understand the course materials and assignments. She emails weekly updates and creates reading guides; she explains – in detail – upcoming assignments (their purpose and expectations); she shares, willingly and helpfully, her personal experiences in relation to course concepts; she leads discussions in ways that are engaging, supportive, and fair. Students also appreciate how approachable she is, noting that Ms. Pirie treats each student with kindness and respect and encourages them to develop confidence in their ideas and abilities. Ms. Pirie will be recognized for her significant contributions as a Teaching Assistant at Trent’s Celebration of Excellence.