OUSA's 2018 Teaching Excellence Award Recipients

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Excellence Award recognizes educators who excel at unlocking the potential of Ontario’s young people. Successfully engaging individuals in the learning experience depends on an instructor's ability to spark students' curiosity and desire to learn. It is our pleasure to give these remarkable professionals the recognition they deserve.

A good textbook and a high-tech classroom are not enough to provide a quality education. An excellent instructor will be able to engage their students in the process of learning and discovery and help them develop the critical skills that form the foundation of a robust education. With this in mind, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance annually presents its teaching awards to professors from each of our member campuses who have taken this role to heart, and who have been selected by their students as examples of teaching excellence. 

On our member campuses this year, we also asked students to nominate faculty who have embraced and advocated for the use of open educational resources(OERs). OERs have been a priority of OUSA this year, and we thank eCampus Ontario who is present tonight for continuing to work hard on this file.

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 OUSA Teaching Excellence Awards!

Dr. Simon Black - Brock University

Dr. Simon Black is an assistant professor in the Department of Labour Studies at Brock University. Simon’s research takes a feminist political economy approach to thoughts around how race-ethnicity, citizenship, class, and gender shape the social organization of care work, domestic labour, and social reproduction. Clearly unique in his academia, Simon beautifully transitions into the classroom through his active learning environment. Simon’s natural ability to capture the attention of each individual has gained him immense recognition throughout the university. Within each nomination, students highly noted his passion for sharing his knowledge through constant engagement and collaboration throughout his lecture. Brock University Students’ Union is extremely excited to recognize Dr. Simon Black by presenting him with OUSA’s Teaching Excellence Award for this academic year.

Dr. William Crumplin - Laurentian University

Dr. Crumplin has taught at Laurentian University since 2003 and has been a university professor since 1992 when he began teaching at the Corner Brook campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland (1992-94).  He then moved to Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (1994-2003) where, in addition to teaching, he also served as Registrar from 1998 to 2001. More recently he has investigated the ecological impacts of various cultural activities including selected competitive sports and the western meat based diet. Since developing and teaching the Diet, Food Choice and the Environment course, he has made advances, with support from his wife, in following a vegan lifestyle. He continues to play pick-up hockey, is a motorcycle enthusiast and loves animals and nature. He considers himself a connoisseur of fine beer and has migrated his charcoal barbecuing talents from meat to vegetables. And he is currently in the process of developing the perfect home-made grilled veggie burger – a seemingly elusive goal. When asked about Dr. Crumplin, one of his nominators said this about him: “What makes Dr. Crumplin stand out on a personal level is the immediate connection he is able to bring to the classroom. The classroom atmosphere always feels like a safe place, where compassion and discipline simultaneously take place. His continued availability outside of the classroom, as well as his genuine interest for his students’ concerns makes him approachable and connected, which is extremely valuable to students on campus.

Dr. Catherine Anderson - McMaster University

Dr. Catherine Anderson is a Teaching Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Languages at McMaster University. She earned a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She teaches her department's large, introductory courses in Linguistics, as well as upper-year courses in Psycholinguistics and Child Language Acquisition. In working to make her courses accessible to her many students with diverse needs, Dr. Anderson realized that the price of textbooks is a sizeable barrier for many students, and that not having the textbook can have serious consequences for students' learning. A grant from eCampusOntario allowed her, with the support of the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation & Excellence in Teaching, to adapt her existing course materials into an Open Access etextbook, Essentials of Linguistics. By using this OER instead of a commercial textbook, about 800 McMaster students per year will each save $150. Essentials of Linguistics is also available for any instructor in the world to assign or adapt in their own courses. Dr. Anderson lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with her wife and their ten-year-old twins.

