Meet this year's Dalhousie teaching award winners

- June 15, 2017

Six of Dal's teaching award winners for 2017 (clockwise from upper left): Vivian Howard, Diane MacKenzie, Lisa Goldberg, David Beitelman, Sarah Greening, Jennifer Grek Martin, Sherry Stewart, Mike Smit. (Provided photos)
Six of Dal's teaching award winners for 2017 (clockwise from upper left): Vivian Howard, Diane MacKenzie, Lisa Goldberg, David Beitelman, Sarah Greening, Jennifer Grek Martin, Sherry Stewart, Mike Smit. (Provided photos)

Nearly all of us have some point in our life at which our path forward has been shaped by an inspiring teacher.

Each year, Dalhousie celebrates just some of those amazing teachers — be they faculty members, lecturers, grad students and others — with its suite of University-Wide Teaching Awards.

In addition to the Alumni Association Award of Excellence for Teaching (Dal’s top teaching award), there are particular awards to celebrate graduate supervision, diversity in education, academic innovation, early-career excellence and more. The nomination process, managed by the Centre for Learning and Teaching, seeks candidates from across the university, with winners chosen by various selection committees.

Look for more detailed coverage on some of these winners on Dal News this fall, when the honourees will be receiving their awards.

Alumni Association Award of Excellence for Teaching

Vivian Howard (School of Information Management)
Vivian Howard, this year's recipient of the university's top teaching award, first joined Dal in a full-time role in 1999 as one of the original instructors in the then newly launched Bachelor of Management program. Since then, she has built a reputation as an outstanding teacher and community leader. An associate professor in the School of Information Management, Dr. Howard is being recognized for her scholarly contributions on teaching and learning and for her commitment to community engagement and helping boost retention efforts for international students. She has also provided consistent support for peers across faculties on major initiatives such as the development of the Indigenous Studies minor, which launched in the fall of 2015.

Academic Innovation Award

Diane MacKenzie (School of Occupational Therapy)
Diane MacKenzie, an assistant professor who has taught in the School of Occupational Therapy since 2000, led the development of a mandatory interprofessional health simulation used within the Faculty of Health Professions and the Faculty of Medicine. That simulation, which included video scenarios, questions, debriefing sessions and extensive evaluations, has won praise from faculty and students alike for its effectiveness in preparing future health professionals to face some of the challenges of collaborative clinical practice (conflict resolution, etc). Said one nominator of Dr. MacKenzie’s simulation: “It clearly demonstrates the art of what is possible and places Dalhousie as a national leader in interprofessional education.”

Award for Excellence in Education for Diversity

Lisa Goldberg (School of Nursing)

Lisa Goldberg, an associate professor in the School of Nursing, is receiving Dal’s award for education for diversity. In particular, Dr. Goldberg is being celebrated for her work enhancing Dal’s Nursing curriculum by applying the “Caring Science” approach to teaching and mentorship. These changes provide more opportunities for students to have exposure to important considerations in the health-care system, like the needs of LGBTQ+ individuals. Wrote one nominator: “She creates a safe space for students to discuss issues of heteronormativity, sexism, racism, ableism, etc. Within this space of diversity dialogue, she is able to address issues of socially constructed marginalization so that students can continue their own journey of present and life-long learning about diversity.”

Early Career Faculty Award of Excellence in Teaching

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.”

Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision

Sherry Stewart (Department of Psychiatry)

Sherry Stewart, professor in the Department of Psychiatry with cross-appointments in Psychology & Neuroscience and Community Health & Epidemiology, is being celebrated for her sustained and energetic commitment to graduate supervision. A faculty member at Dalhousie for nearly 25 years, Dr. Stewart takes to her role as mentor and role model to her students with great pride; more than one letter of support in her nomination package used the phrase “best supervisor ever.” Her students told the selection committee that she makes research fun, is always approachable and giving of her time, and showcases a great love and enthusiasm for her work.

Contract and Limited-Term Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching

Jennifer Grek Martin (School of Information Management)

A lecturer in the School of Information Management, Jennifer Grek Martin is receiving Dal’s award celebrating teaching from contract and limited-term faculty. The selection committee was impressed by Dr. Martin’s breadth of teaching experience with positive student and peer feedback, as well as her commitment with curriculum design and creative learning. “In a short period of time,” the committee writes, “[Grek Martin has] built an outstanding portfolio and has demonstrated evidence of leadership beyond the expectations of contract and limited-term faculty.”

President’s Graduate Student Teaching Award

David Beitelman (Department of Political Science)
Sarah Greening (Department of Chemistry)

PhD candidates David Beitelman and Sarah Greening are each receiving the university’s award for graduate student teaching. Beitelman, from the Department of Political Science, impressed the selection committee with how his students have benefitted from his unique ideas, entertaining professional lectures, pedagogical innovation and great efforts to support students expressing their individual views. Greening, from the Department of Chemistry, was cited for her innovative lab teaching efforts for students of diverse backgrounds, as well as her exemplary leadership and role as a volunteer in the community.


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