OUSA's 2021 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.

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. 

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 OUSA Teaching Excellence Awards!


Western Univesity

Tyler Pattenden

Tyler Pattenden is a Lecturer at the University of Western Ontario with a Doctor of Philosophy, Applied Mathematics currently teaching APPL MATH 1201B. 

Students call Dr. Tyler Pattenden a professor, a mentor and a friend. Whether that may be through extra mini-lessons, hangout sessions after tutorials, motivational emails before major tests/exams or one-on-one office hours. His passion and dedication to teaching applied math is very remarkable and motivating for students, especially those who struggle with new math concepts. He teaches the lessons and concepts in a clear and concise manner and ensures to address every student's concerns. He is an excellent professor and Western University is very lucky to have him. 

Tyler graduated from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in 2015 with a Bachelor of Education and from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science (Hons.), Applied and Industrial Mathematics. 

Brock University

Dr. John McNamara

John McNamara is a Professor in the Department of Child and Youth Studies at Brock University. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes in child psychology with a focus on language and learning disabilities. John also currently teaches Child and Youth Studies 1F90, a large first-year introductory course with close to 1000 students enrolled. John’s primary research interests center around learning disabilities and early identification. His current research project is aimed at exploring how literacy programs can support young children and their families. This work has been supported by a federal research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. John publishes and presents for international scholars and educators around best practices in supporting children and youth living with learning disabilities. John also directs the Child and Youth Studies Reading Project where he supervises Brock University students in working with children from the community who are struggling with reading disabilities. John completed his Ph.D. at Simon Fraser University and has an MA and BA in psychology from Brock University. He also obtained his teacher certification at the University of Kent in England.

Trent Durham GTA

 Dr. Christine Goodwin De Faria

Christine is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Intensive in the Child and Youth Studies Program at Trent University Durham. She completed her undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Child and Youth Studies and holds a Ph.D. in Policy Studies. Christine’s academic and professional background focuses on the areas of youth justice and children’s rights, and specifically on the importance of prioritizing the voices and participation rights of justice-involved youth. Her doctoral work examined the experiences of Indigenous youth during the court and diversion process. Christine is extremely passionate about child rights and teaches courses relating to social justice, child rights and advocacy.

Christine is a well-known and well-loved professor who goes above and beyond. Her passion for youth justice has positively impacted numerous students, building a passion in them as well and providing students with the opportunity to connect with local organizations. For many students, Christine is more than a professor - she is a mentor, providing support for students in not only their academic career but in their personal lives as well - whether it be through attending students’ presentations on her day off or supporting students in mental health crises. Her faith in her students has encouraged multiple to continue pursuing education

Wilfrid Laurier University

Dr. Wing Hong Chan

Dr. Wing Hong Chan is an econometrician working at the intersection of financial economics and forecasting methods to investigate financial markets' efficiency. Dr. Chan received a BA (1995) from the University of Manitoba and a Ph.D. (2002) from the University of Alberta. He taught at City University Hong Kong beginning in 2006 before returning to Laurier in 2009. His research interests center around modeling and forecasting volatility and economic risks. His articles have been published in Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Journal of Futures Markets, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, and Resources and Energy Economics, among other journals.


Dedicated, hardworking, and curious are all words that perfectly describe Dr. Chan. Dr. Chan's commitment to student learning is unparalleled and enables students to think critically and thoroughly about the subject manner at hand.


As the coach of the Laurier Bank of Canada's team, Dr. Chan mentored six students allowing them to learn advanced economic concepts in a way that was fun, intuitive, and experiential. During an uncertain time of COVID-19, it is clear that Dr. Chan is continually committed to student learning as he always made time (often out of scheduled class time) to answer questions or go over any concepts. Dr. Chan's love of teaching shines through every time he works with students.


