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‘There is nobility in teaching’

The Faculty of Fine Arts recognizes two outstanding professors
May 26, 2015
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By Renée Dunk

Roy Cross (second from left) and Juan Carlos Castro (second from right) were honoured with Distinguished Teaching Awards at a ceremony on May 12. Also in attendance were Catherine Wild, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts; Mark Sussman, associate dean (centre), and Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon. | All photos by Concordia University Roy Cross (second from left) and Juan Carlos Castro (second from right) were honoured with Distinguished Teaching Awards at a ceremony on May 12. Also in attendance were Catherine Wild, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts; Mark Sussman, associate dean (centre), and Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon. | Photos: Concordia University

At a recent ceremony in the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV), Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts honoured Juan Carlos Castro, assistant professor in the Department of Art Education and Roy Cross, associate professor at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, with Distinguished Teaching Awards.

“Pedagogical practice across all units in our Faculty is valued at the same level as research,” said Catherine Wild, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts. “The number of people who take stewardship of their programs into their own hands is outstanding.”

The awards recognize classroom teaching, curriculum or program development and the advancement of teaching and advising practices. Faculty members each receive $1,500 in support of their work.

Castro was given the Emerging Award, which celebrates the contributions of individuals with five to 10 years of experience in the faculty. The Established Award, given to professors who have been with the faculty for a minimum of 10 years, went to Cross.

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 on May 12.

In his address, Bacon spoke about how the classroom contributions of the two professors bolster Concordia’s reputation for providing a top-notch academic experience, and for being a place where students are exposed to research of the highest quality.

“The importance of teaching at Concordia is exemplified by the exceptional quality and impact of the people in the Faculty of Fine Arts,” he said.

Juan Carlos Castro, assistant professor of art education: “Teaching is about relationships and how we grow those relationships.” Juan Carlos Castro: “Teaching is about relationships and how we grow those relationships.”

Juan Carlos Castro – Emerging Award

Described by colleagues as both a visionary and the department’s “star pitcher,” Castro says that as a teacher, his job is to create conditions in which students can learn and excel. “Teaching is about relationships, and how we grow from those relationships,” he explains.

Castro’s research focuses on the dynamics and qualities of knowing, learning and teaching art through new and social media, as understood through complexity thinking and network theory.

His current research examines how mobile media coupled with creative production networks knowledge in urban environments to create educational and civic engagement with teens and young adults.

He joined the Faculty of Fine Arts as an assistant professor of art education in 2010.

Roy Cross, associate professor at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema: “I try to be the teacher that I wish I’d had.” Roy Cross: “I try to be the teacher that I wish I’d had.”

Roy Cross – Established Award

Roy Cross joined the full-time film production faculty at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema in 2002 after almost 20 years spent making films. He says that he took to teaching almost instantly.

“There is nobility in teaching. I enjoy doing something bigger and beyond filmmaking,” he explains, adding that his philosophy as an educator is to encourage his students to be themselves. “My best teachers let me be who I wanted to be. I try to emulate them, but I also try to be the teacher that I wish I’d had.”

Fellow cinema professor Daniel Cross (no relation) says that Roy makes students feel safe to explore their art with his grounded and committed teaching style. This commitment includes Cross’s continual revision of his pedagogy to incorporate new possibilities offered by evolving digital technology.

Read about other Concordians being honoured with awards this spring, including Rhona Richman Kenneally, a professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts.

 



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