Faculty of Health shines spotlight on educational leadership

gold and red stars

York University’s Faculty of Health recognized six early-career faculty members on Oct. 4 for their accomplishments in curricular innovation, teaching, research and service during the annual Dean’s Awards.

Recipients this year are: Lynda van Dreumel – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership, Pedagogical and/or Curricular Innovation; Jodi Martin – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; Jessica Vorstermans  – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; Skye Fitzpatrick – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service & Engagement Impact Award; Andria Phillips – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service & Engagement Impact Award; and Tarra Penney – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research.

The annual awards alternate each year between “early career” faculty and “established career” faculty in the categories of Teaching, Research and Service. This year’s awards cover the 2022-23 academic year for early-career faculty.

“This year the Faculty of Health is recognizing the extraordinary accomplishments of six faculty members whose dedication and leadership are contributing to positive change at York, and beyond, through outstanding research, service, or teaching. On behalf of all faculty, staff, students and community partners, I’d like to congratulate and thank this year’s award recipients,” said Faculty of Health Dean David Peters.

Award recipients picture left to right: Jessica Vorstermans, Jodi Martin, Skye Fitzpatrick, Dean David Peters, Tarra Penney, Lynda van Dreumel (absent is Andria Phillips).
Award recipients picture left to right: Jessica Vorstermans, Jodi Martin, Skye Fitzpatrick, Dean David Peters, Tarra Penney, Lynda van Dreumel.(Absent is Andria Phillips).

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership, Pedagogical and/or Curricular Innovation

Award recipient: Lynda van Dreumel, School of Health Policy and Management
This award recognizes outstanding educational leadership, pedagogical and/or curricular innovation.

Lynda van Dreumel
Lynda van Dreumel

Van Dreumel’s contribution to educational leadership, pedagogical and curricular innovation has been substantive and significant. Over the past four years her primary focus has been to create enabling opportunities to support students as they transition into and out of their undergraduate program.

Van Dreumel was at the forefront of the University’s transition to online education due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the delivery of education. She curated multiple resources, collected lessons learned and developed a document with links to resources, tips and decision-making considerations for course design and delivery. This document was invaluable to the School of Health Policy & Management to successfully transition to online learning. Van Dreumel made herself available to share her expertise with CUPE instructors, new faculty hires and PhD students who were teaching courses. She guided them through important considerations for course and assessment design and served as a mentor to many through out the semesters. As the University was preparing for in-person learning, van Dreumel was one of the first to volunteer for the Hyflex Pilot Program. She co-authored a guidance document to assist instructors and schools on applying pedagogical theory to make student-centred decisions around course delivery format.

Van Dreumel re-designed an undergraduate course to focus on foundational personal leadership and system leadership capacities necessary for success. She played a key role in the development of a new undergraduate program – Racialized Health and Disability Justice (RHDJ) – specifically with supporting an integrated and collaborative curricular model that will work with the school’s existing undergraduate program.

“Congratulations on receiving this award. You clearly demonstrate excellence in faculty and student mentorship and contribute in innovative ways to the enhancement of pedagogy, curriculum and teaching and learning in the Faculty and York as a whole,” said Peters.

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Award recipient: Jodi Martin, Department of Psychology
This award recognizes outstanding commitment to high quality teaching.

Jodi Martin
Jodi Martin

Martin is an outstanding and committed educator who creates a high-quality and inclusive teaching environment, fosters collaborative approaches to teaching and contributes to an excellent experience for students. Martin creates a safe and welcoming classroom environment which enables students to master the core skills and leave with a sense of pride in how much they have been able to learn and accomplish.

Martin uses many different approaches to foster learning of challenging subject areas. For example, she uses asynchronous and in-person components. All students are expected to engage with asynchronous course material prior to in-person class time, as this time is used to apply learned material via active learning such as working on problems individually or in small groups. She incorporates formative assessment by using low-stake quizzes rather than anxiety-producing large exams.

Martin joined York in 2019 (in the teaching stream) and since then has supervised four specialized honours thesis students, 10 independent research project students and three undergraduate research assistants, in addition to her teaching load. These opportunities have led to publications and/or conference presentations.

Martin has consistently received excellent teaching evaluations from her students and leaves an indelible mark on their future.

“Congratulations on receiving this award. Your commitment to high-quality and innovative teaching and evidence-based practices in the scholarship of teaching and learning are making a lasting impact on students and ensuring York University meets its academic plan for 21st Century Learning,” said Peters.

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Award recipient: Jessica Vorstermans, School of Health Policy and Management
This award recognizes outstanding commitment to high quality teaching.

Professor Jessica Vorstermans
Jessica Vorstermans

Vorstermans’ teaching pedagogy and practice are grounded in the practice of anti-oppression by building a space for all students to belong in the classroom and curriculum. In 2021, Vorstermans co-founded York’s first community of practice on decolonization, equity, inclusion and diversity (DEDI) with two members of the Teaching Commons. They convene monthly community meetings on topics related to their mandate.

Vorstermans has demonstrated exceptional qualities related to teaching; she focuses on creating student-centred approaches to course work to ensure successes for all types of learners. The courses are thoughtfully designed so that students have class presentations and group projects as means to engage with the content. She works tirelessly at decolonizing learning of the course material, by emphasizing how colonialism is a central process in the creation of our world, and how this shows up in the spaces of health, disability and all other social systems.