Queen's University

Dr. Diane Beauchemin

Dr. Diane Beauchemin is a professor and the undergraduate chair of the Department of Chemistry. She has been analytical chemistry at Queen’s for several years, with research interests in improving the analytical efficiency of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Nominated by an undergraduate student for the AMS Teaching Awards, Dr. Beauchemin’s nomination stood out to the selection committee as a shining example of a professor who is dedicated to a strong student experience in her courses. She seamlessly integrates applications of course content into the class to make one of the more difficult Chemistry courses interactive and engaging. Most importantly, she demonstrated a strong commitment to advocating for her students. From promoting access to labs during the pandemic, to implementing holistic review processes for undergraduate research awards, to ensuring a high standard for the use of remote proctoring software, Dr. Beauchemin has the best interests of her students at heart. On behalf of the AMS and OUSA, we are excited to recognize and appreciate Dr. Beauchemin’s outstanding contributions to the undergraduate academic experience.



Laurentian University

Dr. Pamela Toulouse

Dr. Pamela Toulouse is a Full Professor in the Faculty of Education at Laurentian University.  She is A national 3M Teaching Excellence Award Fellow and one of Laurentian University's most favourite professors, as cited in previous editions of Maclean's magazine. Dr. Pamela Toulouse is a professor who many students are honoured to know and inspired by. Originally from the community of site Sagamok First Nation, Dr. Toulouse is proudly Anishinaabe and shares her passion and expertise in Indigenous education with all. With a teaching career spanning 28 years, Dr. Toulouse has taught in both the K-12 and post-secondary education systems.  She is iconically known for her dynamic teaching commitment to equity and passion for education as well as contagious positivity. The SGA is absolutely delighted and honoured to present this year's OUSA Teaching Excellence Award to Dr. Pamela Toulouse, congratulations, and miigwetch for everything you do for our students.


McMaster University

Dr. Kate Whalen

Dr. Kate Whalen is a professor in the Faculty of Science at McMaster University, and she serves as the Senior Manager of the Academic Sustainability Programs Office, a department she created in 2013. Students adore Dr. Whalen and her collaborative, dynamic approach to learning. She is passionate about the learning process and particularly interested in how student reflections can be integrated into course material to enhance learning. Students greatly appreciate how she always takes the time to read reflections and respond to student insights and feedback. Dr. Whalen not only teaches students but listens to them and cares for them as people. She is described by students as genuine, warm, and empathetic. In class, Dr. Whalen emphasizes the importance of students' mental health and offer additional supports and resources. Outside the classroom, she is always willing to work with students' schedules and she makes time to intentionally connect with students to offer personal and academic support. 


"Kate Whalen understands what it means to be a student," one student said in a testimonial. Another student said, "Kate is truly one of the best professors I have had at McMaster. She constantly pushes us in our research but also in personal growth. I have never learnt more about academics or myself from a professor." Dr. Whalen truly embodies teaching excellence. Her passion for students shines through in every class she teaches, and she is constantly going above and beyond to unlock the potential of students. 




University of Waterloo 

Dr. Tara Bissett

Dr. Tara Bissett is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. Her research and teaching are in architectural history, with a focus on architecture’s relationship to craft labour practices, women in architecture, and the histories of alternative housing and informal urbanisms. 


Dr. Bissett’s teaching has been wide-reaching, from impact in the design studio to core classes and teaching about research and writing in seminars. In only a relatively short time teaching at Waterloo, she has also developed her own syllabus for a range of different courses, including “Architecture: Pre-Renaissance to Reformation,” “Modernisms,” and a course on ornamentation. 


Her teaching has been met with widespread acclaim from her students, even with the added difficulty that remote teaching has presented. Her students’ nominators endorsed her prioritization of mental health, her willingness to learn about student’s hobbies and interests, her use of film as a teaching tool, her commitment to non-Eurocentric perspectives, and the deep learning approach of her course deliverables. 


Dr. Bissett is also a member of the Racial Equity and Environmental Justice Task Force for the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. The task force seeks to “examine the systemic disadvantages that underlie formal equality, working to change these, by offering specific supports for marginalized students, staff and faculty.”

An endorsement by a colleague expressed admiration for Dr. Bissett’s deep commitment to students, and her refusal to rest on her laurels, consistently exploring new pedagogical approaches to see what works for students. Dr. Bissett is a shining example of the quality of teaching that happens outside of our main campus, a credit to her field, and an ally for students and their wellbeing. It is my honour to present this OUSA Teaching Award to Dr. Tara Bisset.