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Teaching for tomorrow: 4 outstanding Concordia professors

The 2016 President’s Excellence in Teaching Awards celebrate the classroom contributions of devoted faculty
June 7, 2016
By James Roach

Graham Carr, Danielle Morin, Daniel Douek, Linda Swanson, Catherine Bolton and Stephen Yeager.

Nobody forgets the teachers who made a difference in their lives — as role models, mentors and career coaches. We appreciate their personal investment and their passion.

That’s why, every spring, the President’s Excellence in Teaching Awards are presented to underline Concordia’s appreciation for faculty who are driven to deliver memorable and potentially life-changing student experiences — inside and outside of the classroom.

“Good teaching at all levels is fundamental to Concordia’s identity and its importance has been reinforced by our recent strategic exercise, which included at least five directions in support of teaching and innovative approaches to learning,” said Alan Shepard, president of Concordia.

Leading by example, Shepard, who is also a professor in the Department of English, recently shared his personal and professional insight with students as part of a Thesis Boost writing workshop.

Here are the four outstanding faculty members of 2016.

The 2016 President’s Excellence in Teaching Awards

Daniel Douek: Award for Excellence in Teaching (Part-Time Faculty)

Daniel Douek goes the extra mile. The part-time faculty member in the Department of Political Science has a teaching practice that is centred on student development and success.

He excels by organizing workshops on essay writing and surviving graduate school, as well as securing guest speakers who inspire his students to strive for continued accomplishments across their studies and lives.

“The selection committee appreciated Daniel’s approach to interdisciplinary teaching and the inclusion of other disciplines in his political science courses. They especially remarked on the expanse of his knowledge. He wholeheartedly shares his understanding with students,” said Graham Carr, interim provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs.

“Daniel’s high level of classroom engagement and passion for his discipline inspires growth and accomplishments far beyond his university lectures,” he said.

Danielle Morin: Award for Excellence in Teaching (Full-Time Faculty)

Danielle Morin, a professor in the Department of Supply Chain and Business Technology Management, has a passion for teaching, inspiring and mentoring her students. These are only a few of the qualities she brings to the classroom that earned her the president’s recognition for excellence.

“The clarity of Danielle’s teaching philosophy articulates her commitment to respect, discussion and the development of higher-order thinking,” said Carr.

“Her team-building skills in the classroom greatly impressed the selection committee. They also remarked on her positive influence on peers and the generous manner in which she assists other faculty in developing their own exceptional teaching practices.”

Fittingly, Morin’s current research interests focus on university education, namely the impact of technology integration and interdisciplinarity on student's learning and acquisition of higher-order skills.

Linda Swanson: Award for Excellence in Teaching (New Teacher)

Linda Swanson has made ceramics her mission. Swanson is an assistant professor in the Department of Studio Arts and a well-known member of the Faculty of Fine Arts, most notably for her dedication to the Ceramics Program.

But she is equally lauded for developing important resources that include gallery and exhibit space where students can showcase and share their best work with the community.

“Linda’s devotion to her students is also exemplified by her practice of mentoring students, including post-graduation. Her dedication truly goes beyond the classroom and has greatly inspired and enriched the lives of her students,” said Carr.

Stephen Yeager: Award for Excellence in Teaching (Innovation)

In an era of Twitter and text messaging, Old English can be a tough sell. But Stephen Yeager — an assistant professor in Concordia’s Department of English — takes an innovative approach to ancient Anglo-Saxon: he uses the work of Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien.

Yeager’s focus on innovation has earned him this accolade from the president.

“Stephen impressed the committee by his ability to combine two different aspects of English literature and captivate the interest of his students while tackling difficult subject matter,” said Carr.

“His skill at pedagogical development and his responsiveness to individual students’ needs and skill levels continue to be remarkable assets in the classroom.”


Read more about Concordia’s nine strategic directions, including take pride, teach for tomorrow, experiment boldly and go beyond.

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