Early Career Faculty Award of Excellence in Teaching Recipients

Congratulations to the 2024 recipient!

Jennifer Frail-GauthierJennifer Frail-Gauthier

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science


Dr. Jen Frail-Gauthier is an instructor in the Department of Biology, having previously taught courses in zoology, taxonomy, and phylogeny for 13 years on PTA/LTA contracts before becoming the laboratory instructor for BIOL 2040 (Evolution) in 2021. Jen is also the director of the SEASIDE summer field courses (and teaches in the sun, sand, water, and mud for Coastal Ecology!) and is the faculty co-op advisor for Marine Biology. Jen graduated from Dalhousie with a BSc in Marine Biology ('05), and then a PhD in Earth Sciences studying salt marsh ecology ('18). She is a first-generation university student from rural Nova Scotia and wouldn't be here today without the unwavering support of two late mentors; Jen always wishes to carry forward their cheerleading to students today. Whether in the lab, the classroom, or the field, Jen focuses on enthusiasm and fun, all while humanizing the learning space and making sure students always feel like they belong. Jen learns just as much, if not more, from students than they learn from her. 


Dr. Amy Mui, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, is this year’s recipient of the Early Career Faculty Award of Excellence in Teaching. Her dedication to sustained innovative and inclusive development, use of evidence-based practices, and overall quality of teaching are outstanding. Her use of technology and blended learning is clearly advantageous to students’ deep learning, motivation, and feeling of community. Her continued dedication to reflective consideration of her teaching, sustained innovative and inclusive development, and use of evidence-based practices are impressive.


Dr. Amy Mui is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Dalhousie University (MSc University of Sydney, PhD University of Toronto). She combines a passion for wildlife conservation with expertise in remote sensing and geospatial sciences that she shares through a love of teaching and engaging with students. Over her six years at Dalhousie, she has developed several courses aimed at building technical and numeracy skills in students through fun and interactive ways and finding innovative methods of communicating science. She is passionate about showing others how to see the natural world through new perspectives and to apply data-driven approaches to solving environmental problems. Amy teaches several courses in the Environmental Science Program where she is also an Undergraduate Advisor. She is active in the community working with the groups such as the Halifax Bird-Friendly Coalition, the Species at Risk Habitat Modelling Community, and the Canadian Sea Turtle Network and is also a mentor for the Project Learning Tree Mentorship Program for early career scientists looking to advance their green career pathways. 


Dr. Angela Crane (Senior Instructor, First Year Program Coordinator) Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science. A native of St. John's, Newfoundland, Angela received her B.Sc.H. from MUN in Applied Mathematics/Chemistry in 2008 before completing her Ph.D. at UBC in 2014. Angela then took her passion for chemistry to the classroom as the First Year Chemistry Program Coordinator at UBC in 2014, followed by Dalhousie in 2016, where she has been ever since. Angela's goal in teaching chemistry is that students leave class with a strong appreciation of the chemistry that occurs around us every day and develop life-long skills that they can transfer to whatever discipline they may choose in their academic or post-graduate career. Over the last 6 years, Angela’s teaching methods have evolved greatly as she has been redesigning the First Year Chemistry Program using Universal Design for Learning principles along with the incorporation of more active experiences for students to achieve higher level learning and mastery as is defined by Bloom’s Taxonomy.


Dr. Leanne Stevens (University Teaching Fellow, Undergraduate Coordinator) Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Faculty of Science

Dr. Leanne Stevens is a University Teaching Fellow in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience. Dr. Stevens began her career coordinating Introduction to Psychology & Neuroscience and teaching the associated Experiential Learning in Science Communication course. Over her 7-years at Dalhousie, Stevens has been involved with several high-impact initiatives focusing on student success, deep learning, and engaging students-as-partners in curriculum development. As COVID-19 forced the abrupt shift to remote teaching, through her role on the Faculty of Science’s Academic Continuity Team (FACT), Stevens was instrumental in organizing panels, workshops, and communities of practice, aimed at supporting faculty as they moved their courses online. In the past year, Dr. Stevens also spearheaded the launch of an open-access, free, Introductory Psychology textbook, collectively saving students close to $200,000.


Dr. Jennifer L. MacDonald, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Jennifer received her B.Sc. (Chemistry) and B.Tech. (Chemical Science) degrees from Cape Breton University in 2006 before joining Dr. Josef Zwanziger’s group at Dalhousie University to study chemical interactions at the interface between polymeric powder/fibre and white cement. (Ph.D. 2010). Jennifer worked closely with the Centre for Learning and Teaching as a graduate teaching associate allowing her to blend her interests in teaching, learning and chemistry.  As the first year chemistry lab coordinator, Jennifer is currently working to streamline administrative aspects of the lab program, improve inter-marker reliability, and teaching assistant supports while redesigning the first year chemistry lab experience, together with students and teaching assistants, using guiding principles of Universal Design for Learning.


Scott Comber, Rowe School of Business

This award is presented to early career faculty with between three and ten years of teaching experience in their current role. Dr. Comber, a University Teaching Fellow and faculty member in the Rowe School of Business, is being recognized for his ongoing effort in offering students a meaningful learning experience. His deep commitment to teaching and learning is inspiring, as is his passion to share his experience with others — not just with students but also colleagues and the wider community. His enthusiasm is contagious and has made a difference in the lives of so many people at Dalhousie.


Mike Smit, School of Information Management

An associate professor in the School of Information Management, Mike Smit is this year’s recipient of Dal’s award celebrating exceptional teaching and educational leadership at the onset of one’s career. A two-time Dal alumnus (both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Computer Science), Dr. Smit was cited by the selection committee for his strong commitment to students, the high standards he sets for learning, and his concern for individual student success. The selection committee writes that the praise and thanks Dr. Smit has received from his students, “speaks to the impact [his] instruction has had on their education.”


Cheryl Murphy, Department of Psychiatry

Cheryl Murphy has been an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry since 2005 and has held a cross appointment in the Division of Medical Education since 2009. Dr. Murphy is being recognized in particular for her continued and consistent strive for excellence. She has authored and presented numerous pieces in her field and on teaching and learning in medical education. She serves on several local and national committees dedicated to education and is a highly valued and active member of the Education Management Team in the Department of Psychiatry.


Dr. Matthew Schnurr, Department of International Development Studies

A faculty member since 2008, Dr. Schnurr was recognized for the tremendous impact his teaching has had on students and colleagues in his department and Faculty and his commitment to innovation in teaching. Dr. Schnurr experiments with new and innovative approaches to university teaching that have proved enormously popular, including role-playing simulations and online technologies that enhance student learning. Through the support of CLTs Teaching with Technology grants, he has been able to implement a mixed methods research project evaluating the impact of these simulations on learning outcomes.

Getting Creative in the Classroom: IDS prof Matthew Schnurr receives two of Dal's new teaching awards

Dal News, Matt Reeder - October 23, 2015