April 15, 2020
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University is recognizing 10 instructors and learning professionals for engaging and innovative approaches to teaching and learning that elevate the educational experience of students.
Laurier’s Donald F. Morgenson Awards for Teaching Excellence, which celebrate early career and sustained excellence, mentoring, and teaching innovation, were awarded to six recipients. New in 2020 is a category recognizing staff members who create enriching student learning environments. Laurier is also recognizing the 2020 recipient of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Laurier’s most prestigious teaching awards program, the Donald F. Morgenson Awards for Teaching Excellence, honour the legacy of Laurier Professor Emeritus Donald Morgenson, a long-time, beloved faculty member who passed away in 2017.
Recipients of the 2020 Donald F. Morgenson Awards for Teaching Excellence include:Sustained Excellence:
Laurier’s recipient of the 2020 Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Award for Excellence in Teaching, an honour bestowed by students:
Neylan, an associate professor in the Department of History, has taught at Laurier for 20 years. She is being recognized for her commitment to integrating Indigenous content into teaching, engaging students in problem-based learning and engaging community members through public lectures.
“As history is being made all around us, we suddenly find ourselves teaching and learning in different ways,” said Neylan. “I have no doubt that we’ll rise to the challenge over the coming months because of our strong community of gifted instructors and engaged students.”
Damm, who has taught at Laurier since 2008 in the Department of Religion and Culture, is being honoured for his commitment to excellence in teaching, whether online on in-person. He possesses an ability to connect with students in a compassionate, honest way that promotes productive and inclusive learning environments.
“Through this award, I am reminded not only of the high teaching standards which Laurier values, but also of those faculty and staff members who work each day with integrity, sincerity and compassion,” said Damm. “Though they might not receive formal recognition, they embody the abiding and underlying qualities of teaching.”
An assistant professor in the Department of Organizational Behaviour and Department of Human Resource Management, Woodwark is known for exceptional leadership in teaching and learning. She works on business case competitions with students and uses experiential and active learning approaches to deliver inspiring educational experiences.
“I feel really blessed to get to teach what I love at a wonderful school like Laurier with such amazing students and colleagues,” said Woodwark. “Great teaching comes from having had great teachers, so I strive to honour the fantastic role models I have had by paying it forward to the best of my ability.”
An instructor in the Faculty of Science since 2017, Iqbal’s teaching stands out due to her use of experiential learning, efforts to incorporate Indigenous content into courses and focus on enhancing the academic experience of first-year students. Iqbal also possesses a commitment to professional development and openness to innovation.
“As an educator I try my best to teach and influence my students in a positive manner,” said Iqbal. “I was honoured that my students nominated me for this award and now, being the recipient, I am truly grateful.”
Freidel is an associate professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures who utilizes innovative approaches in courses and field experiences that deepen students’ awareness and understanding of contemporary issues, with a specific focus on francophone language and culture.
“It is a privilege and an honour to be awarded for what I enjoy doing the most: taking my students on voyages of discovery and encouraging them to map their own journeys through francophone literatures and cultures,” said Freidel. “I am also grateful to be part of an inspiring and dedicated community of scholars at Laurier.”
Kalmar is an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education. She has been at Laurier since 2009. Kalmar is being recognized for her thoughtful and purposeful approach to mentorship, as well as her experience offering directed studies courses, supervising student research in the field of exercise neuroscience, and service to student award committees.
“Working with bright and enthusiastic students in my lab and classroom is a highlight of my job,” said Kalmar. “I've learned as much from these students as they may have learned from me and I feel lucky to have been able to share this time of their lives with them.”
Karley Doucette and Jenna Olender
Doucette, a writing and learning support coordinator, and Olender, manager of Learning Skills and Development, are co-recipients of a Donald F. Morgenson Staff Award for Teaching Excellence. The Brantford campus employees have worked at Laurier since 2010 and 2007, respectively, and serve as a critical connection for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty members aiming to support students in reaching their academic goals.
“Karley and I are very honoured to have been selected as the first team to receive the Staff Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning,” said Olender. “It is our privilege to work every day to support the learning of our students and we sincerely appreciate the recognition from our esteemed colleagues.”
Schwartz works as a cooperative education curriculum coordinator in Laurier’s Experiential Learning and Career Development unit. Since 2013, he has focused his efforts on the professional and academic success of students by helping them build the skills and confidence needed to succeed in co-op and beyond.
“It is such an incredible honour to be the inaugural recipient of the staff award bearing Dr. Morgenson's name,” said Schwartz. “We are fortunate in co-op to have support from our on-campus partners, faculty and employment community. My hope is that this collaborative approach shows that student development is a collective responsibility where we can support each other in our objectives.”
Ehaab D. Abdou
Abdou’s work as an assistant professor centres on promoting the inclusion and participation of marginalized groups, with a focus on students’ active involvement in social entrepreneurship and international development. Abdou was nominated by Laurier students for prioritizing student mental health, equity, inclusion and critical self-reflection in his classes.
“It is a real pleasure and an honour to receive this recognition,” said Abdou. “I feel extremely fortunate and blessed to be working with such dedicated and passionate students, and such kind, supportive and inspiring colleagues.”
A celebration of the award winners will be held at a yet-to-be determined date in the fall. Learn more about award-winning Laurier faculty members recognized for teaching excellence.
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M. Kristiina Montero, Associate Vice-President
Teaching and Learning (Interim), Wilfrid Laurier University
Lori Chalmers Morrison, Director: Integrated Communications
External Relations, Wilfrid Laurier University