Celebrating Dal's top teachers

Meet your 2015 Dalhousie teaching award winners

- June 25, 2015

Four of this year's teaching award winners (clockwise from top left): Carolyn Campbell, Wanda Thomas Bernard, Matthew Schnur, Sara Kirk).
Four of this year's teaching award winners (clockwise from top left): Carolyn Campbell, Wanda Thomas Bernard, Matthew Schnur, Sara Kirk).

Teaching and learning is at the heart of Dalhousie’s mission, and this year’s recipients of the university’s teaching awards embody excellence in pedagogy, student engagement and serve as role models for peers and students alike.

The recipients, announced earlier this month at Senate, are more plentiful than in the past. That’s because last year Senate approved an expanded suite of teaching awards to increase teaching recognition inside and outside the Dal community and encourage continued excellence in pedagogy. This included four new awards: for early-career faculty, for graduate supervision, for academic innovation and for excellence in diversity education.

We’ll be writing in more detail on some this year’s recipients towards the fall, when the awards will be formally presented. For now, here’s a summary of the awards and their 2015 recipients:

Dalhousie Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching 

Carolyn Campbell (School of Social Work)

This year, the university’s top award for teaching has been awarded to the School of Social Work’s Carolyn Campbell. Dr. Campbell has been with Dalhousie since 1994 and has been instrumental the redesign of the university’s undergraduate programs in social work. Dr. Campbell utilizes a range of teaching methods, including blended, distance learning, interactive and engaging formats including workshops and experiential learning. Her leadership in the field has been recognized nationally by the Canadian Association of Social Work Education, where she has served as president, chair of the women's caucus and co-chair of the educational policy committee.

Academic Innovation Award;
Early Career Faculty Award of Excellence for Teaching

Matthew Schnurr (Department of International Development Studies)

Matthew Schnurr is the recipient of two new awards this year: the Academic Innovation Award and the Early Career Faculty Award of Excellence for Teaching. 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.

Award for Excellence in Education for Diversity

Wanda Thomas Bernard (School of Social Work)

The inaugural recipient for this award, Wanda Thomas Bernard has been with the School of Social Work for over 25 years. Dr. Bernard advocates great teaching and learning within the Dalhousie community and beyond. Her willingness to develop innovative curricula reforms that take diversity seriously is demonstrated over and over again in her engagement in her own courses and within her department. She has authored numerous pieces that share her practices with a wider audience, and has been a role model, mentor, and friend for many students and colleagues at Dalhousie and in the region more generally. Last year Dr. Bernard was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia and this April received the national Harry Jerome Award for community service.

Awards for Excellence in Graduate Supervision

Sara Kirk (School of Health and Human Performance)

Sara Kirk has been a faculty member at Dalhousie since 2007 and is the inaugural recipient for this award, which recognizes the important role of grdauate supervision as part of the graduate student learning environment. Having directly supervised over 16 masters students (in addition to serving as committee member for an additional three students), three doctoral students and three postdoctoral fellows, Dr. Kirk provides an enriching, supportive, and productive learning environment for her students.

Contract and Sessional Instructor Award of Excellence for Teaching

Matthew Numer (School of Health and Human Performance)
Gregory Adolphe Nazaire (Rowe School of Business)

Matthew Numer has been with Dalhousie since 2007, beginning as an Interdisciplinary PhD student and then as a contract instructor.  Students describe Dr. Numer’s classes as inspirational, eye opening and thought-provoking. He has also demonstrated notable initiative and leadership in instructional technology and course design to promote interaction and participation in pedagogically effective ways.

Gregory Adolphe Nazaire has been teaching at Dalhousie on a part-time basis since 2005.  Students and colleagues spoke glowingly of the value Mr. Nazaire brings to the classroom from his real world experience and community engagement. He was noted for his meticulous approach to teaching and respect for his students, as well as the long-term mentoring and contact he maintains with past pupils.

President’s Graduate Student Teaching Award

Becky Spencer (Interdisciplinary PhD, Faculty of Health Professions)
Travis Lundrigan (Department of Chemistry)
Danen Poley (Department of English)

Becky Spencer been a teaching assistant for over five years, an active participant in the Certificate in University Teaching and Learning at Dalhousie. She was recognized for her role in developing and implementing instructional technology as well as her leadership skills among teaching assistants in her unit.

Travis Lundrigan has been a teaching assistant for over seven years and, like Ms. Spencer, is also an active participant in the Certificate in University Teaching and Learning at Dalhousie University. He was recognized for his appreciation and dedication to his students, extensive knowledge and conscientious approach to his teaching responsibilities.

Danen Poley has been a teaching assistant for almost four years and more recently taught his first course as a primary instructor.  He has been described as a philosopher, actor, and teacher who produces highly engaging classes by combining a variety of teaching methods to help his students develop essential skills.


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