Dr. Paula Dworatzek, Dr. Danielle Battram and Lucyna Mahood

Excellence in Teaching

The Excellence in Teaching award acknowledges and celebrates the outstanding efforts made by Brescia faculty members in fostering the academic development of students. The Awards for Excellence in Teaching are focused on the strength and impact of the nominee’s teaching activities and fostering the academic development of our students in her/his discipline.


Past Award Winners

Dr. Jasna Twynstra2022 | Dr. Jasna Twynstra

A faculty member at Brescia since 2012, Dr. Twynstra is known as a dedicated instructor who can translate complex, challenging topics into engaging and enjoyable classes, and who works to include methods and activities that increase student participation and interaction. The material in Dr. Twynstra’s courses is approached with rigour. She sets high standards and expectations for her students, while being encouraging, approachable and creating a safe and welcoming learning environment. She often takes the role of facilitator, allowing students to seek answers themselves and explore their thoughts and opinions before sharing her own expertise and experience. One past student comment that as a mentor Dr. Twynstra is equally inspiring and motivating; someone who expects excellence while always being supportive and patient.

Dr. Peggy O'Neil2022 | Dr. Peggy O’Neil

Dr. O’Neil has taught at Brescia since 2008, primarily in Food and Nutritional Sciences and Human Ecology, and, more recently, in Leadership Studies. Dr. O’Neil’s passion for students and education is extraordinary. Her students comment on Dr. O’Neil and her classes as “transformative”, “life changing”, and “inspiring”. Her classes are noted as engaging and interactive with her use of active learning strategies, experiential learning, and innovative teaching methods such as arts-based approaches. Colleagues refer to Dr. O’Neil’s passion for education and her ability to connect with students. Dr. O’Neil is known as someone who serves Brescia with the utmost commitment, enthusiasm, integrity, and professionalism, while remaining compassionate to our students.

Dr. Nadine de Moras2021 | Dr. Nadine de Moras

Dr. Nadine de Moras, of the School of Humanities, was the recipient of the 2021 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Full-Time Faculty.  

Dr. Nadine de Moras, an expert in Applied Linguistics, began teaching at Brescia in 2011. Dr. de Moras has been instrumental in the redesign and expansion of French programming at the University. Her many contributions include the development of multiple new courses, revisions to and updating of existing courses, revisions of French modules, the production of educational material, innovative classroom teaching, extensive student mentoring and integrating experiential learning into the French program.

Dr. de Moras has shared her expertise in teaching French at national and international conferences and workshops. She was an invited to speak at a Conference on Teaching French Abroad organized by the Mission Laïque Française, an international French institution for French educators and administrators, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Education in France. She has also offered 12 different workshops on teaching French for Mission Laïque Française and the French Ministry of Education.

With her educational leadership and innovative teaching methods, Dr. de Moras is well-known as a mentor to students. One former student wrote “Dr. de Moras helped me grow as a student, a French speaker and as a person in countless ways. When I speak with friends about Dr. de Moras, they are astonished that I received such a comprehensive and supportive French education...Dr. de Moras was the reason why I initially chose Brescia and as someone who has studied at two other universities since, I assure you that Brescia will never find a more dedicated or supportive professor.”

Dr. Shelley Cross-Mellor2021 | Dr. Shelley Cross-Mellor

Dr. Shelley Cross-Mellor, of the School of Behavioural and Social Sciences, was the recipient of the 2021 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Contract Faculty.  

Dr. Shelley Cross-Mellor has taught Psychology at Brescia since 2009. She is known for using a wide variety of teaching techniques, including open discussions, individual writings, media clips, cooperative learning, games, as well as traditional lectures to accommodate the diverse learning styles of her students. Also recognized for her enthusiasm and friendly demeanor, she shares her love of learning and curiosity with her students.

Colleagues and students alike comment that Dr. Cross-Mellor is a committed and passionate educator, that is able to be flexible and responsive to the needs of her students. Students frequently turn to her for advice, questions about future education, careers and current research opportunities. 

Dr. Cross-Mellor’s responsiveness to students’ needs reflect Brescia’s teaching and learning values. A past student said, “I have always felt Dr. Cross-Mellor has been a mentor to me. She inspired and motivated me to continue studying science past graduation. Her enthusiasm for research, learning, and being curious about the world is very inspiring. She is an excellent role model, especially for women who wish to pursue a career in science and research. She has shown me that women have a place in the academic world, especially with science, which tends to be a more male-dominated field.”

