President’s University-Wide Teaching Award recipients honoured

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Three York University faculty members will be recognized during the 2024 Spring Convocation ceremonies with President’s University-Wide Teaching Awards for enhancing quality of learning and demonstrating innovation and excellence in teaching.

This year’s President’s University-Wide Teaching Award recipients – selected by the York University Senate – are representative of three categories: full-time faculty with 10 or more years of teaching experience; full-time faculty with less than 10 years of experience; and contract and adjunct faculty.

Each winner will not only be recognized during a convocation ceremony this spring but will have their name engraved on the University-Wide Teaching Awards plaques displayed in Vari Hall on the Keele Campus.

This year’s recipients are:

Full-time tenured faculty with 10 or more years of full-time teaching experience

Danielle Robinson, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD)

Danielle Robinson
Danielle Robinson

Robinson received the award in recognition of her ability to create an interdisciplinary learning environment where students from diverse academic backgrounds can work collaboratively and approach problems from contrasting directions. That ability has, in part, been channelled into her leadership around the Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom (C4) initiative, an experiential education opportunity for students that allows them approach real-world challenges with social impact in interdisciplinary ways. 

“In my collaboration with Danielle, I find her a passionate advocate for our students, excellent at organization, caring and interested in those she works with and one of the most hard-working colleagues I know,” said Robinson’s nominator, Professor Franz Newland, a C4 co-founder and co-academic lead. “She achieves this with a sense of fun, recognizing its importance when doing hard work. I believe she is an irreplaceable asset to York.”

Robinson has been the recipient of several other awards, including the Dean’s Teaching Award for Junior Faculty (from AMPD), and the Airbus and Global Engineering Dean’s Council’s Diversity Award.

Full-time faculty with less than 10 years of teaching experience

Vidya Shah, Faculty of Education

Vidya Shah
Vidya Shah

Shah received the award for her collaborative approach to pedagogy, which looks to honour students’ voices and recognize their needs, interests and agency – often by incorporating their views into the content of her courses. The award also acknowledges Shah’s ongoing efforts to address inequities within the larger academic community, often through inspiring a rethinking of practices in the areas of racial and social justice, as well as teaching and learning.

Her nominator, Myrtle Sodhi, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education, said of Shah, “Her ability to support a large number of students who are under-represented through various stages of their academic career speaks to Dr. Shah’s commitment to student learning, mentorship and social change.” She added: “Dr. Shah’s research, teaching, collaboration and mentorship has changed the landscape of the York University academic community in profound ways. She continues to inspire leadership, social justice action and academic pathways.”

Shah is also the recipient of the Faculty of Education Graduate Teaching Award. In 2022, she was awarded the Leaders and Legends Award for Mentor of the Year by the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education.

Contract and adjunct faculty

Heather Lynn Garrett, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

Heather Lynn Garrett
Heather Lynn Garrett

Garrett was honoured in recognition of her her ability to engage with and motivate her students, incorporating story, anecdote, music and various media to bring course material to life. She has provided valuable mentorship to students in her program, notably through her support of the Sociology Undergraduate Student Association (SUSA). She has served as a faculty mentor of SUSA’s annual Falling in Love with Research project, guiding students in conduction sociological research on a topic chosen by SUSA members.

Garrett has twice received the John O’Neill Award for Teaching Excellence by the Department of Sociology, and has been nominated for the Ian Greene Award for Teaching Excellence.