Established in 1993, the Outstanding Teaching Awards highlight the value the Faculty places on excellence in teaching. Recipients are selected based on nominations by peers and students. David Cameron, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, presented the awards on April 19.
This year’s recipients are:
Christine Lehleiter, Germanic Languages & Literatures
Christine Lehleiter has taught a wide range of courses, covering areas as diverse as language; history; literary theory; gender and identity; and science and literature. But no matter the course, her enthusiasm is contagious. Her students describe her as passionate, dedicated, and engaging. In the words of one undergrad: “Professor Lehleiter stands out for her clarity; organized teaching style; unhesitating encouragement; and her tireless engagement with her topics. I consider her a role model.” A graduate student added: “Professor Lehleiter is an excellent professor, most importantly because of her great interpersonal skills and profound approach to the subject matter.” Lehleiter has also spearheaded significant curriculum development and redesign, which has helped to reshape undergraduate education in German.
Dragana Obradovic, Slavic Languages & Literatures
Since joining the department in 2009, Dragana Obradoviccompletely reconceptualized the South Slavic program, developing a range of courses to better reflect the rapid changes in the Balkans since the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Part of that involves teaching the mutually intelligible languages of Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian in one grouping. There are no texts for this – each country publishes its own language textbooks – so she single-handedly designed all of the teaching materials. Described by her students as intellectually stimulating and inspirational, Obradovic is also dedicated to creating a learning environment that extends beyond the classroom. She has twice participated in the International/Indigenous Course Module (ICM) Program, leading students on trips to Serbia and Bosnia.
Sarah Wakefield, Geography & Planning
Sarah Wakefield is highly regarded for her new ideas and commitment to creating inclusive teaching environments that provide multiple ways of engaging. Wakefield also developed an ICM that offered students the opportunity to visit the Six Nations of the Grand River and engage in a dialogue about health and well-being in the community. Her students praise her for her commitment to creating critical, thoughtful, and equitable learning spaces. In the words of one: “Her sheer passion, enthusiasm, knowledge, and pedagogical approach have not only inspired me, but just about every other student I know who has had the privilege of taking one of her courses.” As the director of University College’s health studies program, she revised the curriculum to incorporate more community-engagement and experiential learning opportunities, and has continuously worked to improve the student experience in myriad ways.