Photo of James Doelman.2020 | Dr. James Doelman

Dr. James Doelman, Ph.D., of the School of Humanities, was awarded the 2020 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Full-Time Faculty.

Dr. James Doelman has been an English Professor at Brescia University College since 2001. A scholar of 16th and 17th-century English literature, Dr. Doelman teaches Introduction to Literature and Composition, Poetics, Renaissance Literature, Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature, amongst other courses. He has made significant contributions to the development of the English curriculum at the course and program levels, and is a past Chair of the School of Humanities.

Students and colleagues speak about Dr. Doelman’s passion for teaching and love of learning, his meticulously organized and planned classes and courses, his compassion and care for his students, and his gentle sense of humour. In his courses he uses innovative assignments which include paleography, digital manuscript creation, dramatic performances, poetic composition, and revising Wikipedia articles. These assignments are carefully designed to further students' practical and professional skills while supporting learning of and appreciation for course content.

Photo of Julie Young.

2020 | Julie Young 

Julie Young, Ph.D. Candidate, of the School of Leadership & Social Change, was awarded the 2020 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Contract Faculty.

A Brescia alumna, Ms. Young has taught at Brescia since 2016 in Community Development, Leadership Studies, and Sociology. Her approach to teaching is to provide a classroom that embraces co-learning.

Ms. Young excels at developing innovative teaching methods, especially integrating experiential learning into her courses. She is an Advisor as part of the Federal Strategy on Gendered Violence, Ministry for Women and Gender Equality. She brings these experiences into the classroom in a variety of innovative ways including interactive activities, case studies, guest speakers, field observation, service learning, and personal reflection.

In describing Ms. Young as a classroom teacher, her students use words such as “transformative”, “inspiring”, and “life changing” and frequently comment on her kindness, empathy, and outstanding support for her students. Students also comment on her courses as challenging; one student wrote, “She encouraged and motivated me to be the best and give the best of myself.”


Colleen O'Connor2019 | Dr. Colleen O’Connor

Dr. Colleen O’Connor, of the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, was awarded the 2019 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Full-Time Faculty, which was presented at Convocation on June 17th, 2019.

A Brescia alumna, Dr. Colleen O’Connor joined Brescia as a faculty member in 2008. Dr. O’Connor cares about her student’s learning and is known for her approachable teaching style and ability to relay information to her students in unique ways they will best understand. Seeing the letters of nominations meant more to than receiving the award itself: “You often don’t realize the impact you’re having on students until you hear it in their own words.” Dr. O’Connor remembers how hard she worked during her undergraduate studies and empathizes with students, so they realize faculty are human too. “We all have different stories of how we got here. It’s important to be realistic, but push outside our comfort zones because you never know where it may take you.”

Bridget DeMarchi

2019 | Bridget DeMarchi

Bridget DeMarchi, of the School of Behavioural and Social Sciences, was awarded the 2019 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Contract Faculty, which was presented at Convocation on June 17th, 2019.

DeMarchi has been a contract faculty member since 2015. She is also a clinical social worker. DeMarchi is well-known for flexible and engaging course content that encourages students to express their learning in a variety of ways. She is also a strong advocate for integrating active learning and experiential education opportunities into class work. DeMarchi’s warmth, mentorship and ability to connect with students sets her apart as the deserving recipient of the 2019 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Contract Faculty.

Danielle Battram

2018 | Dr. Danielle Battram

Dr. Danielle Battram, of the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, was awarded the 2018 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Full-Time Faculty, which was presented at Convocation on June 18th, 2018.

A dedicated teacher and researcher in her field of study, Dr. Battram’s students benefit from her active teaching and learning methods, which incorporate seminar, rather than didactic approaches to learning. Dr. Battram has also been a mentor to more than 20 students at the graduate level and has supervised 22 students in independent study courses. The students who supported Dr. Battram’s nomination for this honour praised her for challenging them academically, for fostering critical thinking and for providing perpetual inspiration.

In addition to her role as a skilled university professor, Dr. Battram is also committed to hands-on learning outside of the classroom, which is actively demonstrated through her establishment of and role in the Nutrition Ignition! (NI!) research club at Brescia. NI! provides students with diverse experiential learning opportunities in an elementary school setting, including: creating and presenting nutrition lessons; serving healthy snacks and holding learning events for parents.

“Overall, the experiential learning opportunities and supportive mentorship that Dr. Battram provides to her students fosters leadership, self-direction and develops a unique skill set that go beyond the limits of the classroom, which best prepares students for a career in dietetics…”

Dr. Battram holds a B.Sc in Nutritional Sciences and her Masters of Science and Ph.D in Exercise Physiology from the University of Guelph. Since joining Brescia’s faculty in 2008, she has maintained consistent standing on the Dean’s Honor Roll of Teaching each year.