Vorstermans, in partnership with SweetGrass Roots Collective, provides experiential learning engagement for both graduate and undergraduate students to collaborate with Black Creek Community Farm. This provides students with unique community-engaged learning experiences of harvesting sweet water at the farm, which is used by Indigenous community members in ceremony.

Vorstermans ensures that all of her students accessibility needs are met as she employs various course assessment criteria. She played a key role in the development of the new proposed undergraduate program Racialized Health and Disability Justice (RHJD), by leading the framing of an equity-based and supportive approach to academic integrity within the program.

Vorstermans consistently receives excellent teaching evaluations.

“Congratulations for your dedication to students at York University and ensuring we are achieving our academic priorities of 21st Century Leaning, From Access to Success and Living Well Together,” said Peters.

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service & Engagement Impact Award

Award recipient: Skye Fitzpatrick, Department of Psychology
This award recognizes the outstanding service and impact of faculty members in the Faculty of Health who have gone beyond the usual service expectations.

skye fitzpatrick
Skye Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick received this award for her high-impact service to the unit, Faculty and York University where she brings her particular focus on equity, diversity, inclusion and justice (EDIJ) to the task at hand. Fitzpatrick joined York University in 2019 and immediately set out to increase York’s reputation in the field of psychology nationally and internationally.

Fitzpatrick, as a member of the Clinical Area Admissions Committee, developed and implemented a novel method of reviewing clinical psychology graduate student applications, that reduced workload for faculty reviewers and human error. This process has enabled the graduate clinical program to evaluate approximately 500 applications per year. Her efforts on the committee resulted in an important advancement for EDIJ. Fitzpatrick undertook the task of investigating how the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) – an admission requirement for graduate psychology programs at York – is predictive of graduate student success and whether it results in biased decision-making against applicants from marginalized backgrounds. She then developed a proposal for clinical area faculty to alter the graduate admission process, based on her findings; the clinical area is in the process of implementing several changes as a result.

Another area where Fitzpatrick has made an impact is in the role of Chair of the Senate Appeals Committee (SAC). She formed an EDIJ-focused working group within SAC to ensure that their procedures were equitable. In addition, they have been working on methods of collecting voluntary, deidentified demographic data from appellants to identify whether there are issues of systemic bias in the SAC procedures.

“Congratulations on receiving this award. Your service and engagement makes York University a welcoming and equitable community for all,” said Peters.

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service & Engagement Impact Award

Award recipient: Andria Phillips, School of Nursing
This award recognizes the outstanding service and impact of faculty members in the Faculty of Health who have gone beyond the usual service expectations.

Andria Phillips
Andria Phillips

Phillips is committed to the success of the School of Nursing (SON) as evidenced by the many service activities she undertakes. She is associate director of undergraduate education at SON, where she provides academic leadership, strategic direction in program planning and curriculum design, delivery and evaluation. She is currently working with a team of people to create a new innovative approach to orientation of new clinical faculty that includes online interactive videos and an in-person simulations component that helps to prepare clinical faculty to manage real-life situations while teaching practicum and lab.

Phillips, along with other faculty members, contributed to a new direction in experiential education efforts by developing the Virtual Escape Room for teaching and learning. The Virtual Escape Room is a series of escape rooms where groups of students must work together to apply their knowledge from a course to solve puzzles and accomplish tasks to unlock the room and escape. For this work she received the Ministry of Colleges and University Award of Excellence in the category of Future-Proofing Ontario Students.

Phillips’ creative problem solving is visible in her various approaches to student success; she organizes in-person creative workshops in the Nursing Simulation Centre titled Halloween Skiller Night, All About the Beats Valentine, an event that helps nursing students identify knowledge gaps such as post operative complications. These events are valuable in developing students’ competency and confidence as they work towards successfully completing the licensing exam.

“Congratulations Professor Phillips – your drive, passion, knowledge, leadership and dedication is truly valued in the School of Nursing, Faculty of Health and York University,” said Peters.

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research

Award recipient: Tarra Penney, School of Global Health
This award recognizes outstanding contribution to research by faculty members in the Faculty of Health.

Tarra Penney
Tarra Penney

Penney’s research focuses on the application of novel methods in global food systems and disease prevention policy and a commitment to sharing these novel methods with global organizations and policymakers. Her research characterizes disease as an emergent property of a set of complex social, economic, political and environment systems.

Penney’s research is collaborative and multidisciplinary, and often includes extensive consortia style projects with collaboration between several multidisciplinary academic colleagues within and across institutions, international academic colleagues working in lower middle-income countries (LMIC) (e.g., Philippines, Senegal, DRC, India) and a range of government partners.

Penney is committed to sharing the outcomes from her novel research methods with global organizations and policymakers. She worked with the WHO Department of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) Prevention Office to develop and publish international guidance on the use of systems thinking for chronic disease prevention policy. This evidence was then used to develop guidance that could facilitate moving systems approaches into practice throughout the policy process to support member states.

Penney is a prolific researcher. Since she joined York in 2019, she has received 14 external research grants totaling over $25 million, with seven projects as nominated principal investigator totalling nearly $1.2 million. She is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), World Health Organization (WHO), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Wellcome Trust and others, demonstrating the wide appeal of her research and the potential for informing policy as evidenced by the collaborative nature of the grants. During this time, she has had 33 peer-reviewed publications in prominent journals in her field including PLOS Medicine, Journal of Community Health Epidemiology and BMJ. Penney has also published book chapters in BMC Public Health.

“Congratulations on receiving this award. Your dedication, expertise and leadership in your field of research is contributing to York University being recognized as a global leader in global health policy and practice,” said Peters.