On June 18, the USask community will celebrate this year’s teaching award winners during the USask Staff and Faculty Awards event.

USask honours 2024 teaching award winners

Teaching excellence at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) will be celebrated on June 18 as part of the USask Staff and Faculty Awards event.

By Darla Read

Twenty-three University of Saskatchewan (USask) faculty and staff members from colleges, schools, and units across campus will be honoured with USask teaching awards later this month.

This includes recipients in the following adjudicated categories: Provost’s Outstanding Teacher Award, Provost’s New Teacher Award, Provost’s Graduate Student Teacher Award, Provost’s Support of Teaching and Learning Award, Sylvia Wallace Sessional Lecturer Award, Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award, as well as the Provost’s College Awards for Outstanding Teaching.

“Congratulations to colleagues, from across the USask community, who are being recognized with 2024 teaching awards for fostering USask learners to be what the world needs,” said Dr. Airini (PhD), USask’s provost and vice-president academic.

“Thank you for the vitally important work you do to support USask’s teaching and learning mission. Our University Plan 2025 includes the bold ambition to be a university that sets the standard for learning. You inspire us all through your innovation in teaching and learning."

On June 18, the USask community will celebrate this year’s teaching award winners during the USask Staff and Faculty Awards event. A full list of recipients of USask Staff and Faculty Awards is available online.

The celebration event will be held at Marquis Hall Events Centre from 5-8 pm on June 18.

Institutional Level Teaching Awards for Excellence

Shannon Forrester

Provost’s Outstanding Teacher Award
Shannon Forrester, Lecturer and USask Sustainability Faculty Fellow, College of Kinesiology

“From a day-to-day perspective, it is student engagement that motivates me. I am passionate about igniting curiosity and fostering a love of learning. As an educator in the field of kinesiology, I have the incredible opportunity to empower students not only as learners, but as advocates for personal and societal health and well-being.  Ultimately, my goal is to contribute to and promote a more sustainable world where health and wellness are accessible to all.”

Dr. Kyle McLeister

Provost’s New Teacher Award
Dr. Kyle McLeister (PhD), Lecturer, Department of History, College of Arts and Science

“My number one piece of advice for students would be to talk to your professors – we’re here to help. Whether you’re struggling with an assignment or excited about a topic you’re covering in class, talk to your professors. We love talking with students. And engaging with your professors will help you to get the most out of your university experience.”

Dr. Erika Dyck

Provost’s Award for Collaborative Teaching and Learning
Dr. Erika Dyck (PhD), Professor and Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine, Department of History, College of Arts and Science

Dr. Dyck: “My high school social studies teacher always managed to bring history to life in the classroom. He peppered his lectures with photographs from his own travels and encouraged us to ask new questions of old materials, reminding that history was never entirely a study of the past, but also a study of how we want to live in the future by learning from the past.”

Dr. Simonne Horwitz

Dr. Simonne Horwitz (PhD), Associate Professor, Department of History, College of Arts and Science

Dr. Horwitz: “Teaching this class with Erika Dyck and Scott Napper has had a huge impact on me – they are both amazing academics and people. I have never spent time listening to and learning from people who have such different views from me but are willing to learn, share and grow together. Meeting and working with very different students to those who usually end up in my classes has also challenged me to interrogate my assumptions and be a better teacher and person.”

Dr. Scott Napper

Dr. Scott Napper (PhD), Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology, and Senior Scientist, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO)

Dr. Napper: “Too often I see people take the approach of ‘once I succeed then I will be happy.’ This is completely backwards. Don’t postpone happiness, seek it out and be fueled by it. Once you are motivated by your passions, rather than your fears, success is a certainty.”

Dr. Layla Gould

Sylvia Wallace Sessional Lecturer Award
Dr. Layla Gould (PhD), Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery, College of Medicine

“What motivates and excites me about my work is the chance to make a positive impact on students’ lives. I love sharing my passion and enthusiasm for the brain with my students, and I’ve found that by sharing this excitement, I can inspire them to become excited and motivated learners. My advice to students and colleagues is discover what truly excites you and pursue it with dedication and determination.”

