Atkinson celebrates teaching excellence

Two professors have won the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching this year in the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies.

Economics Prof. Gervan Fearon has received the award given to full-time faculty and administrative studies Prof. Michael Rochon, the award for contract faculty. The teaching awards recognize commitment to enhancing the learning experience and positively impacting student success.

"This year’s award recipients reflect the high quality of teaching and instruction at Atkinson," said Dean Rhonda Lenton.

Left: Gervan Fearon

Fearon brings a wealth of experience to the classroom. He worked for several years as a senior analyst in government and private industry. His passion for education spun from his own experience as a student and from a trip he took to Nigeria in 2005. As a volunteer to the Archbishop of the Diocese of Kaduna, he organized interfaith experiences for Christians and Muslims. He also conducted seminars on business management, career and retirement planning, and helped the National Open University of Nigeria with strategic planning. He currently serves as president of the board of directors for Tropicana Community Services, an organization focused on the needs of youth and Caribbean and black communities in Toronto.

"Nigeria’s main educational challenge is a lack of sufficient higher education facilities to meet the demands of its citizens," said Fearon, recently appointed associate dean (students) and master of Atkinson College. "When I returned to York, my passion for excellence in teaching and learning was combined with a new desire to make education accessible to those who learn quickly, to those who need assistance to overcome challenges, and to those who may be the first generation in their families to attend university. It was truly a transformative experience."  

Rochon, an Atkinson alumnus (BAS ’00), has taught courses in management science for six years. He fuses his practical experience in business and industry with course curricula and uses advanced software to bring statistical theory to life and give students the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed.

Right: Michael Rochon

"My primary goal is to create an environment where students feel motivated and excited about engaging in the learning process, despite what can be challenging subject matter," said Rochon. "I make a special effort to understand where my students are coming from in terms of their educational, professional and cultural background. When students recognize that you take an interest in them, the response is very positive."

Last year’s recipients of the Atkinson teaching awards were Sue Coffey, School of Nursing; Frances Latchford, School of Arts and Letters; and Julia Richardson, School of Administrative Studies.

For more information on the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, contact Atkinson’s Committee on Teaching & Learning, in Room 143, Atkinson.