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Deans' Teaching Awards: 2014 recipients

Emily Agard
Faculty of Science

Dr. Emily Agard is an exceptional teacher at Ryerson University, as demonstrated by her excellence as an instructor, as a leader, as a mentor, and as an innovator. Dr. Agard’s seamless integration of multiple strategies to promote student engagement, including innovative use of case studies in her lectures, exemplifies her excellence as a teacher in the classroom. Her dedication to her students allows her to be an influential and effective mentor. Moreover, while Dr. Agard’s excellence as an instructor is well documented, her contributions to enhancing student learning go well beyond the classroom. As Director of the Office of Science Outreach and Enrichment, Dr. Agard has fostered remarkable engagement of Ryerson students in community outreach and campus enrichment activities, as well as provided these students with a platform for personal development. Dr. Agard’s remarkable contributions to pedagogy at make her well deserving of the Dean’s Teaching Award.

Kimberley Gilbride
Faculty of Science

Dr. Gilbride is a talented, personable and caring professor who engages her students with her enthusiasm, creativity and sense of humour. She has a sincere love of teaching and is fully committed to the highest standard of learning. She regularly uses innovative, “outside of the box” approaches in presenting her lecture material, which, not only capture students’ attention but also leave a lasting impression-one that helps to solidify their learning. She has a well grounded educational philosophy: to completely understand, students need to hear it, see it, write it, read it, and use it - and she lives this philosophy every day. Through her role as Chair of the Women in Engineering Program and as Associate Chair and Undergraduate Biology Program Director, she has shown strong leadership in both teaching and curriculum design. She has championed science and engineering outreach and played a key role in the development of the current biology and biomedical science undergraduate programs.

Yuanshun Li
Ted Rogers School of Management

Professor Li is passionate about finance and his courses reflect his commitment to teaching. He teaches two courses (FIN 521 and FIN 711) that use a market trading simulation platform to provide hands on experiential learning to students tying to understand the intricacies of finance. He has designed both courses to mix cutting edge theory with real-world application. Professor Li takes his passion for teaching outside the classroom, acting as coach for the Rotman Trading Cometition each year, a job that requires considerable extra teaching and mentoring for competitors. Professor Li is committed to student success in all of his endeavours, and is an example to us all.


Michael Inglis
Ted Rogers School of Management

Professor Inglis is recognized among students and colleagues as an educator with uncompromising standards and a passion for delivering real-world knowledge in all of his classes. A testament to his teaching skill, his financial modelling courses are among the most popular electives for finance students at TRSM. Students appreciate the practical "career-relevant" tools they acquire in both financial modelling courses. Professor Inglis also teaches our Fixed Income course. Despite being recognized as one of the most challenging courses in the finance curriculum, his Fixed Income course is always fully subscribed. The hallmark of a great educator is being able to inspire and challenge students with rigorous and rewarding classroom content. Professor Inglis embodies that in all of the courses that he teaches.



Lori Beckstead
Faculty of Communication and Design

Lori Beckstead thinks of herself as a teacher first and foremost, and makes it a priority to create highly engaging classes for students. “Lori is impeccably creative and innovative in her classroom teaching and curricular design,” writes one of her students. “She exemplifies what it is like to genuinely contribute to teaching and learning at Ryerson in a way that has an impact beyond one’s classroom.” Professor Beckstead has consistently undertaken a leadership role in curriculum design and is seen as a teaching role model in RTA. “I believe Lori to be not only an excellent teacher, but a leader in motivating excellent teaching practice throughout the RTA School of Media,” writes one of her colleagues, while another writes, “Lori has been a tireless advocate for our students, ensuring they get the best teaching possible both through her own classes and as a proponent for teaching-education throughout the entire department.”


Natalia Lumby
Faculty of Communication and Design

Natalia Lumby is an exceptional educator, outstanding leader and a catalyst for student success. She leads, facilitates, encourages and enables students to push boundaries and truly learn how to become managers for the graphic arts industry. Her willingness to enrich the lives of students is apparent in her innovative experiential teaching methodology. Natalia is able to spark, connect, encourage and inspire ideas in every student. Her adaptability to change and flourishing industry relationships has enabled her to keep all students up to date with specific print markets and technologies. Natalia is the Associate Editor of Graphic Arts Magazine. She actively advocates for students through curriculum development, maintaining industry relations and facilitating student groups. Natalia is the faculty advisor for the successful student group RyePack, who has brought industry recognition to Ryerson. “ Through her mentorship and advisory I was able to truly succeed in my entrance into the industry.”