Danielle Spence

Provost’s Graduate Student Teacher Award
Danielle Spence, PhD student, School of Environment and Sustainability

“My motivation for studying in the field of environment and sustainability is the desire to make a positive impact on our world. However, making a difference in sustainability is challenging and often takes many years and incremental changes. Through teaching, I feel like I can have a more immediate impact by shaping the way students think about the complexities of, and strategies for, addressing problems of sustainability. My greatest joy in teaching has been watching my students become more excited about science and motivated to tackle the complexities surrounding sustainability, and seeing how this shapes their future career and educational journeys.”

Dr. Sandy Bonny

Provost’s Support of Teaching and Learning Award
Dr. Sandy Bonny (PhD), Team Lead, Indigenous Student Achievement Pathways and STEM Access Initiatives, College of Arts and Science

“I began working at USask in 2012, just prior to Idle No More and before the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action in 2015. It is inspiring to witness the sea change of awareness these movements have brought to Saskatchewan. Teaching and program co-ordination need a strategic approach and it’s best to start with a good plan, but it is also important to honour emergent outcomes. The richest learning I’ve experienced—in my classroom, with colleagues, and in community contexts—has happened when we’ve protected time for conversation and surprise.”

Dr. Elaina Guilmette

Dr. Elaina Guilmette (PhD), Curriculum Development Co-ordinator, School of Environment and Sustainability

“I’m motivated by working with new people and making positive changes in teaching and learning. Dr. Greg Poelzer (PhD) (of SENS) and Dr. Sara Dzaman (PhD) (of the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning) are my mentors for their support, guidance, and positivity. They both took me under their wings when I joined USask and continue to mentor and inspire me to dream big, take risks, and achieve the impossible. I encourage everyone to connect with others on campus as much as possible and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.”

College-level Teaching Awards for Excellence

Dr. Geraldine Balzer

Dr. Geraldine Balzer (PhD), Associate Professor of Curriculum Studies and Department Head and Graduate Chair, Educational Foundations, College of Education  

“I am motivated by the joy of learning and the awareness that the students I work with, future and current teachers, have the capacity to use the knowledge they are exposed to make a difference. My teaching and research focus on social justice issues, and I hope that the ideas shared in my classroom can bring equity to a small corner of the world.”

Dr. Martin Boucher

Dr. Martin Boucher (PhD), Lecturer, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and Associate Member, School of Environment and Sustainability

“I love seeing students see themselves in a new light and realize they can do more than they once thought. It is wonderful to see someone overcome a limiting belief in themselves.”

Dr. Allison Cammer

Dr. Allison Cammer (PhD), Registered Dietitian, Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition

“Some of the most important lessons can’t be directly taught, they need to be experienced. Learning can be intimidating, and it requires trust. With that in mind, try to create a respectful space where it is safe to fail. If it isn’t safe place to fail, it isn’t a comfortable place to authentically engage.”

Dr. Tasha Epp

Dr. Tasha Epp (DVM, PhD), Professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine

“My work allows me to be involved with students and faculty doing very different research projects every week; from bees to bison to companion animals. In my specific projects, I have been able to make contributions to the real-world issues that individuals, industry, veterinary practices or communities have today, which is very meaningful for me.”

Dr. Maggie FitzGerald

Dr. Maggie FitzGerald (PhD), Assistant Professor, Department of Political Studies, College of Arts and Science

“I just love ideas. I love conversations that critically interrogate our values and concepts, that make us think about how we’ve organized social-political life, and what could be ‘otherwise.’ Tell me what matters to you, and why, and let me share my own thoughts on the same. Researching and teaching are both beautiful and ongoing conversations that I am lucky to be a part of.”

