Awards for Excellence in Teaching

2016

Professor Colleen Sharen, of Management and Organizational Studies, was awarded the 2016 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Full-Time Faculty, which was presented at Convocation on June 20th, 2016.

Teaching courses under Management and Organizational Studies and Dimensions of Leadership, Professor Sharen is known for consistently exploring new approaches and teaching methods to engage and inspire her students.

 “She has shown exemplary commitment to the Brescia community and to helping students explore their choices and opportunities – to take some risk”

Her commitment to student learning extends beyond the classroom through experiential learning opportunities, specifically through the Just Own It! entrepreneurship program and the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative that serves over 400 high school students and over 200 university and college women.

Professor Sharen holds a B.A. in Political Science from Wilfrid Laurier University and obtained her M.B.A. from the Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University. Before joining Brescia in 2005, her experience included working as an entrepreneur and working in the corporate world with large multi-national corporations.

2016

Professor Caroline Bell, of Business and Leadership, was awarded the inaugural Award for Excellence in Teaching, Contract Faculty, which was presented at Convocation on June 20th, 2016.

Known as an innovative and experiential teacher, Professor Bell provides challenging but fun classes by using a variety of exercises to engage her students, including: public speaking exercises; community involvement; guest speakers and case studies.

Demonstrating outstanding mentorship – both within and outside the classroom – Professor Bell is known to go out of her way to mentor and assist both current and past students. Her mentorship includes her active involvement with the Brescia Pink Ties, the student club in Management and Organizational Studies, as faculty advisor.

“The mentoring that Professor Bell offers to her students is exceptional; she truly gives of herself – her time, her enthusiasm, and her experience.”

Professor Bell received her education at the Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University. Since joining the Brescia faculty in 2005, she has maintained her standing on the Dean’s Honor Roll of Teaching.

 

2015

Professor Melissa Jean, of Management and Organizational Studies, was awarded the 2015  Award for Excellence in Teaching, which was presented at Convocation on June 15th, 2015.

DSC_9236 (Copy)Teaching core business and accounting courses, Professor Jean consistently challenges her students and holds them to a high academic standard. Her approaches to teaching and mentoring are incredibly compelling: she works tirelessly to establish connections with each student, making the classroom experience personally meaningful for that student.

“Professor Jean takes the mission and values of Brescia to heart; she leads by example and students are empowered to follow in her footsteps.”

Professor Jean holds two degrees from the Ivey School of Business at Western, an Honors Business Administration B.A. and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She also holds the professional designations of Chartered Professional Accountant and Certified Management Accountant.

Within her 10 years at Brescia, she has developed new courses and aided in the development of new programs to serve students and connect them to their professional lives after graduation. Professor Jean has served as the Chair of the Division of Social Sciences at Brescia since 2013, and has been on the Dean’s Honor Roll of Teaching every year since she joined the Brescia faculty.

 

2014

Dr. Christine Tenk, who was awarded the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award, joined Brescia’s Department of Psychology in 2008 and is described by her students as the “embodiment of a Brescia Bold ‘Choose to Lead’ woman.”

She brings remarkable energy and passion to both her teaching and her research and is a very involved community member.

“Dr. Tenk isn’t a good professor because she gives you good marks, or because she lets you get away with things… She works you hard because she knows that you can do it. She challenges us to work harder and to take control of our own education.”

Of her research work, one commented, “Dr. Tenk’s own animal research provided the foundation for my honour’s thesis on the development of binge eating in female adolescent rats. Her previous studies proved to be creative, grounded in the relevant research, and have contributed greatly to current literature. In working with Dr. Tenk outside of the classroom, it became clear that Dr. Tenk is not only an extremely talented professor but also a dedicated and innovative researcher.”

Dr. Tenk holds an Honors BSc in Biology and Psychology from the University of Toronto and an MSc and PhD in Neuroscience from Western. She received tenure and promotion in 2013 and is the author or co-author of eight scholarly articles (seven as first author) and 17 published abstracts (11 as first author). She has presented her research at regional and international conferences since coming to Brescia, and she continues to be an active scholar.

Dr. Tenk’s passion and enthusiasm for scholarship clearly inform her teaching, and she has mentored Brescia students on 18 Honors theses and independent-study research projects. Her courses at Brescia include “Statistics for Psychology,” “Biopsychology,” “Sex Differences in Behavioural Neuroscience,” and “Psychology of Eating” (the latter two were developed by Dr. Tenk for Brescia). She has been on the Dean’s Honor Roll of Teaching every year since she joined the Brescia faculty.

 2013

Dr. Monika Lee, Professor of English, was awarded the 2013 Brescia University College Award for Excellence in Teaching, which was presented at Convocation on June 17th, 2013.

Recipients of the award are members of the faculty who have made an outstanding contribution to the academic development of students.

Monika was pleased to have been chosen as this year’s award recipient. She says, “At Brescia, faculty are dedicated to students and their learning. I feel profoundly fortunate to work in an institution where we hold this central pillar of our profession in such high esteem.” Monika, who is a faculty member in Brescia’s English Department, received her BA in English and French from the University of Toronto, and her MA and PhD from Western University, before completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cornell University. Monika chose to teach at Brescia because of the leadership that has been instilled by the Ursuline Sisters. She explains, “It was because of people like the late Sister Corona Sharpe and Sister Mary Lou McKenzie that I chose to come to Brescia. Caring, ethical women, they were not only very student-focused, but also knowledge-focused; these are traits that remain very important to me in my teaching and my research.”

