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Deans' Teaching Awards: 2013 recipients

Pascal Murphy
Chang School

At a time at Ryerson University when the term "social innovation" is of interest, Pascal Murphy gives a living example of his interpretations of social innovation in his teaching philosophy and methodology, his curricular innovations, his support of his students in and beyond the classroom and his own lived experience.  This is obvious in his time since 2009 with the Community Services program, teaching CINT 908 Homelessness in Canadian Society and CINT 912 International Community Development Field Experience. In these courses and in his recommendations for future courses, he speaks of his commitment to providing students with a positive alternative to cynicism. Pascal's relationship with his students is best captured when he speaks of his "awe" of the creativity and capacity for transformation of his students. Every student in his class knows he/she is worthy of that "awe" and blossoms to live up to expectations.

Else Grech
Ted Rogers School of Management

Prof. Grech approaches all her teaching through one lens: she cares about her students and wants them to be successful, in her course, their future lives and careers. Her passion and enthusiasm for teaching is evident through her initiatives to revamp teaching and evaluation methods in financial accounting courses, not just for her own students but for all students enrolled in the course. In pursuit of this goal she had been responsible for such initiatives as the implementation of student response systems to increase engagement, the use of a common Blackboard site to ensure consistency, and the implementation of statistical analysis on assessment outcomes to improve future teaching. Her teaching philosophy is a strong believe in an ethics of care and that students are capable of much when they are encouraged and supported to reach for and attain the highest standards. Prof. Grech models that belief because she strives to improve her own teaching to ensure that the learning environment for her students is the best that it can be.

Gil Lan
Ted Rogers School of Management

Professor Lan is a multi-talented and multi-facetted teacher  for whom the classroom is only one venue for encouraging student learning. He is an extremely talented communicator, able to to take very complex concepts and make them not only clear for his students, but also very real, so that they became part of his students' understanding not only of their legal education but also of their world. He loves his subject and communicates that love enthusiastically – his students all comment on how that captured their attention and drew them on to further explorations of law. He is a mentor for many students during their time at Ryerson, teaching them much more than the legal concepts alone , and continues to be their touchstone for excellence for years after they leave Ryerson.

Claustre Bajona
Faculty of Arts

Dr. Claustre Bajona has been teaching in the Department of Economics since 2007. Prior to that, Claustre was an Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics in the University of Miami. Claustre has a proven ability to bring out the best in students, with many receiving SSHRC awards, going on to pursue Masters and some being accepted into PhD programs in top schools such as Queen's University and the University of Minnesota. Claustre's commitment to improving teaching at Ryerson is evidenced in her involvement as the Undergraduate Program Director, first in Miami, and now in Ryerson, and by her participation on a variety of university teaching committees. Claustre's teaching style is to put the theory to practice. Her classroom teaching inspires students to develop their potential as economists. This is also reflected in supervision, as Claustre is in big demand having advised a large number of masters and undergraduate theses.

Ben Dyson
Faculty of Arts

Dr. Ben Dyson's teaching approach is captured by his commitment to creating an empirical, experiential, and enthusiastic learning environment for students. A nominee for TVO's Best Lecturer Competition, Dr Dyson's teaching evaluations are consistently strong. Students describe him as "amazing," "excellent," "interesting," "hilarious," "organized," "knowledgeable," and "one of the best professors at Ryerson." Colleagues highlight his success as an instructor and his ability to ensure the highest standards for his students. Dr. Dyson also conducts research on teaching, including a study of the role of social media in Introductory Psychology classes. He has authored peer-reviewed publications on teaching and coauthored a popular psychology textbook. Dr. Dyson's teaching contributions do not come at the expense of his broader research contributions. He holds a prestigious Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, for his research on multisensory cognition, expertise and maturation.

Wendy Freeman
Faculty of Communication and Design

With a research background in curricular design and new media, Dr. Wendy Freeman is the go-to person in the School of Professional Communication with regards to creativity and innovation in relation to teaching and technology. She is responsible for designing key courses, Participatory Media and Communication, Promotional Media in New Media Contexts and The Virtual Organization,  that integrate communication and technology in thoughtful and critical ways. Her influence extends beyond the classroom in her role as an active participant on the ProCom curriculum committee where she contributed substantially to the development of a new BA in Professional Communication. She is the Graduate Program director and oversees the graduate students who are developing ProComs's new media infrastructure. Finally as a scholar she focuses on curricular issues related to new media and has received grants and publishes in this area.

