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Three Fine Arts instructors earn Distinguished Teaching Awards

Noah Drew, Cynthia Hammond, and Donato Totaro take home awards for 2017
May 5, 2017
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By Cecilia Keating

Donato Totaro, Cynthia Hammond and Noah Drew received Distinguished Teaching Awards Donato Totaro (Film Studies), Cynthia Hammond (Art History) and Noah Drew (Theatre) received Distinguished Teaching Awards

Fine Arts staff and faculty gathered in the EV Building’s brightly-lit EV Junction space on Friday, 28 April for the department’s annual Distinguished Teaching Awards, dedicated to excellence in teaching, both inside and outside the classroom.

Noah Drew, assistant professor of theatre, Cynthia Hammond, associate professor of art history, and Donato Totaro, part-time film studies professor, took away the day’s awards and $1,000 each. Each award was presented by colleagues from their respective departments and accompanied by heartfelt speeches testifying to the winners’ endeavours and achievements.

Rebecca Duclos, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, said the awards are important because they acknowledge “what it means to actually teach, how demanding it is, and how rewarding it is to celebrate each other’s accomplishments.”

Duclos was careful to emphasise that this is not an award for research, saying that “while research is very important, it gets very high billing. We don’t often stop and talk about teaching as part of our work.” The award recognises work in the classroom alongside innovative teaching practices and efforts towards curriculum and program development.

Recognizing innovative teaching practices

Dean Duclos and Cynthia Hammond at the ceremony

A stalwart of the theatre department since 2012, Noah Drew was honoured with the emerging faculty award. Senior theatre lecturer Raymond Marius Boucher lauded his colleague’s commitment to helping “students find their own voice” alongside “facilitating his students' engagement in self-teaching.”

Cynthia Hammond took away the award for established full-time faculty. Fellow art history professors Catherine MacKenzie and Nicola Pezolet praised her innovative “Right to the City project” alongside her commitment to community-building and her incorporation of urban exploration into her practice.

“She is a superbly-talented practitioner,” said MacKenzie, “with a vocation rooted in hopefulness.”

Film studies’ Donato Totaro took away the part-time faculty award for his long-term commitment to the Film Studies program. Fellow film professor David Douglas joked that Totaro’s inspiring first-year film courses were crucial in helping Film Studies “poach everyone else’s students” and praised his colleague’s commitment to encouraging students to write and publish in Offscreen.

Offscreen is the longest running film journal in the world, conceived and edited by Totaro.

This year’s selection committee was chaired by Mark Sussman, associate dean of academic affairs. It was made up of former awardees, full and part-time faculty, and a staff member from outside the Fine Arts. Together the committee was responsible for analysing the voluminous dossiers submitted by nominators.



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