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Laurier names outstanding teacher award recipients
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To receive a teaching award from a university devoted to teaching excellence carries with it not only recognition and prestige, but for the recipients of the Wilfrid Laurier University 2010 Awards for Teaching Excellence it also means accolades from colleagues and students.
Peer and student praise abounded for this year’s award recipients: Dr. Eileen Wood in the full-time faculty category and Dr. Fiona Rawle in the part-time contract academic staff category.
Psychology professor Dr. Eileen Wood is respected by her colleagues for her teaching strategies, curriculum development, research excellence and her ability to connect with a broad range of students.
The departmental nomination letter for Wood recognizes her deep commitment to the highest possible standards of education and describes her as a “master teacher from whom all professors can learn and a very competent researcher who brilliantly integrates scholarly activity with classroom instruction and thesis supervision at an exceptional level of performance.”
Colleague Dr. Kim Roberts, who considers Wood a mentor, offers her highest recommendation in her nomination letter. “(Wood) excels in teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, maintains a thriving research program… and even educates educators! She has committed her career to helping people learn.”
Wood was selected as Laurier’s Research Professor in 2009. She has authored two textbooks; both received the Pearson Book of the Year Award in their categories.
“I’m fortunate to have had great role models whose commitment to excellence in instruction excited my own interest in educational research and my desire to become a good educator,” says Wood. “I’ve also received encouragement from students regarding new instructional approaches. It is a great honour for me to be acknowledged and I am thankful to my mentors and students for their guidance.”
Many current and former students credit Wood with her passion and ability to engage them in course material.
“Dr. Wood delivers the material in her class with enthusiasm and passion,” reads one student nomination. “She’s extremely patient, and is willing to explain a concept multiple times to ensure that everyone has understood it.”
Biology professor Dr. Fiona Rawle’s departmental nomination letter recognizes her as being at the forefront in using new technologies, and for her willingness to share her expertise by mentoring colleagues, instructional assistants and graduate students in teaching techniques. The letter describes her as “a dedicated, passionate and effective teacher who is able to get the best out of her students.”
In her nomination letter, Biology Department chair Dr. Lucy Lee mentions the “glowing commendations” from Rawle’s students.
“(Rawle) is inspiring and has been an excellent role model, not only to her students, but to the teaching and instructional assistants, as well as to staff and colleagues,” says Lee. “In the short time she has been at Laurier (since 2007), Fiona has taught over twelve hundred students… and managed to keep their interest and enthusiasm high. Her ability to inspire and be a role model for students is outstanding!”
"It’s an honour to receive this award and a great pleasure to see that my passion for biology has been transmitted to my students,” says Rawle. “I love teaching, and as always, it is the great faculty and students I work with that make teaching worthwhile."
Current and former students appreciate her dedication to student learning and her compassion.
“Dr. Rawle has gained the reputation of one of the nicest and most approachable teachers at Laurier,” reads a student nomination letter. “For a professor to be as knowledgeable yet as humble as Dr. Rawle is extremely rare. She not only brings biology to the classroom, she brings biology to life!”
Wood and Rawle will receive their awards at Laurier’s spring convocation in June. Photos of the award recipients will be placed in the Teaching Hall of Fame in the Bricker Academic building.
Laurier’s teaching assistant award of excellence will be adjudicated the last week of March.