Lucyna Mahood

2018 | Lucyna Mahood

Professor Lucyna Mahood, of the School of Food & Nutritional Sciences, was awarded the 2018 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Contract Faculty, which was presented at Convocation on June 18th, 2018.

A graduate of Guelph University’s Family and Consumer Studies program, and a Professional Home Economist, Professor Mahood has boldly led as Brescia’s Food Lab Instructor since 2000. In her role, she was responsible for seven food labs per term – a daunting workload for many educational professionals – where on top of her teaching duties, she ensured that ingredients, equipment and spaces were prepared and safe for the next group of students.

In her 18 years at Brescia, Professor Mahood demonstrated a student-centred approach to teaching, regularly going out of her way to provide counselling and mentoring to each of her students. Many Brescia instructor and student nominees also highlighted and commended Professor Mahood for her constant care and concern for the personal wellbeing and success of her students. As a testament to her compassionate teaching style, her students return each to be involved as Food Lab volunteers or simply to share life updates and visit with Professor Mahood.

“As Mrs. Mahood completes her final year at Brescia before retirement, we believe the best way to describe her contributions would be to refer to her as an ‘unsung hero.’ Lucy exemplifies the mission of leading with wisdom, justice and compassion. She has quietly and consistently been a student-centred leader, contributing more to our students’ success than we will probably ever know.”

Edward Bell

2017 | Dr. Edward Bell

Dr. Edward Bell, of the School of Behavioural & Social Sciences, was awarded the 2017 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Full-Time Faculty, which was presented at Convocation on June 19th, 2017.

Dr. Bell holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Victoria, an M.A. from the University of Alberta and obtained his Ph.D from McGill University.

Since joining Brescia’s faculty in 1992, Dr. Bell has been an active and engaged educator, serving as past Chair of the Department of Sociology and the current Chair of the School of Behavioural & Social Sciences. He has also served as the founding President of the Brescia Faculty Association.

Known for providing a nurturing, low-stress and supportive classroom, Dr. Bell’s goal in teaching is to “awaken and sustain in students their natural wonder about the world around them” and to foster a love of learning and positive engagement with the world. To engage his students, Dr. Bell utilizes a wide-range of interactive classroom activities, such as class-wide discussions; small group activities; debates; research projects and student presentations.

“It is the respect and devotion he offers to all of his students that characterizes Dr. Bell’s excellence in teaching.”

In addition to being a committed educator, Dr. Bell is also an active scholar and researcher. He is the author of the most widely-used sociology methodology textbook in Canada, Social Research Methods, 4th Canadian Edition, and has published 20 articles and book chapters and 14 other publications.

Jennifer Broxterman

2017 | Jennifer Broxterman

Professor Jennifer Broxterman, of the School of Food & Nutritional Sciences, was awarded the 2017 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Contract Faculty, which was presented at Convocation on June 19th, 2017.

As a passionate educator, Professor Broxterman strives to help her students be independent thinkers and active learners; to connect what they are learning with their own lives; to foster positive and open learning environment; to engage her students in their learning and to actively support her students. She is especially known for her mentorship, enthusiasm and the ability to engage the students in her class.

“By showing compassion to every student she encounters, taking the time to build positive relationships with students, using current and effective in-class teaching styles and demonstrating a genuine commitment towards both her students and her community dietetics practice, Professor Broxterman champions the qualities of a true leader.”

Professor Broxterman holds a B.Sc in Life Sciences from Queen’s University and a B.Sc Honors of Foods and Nutrition and an MScFN from Brescia University College. A proud Brescia alumna, Professor Broxterman has been awarded the Young Alumnae Award of Merit for outstanding personal and professional achievement in 2011. Since joining Brescia’s faculty in 2011, she has maintained consistent standing on the Dean’s Honor Roll of Teaching each year.

Colleen Sharen

2016 | Colleen Sharen

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.

Caroline Bell

2016 | Caroline Bell

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.

Melissa Jean

2015 | Melissa Jean

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

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

Dr. Monika Lee, Professor of English, was awarded the 2013 Brescia University 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, 

Dr. Steve Kleinknecht, Assistant Professor of Sociology, was awarded the Brescia University 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

Dr. Leslie Janes, Professor of Psychology and Brescia University’s Associate Dean, Student Affairs, is the 2011 recipient of the Brescia University 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.