Celebrating excellence in teaching

At Fall Convocation the university honours the outstanding talent, dedication and creativity of the faculty members and other teaching staff who provide such a high quality of education to our students.

“We are extremely proud of the recipients of this year’s awards for excellence in teaching,” says Vice-President Academic and Provost Reeta Tremblay. “On behalf of the university, I would like to congratulate and express our deep appreciation of these outstanding teachers who contribute so much to the lives of their students and to the value of a UVic education.”

Dr. Liana Victorino

Peter B. Gustavson School of Business Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Liana Victorino has received the Commerce Students’ Society Teaching Award for the last two years. Students feel comfortable sharing their opinions and asking questions in her classes. For her, the learning process is one of joint discovery, where both the student and the instructor actively think and interact in courses designed to be a challenging and rewarding experience. Victorino consistently incorporates real world business applications in her courses and provides learning experiences that steer students toward success and developing their own passion for the subject matter.

Dr. Deborah Begoray

Faculty of Education Award for Excellence in Research

Dr. Deborah Begoray (curriculum and instruction) is an internationally renowned literacy researcher who demonstrates the important synergy between teaching and research. Her research has led to curriculum development and teaching strategies that are taken up in classrooms in public schools, community health clinics, a First Nations Community school and medical education classrooms. She consistently integrates her research findings and strategies into undergraduate and graduate courses she teaches. Much of the over $1 million in external funding secured by Begoray has been directed at research that focuses primarily on teaching issues and interventions.

Dr. Amirali Baniasadi

Faculty of Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Amirali Baniasadi (electrical and computer engineering) has consistently received excellent reviews including peer and student evaluations. His goal is to educate students to a level where they understand both the underlying fundamentals and the state of the art in computer design. He has regularly contributed to curriculum development and has designed lab manuals and new experiments to help students better understand fundamentals of computer engineering. Baniasadi has received Learning and Teaching Centre and NSERC design chair awards for his teaching contributions. His former students hold faculty positions at Canadian and US universities.

Dr. Yang Shi

Faculty of Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Yang Shi (mechanical engineering) joined UVic in 2009, coming from the University of Saskatchewan where he received awards for outstanding teaching. He has consistently received outstanding teaching effectiveness scores on course evaluations and remarkable praise from his students. Shi has provided excellent supervision to a very large group of graduate students and research associates through a productive research program, and served on many graduate supervisory committees. As the undergraduate advisor and chair of the Curriculum Committee of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, he has made considerable contributions to the mechanical engineering undergraduate program.

Dr. Michelle Fillion

Faculty of Fine Arts Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Michelle Fillion (music) inspires her students to make their music studies as much a vital part of their lives as breathing oxygen. Her teaching philosophy is “to infect them with some of the passion that I have always felt – for music, for research and the ring of good prose, and for the intellectual and creative work that comes from mind and heart.” She shares what she knows and loves, and “plays it by heart.” She has published widely and has consistently demonstrated, to quote one of her doctoral students, “superior performance in the classroom.”

Jin-Sun Yoon

Faculty of Human and Social Development Award for Teaching Excellence

Jin-Sun Yoon (child and youth care) shows heartfelt dedication in supporting students and practitioners in developing an ethical and mindful approach to professional practice. She provides an optimal learning environment where inclusion and belonging are the foundation. Her wide range of professional work in many countries has given Jin-Sun an intergenerational and intercultural lens that informs her teaching of social justice and diversity in working with children, youth, families and communities. She is committed to providing opportunities for students to expand on their classroom learning as she engages them in community practice, advocacy and activism.

Dr. Helga Thorson

Faculty of Humanities Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Helga Thorson (Germanic and Slavic studies) inspires her students to look not only inward but also back in time. She is a founding director of UVic’s I-witness Holocaust Field School, a unique course that explores ways in which the Holocaust has become memorialized in Central Europe. It offers far more than the acquisition of skills and knowled#8805; it changes students’ lives. This success results from Thorson’s collaborative approach to learning and teaching, by which students are also producers of knowledge. Thorson has excelled as a graduate-level instructor and graduate advisorand revived the department’s tradition of graduate-student conferences.

Prof. Glenn Gallins

Faculty of Law Terry J. Wuester Teaching Award

Professor Glenn Gallins (law) is receiving this award for the third time in 10 years. Gallins directs the Law Centre, the legal aid clinic, where students deal with legal problems faced by some of Victoria’s neediest citizens. All clients are poor, many are homeless, many have mental illnesses, many are recent immigrants or Indigenous citizens. They are helped by students, and the students are helped by Gallins. He instructs them in law, procedure, and—critically—the human context of legal practice. He teaches and exemplifies the highest ethical values of lawyering, maintaining his enthusiasm, serenity and humour.

Dr. George Spence

Faculty of Science Teaching Excellence Award

Dr. George Spence (earth and ocean sciences) is an outstanding teacher who has contributed enormously to educational programs and to student learning in the Faculty of Science. He is passionate about science and inspires students. He is always respectful and available to students, and genuinely cares that they learn and develop as professionals. The value of his personal mentoring to a large number of students cannot be overstated. Students praise his enthusiasm and dedication, broad and deep knowledge of the material, wide range of teaching techniques and ability to motivate learning and make classes enjoyable.

Dr. April Nowell

Faculty of Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. April Nowell (anthropology) is a scholar of early humankind whose passion inspires her students to pursue their own life passions. A dedicated teacher, Nowell is highly competent, energetic and motivates her students to learn. She is a strong advocate of effective mentoring, helping students discover their excitement for research, and fostering their individual creativity, and their transition to professional careers. A graduate student says, “she has found the perfect balance between providing direction while still leaving enough space for students to be more self-directed and pursue their areas of interest.”

Dr. Andrew Wender

Gillian Sherwin Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Andrew Wender, (political science/history) is deeply committed to teaching and strives to bring intellectual breadth, rigor and excitement to his classes. He shares his devotion to learning and fostering nuanced understanding of religion and global affairs, and he works with colleagues to develop effective strategies for teaching and learning. At the core of his efforts is the belief in cultivating engaged and critically aware citizens. As well, his growing expertise on issues in the Middle East means that he is in demand to speak with community groups and local and national media.

Catherine Nutting

Andy Farquharson Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching

Catherine Nutting (history In art) is an inspiring, compassionate and engaging teacher. Students view her as a positive and inspiring role model, noting often that her classes are the best they have experienced at UVic. She combines driving curiosity, enthusiasm and passion for the historical study of art with strong personal ethics and a desire to mentor others. She models in the classroom the values of compassion, integrity and collaboration. She not only encourages her students to think critically about art but she also fosters a positive learning environment, allowing each student to have a voice.


Crystal Tremblay

Andy Farquharson Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching

Crystal Tremblay (geography) is a dynamic, enthusiastic and engaging teacher who creates supportive, open learning environments that facilitate diverse learning styles and support the specific needs of students. She has managed to inspire a large classroom of 150 students while also addressing specific student needs. During a field school experience in India, under sometimes trying circumstances, she served as an outstanding role model and inspiration to the students, providing teaching support as well as mental, physical and emotional support to the 20 female students, helping all to see the additional learning opportunities this experience presented.



In this story

Keywords: teaching, award, convocation

People: Reeta Tremblay, Liana Victorino, Deborah Begoray, Amirali Baniasadi, Yang Shi, Michelle Fillion, Jin-Sun Yoon, Helga Thorson, Glenn Gallins, George Spence, April Nowell, Andrew Wender, Catherine Nutting, Crystal Tremblay

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