Brock will pay tribute to six faculty members at this year’s Spring Convocation for their exceptional contributions to teaching.
Neta Gordon, Mark Julien, Bozidar Mitrovic, Michael Manley-Casimir, Tim O’Connell and Tanya Martini will receive this year’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. The honours will be given at Convocation from June 7 to 11.
“This year’s recipients of our Faculty Awards for Excellence in Teaching provide our students with an education and educational experience that is second to none,” said Murray Knuttila, Provost and Vice-President Academic. “The quality of teaching and supportive learning environment that these outstanding faculty give to our students helps them to excel both inside and outside the classroom.”
Award recipients are chosen by selection committees of faculty members, staff and students from the Faculties of Applied Health Sciences, Business, Education, Humanities, Mathematics and Science and Social Sciences. Nominees must have a reputation for superior teaching and be recognized for this quality by students and colleagues.
The following are abridged descriptions of the professors’ work. For the full version, see the media release.
English Language and Literature, Faculty of Humanities:
Gordon fully engages her students, whatever their background and major, in the study and appreciation of literature. She does this in a way that enables them to connect the concerns and powers of great literature to the meanings and potential of their own lives. It’s a goal she has pursued with deep reflection and a sparkling imagination during her time at Brock.
Gordon has created syllabi and methods that lead students to understand how to understand literature, to write and think clearly, and to rely on and develop their own intelligence and moral commitment.
She turns the briefest class discussions and most hesitant student questions into illuminating teaching moments. Her large classes are a clinic in how to motivate students to learn.
Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Science:
Mitrovic joined Brock in July 1983 and has developed many courses at the University. They range from first-year classes on the Principles of Physics to graduate courses in Advanced Quantum Mechanics.
He gives a great deal of thought to the challenges associated with both teaching and learning. And as a result, he is particularly artful in his ability to convey complex ideas to his classes.
In support for his nomination, a colleague writes: “Bozidar is able to bring to his course an appreciation of the precision and intellectual rigor that governs his own scientific work.”
Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education, Faculty of Education:
Manley-Casimir recently completed a term as director of the Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and Education. He came to Brock in 1998 when he was appointed the Dean of the Faculty of Education.
In 2004, he completed an LLM through the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia and wrote a thesis on the meaning of “freedom of conscience” in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
His research interests lie at the intersection of law and educational policy. He has collaborated with many colleagues on research projects and has secured more than $750,000 in external research funding. In the past, he has received awards from the Canadian Association for the Study of Educational Administration, as well as a Mentorship Award from the Canadian Committee of Students in Education for his work mentoring graduate students.
Recreation and Leisure Studies, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences:
O’Connell’s impact in the area of innovation and leadership in teaching and learning is evident in the classroom and beyond.
He has introduced innovative and experiential teaching practices in the traditional classroom and in outdoor recreation, field-based and theory courses. He was also involved in the redesign of his department’s outdoor recreation curriculum and the development of the Outdoor Education Lab.
O’Connell has facilitated partnerships with renowned outdoor recreation organizations — such as Outward Bound Canada and the National Outdoor Leadership School — to give students the opportunity to connect theory with practice. He also took a lead in implementing Brock BaseCamp, a new campus-wide wilderness orientation initiative for first-year students.
Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences:
Martini is a well-rounded instructor who excels in the areas of teaching, supervising and curriculum development.
Martini is especially known for her stellar contributions to her department’s third-year methods course. She redesigned the curriculum to prepare students to conduct independent research in their fourth year and, with her detailed feedback, to better develop their scholarly writing skills.
Research methods courses have a reputation with students for being dry and unnecessary, but when Martini is the teacher, that is not the case. Her enthusiasm for research and ability to communicate this to her students is evident in her consistently high course evaluations.
At every level of instruction, Martini takes the required course content and uses it as the basis for teaching her students the necessary skills to be successful in all aspects of their academic endeavours.
Organizational Behaviour, Human Resources, Entrepreneurship and Ethics, Faculty of Business:
Julien has several years of private and public sector experience in a variety of human resource functions including training, employment equity/diversity, and recruitment and selection.
He has previously taught at both the University of Regina and Carleton University. Throughout his teaching career, he has consistently received very high teaching evaluations from his students and has won several awards for teaching excellence.
His research interests include management education, alternative work arrangements, balancing work and family, and gender and diversity with a special interest in Aboriginal issues in the workplace. He has published in Leadership Quarterly, Public Administration Quarterly and International Journal of Wine Business Research.