Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) Professor Mark Winfield and lecturer Robin Cavanagh (MES ’00) are this year’s winners the third annual FES Dean’s Teaching Award.
Announced Thursday by FES Dean Barbara Rahder, the award recognizes Winfield and Cavanagh’s excellent contributions to teaching and pedagogy. The task of choosing just one recipient proved too difficult this year, so both Winfield and Cavanagh were chosen.
Winfield was commended for his commitment to teaching excellence through his passion and innovation within the classroom, in his role as an adviser, and in his contributions to curriculum in FES. His nominators described his courses as extremely challenging, but also extremely rewarding and inspiring. Students were eager to describe his innovations in the classroom, such as participation in mock parliamentary committees and projects that allow them to apply critical theoretical concepts to real-world cases. They were unanimous in their opinion of him as an accessible and engaging adviser whose primary goal is to help them excel.
Winfield, who won a Metcalf Foundation, Leaders in the Field Fellowship, in 2007, is the author of Blue-Green Province: The Environment and the Political Economy of Ontario (University of British Columbia Press).
Cavanagh was commended for his exceptional promotion of Indigenous pedagogy in FES and at York more broadly. Cavanagh’s nominators described gathering around the sacred council fire in his newly created outdoor classroom and experiencing a sense of community that extends far beyond the norms of Western academic practice. Students were unanimous in their praise for his teaching as a uniquely transformative experience that fed their bodies and spirits, as well as their minds. Several students also commented on the importance of his involvement with Aboriginal student organizations at York – providing time and space to welcome and actively listen to students.
Cavanagh has also received the Allen T. Lambert Scholars Award for people of Aboriginal Heritage, in recognition of excellent scholarly and research practices, four times.