AMPD Teaching Awards recognize student mentorship, educational innovations

gold and red stars

Associate Professor Danielle Robinson and Assistant Professor Robyn Cumming received York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) Teaching Awards in recognition of excellence in mentorship, curriculum and pedagogy.

Robinson and Cumming were presented with their awards on Sept. 20 at the first Faculty Council of the 2023-24 calendar year.

“It is a pleasure to recognize the efforts of my colleagues who have dedicated their talents to teaching, advancing curricula and student mentorship. Expanding the perspectives of our students is at the core of everything else we do in AMPD. I’m grateful for our colleagues’ commitment and dedication to this mission in their teaching,” shares Dean Sarah Bay-Cheng.

Danielle Robinson: AMPD Senior Teaching Award

Danielle Robinson (left) with her award, standing next to Patrick Alcedo (right), Chair of the Dance Department
Danielle Robinson (left) with her award, standing next to Patrick Alcedo (right), Chair of of the Department of Dance

Robinson teaches in the Department of Dance and specializes in dance history and ethnography, critical race theory, social dance reconstruction, African diaspora within the Americas, as well as Latin American dance cultures. She is a specialist in experiential education and work-integrated learning. Robinson is the co-founder, with Professor Franz Newland, of York University’s C4: Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom, Project Commons and Capstone Network.

She was nominated for the AMPD Senior Teaching Award by her student Emma Whitla. “I have always experienced Dr. Robinson to be a thorough, process-oriented, remarkable educator and leader,” shares Whitla.

“In a culture that is increasingly individualistic, Danielle Robinson encourages students to see their strengths, develop their skills, reflect and collaboratively use those professional experiences to have an impact in the community. This orientation and commitment are what make her teaching exceptional. At the end of the day, we are responsible to one another, and we must consider the work that we do and how we live in relation with each other.”

Robyn Cumming: AMPD Junior Teaching Award

Robyn Cumming
Robyn Cumming

Cumming teaches in the Department of Visual Art & Art History, with a background in photography and sculpture. She is the recipient of two successful Academic Innovation Fund grants, the most recent titled “Pedagogical & EDI Training for Teaching Assistants in the Arts,” aiming to develop pedagogical tools that can be used by current and future colleagues, as well as providing valuable resources for teaching assistants. Since joining York only four years ago, Cumming has been pivotal in course revision and development within her department.

Nina Levitt, graduate program director of visual arts, commends Cumming’s contributions, stating, “Robyn has been, and continues to be, an outstanding colleague for the photography area, graduate program and the visual art department. She is an absolute pleasure to work with in the ongoing management and decisions in the photography area, and often helps me with online teaching expertise. Her wonderful sense of humour, enthusiasm and generosity are always evident in everything she does for the photo area, our department and for our students.”