York University Professor Sandra Schecter is the recipient of the 2020 Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Teaching Award, an honour given to a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies who has displayed substantial, significant and sustained excellence, commitment and enthusiasm to the multifaceted aspects of teaching at the graduate level at York.
The award recognizes teaching and supervisory excellence, as well as other elements including scholarly, professional and teaching development and initiatives in graduate program and curriculum development.
“I am truly honored to have been selected as recipient of this award – especially in light of the centrality of teaching and student mentorship to my identity – and most gratified to read the testimonies that current and past students have chosen to share,” said Schecter. “Like other inspiring colleagues, I am committed to helping students find their voices and express their unmistakably unique worldviews. I have learned that these goals are best achieved by assuming that our students are really smart, surrounding them with complex and provocative ideas, and expecting them to rise to the challenge. And they are; and they do.”
Since joining York in 1996, Schecter has made sustained contributions to multiple related fields of inquiry – bilingual and multilingual language acquisition and learning, language socialization, language and cultural identity, language policy and planning, and community-referenced pedagogy. Her contributions have significantly enhanced the quality of learning by York students at the graduate level.
Over the years, Schecter has received funding from the Spencer Foundation and has sustained continuous Social Sciences & Humanities Research Foundation of Canada (SSHRC) funding for her research initiatives. She served as graduate program director in education from 2009-12 and in 2013-14 and has published articles, books, and edited volumes on language policy and planning, language socialization, language and cultural identity, and bi- and multi-lingual language acquisition and learning.
In 2016, she was invited to present her research on “Fostering the academic literacy development and social integration of Canadian-born English language learners” at a special symposium on ‘Learning for the newly arrived’ hosted by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Swedish Department of Education.
“Dr. Schecter is a distinguished scholar and researcher in multiple fields of expertise and our program has been strengthened by her engagement with graduate students through many forums of teaching and learning,” said Graduate Program in Education Director Aparna Mishra Tarc. “Professor Schecter’s classes are regularly oversubscribed and the graduate students she supervises and teaches express great enthusiasm and gratitude for her tireless mentorship and work with them. Many of our graduate students have been given opportunities for research and scholarship and I am delighted that Dr. Schecter has received this highest honor recognizing and affirming her unwavering commitment to both the program and graduate students.”
Schecter will be presented with the award at a virtual meeting of the Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies on May 6.
Additionally, Schecter has been recognized by the FGS Awards Committee and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and will be nominated for the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools’ Graduate Faculty Teaching Award (Doctoral level).