Faculty Awards Gala celebrates excellence in teaching and research

“My identity as a teacher has been within me from a very young age,” says Faculty of Education sessional instructor Robyn Shewchuk. “Teaching is not what I do; it is who I am.”

Her former students would no doubt agree with her.

Before Clive Hickson, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Services, presented Shewchuk with the 2016 Sessional Undergraduate Teaching Award at the recent Faculty of Education Awards Gala, he read out some glowing testimonials from undergraduates.

“Robyn exemplifies what it is to be a good teacher,” said one. “If I could have her for every class, I would never miss a class or be late for a class,” said another.

One particularly eloquent student reflected on the example Shewchuk was setting for future teachers in her classes, “What can I say that you haven’t heard a million times? Students have and will continue to tell you that you shaped who they are. That you have been a beacon of knowledge. That I will never forget your class… I can only hope that one day I can look at my career and feel this joy.”

Professor Ali Shiri of the School of Library and Information Studies, who received a Graduate Teaching Award at the ceremony, thanked his students for playing a key role in his personal and professional growth.

“If I am receiving this award it is because of my students, whose curiosity and intellectual diversity has inspired and taught me numerous lessons to become a better educator,” said Shiri. “I would like to share this award with the more than 1,000 graduate students I have taught in Iran, Scotland, and for the past 12 years, at the University of Alberta.”

Shewchuk and Shiri were among eight exceptional instructors, graduate students and faculty members recognized for their accomplishments in teaching and research at the Awards Gala.

The award winners were celebrated at an afternoon ceremony attended by friends, family and colleagues and emceed by Patricia Boechler, Associate Dean (Research) and Chair of the faculty’s Scholarship and Research Award Committee.

Full list of award recipients

Ali Shiri
Professor Ali Shiri of SLIS accepts his Graduate Teaching Award.

Larry Beauchamp Senior Researcher Award
Margaret Mackey, School of Library and Information Studies

Coutts-Clarke Research Fellowship
Alexandra Fidyk, Secondary Education

Graduate Teaching Award
Denise Larsen, Educational Psychology
Ali Shiri, School of Library and Information Studies

Sessional Undergraduate Teaching Award
Robyn Shewchuk, Secondary Education

Graduate Student Teaching Award
Jacqueline Filipek, Elementary Education
Ron Wigglesworth, Secondary Education

Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Use of Technology for Teaching and Learning
Jerine Pegg, Elementary Education

Congratulations to all of the award recipients!

Click to see photos from the event.

Feature Image: Sessional instructor Robyn Shewchuk (centre), recipient of the Sessional Undergraduate Teaching Award, celebrates after the awards presentation.