Murphy wins first student-nominated teaching award


From left: Dan Moulton, president of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance; Rob Lanteigne, BUSU vice-president university affairs and OUSA vice-president finance; Tim Murphy; John Milloy, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities

A Psychology professor has received an inaugural teaching award from the Brock University Students’ Union.

Tim Murphy, assistant professor, received the Brock University Student Award for Teaching Excellence. Undergraduate students submitted the nominations, describing why their nominee stands out from other teachers at Brock.

Seven awards were given — one per faculty, plus an award for a teaching assistant or lab demonstrator. Murphy won the overall award for teaching excellence as well as the award for the Faculty of Social Science.

“When I didn’t understand something the first time, he took another approach to better suit my learning needs,” a student wrote in the nomination package. “Most important to me was how he continually reminded me that I could learn the material well enough for the exams and that I should believe in myself.”

Murphy has also been experimenting with new learning evaluation tools called Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique, which analyzes whether a scratch-ticket-style multiple-choice question, which provides immediate feedback, improves long-term retention.

Other winners were:

Faculty of Applied Health Sciences — Mary Breunig, Recreation and Leisure Studies
Breunig, an assistant professor, “is a professor that motivates, inspires and encourages students to succeed,” with a “unique style of teaching where she helps us learn through experience,” her nomination package said.

Faculty of Business — Isabelle Giroux, Organizational Behaviour, Human Resources, Entrepreneurship and Ethics
“Where most professors in academia cater to auditory learners with their magisterial lectures, Isabelle interacts with her audience,” said the nomination package for the assistant professor.

Faculty of Education – Ann-Marie DiBiase, Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
“When giving her lectures, she provided materials every class, and ensured that each student had accurate notes,” said DiBiase’s nomination package. The associate professor also offered “a high level of support so that everyone was on the right track, while being available for every student at any time of the day or night.”

Faculty of Humanities — Astrid Heyer, Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Heyer “makes her classroom a safe place for students to experience mistakes by turning ‘corrections’ into ‘teaching moments,’” said the associate professor’s nominator. She also “welcomes students from other sections of the course into her classroom as if they belong there. She knows every student by name and makes her lessons relevant to them.”

Faculty of Mathematics and Science — Dorothy (Dot) Miners, Mathematics
“She was always enthusiastic about the subject she was teaching, which only made me enjoy the subject that much more,” a student said in the nomination package for the full-time instructor. “I truly believed that she wanted to see all of her students succeed, and with over a hundred students, I am sure she was kept busy.”

Student Award for Teaching Assistants/Lab Demonstrators – Charmaine McKnight, History
As a teaching assistant, McKnight “ is very approachable both within class, and outside. When her seminar arranged privately to meet for a final exam study group, she came in on her day off to attend and help us prepare.”

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