Dr. Alba Agostino - Trent University

Dedication, enthusiasm, professionalism, and thoughtfulness. Dr. Agostino’s passion for the child and youth program has created a welcoming and exciting learning environment for students. Alba always makes time for students to discuss concerns, clarification or even to simply listen and empathize with student stress. Whether it is before, after, or during office hours, Dr. Agostino is committed to helping students fully understand course material. She integrates many discussions in her lectures, which allows for students to understand and apply their knowledge of concepts through conversations with their peers. She has tailored her approach to the child and youth program based off feedback of the students whether child and youth majors or not, as she truly cares in helping all students along their pathway to a successful future. Dr. Agostino is not only a professor, but she is an integral part of the Trent Durham community, and the foundation of the Child and Youth program.

Dr. David McDonald - Queen's University

Dr. David McDonald is a professor in the Department of Global Development Studies. His research interests revolve around debates over public versus private service delivery, encompassing a broad spectrum of related questions on urbanization, environmental justice, and uneven development. Nominated by several of his students for the AMS Teaching Awards, each indicates the unique ways in which Dr. McDonald has contributed to their undergraduate career. What has been highlighted is how he promotes an agile learning environment that opens students to new ways of thinking, whilst encouraging engagement with important global issues. Perhaps most importantly, is how he challenges the way his students view the world, indicating their active roles in its composition, causing individual self-actualization. As such, Dr. McDonald has played a key role in the outstanding undergraduate student learning experience characterized at Queen’s University.

Dr. Norm Klassen and Dr. Chad Wriglesworth - University of Waterloo

Norm Klassen and Chad Wriglesworth are Associate Professors of English at St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo. They are co-recipients of this award for their collaborative approach to timely conversations in a recent co-taught special topics course. Dr. Klassen is a Chaucer scholar and Dr. Wriglesworth studies modern American literature, but both explore a centuries-old tradition called the “sacramental imagination.” Students in their course encountered this tradition through writers, thinkers and artists from every era, all of whom consider how literature and language shape and express the beauty and mystery of human existence. Drs. Klassen and Wriglesworth took turns lecturing, regularly pausing for discussion and adjusting their class plans accordingly. They used technology, art and class trips to help students engage deeply with the material, leading students say that class felt more like a living room than a classroom. This dialogical approach isn’t innovative as much as it is restorative. By encouraging conversation about deep topics like life, love, beauty and meaning, and our ability to creatively shape these things, these two instructors are returning to the heart of the humanities and passionately affirming the role of humanistic inquiry in University education. At a time when concern for student mental health is at an all-time high, the personal and authentic nature of the meaningful discussions that these instructors facilitate is refreshing, and according to more than one student, life-changing. There’s no greater praise an instructor can receive than that.

Dr. Tarek Loubani - Western University

Dr. Tarek Loubani is an associate professor at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry here at Western University. He is also an associate scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute, and an emergency room physician at the London Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Loubani is well-known across the campus, along with across Canada for his work as an ER physician in hospitals in Gaza during wartime. He is notably credited alongside his research team for creating and using open-source software, the idea to 3D-print stethoscopes which can be made in less than 3 hours at a cost of less than $3. This allows for others to create medical-grade open access devices that can reduce medical costs and ultimately save lives. Aside from being a humanitarian, Dr. Loubani has also been a champion for students on Western's campus, with his respect to advocacy for increased Open Educational Resource usage at Western. Dr. Loubani is an advocate for open access and open educational resources for both higher education and medicine. Equitable and fair access to resources and information such as Open Textbooks, is an ongoing priority for Dr. Loubani in his teaching.

Dr. Edmund Pries - Wilfrid Laurier University

Dr. Edmund Pries is an Assistant Professor in the departments of Global Studies and Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University. He also coordinates the Social Entrepreneurship Option and teaches Community Engagement. He completed two Bachelor degrees, two Masters degrees and, finally, a PhD in History, the latter at the University of Waterloo. His research interests are focused on religion and peace/conflict and on the historical practice of, and social contracts derived from, citizenship oaths and military loyalty oaths. He also researches and writes on pedagogy. Dr. Pries has been nominated by students for providing them with a high quality educational experience. Students highlight that Dr. Pries continuously goes above and beyond in all courses he teaches, through engaging in critical discussions and learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom. One nominee stated, “Without Dr. Pries, I would not have pursued the program I am in. It is because of his passion, I found passion for my program.”