Students and faculty who nominated Monika for the award spoke about her ability to engage and inspire her students, while also challenging them through her wealth of academic knowledge and her ongoing commitment to excellence. Students wrote that “her professionalism, passion, and dedication in both her own work and the work of her students make her a perfect candidate for this award.” Colleagues spoke of Monika’s innate abilities to work with students one-on-one and the level of support and encouragement that she brings to each one, all while working to develop and build more than a dozen English courses and the English Society.

“By challenging students to work hard, to think carefully and deeply about literature, to analyze texts critically, and to communicate fluently in speech and writing, I aim to help create a better world.” Monika goes on to say, “I have a deep respect for every one of my students. They have taught me so much, and I am extremely proud of them.”

Brescia’s Academic Dean at the time of the award, Dr. John Mitchell, who has been a colleague of Monika for the last 10 years at Brescia, and sits as Chair of the Excellence in Teaching Award Selection Committee, says, “Dr. Monika Lee is known for her passion for teaching, for the study of English, and for her commitment to excellence in both her own work and the work of her students.”

2012

Dr. Steve Kleinknecht, Assistant Professor of Sociology, was awarded the Brescia University College Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2012. Recipients of the award are members of the faculty who have made an outstanding contribution to the academic development of students. Steve, on the faculty in Brescia’s Division of Sociology and Family Studies, received his BA in Sociology and Applied Studies from the University of Waterloo, and both his MA and his PhD in Sociology from McMaster University. His research and scholarly interests include subcultures, deviance, everyday life, sociology of the Internet, qualitative research, and symbolic interactionism.

Student nominators and supporters wrote of Steve’s engaging variety of teaching approaches, dedication to his students, approachability, and his passion for teaching. Students wrote that “he has a gift for both sharing knowledge and sparking the desire to learn” and that he has “the ability to go beyond the classroom and make a difference in his students’ lives.” Colleagues spoke of Steve’s focused but relaxed and engaging style, wit, and the respectful and supportive environment he creates in his classes.

“Being part of an environment, which is truly focused on learning, has been a catalyst for my approachable teaching style. I want students to feel they can openly discuss their ideas inside and outside of the classroom,” Steve explains. “I am passionate about my work and make a concerted effort to share my enthusiasm for Sociology with my students.”

2011

Dr. Leslie Janes, Professor of Psychology and Brescia University College’s Associate Dean, Student Affairs, is the 2011 recipient of the Brescia University College Award of Excellence in Teaching. The award was presented at Convocation on June 13.

Recipients of the award are members of the faculty who have made an outstanding contribution to the academic development of students. Leslie has been a professor at Brescia for nine years and was appointed to her full-time faculty position in July 2003.

Leslie’s nomination for the award was supported by students who spoke of her compassionate and engaging style of teaching. One student noted, “I am in my third year of studies and have yet to meet a teacher who is as skilled, caring, and compassionate about their occupation and students as Professor Janes.”

It’s not a coincidence that many of Leslie’s colleagues and students describe Leslie as a teacher who is truly dedicated to her students’ development. Although Leslie received her B.A. in political science, it was after she had children and watched their development that she decided to pursue her M.A. in psychology.Leslie’s research and scholarly interests include goal-setting, motivation, and fear of failure.

“It is important for me, at an all-women’s university, to provide a welcoming environment in which students feel both comfortable and challenged,” Leslie explains. “I have to give most of the credit to Brescia students, whose enthusiasm and spirit have made them a pleasure to teach.”

It is Leslie’s balance of high standards and compassion, along with her ability to make each member of the class feel welcome and valued, that has set her teaching style apart from others.

Not only is Leslie a compassionate professor inside the classroom, but she also loves mentoring students outside the classroom. Dr. John Mitchell, Brescia’s Academic Dean, explains, “Dr. Janes is well known among faculty and students for her skill as a teacher and for her commitment to her students inside and outside of the classroom. Two of the most common terms I hear used to describe Dr. Janes are ‘mentor’ and ‘role model.’ Dr. Janes continues to make a truly special contribution to the lives of our students and to the vibrancy of our Psychology program.”

The decision of the selection committee was based on a dossier consisting of documentation regarding Leslie’s commitment as an educator to teaching, students, and the broader Western community. The dossier is available for viewing in Brescia’s Office of the Academic Dean.

About the Award

Each year, Brescia invites nominations for its Award for Excellence in Teaching. The purpose of the award is to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding efforts made by Brescia faculty members in fostering the academic development of students. The Award is given to professors who excel in two or more of the following activities:

  1. Classroom teaching, which includes regular classes and lectures, seminars, tutorials, and laboratory sessions.
  2. Academic counselling, which may involve assisting students in selecting courses or choosing programs of study, helping them make career choices, writing letters of recommendation, offering information and advice on professional programs and graduate schools, and so on.
  3. Designing courses or academic programs to suit the needs of students, a Department, or the College as a whole.
  4. Producing educational materials such as textbooks, instructional packages, laboratory manuals, software, study guides, slides, films, and handouts.
  5. Participating in teaching development activities like workshops or seminars designed to improve or enhance teaching skills and strategies.
  6. Developing innovative teaching methods, such as providing an opportunity for experiential learning, fieldwork, or learning through community service.