Four exceptional York University faculty members who have demonstrated enthusiasm and innovative approaches to teaching have been named the recipients of the President’s University-Wide Teaching Awards (PUWTA).
This year’s recipients are: Professor Paula Wilson in the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science; Michael Boni, an assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science in the Faculty of Health; Lee Frew, a contract faculty member in the Department of English at Glendon College; and Roger Carrick, a teaching assistant in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Lassonde School of Engineering.
“As we moved to online and remote formats in the face of the pandemic, York’s instructors have remained innovative and resilient. They have continued to provide high-impact and transformative learning experiences, connected to the future needs of the workforce and focused on finding solutions to the urgent challenges facing our society,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “On behalf of all of us at the University, I want to congratulate this year’s recipients of the University-Wide Teaching Awards and thank them for their unwavering commitment to student success.”
The awards are adjudicated by the Senate Committee on Awards with the goal of providing recognition for excellence in teaching, encouraging its pursuit, publicizing such excellence and promoting informed discussion of teaching and its improvement. The awards demonstrate the value York University attaches to teaching.
Recipients of the awards receive $3,000, have their names engraved on the University-Wide Teaching Award plaques in Vari Hall and are recognized at convocation ceremonies.
President’s University-Wide Teaching Award recipients
Professor Paula Wilson of the Faculty of Science is the recipient in the full-time tenured faculty with 10 or more years of full-time teaching experience category. Wilson is a member of the molecular and cellular biology (MCB) group at York University. The group is comprised of researchers utilizing forefront biochemical and molecular techniques to probe the structure and function of various biomolecules and cell biological processes. Topics as diverse as plant and human viruses, cancer, circadian rhythms, structure of signaling molecules and cellular differentiation are studied by group members.
Wilson’s nominators highlighted her dedication and deep commitment to engaging biology students in the classroom by way of clear learning outcomes and active learning strategies. Wilson was also praised by her nominators for her support of teaching and learning broadly in the Department of Biology and the Faculty of Science. Her contributions to curricular innovation, including the creation of a biomedical science stream and the development of resources to assist first-year students with the transition to university.
Faculty of Heath assistant professor Michael Boni received the award in the full-time faculty with less than 10 years teaching experience category. Boni is a highly experienced certified athletic therapist and physiotherapist with a passion for guiding people towards success. He graduated from York University with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health science and a certificate in athletic therapy and a completed his post-professional doctor of science degree in the field of physical therapy. His clinical treatment expertise is in the field of manual therapy focusing on neck, shoulder and back pain. Most of his time is focused on educating and mentoring athletic therapists, physiotherapists and kinesiology students. He is an examiner and chief instructor within the post-graduate diploma program of Advanced Manual and Manipulative Physiotherapy of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. His research explores the effect of soft tissue mobilization (non-painful friction massage) on muscle function. Boni has also been collaborating on various pedagogical research projects.
Boni’s nominators praised his work to create a rich learning environment for students using various technologies and hands-on learning opportunities. In addition, they lauded his contributions to curricular innovation particularly through Boni’s leadership on the restructuring of the certificate in athletic therapy has strengthened student learning and the development of critical thinking skills.
As the recipient of the PUWTA in the contract faculty category, Lee Frew, a faculty member in the Department of English at Glendon College, specializes in Canadian literature, postcolonial literatures and ecocriticism. Frew earned his doctorate from York University in 2011.
His nominators praised his proficiency in creating an academically rigorous learning environment that is also a safe and inclusive space for students to express and hear a wide range of perspectives. In addition, they spoke highly of his contributions to the Department of English, through the design of new courses. His nominators commended Frew for his role in benefiting the Glendon Campus community through his role as Chair of committee charged with investigating the introduction of a common first-year curriculum across the Faculty, and his work to improve the student experience at York and promote excellence in teaching and learning.
Roger Carrick, a teaching assistant in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Lassonde School of Engineering, is the recipient of the PUWTA in the Teaching Assistant category. The award honours teaching assistants who have significantly enhanced the quality of learning for York students. Carrick’s nominators spoke of his leadership as a teaching assistant through his contributions to the development of course material, such as lab manuals, tutorials and assignments and his delivery of several lectures independently. They spoke with high regard of his continued and focused support of students and his deep commitment to curricular development that enhances the student experience at the Lassonde School of Engineering.
Carrick is the designer-in-residence in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Lassonde School of Engineering. He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Waterloo. Carrick has spent the last three years focusing on enhancing the training of engineers through student-centered learning, mentorship and outreach programs. He is active in the engineering education community, working primarily on enhancing pedagogical theory and promoting design thinking.
To learn more about the President’s University-Wide Teaching Awards criteria and past recipients, visit https://secretariat.info.yorku.ca/senate/awards-committee/presidents-university-wide-teaching-awards/.