SENS Student Association surprises faculty with inaugural teaching award initiative

The first-ever SENS Student's Choice Outstanding Teaching Award resulted in a tie, with Dr. Maureen Reed and Dr. Jim Robson voted the top two out of 10 total nominated faculty members.

“The purpose of this award was to recognize the exceptional teachers within SENS, and show student appreciation, as teaching may occasionally feel like a thankless profession. COVID-19 had little impact on our decision to create this initiative, except perhaps as 'extra' motivation to spread positivity throughout our School,” says SENSSA treasurer and spokesperson Brandon Stoner. “Having 10 faculty members nominated for the inaugural award is a testament to the quality and diversity of teachers we are fortunate to have here in SENS.”

The email announcement was a shot of sunshine during a hectic summer, with faculty working hard to prepare for a fall semester and handle the pressures brought on by the pandemic. Reed, SENS Assistant Director Academic and Distinguished Professor, was quick to praise student efforts. “This initiative speaks to their deep commitment to the SENS community and to one another, as well as their kindness and motivation. It is especially meaningful to receive this award directly from those we serve.”

Robson, a UNESCO Co-Chair in Biocultural Diversity, Sustainability, Reconciliation and Renewal, shared the same sentiment. “This was a lovely surprise! Both in terms of the initiative - what a nice thing for SENSSA to create - and being among the first two recipients of the award. It's always nice to be appreciated, especially in this instance by students themselves. And while it's an individual award, my teaching and supervision style is invariably shaped by what I've learnt from those who taught me, and from my peers. At SENS, team-teaching has been an instrumental experience.”

With a fall term about to start, SENSSA is busy preparing for incoming students and elections, but there is always time for community building. “We feel it is important to recognize our faculty members' dedication and commitment to students, whose efforts greatly enhance the student experience at the School of Environment and Sustainability,” Stoner said. “SENSSA would like to thank all SENS students who participated in this initiative. More importantly, we wish to remind all SENS faculty that your teachings and enthusiasm do not go unnoticed.”

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