This year’s recipients of the 2021 President’s University-Wide Teaching Awards are being honoured for their innovation and commitment, as well as for having significantly enhanced the quality of learning by York students.
The President’s University-Wide Teaching Awards are chosen from four categories: full-time faculty with 10 or more years of teaching experience, full-time faculty with less than 10 years of experience, contract and adjunct faculty, and teaching assistants. They are selected by the Senate Committee on Awards. The goal of the awards is to provide significant recognition for excellence in teaching, to encourage its pursuit, to publicize such excellence when achieved across the University and in the wider community, and to promote informed discussion of teaching and its improvement.
Receiving the awards this year are Hossam Ali-Hassan, Gordana Colby, Sofia Noori and Michael Kenny. They were chosen from numerous nominations received by the awards committee. Each award winner will have their names engraved on the University-Wide Teaching Awards plaques displayed in Vari Hall.
Glendon international studies Professor Hossam Ali-Hassan has been named the recipient of the 2021 President’s University-Wide Teaching Award in the full-time tenured faculty with 10 or more years full-time teaching experience category. Ali-Hassan’s nomination highlighted his balanced approach to teaching, with a mix of technology and human abilities, with approachability and generosity that inspires student success and well-being. In addition, his colleagues mention the complementary relationship between his research, teaching and service to the University in administrative roles. More broadly, his continual self-development through perfecting his pedagogical approach and updating courses to incorporate in-demand skills and real-life experience improve the student experience at York University.
Gordana Colby, assistant professor of economics (teaching stream), is the recipient of the 2021 President’s University-Wide Teaching Award in the full-time faculty with less than 10 years teaching experience category. A York alumna, Colby is the Department of Economics’ first full-time faculty member in the teaching stream. In their submission to the awards committee, Colby’s nominators highlighted her passion for teaching and improving the student experience at York University, which they note promotes excellence in teaching and learning. Her nominators spoke of her commitment to enhancing student experience and engagement in academics and curricular activities. They praised the many innovative and transformative ways she has fostered student success while promoting York’s instructional priorities in first-year experience and e-learning.
The 2021 President’s University-Wide Teaching Award in the contract and adjunct faculty category has been awarded to Sofia Noori, a course director in the Faculty of Education. Noori was praised by her nominators for her commitment to 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. Student letters in support of her nomination for the award speak about how Noori’s approach to teaching has inspired them to further their critical and imaginative capacities in ways that cultivate social and political awareness and justice. More broadly, her nominators spoke of her exemplary commitment to curricular development, innovative teaching and inclusive student engagements, all of which promote excellence at York University.
York Teaching Assistant Michael Kenny received the 2021 President’s University-Wide Teaching Award in the teaching assistant category. Kenny is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education and a research associate with the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies. In their submission to the awards committee, Kenny’s nominators praised his leadership as a teaching assistant and his ability to empower his students to seek positive change in addressing today’s environmental and social concerns through advocacy, policy change and community service. His nominators expressed their high regard for his support of students by fostering a respectful and inclusive environment in his classrooms, and despite the challenges of the pandemic, promoting excellence among his students.