Theatre Professor Laura Levin is the recipient of the 2015 Senior Teaching Award in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD). She was presented with a plaque and congratulated for her tireless mentorship and unwavering support of her students at a reception on Sept. 16.
“I am perpetually impressed to witness what our faculty accomplish,” said AMPD Dean Shawn Brixey. “Among this group of overachievers, we come together each year to recognize a colleague whose efforts are incandescent. Congratulations, Laura!”
Levin currently serves as director of the MA/PhD Program in Theatre & Performance Studies and teaches courses on devised theatre, contemporary theatre, performance art and practice-based research. Her research focuses on performing gender and sexuality, site-specific and urban performance, intermediality in performance, and disciplinary genealogies in performance studies.
“Professor Levin has the highest possible standards,” said Department of Theatre Chair Elizabeth Asselstine. “She cares about her students and brings them along on her voyage of discovery through her teaching, research and service.”
Asselstine cited Levin’s work in the leading edge of the evolution of performance studies, including her contributions to the field as editor-in-chief of Canadian Theatre Review and the Ann Saddlemyer Award she received from the Canadian Association for Theatre Research for her book Performing Ground: Space, Camouflage, and the Art of Blending In (Palgrave, 2014).
In nominating Levin for the teaching award, her colleagues described her as ‘equitable and approachable’ as well as ‘detailed, thorough and industrious.” They noted her service on 17 PhD committees, not only in Theatre but across AMPD and beyond in Communication and Culture, Education, English and Environmental Studies.
They also highlighted how her students benefit from the professional development and networking opportunities arising through the Performance Studies Graduate Seminar that Levin organized for graduate students across the GTA, and the Performance Studies International conference which she directed.
This is the second year in a row that Theatre faculty took top honours for their contributions in the classroom. Previously, Professor Gwenyth Dobie received the Senior Teaching Award and her department colleague Professor Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston received the Junior Teaching Award in 2014.
Dobie’s nominators praised her gift for developing effective curriculum to accelerate students’ development and her meaningful interactions with all the students she encounters to help them achieve their goals. Among many accomplishments, she was also credited for championing two pan-Faculty productions that brought together students from dance, theatre, music and digital media to create and perform “stunning” evenings of opera and music theatre.
The nomination for Kazubowski-Houston recognized her contributions to curriculum reform and course development, and her sophisticated, engaging class materials. Her innovations in the field of performance ethnography were lauded for exposing students to essential research practices and modeling social justice in the academy.
The AMPD Teaching Awards recognize excellence in teaching by full-time faculty members in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design. Anyone can initiate a nomination, including a student, peer or department chair. The AMPD Research Grants and Awards Committee adjudicates the submissions, taking into consideration class polls, supervision, new teaching initiatives undertaken, new courses taught, research related to teaching and curriculum development, and contributions to the life and vibrancy of the school.
In addition to their personal plaque, award recipients see their names engraved on a Faculty plaque permanently mounted near the north entrance of the Centre for Film & Theatre, where their outstanding achievements are recorded for public recognition.