Atkinson celebrates excellence in teaching and research

Most of us have fond memories of at least one teacher or professor who, regardless of our love for learning, made the classroom an exciting and warm place to be. Annually, the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies at York University recognizes the impact those individuals have on students and the community through the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research. The awards were handed out this year at the inaugural Engaging Research Celebration held on April 28 (for an overview of the event, see the May 29, 2008 issue of YFile).

“On behalf of the Faculty, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to all of the award winners as well as their colleagues,” said Atkinson Dean Rhonda Lenton. “Their commitment to challenging traditional boundaries, creating innovative classrooms, and conducting leading-edge research has a tremendous impact on student success and York University. We are very proud of their achievements.”

Right: Professor Jelena Zikic received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research

This year’s recipients of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research include administrative studies Professor Jelena Zikic and information technology Professor Zijiang Yang. Both were honoured for their expertise and the impact their interdisciplinary work has had on their field.

Right: Professor William Gleberzon (left) with Atkinson Dean Rhonda Lenton

The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching was given to administrative studies Professors Parbudyal Singh and Nabil Tahani; economics Professor George Georgopoulos; and arts & letters Professor William Gleberzon. They were recognized for their commitment to teaching, and for empowering students to think critically and creatively, recognize their potential and strive for excellence.

“This year’s award recipients reflect the ongoing commitment faculty have to enhancing student learning and building on Atkinson’s tradition of interdisciplinary and innovative research,” said Professor Kelly Thomson, Atkinson’s associate dean of research & faculty development. “Their contributions and success have helped to build a strong teaching and learning community and have set the standards high for excellence.”

Left: Professor Nabil Tahani (left) with Lenton

Georgopolous credits his undergraduate professors for where he is today. They inspired him to further his studies; he keeps these positive memories in mind when teaching, aware that his instruction and performance can influence students’ decisions on their career choices. “Students have the fundamental right to leave university with a sound grasp of current knowledge, with confidence that they can apply this knowledge in a responsible fashion, and to have within them a desire and appreciation for life-long learning,” he said. “I am honoured and grateful to have the opportunity to assist them in achieving their goals.”

Left: Professor George Georgopoulos (left) with Lenton

Georgopolous’ enthusiasm is matched by fellow teaching award winner Gleberzon. “I approach teaching with passion,” he said. “To me, this means being student-centred. As such, I endeavour to create a non-threatening, supportive and positive learning environment in which students are comfortable, empowered and encouraged to participate in dialogue with their fellow students and I.”

For more information about the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, contact Atkinson’s Faculty Council Office at ext. 58193.