Teaching excellence honoured in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies

A new Dean’s Teaching Award in the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) has been created to highlight extraordinary teaching at York University. 

The first recipient of this award, Professor Deborah Barndt, is being recognized for her skill and dedication as an instructor and supervisor.

The award was created by FES Dean Barbara Rahder in an effort to support and acknowledge excellence in teaching within the Faculty, and to celebrate and encourage teachers who academically challenge, motivate and inspire their students beyond normal expectations.

Right: Deborah Barndt

“We have done a good job in showcasing our research excellence but needed a way to recognize our excellent teachers as well,” said Rahder. “This award gives professors the opportunity to be recognized by their peers for their teaching excellence. It is a stepping stone to letting the rest of the world know that not only are our professors excellent researchers but also outstanding teachers.”  

As the recipient of the inaugural award, Barndt was commended specifically for her extraordinary contributions to classroom teaching, graduate student advising/supervising, curriculum development and pedagogical innovations that extend beyond FES into many other Faculties at York and beyond.

“Her nominators noted that ‘she epitomizes the core values of the Faculty in her commitment to interdisciplinary, praxis-oriented learning, both self-directed and collaborative, that honours diverse ways of knowing and embraces local community and international contexts as sites of engaged education,’” said Rahder. “The adjudicators noted that ranking the candidates for this award was almost impossible given the exceptional teaching contributions of all four of the nominees. Ultimately, Professor Barndt stood out for her innovative pedagogical contributions within FES and beyond.”

The award will be given annually and is open to all environmental studies instructors, both full and part time. Successful candidates must demonstrate outstanding skills and contributions to teaching and/or pedagogy, and will be evaluated based on classroom teaching, advising/supervising and curriculum/pedagogy. 

Candidates may be nominated by another professor or by a student. Nominations must include examples that demonstrate the candidate’s eligibility. Supporting letters from three professors and/or students along with educational materials that support the nomination are needed. Adjudication is done by an ad hoc committee of professors formed annually to review nominations and make recommendations to the dean, who makes the final decision.