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Deans' Teaching Award: 2016 recipients

Konstantinos Derpanis
Department of Computer Science

Dr. Kosta Derpanis is dedicated to teaching, student-learning and curricular development. He engages students with carefully prepared, animated slides, videos, humour and in class interaction. In addition to classroom teaching, Dr. Derpanis organizes reading groups for students interested in computer vision. He provides research assistantships for students to work in his lab over the summer. He sends students to conferences and overseas to study with his collaborators. Dr. Derpanis proposed two new courses and chairs the Curriculum Committee. He surveys incoming students to learn about their high-school programming experience, their aspirations, and the gender distribution. Dr. Derpanis created a "bootcamp'' for students who are entering the program without programming experience from high school, since he wants to give more help to the subset of students that struggle to keep up during their first exposure to programming.

Watch Konstantinos Depanis' recipient video.


Noel George
Department of Chemistry and Biology

Noel George's classroom innovation, his passion for science education and his unwavering commitment to his students have furthered a singular objective to make chemistry accessible and interesting for students. Noel appreciates that university students, particularly in their first year, may be intimated or even bored by chemistry. He attacks these challenges head-on. Noel shares his own thought processes in solving chemical calculations, showing the students that the subject matter is not as complicated as it may appear (and that their professors are not as brilliant as they may seem). Noel steps outside the ordinary lecture structure and transforms what some may consider dry subject matter into something captivating. As we all know, it is no easy task to engage and motivate many of these students, yet Noel succeeds with good humour. He is an excellent teacher.

Watch Noel George's recipient video.


Lu Ann Lafrenz
School of Fashion

Lu Ann Lafrenz is a dedicated, responsive and caring professor whose accomplishments are rooted in her passion for student success through experiential learning. By integrating her teaching and SRC, she provides experiential opportunities for students inside and outside the classroom. She previously received Ryerson's GREET Teaching Award, OVPS Faculty Partner Award and Teaching about Diversity Grant. Lu Ann was recognized as one of the "15 Notable Art Professors in Toronto" through the Art Career Project. She received the Best Paper award at International Textiles and Apparel Association International Conference "Entrepreneur Interviews: Experiential Learning for First Year Fashion Students".

Watch Lu Ann Lafrenz's recipient video.


Curtis Maloley
The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, Arts-Sociology and Spanning the Gaps

Curtis Maloley has been a core instructor for Spanning the Gaps Access to Post-Secondary Education for the past four years. His passion and commitment to experiential learning has opened doors for students who haven't had positive past experiences with education and may not otherwise have considered post-secondary as an option. As an author and social justice advocate, Mr. Maloley tailors course content to connect with each student population he works with, encouraging students to bring their own knowledge and interests into the classroom, and creating bridges between their life experience and the academic curriculum. Whether he is teaching sociology or academic research and writing, students praise Mr. Maloley's ability to create a safe, respectful and creative classroom where they are motivated to take risks and challenge themselves. Many students credit Mr. Maloley for providing them with the skills necessary to achieve their goals both inside and outside of the classroom.

Watch Curtis Maloley's recipient video.


Jennifer Martin
School of Child and Youth Care

Jennifer Martin has pushed the boundaries of teaching to new heights. Tasked with the enormous responsibility to engage students on some of the most challenging themes and issues in child and youth care practice, including sexual abuse treatment, trauma-informed care, and the emerging and disturbing issue of child sexual abuse images online, Dr. Martin has integrated mindfulness techniques, self care and reflective learning strategies into her teaching methods. Students are able to safely engage with the experiences of vulnerable children and youth using the most current intervention techniques that include, uniquely, cyber counselling and therapeutic but safe applications of social media.

Watch Jennifer Martin's recipient video.


David Naylor
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Professor Naylor's animated and enthusiastic teaching style consistently inspires and engages with students as evidenced in his unfailingly outstanding FCS evaluations. In 2014, David took on the innovative challenge of designing and developing the Faculty's first online course. Student feedback was extremely positive with the online lectures proving to be an outstanding learning experience and the Blackboard data indicating very strong student engagement. David also enthusiastically shared his online instructional experiences with colleagues in a FEAS Teaching Workshop. Another significant contribution to the wider university audience, has been Professor Naylor's development of a liberal studies course: Energy and the Environment. This course will be offered as a Faculty first liberal elective to students in other faculties in a wide range of university programs. In summary, David has made significant and innovative contributions to teaching and learning at Ryerson which make him a highly deserving recipient of a Deans Teaching Award.

Watch David Naylor's recipient video.


Amy (Chen) Peng
Department of Economics

Dr. Amy Peng has an extraordinary passion for teaching economics whether it is to over three hundred students taking introductory economics or ten students taking a graduate course in labour economics. Amy is an excellent instructor as evidenced by an average score close to 1 on every question in Faculty Course Surveys. She puts theory to practice with numerous examples of real economic issues. Amy constantly adapts her courses to new technologies as they appear and to regulations regarding these technologies. Amy works with publishers on developing software applications which enhance the learning experience of students.

Watch Amy Peng's recipient video.


Laurie Petrou
RTA School of Media

Laurie Petrou is a perennial favourite professor among students. As a teacher she is adept at teaching both mass lectures and smaller studio-based courses, utilizing experiential learning, cutting edge technology, and innovative learning activities to create engaging and inspiring learning environments. Her carefully crafted lectures spark student interest through rich graphics, illustrative examples, and critical discussion. Nominated as a Professor Who Made a Mark two years running, Laurie has a gift for not only inspiring students in an academic setting but also connecting with and caring about them as people.


Watch Laurie Petrou's recipient video.


Farrokh SharifiFarrokh Sharifi
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Dr. Sharifi's educational goal is to have a profoundly positive impact on the students future engineering practice with the focus on multidisciplinary area of mechatronics. In particular, he seeks methods for further engagement of the students in independent learning and knowledge access. Dr. Sharifi has an extensive record of teaching in different universities including KAIST (Korea), and Technical University of Munich (Germany). He has contributed to the development of FEAS Graduate Studies curriculum by representing Mechanical Engineering program, and also played a leading role in Mechatronics Option curriculum design and implementation within the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

Watch Farrokh Sharifi's recipient video.


Boza Tasic
Global Management Studies

Dr. Boza Tasic has been involved in teaching at Ryerson since 2006. As Coordinator of the Ryerson Math Centre, Dr. Tasic created a collaborative space for peer learning and achieved great success in supporting students across the University. In 2013 he brought his creative and innovative approach to teaching to the Ted Rogers School of Management. Learning mathematics and statistics can be very challenging to many students, and math instructors are often either uninterested or unable to teach the material in an engaging way. Dr. Tasic, however, succeeds where many have failed. His contagious energy and enthusiasm for the subject make it possible for students to develop the skills that they need to succeed. He achieves such success by focusing on applied knowledge, by using innovative technology, and perhaps most importantly, by helping students develop a confidence in their ability to understand mathematical concepts and their application.

Watch Boza Tasic's recipient video.


Sharon Wong
School of Nutrition

Sharon Wong is known to transform complex material into clear and memorable information for her students. Dr. Wong's sincerity and warmth enables her to be a truly accessible teacher and role model. Students say Dr. Wong's teaching uses vivid examples and is so creative and interesting. Her ability to inspire learning beyond the classroom is admired by her colleagues and students alike. One student comment sums it all: "I have never known Dr. Wong to do anything but go above and beyond her prescribed role“ she is dedicated and enthusiastic about learning and promoting the love of learning in others.

Watch Sharon Wong's recipient video.