Paul Gustafson

Paul Gustafson, Sessional Lecturer, College of Kinesiology

“I am always excited to hear from past students and learn how they continue to reflect on their post-secondary experience and the influence this has had on their professional lives. It inspires me to see them in the community as educators, businesspeople, and professionals. I encourage colleagues and students to be engaged with your learning opportunities, ask questions, listen with an open mind, and enjoy the ride!”

Michael Hernik

Michael Hernik, Lecturer, Edwards School of Business

“As an educator, I am motivated by teaching others the knowledge I have accumulated over the years. More importantly, I am passionate about getting others interested and excited about accounting, even if they have no interest in the subject matter.”

Dr. Natacha Hogan

Dr. Natacha Hogan (PhD), Associate Professor, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, College of Agriculture and Bioresources

My research program bridges many scientific disciplines – animal health, toxicology, environmental stress, biotechnology – and it is exciting when I can contribute to new knowledge and understanding in my field of expertise. But the most gratifying moments for me are when I can get students excited about the science and then they connect what they learn to real-world situations – the ‘eureka’ moments!”

Dr. Nassrein Hussein

Dr. Nassrein Hussein (MD), Assistant Professor and Division Head, Endocrinology and Metabolism, College of Medicine

"When I was a first-year medical student, I was assigned a student mentor from the year above me. He was incredibly helpful with tips and advice on surviving medical school and clerkship. I found it very valuable to have the perspective and guidance of someone who was so ‘fresh’ from the same experiences I was going through. We still get in touch occasionally to this day, which I think speaks to the powerful connection of student peer mentorship.”

Dr. Gregory Kost

Dr. Gregory Kost (DMD), Interim Assistant Dean of Clinics, College of Dentistry

“The atmosphere at the Dental Clinic in the College of Dentistry, created by students, patients, colleagues and staff, creates a vibrant work environment that is inspiring. Each day I am motivated to share my clinical experience and knowledge to mentor students during every clinical experience.”

Dr. Tania Kristoff

Dr. Tania Kristoff (PhD), Assistant Professor - Academic Programming and Undergraduate Academic Lead, College of Nursing

“The relationships with the learners, faculty and staff at the Prince Albert campus motivate my teaching. At the Prince Albert campus, we get to know our learners individually and can focus on meeting their needs and outcomes. We collaborate to create supportive environments that promote active learning and critical thinking and encourage learners to apply their knowledge in clinical practice. For instance, I am collaborating with Prince Albert staff and faculty to integrate virtual simulation into an undergraduate course to meet learning needs.”

Dr. Jaime Lavallee

Dr. Jaime Lavallee (SJD), Assistant Professor, College of Law

“What motivates me is being able to bring context to ‘the law’ through mine and others’ lived experiences and expertise. Maybe one day, one person will re-consider one belief, issue, answer or viewpoint – and that could be a ripple that turns into a tsunami of change.”

Dr. Ebrahim Bedeer Mohamed

Dr. Ebrahim Bedeer Mohamed (PhD), Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering

“I’m motivated by the constant challenge of pushing boundaries in wireless communication to see how they can impact the world. While I have been fortunate to learn from many inspiring individuals throughout my career, I would like to remember Professor Ha H. Nguyen (who sadly passed away in September 2022) for his significant contributions to the University of Saskatchewan and the research community.”

Dr. Amy Stevens

Dr. Amy Stevens (DPhil), Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Science   

“I relish invoking my research experiences to inspire and enliven my teaching. My research involves studying certain properties of molecules with pulsed lasers. Showing students how visually striking some molecules can be when you ‘light them up’ with a laser is particularly satisfying. Placing teaching material in a context that shows its relevance to everyday life, while also conveying how it is still used in cutting-edge research, enriches my chemistry courses and helps students to persevere even when the teaching material becomes quite challenging!”

Together, we will undertake the research the world needs. We invite you to join by supporting critical research at USask.

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