Four profs win Ontario teaching awards

Four York professors are among 100 honoured faculty at Ontario’s colleges and universities who won 2007 Leadership in Faculty Teaching Awards (LIFT).

They are law Professors Mary Jane Mossman and Peer Zumbansen, political scientist Saeed Rahnema and computer scientist Hamzeh Roumani. Three of the four are already award-winning teachers.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities presents LIFT awards each year to faculty who influence, motivate and inspire students and demonstrate leadership in teaching methods for the diverse student body in Ontario. Nominated by students and peers, the winners receive $20,000 over two years to encourage continued excellence in the classroom.

Mary Jane Mossman, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and a trail-blazing feminist legal scholar, was named a University Professor (see the May 2 issue of YFile) this year. She has also received two previous teaching awards: the Osgoode Hall Law School Teaching Excellence Award in 2006 and an award of excellence from the Canadian Association of Law Teachers in 2004.

Left: Mary Jane Mossman

The LIFT citation notes: "Mossman’s contributions to teaching are distinguished by her passion for justice and legal education, and her unwavering commitment to accessibility and inclusion. She has the rare gift of presenting difficult legal concepts in a clear and logical way that facilitates learning and stimulates students’ interest in the subject matter. By putting the law in a larger social and policy context, Mary Jane Mossman encourages her students to understand how it shapes society."

Saeed Rahnema, a professor in the School of Social Sciences, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies and the Department of Political Science in York’s Faculty of Arts, won the York University-Wide Teaching Excellence Award in 2004.  Maclean’s Magazine Guide to Canadian Universities named him most popular professor at York from 2002 to 2005. 

Left: Saeed Rahnema

The LIFT citation says: "Rahnema stimulates students by not only challenging dominant theories about the Middle East but also challenging prejudices to show students that we must look at information with a critical eye. Through his integrated style of teaching that combines lectures, in-class debates and interactive presentations, he fosters cooperation and the healthy development of student learning."

Hamzeh Roumani, a computer science professor in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, won a University-Wide Teaching Award for Teaching Excellence in 1996. He also won the 1995 and 2000 Excellence in Teaching Award from the former Faculty of Pure & Applied Science.

Left: Hamzeh Roumani

The LIFT citation says: "Roumani’s contributions to teaching span a wide spectrum including writing papers on teaching pedagogy, developing new and innovative methodology for teaching programming to freshmen, writing text books, curriculum development, and, most importantly, excellence in the classroom. Hamzeh Roumani has the ability to convey information to students through a balance of communicating abstract principals and integrated discussion."

Peer Zumbansen, associate dean at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, has been Canada Research Chair in the Transnational and Comparative Law of Corporate Governance at Osgoode since 2004.

Left: Peer Zumbansen

The LIFT citation says: "Zumbansen’s approach to instruction is marked by his commitment to excellence. His courses have generated a vibrant student intellectual community through his generation of the German Law Journal, his guest speaker series ‘Putting Theory into Practice’, his voluntary weekly legal theory seminar, and Legal Latitudes, a student-run business and law newsletter. He continues to embark on intellectual adventures with his students."