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 2022 OUSA Teaching Excellence Awards!
DR. THOMAS TIEKU, Western University
Thomas Kwasi Tieku is an Associate Professor of Political Science in King’s University College at The University of Western Ontario (UWO) and a member of the Advisory Board of The Africa Institute at UWO. He is the Former Director of African Studies at the University of Toronto where he won the Excellence of Teaching Award. He has also coordinated the Social Justice and Peace Studies (SJPS) program at King’s, served as the Lead Researcher at the Centre for International Governance Innovations (CIGI), and was 2017 Carnegie Fellow at the University of Ghana, Legon. His current research, which is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, focuses on African regional institutions, international organizations, informality, conflict mediation and backchannel negotiations. He is the author of Governing Africa: 3D Analysis of the Performance of African Union, U.S-Africa Relations in the Age of Obama and co-editor of African Actors in international Security and The Politics of Peacebuilding in Africa. In addition, he has written over 35 refereed book chapters and journal articles, which have appeared in publishing outlets such as African Affairs, International Studies Review, International Negotiation, Journal of Modern African Studies, Oxford Encyclopedia of Politics and Review of International Studies. He has served as a consultant to several organizations and governments, including the World Bank Group, the UN, the African Union, The Centre for International Governance Innovations, and the governments of Canada and the United States.
DR. MADELYN LAW, Brock University
Professor Madelyn Law has an undergraduate degree in sports management (Brock ’99), a master's in sports psychology (Queen’s University ’01), and a PhD in health administration (University of Toronto ’11). Madelyn’s research focuses on the creation of high-performance systems through the lens of organizational culture, change management, and quality improvement. Madelyn is the founder and Director of I-EQUIP which is the Interprofessional Education for Quality Improvement Program where she engages community partners and students in the health sector to improve the quality of health services. Madelyn is also the Faculty Associate for Experiential Education (EE) at Brock where she supports Brock’s vision to advance EE in courses across the campus. Madelyn is a phenomenal mentor, professor, and role model. She is professional, charismatic, intelligent, and a true mentor by providing an unlimited amount of support to her students. She has been understanding, fair, and goes above and beyond throughout the past academic term. It is apparent she truly cares about her students and her work at large. She has gone above and beyond what is expected to provide students with different experiential learning opportunities that can advance their education and this is the reason why we are so excited to present her with this year’s OUSA Teaching Awards at Brock University.
DUSTIN CIUFO, Trent Durham GTA
Dustin Ciufo is an Assistant Professor (LTA) in the Child and Youth Studies Program at Trent University Durham. Paradigmatically informed by the New Sociology of Childhood and theoretically rooted in critical approaches, his research and teaching interests explore children and youth rights in relation to global politics, international development, and forced migration. Believing strongly in the inextricable interconnection between academia and activism, Dustin has also worked in solidarity to contribute to advancing human rights with persons impacted by conflict, refugees and persons with disabilities. He is grateful for a career in academia that affords him the chance to utilize research as a means for improving the lives of others and the privilege of serving as an instructor seeking to inspire his students to recognize the relationship between their academic studies and social responsibilities.
DR. KEN JACKSON, Wilfrid Laurier University
Dr. Ken Jackson has excelled in engaging his students in a comfortable and humourous learning environment. Dr. Jackson has also ensured that students can be supported throughout classassessments with reasonable accommodations. Ken Jackson has proven his ability to provide clear andreasonable answers to questions while going above and beyond to ensure a student’s understanding ofcourse themes and concepts. Ultimately, this teaching recipient has consistently prioritized students’success and learning.
DR. KRISTIN HULME, Queen's University
Dr. Kristin Hulme is an adjunct Professor at Queen's University and Royal Military College of Canada. Dr. Hulme specializes within Canadian politics, international relations, and comparative politics. Going above and beyond when she teaches her students, it is clear that she enjoys the topics being taught, and has a passion for ensuring her students succeed. She continually learns from her students and strives to be a mentor for students who wish to enter the field of law or politics. Her knowledge and application of analysis pertaining to the Canadian Charter, the Judiciary and Elections are unsurpassed, and her devotion to the topics shines through in her teaching to students.
BLAKE DOTTA, Laurentian University
Dr. Blake Dotta is a professor, researcher, and program coordinator in the School of Natural Sciences at Laurentian University. Dr. Dotta received his BSc in Behavioural Neuroscience, MSc in Biology, and PhD in Biomolecular Sciences from Laurentian making him exceptionally qualified to help students pursue their passion for neuroscience. It’s been said that Dr. Dotta is the type of professor that movies are written about (hopefully starring Brad Pitt) and that he can make even the dullest lectures exciting. Students in their first year through to their fourth are always actively engaged in class discussions, and there’s no shortage of creativity when it comes to giving students nicknames or writing interesting test questions! Dr. Dotta, your students are sure that Dr. Persinger would be extremely proud of the work you’ve done since his passing, and we’re so thrilled to have you as our mentor.
DR. CAYLEIH ROBERTSON, McMaster University
Dr. Cayleih Robertson is a post-doctoral fellow, instructor, and comparative physiologist at McMaster University in the Faculty of Science. Dr. Robertson earned her Bachelor of Science from Mount Allison University, her Master of Science from the University of Guelph, and her PhD from McMaster University in 2019 before turning to teaching in the past few years. Through the class Biology 3XL3: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy & Physiology, Dr. Robertson connected with students over organ systems and environmental changes in vertebrate evolution. Although this may not sound like the most approachable content, Caylieh was consistently noted for her engaging teaching style both online and in-person but also for supporting students as they transitioned back to campus through a sense of community and understanding. I can’t count the number of times I read “incredible” when going through nominations for Dr. Robertson and it’s clear that there has been a huge impact in her classroom. Congratulations, and thank you!
DR. KATHRYN S. PLAISANCE, University of Waterloo
Dr. Katie Plaisance is an Associate Professor in the Department of Knowledge Integration at the University of Waterloo. She teaches undergraduate courses in engaged philosophy, collaboration, and cross-disciplinarity with a focus on developing innovative pedagogies, fostering psychological safety, and developing skills learners can use to succeed wherever their paths take them. Katie designs her courses to meet each learner where they are and build on their existing interests, goals, and motivations. She integrates insights from guest lecturers across disciplines and issues outside of academia to make these learning experiences truly engaging. Katie's authentic assessments give students opportunities to develop critical research, communication, and collaboration skills that are crucial to their future success. Students appreciate her incredibly useful feedback that encourages them to bring any work to the next level, along with scaffolded peer feedback and reflection opportunities that further develop their confidence and capabilities as members of a learning community. Through Katie's courses, her students come to better understand and embrace their multifaceted ways of knowing. Katie's care for students and commitment to inclusion shines through in all her teaching and mentorship. She constantly strives to foster psychological safety in her classes while educating students on their own roles in those practices. She seeks out and adapts innovative pedagogical practices and shares her insight with other instructors, contributing to instructional excellence across and beyond the University of Waterloo. Her mentorship and advising are incredibly valuable to both her students and colleagues. Katie is an exemplary professor who demonstrates a deep commitment to her students and her practices. WUSA is excited and honored to present OUSA's Teaching Excellence Award to Dr. Katie Plaisance – thank you for everything you do!