Marsha Barber
Faculty of Communication and Design

Marsha Barber's colleagues have said that she is an amazing educator.  Indeed, she has been honoured by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.  Marsha brings a wealth of journalism experience to teaching.  Her experiences at the CBC, CTV, and as a freelance journalist have created opportunities for her students.  She recognizes the importance of giving students education beyond the classroom, because they need experience to find work in today's competitive journalism industry.  She brings guest speakers to class and takes students to professional events to make contacts.  As a University Teaching Chair, she has worked tirelessly to assist faculty in their teaching roles by disseminating information, creating workshops, and assisting individuals with their teaching needs.  However, it is her impact on students that is the strongest and is best noted by one student who stated "I owe my success to Marsha for her outstanding guidance and mentorship throughout my degree."

Yvonne Yuan
Faculty of Community Services

Dr. Yvonne Yuan has enormous passion and knowledge in the field of Food Science, but what differentiates her as an excellent professor is her dedication to creating student-centred learning environments. She puts students at the heart of the learning process by embracing the diverse learning styles in class and empowers students to become active learners through the use of various teaching aids, demonstrations, group discussion, and labs. As part of Dr. Yuan's teaching philosophy to keep abreast of trends in the food industry, she integrates real-world case studies, current issues, new technologies, and new food products in her lecture materials to bridge the gap between theory and practice. She also develops new lab topics to stimulate students' interest and engagement, which have received excellent feedback from the Nutrition students.

Elizabeth Allemang
Faculty of Community Services

Elizabeth Allemang is highly respected by students and faculty as a gifted, highly innovative and effective teacher. Student and faculty evaluations attest to her remarkable abilities and her well-developed inter personal and communication skills. She has made valuable contributions to the teaching of students, preceptors and tutors within the classroom and at local and consortium-wide faculty meetings, at conferences and in her personal connections and relationships. She has done extensive work integrating curricular changes and has a long history of providing excellent tools and workshops for students facing challenges in senior courses. In her multiple teaching roles as practicing midwife, and teacher Elizabeth's work has been recognized throughout as being of the highest quality. We are indeed fortunate to be able to count on Elizabeth's commitment and inspiring abilities in our present and future work as educators and midwives.

Lamya Amleh
Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science

Dr. Amleh is passionate about teaching and constantly improving the quality of instruction at the university. Dr. Amleh cares about her students and about the fundamentals of engineering. She constantly challenges students to think, discuss and defend their points of view. She initiates intellectual discussions, not only in the classroom and the laboratory, but also in the hallways, and in her office. She managed to create a comfortable learning environment in such a way that students are comfortably asking questions and expressing their own opinions. Over the past several years, Dr. Amleh has excelled in her contributions to teaching undergraduate and graduate students implementing state-of-the-art teaching, and being deeply involved in the students' success.  Her amiable personality, honesty, enthusiasm and humility, along with her intellectual abilities have made her an excellent teacher.

Ramani Ramakrishnan
Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science

Dr. Ramani Ramakrishnan is one of the rare faculty members that can teach across the AEC spectrum inter disciplinarily. He teaches in his area of expertise - in Building Science – and yet is able to effectively co-teach in an Architectural Science Design Studio. His teaching tool-kit extends past the classroom, and into the field and industry as well. Eminently practical and innovative, Dr. Ramakrishnan seems to have an innate ability to devise a lesson plan from the most mundane and inanimate object and/or subject through his poetic analogies and the simple wonderment of nature and the natural. Having a faculty member such as Dr. Ramakrishnan is an important strategy to make DAS in the top ranks amongst the eleven schools of architecture in the nation.


Catherine Beauchemin
Faculty of Science

Dr. Beauchemin's enthusiasm during lectures is definitely contagious. While some physics topics can sometimes feel abstract to students, Dr. Beauchemin makes them concrete by pretending to be an electron going down an electrical wire, or acting out how a ladder travelling near the speed of light can fit in a relativistic barn. She has been an active promoter of the use of tablets in the classroom to present dynamic content to students, showing them step-by-step how the solution to a problem is developed. She is also actively involved in improving our Medical Physics undergraduate curriculum, promoting an increase in the amount of computer programming in our courses to better prepare students for graduate school or technical careers.

R.A. Gossage
Faculty of Science

Dr. Gossage is a graduate of both the University of Guelph and the University of Victoria and has been a member of faculty at Ryerson University since 2008. His area of teaching and research is primarily focused in inorganic (i.e. metal) chemistry although he has also a long track record of teaching first year level general chemistry to both the Engineering and Science faculties. He has also contributed significantly to the undergraduate research program within the Department of Chemistry & Biology as both a research advisor and mentor. Many of his former thesis students have gone on to positions in the chemical industry and/or to scholarship supported graduate programs in chemistry; this acts as a clear testimony to his commitment to the training of highly qualified personnel for Canada's chemical industry and academia.