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OISE Celebrates Outstanding Faculty and Saff

On March 31, 2016 the OISE community celebrated eight outstanding faculty and staff members named to OISE’s highest teaching and staff excellence honours – the 2015-2016 OISE Teaching Excellence Awards and Staff Excellence Awards.

The recipients of this year’s Teaching Excellence Awards are: Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Monique Herbert, Lecturer, Applied Psychology and Human Development; David E. Hunt Award for Excellence in Graduate Education Njoki Wane, Professor, Social Justice Education; Award for Excellence in Initial Teacher Education – Angela MacDonald-Vemic, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning; Award for Excellence in Continuing and Professional Learning Larry Swartz, AQ Facilitator.

The recipients of this year’s Staff Excellence Awards are: Dr. Claire Alleyne Staff Excellence AwardSim Kapoor, Associate Director, Alumni and External Relations, and Michele Pon, Graduate Liaison Officer; Innovation Award –Teresa Lau, CRM Data Administrator; and Leadership Award Biljana Cuckovic, Assistant to the Dean, Policy and Planning.

The Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching recognizes OISE’s faculty who have continually demonstrated deep commitment to excellence in teaching, and have made outstanding contribution to teaching at OISE. Nominated by her students, who have invested a lot of energy in preparing the Monique Herbertnomination package, Monique Herbert’s selfless investment in students’ learning and development have had a profound impact. Monique’s courses are oversubscribed, and always have a waitlist. This is normal for Monique’s classes; being the student-centered instructor that she is, Monique tends to allow as many students as possible to attend her courses. A large class size does not interfere with Monique’s ability to provide responsive, constructive, and timely feedback to her students. Although Monique is a talented researcher with extensive expertise in both qualitative and quantitative methods, her heart is in teaching. Her students have benefited greatly from her commitment and passion.

The David E. Hunt Award for Excellence in Graduate Education recognises graduate faculty 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 Njoki Wane was nominated by a Njoki Wanegroup of 33 students. Dr. Wane’s teaching incorporates Western epistemological knowledge with Indigenous knowledge, a unique and valuable approach to teaching applied and fostered by Dr. Wane beyond her classroom, extending to her research, community development work and activism.  One of the truly moving aspects of Dr. Wane’s teaching is her humble personality together with her skillful engagement strategies that enable her to create an inclusive learning environment in which learners from diverse social, ethnic, and sexual orientation backgrounds felt included. Her outstanding contributions to teaching and learning have made her a model scholar for many incoming students.

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. Nominated by a cohort of Master of Teaching students, Angela MacDonald-Vemic’s nomination for the Award for AngelaExcellence in Initial teacher Education was widely supported by students across the MT program. Dr. MacDonald-Vemic is an excellent candidate for this Award as demonstrated through her commitment to instruction, mentoring, supervision, course design, and commitment to professional growth, development and exceptional teaching practices. She creates a safe and inclusive environment for her students where they feel valued and respected as beginning educators. She promotes community building and collaboration amongst cohorts and consistently goes above and beyond to ensure that her students are equipped for success.

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. Larry Swartz, AQ Larry Swartzfacilitator in the Continuing and Professional Learning (CPL) unit at OISE, has taught dramatic arts course since 1980 at both FEUT and OISE. Larry’s nomination package for this award illustrates his outstanding contributions to continuing and professional learning. CPL receives numerous phone inquiries every year specifically asking if Larry is going to be teaching dramatic arts. He has an excellent reputation as an exemplary arts educator with consistently amazing course evaluations. Over the past two years, Larry had no negative or even moderately satisfied comments in his course evaluations.

The Dr. Claire Alleyne Staff Excellence Award celebrates contributions of a staff member who has continually demonstrated deep commitment to excellence and outstanding service, and whose actions have created a positive and lasting impact on our community and have contributed to furthering OISE's mission. Recognizing how extraordinary and challenging the last couple years have been for the OISE community, the selection committee decided to name two recipients for the Dr. Claire Alleyne Staff Excellence Award this year.

Sim KapoorSim Kapoor is the Associate Director for Alumni & External Relations at OISE. Sim’s complete dedication to outstanding service provided to OISE alumni has resulted in a swell of activities including energized Spring Reunions, numerous alumni events and art exhibitions, several new alumni networks and chapters around the world, and the increased number of alumni more actively engaged with OISE. Sim’s nomination was supported by numerous letters of support by OISE faculty, alumni, staff and senior administrative colleagues from the Provost’s Office. Her work at OISE is not only outstanding because of her exceptional outputs, productivity and abilities, but it shows that OISE meets community needs by framing educational challenges in culturally responsive, ethical and timely ways.

Michelle PonMichelle Pon is the Graduate Liaison Officer in Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. In demonstrating both leadership and innovation during a challenging transition period for the Institute, Michelle’s ‘above and beyond’ service and self-motivated commitment to OISE truly embodies the hallmark of staff excellence. Michelle takes a leading role in OISE-wide meetings, volunteers to assist her colleagues, whenever needed, and advocates for graduate liaison officers. Her collaborative attitude towards work and people truly marks the essence of an excellent staffer in a learning organization.Most senior graduate liaison at OISE, Michelle filled a huge institutional knowledge gap and had a big role in training the new graduate liaison officers.

The Innovation Award celebrates the achievements of staff, individually or as a team, who have developed and implemented a creative solution that increases the productivity and enhances the value added to research, teaching and the administrative process at OISE. Teresa Lau is the CRM Data Administrator in Teresa Lauthe Office of the Registrar and Student Services. As a programmer in the background, Teresa is often the ‘unsung hero’, yet daily she troubleshoots and problem-solves complex problems making the solutions seemingly so simple in the end.  For 19 years, Teresa Lau has ensured that OISE has the tools and resources to serve our students and faculty. Her innovations are daily; she improves our individual abilities and our team’s capacities every day, helping us to get better and work smarter.

The Leadership Award celebrates the achievements of a staff member who has continually demonstrated exceptional leadership through inspiring a high level of commitment from others and motivating them to achieve outstanding results; setting and maintaining high professional standards. Biljana CuckovicBiljana Cuckovic is the Assistant to the Dean, Policy and Planning, and her nomination was supported by numerous internal and external community members from across the spectrum. Biljana has played a pivotal role in designing and implementing various institutional planning and policy initiatives. Her ardent efforts in guiding the OISE Self-Study made the process seamless for OISE members. She has also been instrumental in renewing the enthusiasm of OISE Council by encouraging faculty, staff and students to be more involved in the Council and its committees.

Congratulations to all the recipients and nominees of the 2015-2016 Staff and Faculty Excellence Awards.