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‘A huge honour’: OISE faculty recognized for their work with Teaching Excellence Awards

May 7, 2021

By Perry King



The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education extends its fullest gratitude to the winners of OISE’s 2021 Teaching Excellence Award: Doug McDougall, Angela Pyle, Arlo Kempf, Joseph Flessa and Thelma Sambrook.

The slate of OISE’s teaching awards recognize their outstanding contributions in teaching and learning – and further OISE’s success as a leader in education. They honour faculty and instructors in four categories: graduate education, contributions to teaching, teacher education, and continuing and professional learning.

Established in 2004-2005 by OISE Faculty Council, Teaching Excellence Awards are an important way of recognizing excellence in teaching at our Institute.

“All of our winners of this year’s OISE awards of excellence epitomize the mission of our Institute – to prepare others to address the world’s problems,” says Professor Glen Jones, Dean of OISE. “And as the coronavirus pandemic continues on, their leadership and expertise in these difficult times have been crucial to the success of others.

“On behalf of the OISE community, I congratulate all of our winners this year for their exemplary service.”

Dean Jones would also like to thank the staff in the Dean’s Office, Chief Administration Officer, Communications & Education Commons for their work on supporting the awards nomination and selection process and promotion of the awards and the organizing the virtual celebration.

He praises the Teaching Awards Selection committee, which include chair Normand Labrie, Professor and Associate Dean, Programs, Professor Megan Boler, Associate Professor Carol Campbell, Assistant Professor Lisa Dack, doctoral candidate Nadiia Kachynska, Professor Jack Miller, and Jesse Sims, Director, Office of the Dean.

Learn about the 2020 teaching award winners

To mark the occasion, each teaching award winner was asked a common question:

What does winning your specific award mean to your overall goals as OISE faculty?

David E. Hunt Award for Excellence in Graduate Education


Douglas E. McDougall
Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning


The David E. Hunt Award for Excellence in Graduate Education recognises faculty members who foster an enriching teaching and learning experience and impact on graduate students, and demonstrate excellence in teaching and supervision at the graduate level.

Professor McDougall is being recognized for his work as an accomplished educator and educational leader. He wears many hats – Professor, Master of Teaching Program Coordinator, Associate Chair, and Department Chair, as well as Associate Dean, Programs – and as a result, he has positively influenced and enriched the graduate student experience.

“It is my great pleasure to be the 2021 recipient of the David E. Hunt Award for Excellence in Graduate Education. I take such pride in mentoring and coaching students through their graduate degree, particularly helping them to realize their goals as a master or doctorate student. I have been a teacher for 40 years and I am happy to inspire students to reach excellence in their journey in scholarship and to be successful in their chosen career. My goal as a faculty member at OISE is to help students on their academic and professional journey over a span of many years. This goal has been enhanced by my supervisor, Professor Emerita Gila Hanna, in her role as a mentor, researcher, author, and editor. Thanks again, Gila.”

Award for Excellence in Initial Teacher Education


Angela Pyle
Associate Professor
Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development


The Award for Excellence in Initial Teacher Education recognizes faculty and instructors who demonstrate outstanding contributions to teaching and learning in teacher education programs at OISE.

Professor Pyle, based in OISE’s Master of Arts Child Study and Education program, brings research and expertise in the areas of the early years, play, and literacy development and pedagogy to her teaching. She encourages and inspires her teacher candidates to grow into great teachers and cares deeply about students’ experiences and knowledge, and mental health and well-being.

“I came to academia with a plethora of questions about how children learn and how educators can best support this learning. I was motivated by the elementary students I taught and by the teachers with whom I worked. These experiences greatly influenced my research, which focuses on the implementation of research-based learning approaches like play-based learning in the complex realities of a classroom environment. As I learn more about how and why play-based learning effectively supports children’s learning and development, I am able to share those findings with both pre-service and in-service teachers in a meaningful way in both the classrooms at OISE and in the schools where our children learn. Winning this award has shown me that although where and who I teach has changed, I am still a teacher at heart, and working at OISE has provided me with the opportunity to expand the impact of both my research and my teaching.”

Read more about Professor Pyle

Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership (New)


Arlo Kempf
Assistant Professor
Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning


For almost a decade, Professor Kempf has been an important leader in equity and teacher education at OISE. In addition to his commitment to academic rigour, student support, and innovative pedagogy, Arlo has made sustained contributions to educational leadership within and beyond OISE. From 2015 to 2020, Kempf was the Associate Director and Secondary Education Coordinator of the Master of Teaching (MT) program serving on many committees – between 15 to 25 committees each school year. Kempf has also made significant contributions to leadership in Ontario, in terms of educational research and policy.

“Winning this award is a true honour, and represents a recognition of a huge amount of work by a large group of wonderful faculty, staff, and students at OISE and beyond. The nomination has a strong focus on racial equity and racial justice in teacher education, and it is important to see this at the centre of this educational leadership award. There is a lot of work yet to be done to operationalize racial inclusion at OISE, and hopefully this award portends strong institutional support for these efforts.”

Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching


Joseph Flessa
Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education


The Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching recognizes OISE faculty who have continually demonstrated a deep commitment to excellence in teaching, and have made outstanding contributions to teaching at OISE.

Professor Flessa shines in all of elements of excellence in teaching. He is responsive to student needs and many students have characterized him as the best professor they have ever had.

Among his many qualities, he encourages students’ sense of inquiry, and uses current scholarship and research on pedagogy to respond to the different learning styles and needs of his students.

“I am moved by this exceptional honour. I’m especially grateful for all the support and labour from so many students and colleagues who put the nomination together and I will strive to live up to their confidence in my teaching. My goal in this phase of my career is to stay curious and open to learning about how best to teach graduate students in education, and to put that learning and curiosity into action.”

Award for Excellence in Continuing & Professional Learning


Thelma Sambrook
Sessional Facilitator
Continuing and Professional Learning


The Award for Excellence in Continuing and Professional Learning recognizes additional qualifications instructors and facilitators for outstanding contributions to teaching and learning in continuing education at OISE.

A member of CPL team since 2015, Principal Sambrook is modeling excellence in professional teaching and learning; mentoring colleagues and sharing leadership insights and practices. She consistently collaborates with the CPL administrative team to deliver a great learning experience and support the development of OISE CPL custom learning solutions. She always brings a collaborative mindset and expert sector knowledge.

“My involvement with the OISE Continuing and Professional Learning community has greatly contributed to my personal and professional growth, satisfaction, and success. With a goal of supporting education leaders in the Principals’ Qualification Program to engage in the critical process of learning to lead, and leading to learn I strive to continuously refine my facilitation skills to better serve each educator’s leadership growth. My ability to bring clarity to the complex, meaningful work of school leadership for dedicated educators that aspire to lead school communities here and around the world continues to grow. I am honoured to receive this facilitator award and extremely proud to be a member of this outstanding world-class teaching and learning community. Thank you for this incredible acknowledgement.”