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3 exceptional Fine Arts instructors earn 2014 Distinguished Teaching Awards

Faculty highlights the classroom contributions of its professors
May 21, 2014
By Jasmine Stuart

Distinguished Teaching Awards 2014 Alice Ming Wai Jim, Rhona Richman Kenneally and Stephanie Russ (front row, from left) were honoured with Distinguished Teaching Awards at a ceremony on May 15. Second row, from left: Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Associate Dean Mark Sussman, and Dean Catherine Wild. | All photos by Concordia University

Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts has honoured Alice Ming Wai Jim, Rhona Richman Kenneally and Stephanie Russ with Distinguished Teaching Awards.

“These awards recognize the importance of great teaching for our students and its role in effectively integrating and disseminating leading research and research-creation practices in to our programs.” said Catherine Wild, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts. “High quality teaching is what we do.”

This year marks the first time the awards — which recognize classroom teaching, curriculum or program development and the advancement of teaching and advising practices — have been given out since 2006. The faculty members each receive $1,500 in support of their work.

Russ and Richman Kenneally won the Established Award, which takes into account professors who have been with the faculty for a minimum of 10 years. Jim, meanwhile, was given the Emerging Award, an honour that celebrates the contributions of individuals with five to 10 years of experience within the faculty.

In addition to Wild, Benoit-Antoine Bacon, provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs, and Mark Sussman, associate dean of Academic and Student Affairs, attended the ceremony.

Wild was impressed by the scope of the three faculty members’ classroom achievements.

“They’ve demonstrated an incredible commitment to education at Concordia,” she said.

Alice Ming Wai Jim — Emerging Award

Alice Ming Wai Jim, an associate professor in the Department of Art History, began at Concordia in 2006. She teaches courses on contemporary art, media art, ethnocultural art histories, international art exhibitions and curatorial studies.

“My teaching aspires to the same values of diversity, accessibility, innovation and academic excellence that I’ve seen at the university since time I arrived,” she said.

As a researcher, Jim investigates contemporary Asian and Asian-Canadian art, with a focus on recent media art, theories of representation and the relationship between remix culture and place identity. She carries her enthusiasm for those subjects into the classroom.

“My pedagogical practice, learning activities and assignments are oriented and designed to increase the ability of students of all learning styles to succeed in my courses.”

Rhona Richman Kenneally — Established Award

For Rhona Richman Kenneally, an associate professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts, interacting with students is a fundamental part of any class.

“My approach and teaching method for each course, while satisfying all formal curriculum requirements, also includes innovations that facilitate a dynamic, nurturing and engagingly responsive exchange of knowledge and expertise,” she said.

Richman Kenneally’s current research focuses on domestic foodscapes — the spaces in the home where food is stored, prepared and eaten — in mid-20th-century households in Ireland.  Since first arriving at Concordia as a part-time instructor in 1999, she has strived to turn her classes into unique learning experiences.

Richman Kenneally became an associate professor in 2001 and served as chair of the Department of Design and Computation Arts from 2010 to 2012.

“Students have multiple opportunities to participate actively and explore diverse aspects of course material that is relevant to present-day matters of concern, and to feel a sense of accomplishment in doing so.”

Stephanie Russ — Established Award

“My approach to teaching is to guide the individual development of each student and expand the possibilities the mediums have to offer,” said Stephanie Russ, who has served as part-time instructor in the Department of Studio Arts since 1995.

Russ’s research explores death, along with remnants and traces of people’s lives. While she works primarily in lithography, UV screen-printing and digital print, she tailors her classroom materials to the interests of her students and the art world as a whole.

“I teach in print but see each student’s art practice as unique,” she said. “I modify my teaching to encompass the interdisciplinary approaches being used in art-making today.”

Find out about the 13 Concordia artists whose work will be featured in the Montreal biennale.


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