Stephanie Walsh Matthews
Faculty of Arts

Professor Walsh has a strong and detailed vision about the value of an education at Ryerson, and she realizes it through her every action inside and outside the classroom. This has made her a true leader in the faculty of Arts and an example for the University. Her teaching practices, grounded in learning theories, integrate best practices in instruction and assessment to create dynamic, participatory, and engaging spaces for learning. Her energy, and outstanding commitment to mentoring her students has helped build a vibrant intellectual and cultural community in her undergraduate program. She knows how to ignite students’ passion for learning, and goes to great lengths to help them forge paths towards future careers or studies. She has contributed entirely new curricular areas to the Liberal Studies band, and is currently initiating a curricular review of the faculty’s largest undergrad program to keep Ryerson at the cutting edge of teaching.


Stephanie Cassin
Faculty of Arts

Dr. Stephanie Cassin brings the Scientist-Practitioner Model of training to her teaching, whether it is in large lecture halls, small seminar rooms, research labs, or the Clinical Psychology Training Clinic. She uses her own clinical experience to infuse her teaching with illustrative case examples, and challenges her students to apply the knowledge they gained to their own lives using experiential assignments. Peer evaluators have described her teaching style as “engaging, enthusiastic, inviting, fluid, flexible, dynamic, interactive, and superb”, with one noting, “I had the impression of Dr. Cassin as conductor, her students as orchestra”. Students have described her as “approachable, fair, respectful, knowledgeable, and organized”. Dr. Cassin has been heavily involved in developing curricula for graduate coursework in Evidence-Based Practices in Mental Health, and actively engaged in the clinical training of Master and Doctoral students during their practicum placements at the Clinical Psychology Training Clinic.

Halis Yildiz
Faculty of Arts

Dr. Halis Murat Yildiz has been teaching in the Department of Economics since 2003. While we have many excellent teachers, Murat is one of our finest. He is the most versatile instructor in our department, versatile in the sense of being able to teach an extra course at a moment’s notice – a rare quality. Murat walks around Ryerson every day with a smile, a vibrant sense of energy, a sense of humour and an enriched passion for academics: teaching, research and service. While his enthusiasm, quest for knowledge and intelligence are his strong suit, Murat combines these talents with a personable character and an unfailing commitment to economic education. Murat puts theory into practice and has proven ability to motivate students to achieve excellence in their research. Under his supervision students have won the best economics thesis award and a number of these students have gone on to pursue PhDs.


Nick Bellissimo
Faculty of Community Services

Since joining the School of Nutrition in January 2012, Dr. Nick Bellissimo has had a great impact on his students, colleagues, and department. His students appreciate his overall intellect, subject knowledge, and “open door” policy, as many approach him for school guidance, career advice, and mentorship. Dr. Bellissimo established the Food Intake Regulation & Satiety Testing laboratory, an experimental learning setting which provides students with the opportunity to be involved in real clinical experimental sessions. He goes above and beyond his responsibilities, spending time in the lab to ensure student success. The successes of his students in securing academic scholarships, dietetic internships, graduate school, and leadership roles in the food industry are a testament to his commitment to teaching excellence and his position as a role model in the nutrition field.

Beau Standish
Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science

Dr. Beau Standish is an assistant professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His unique background of engineering, medical physics, industry experience and entrepreneurship has provided the necessary tools to become an accomplished teacher. His courses range from 1st year circuit analysis to 4th year radiation therapy devices, where his constant energy and enthusiasm provides an optimal environment for students to understand complex fundamentals and their application to real-world problems. He has achieved the respect of both students and his fellow faculty members as an excellent communicator and instructor. Dr. Standish instructs and mentors students outside of the classroom to obtain internships, research positions, entrance into top-notch graduate programs and to launch entrepreneurship ventures. In addition he teaches elementary and high school students about engineering and science and is a mentor to multiple students in the far North of Canada through his volunteering with the DreamCatcher Mentoring program.

Zaiyi Liao
Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science

Dr. Zaiyi Liao is truly an exemplary teacher. In his over 10 years at Ryerson University he has challenged and excited students about the subjects of Building Science, architecture and culture. Dedicated and accessible, Dr. Liao is skilled at imparting complex concepts in ways that are compelling for students. His yearly studio study trips to China are highly successful because of their intensity and rigour, able to bring the culture and construction practices of China to life for students in the Department of Architectural Science. He is dedicated to collaboration and experiential learning that helps students synthesize multi-disciplinary information. Giving of his time and expertise he is committed to excellence in the education of students in the areas of architectural science.

Jenny Sampirisi
Chang School

Spanning the Gaps – Access to Post-Secondary has been fortunate enough to have Jenny Sampirisi as a core instructor since the department’s beginning in 2007. Keeping within the program goal of engaging students who might not otherwise consider post-secondary, Ms. Sampirisi has been able to connect with students who haven’t had positive past educational experiences, and lead them to discover that they were in fact capable of being successful post-secondary students. An accomplished author, poet, editor, and community cultural worker, Ms. Sampirisi has been able to infuse her passion of literature to her students, and create an environment where students’ life experience is valued, respected, and translated into academic success. Many of our students accredit her alone for changing their perceptions of themselves, encouraging their persistence in post-secondary, and creating an opportunity for a successful, educated future.