2020 A&S Superior Teaching Awards

July 27, 2020 by A&S News

The  A&S Superior Teaching Awards recognize some of the Faculty of Arts & Science’s most exceptional sessional lecturers and graduate student course instructors for their contributions to undergraduate education.  

Congratulations to this year's recipients: 

Khalid Ahmed, Senior Lecturer II, African Studies Program, New College 

Khalid Ahmed.Khalid Ahmed is widely recognized in the African Studies program for his innovative, reflexive and engaging pedagogy and colleagues have been quick to note his “intellectual acumen and thoughtful approach to international relations.”

In his International Relations of Africa course, Ahmed offers students a transformative learning experience where collaborative work and oral presentations come together to help students develop important skills like public speaking, teaching and group engagement.

A gifted and passionate instructor, Ahmed structures his teaching around student interest and backgrounds, taking the time to present content in ways that gel with the personal interests of students.

A welcoming presence in the classroom, one student said, “He is one of those teachers who left an impression on me because he pays attention to his students’ needs and also believes in them. I personally have felt encouraged beyond my own comfort zone due to the confidence he has in me to do better and be better.”

S. Trimble, Sessional Instructor, Women & Gender Studies Institute 

S. Trimble.S. Trimble is making a difference to the undergraduate experience in the Women & Gender Studies Institute. Known by colleagues as a “powerfully effective educator, mentor and scholar,” Trimble specializes in undergraduate courses in feminist cultural studies.

Her second-year Gender and Popular Culture course continues to be one of the most popular courses in the program. Praised as an outstanding teacher, her assignment guidelines and grading schemes have become a template for many of the institute’s courses.

A thoughtful instructor, her teaching assistants have noted that her “friendliness, empathy and approachability” have helped her forge a sense of trust with her students.

Students have commended Trimble’s work creating an “engaging, fulfilling and stimulating learning environment that was clear from the first lesson to the very last.” Trimble’s passion for student health and well-being has also led to the development of a student friendly guide to mental health and wellness resources, which lives on the institute’s website.

Emma McClure, Graduate Student Course Instructor, Department of Philosophy 

Emma McClure.Emma McClure has been lauded by colleagues for introducing undergraduates to the approaches to feminist theory that have traditionally been ignored and devalued.

While her Philosophy of Feminism courses touches upon intellectually challenging materials — especially for students who have little background in feminist theory — McClure designs assignments that foster critical thinking on sensitive issues.

Nor does she shy away from emotionally challenging topics in the inclusive and welcoming learning environment she fosters.

As one colleague said, McClure’s students are not “held back by doubts about their own abilities and opinions.” She structures classes so students feel like they have something to say and the right to say it. In the words of one of her students, her Philosophy of Feminism course was “one of the most transformative, edifying and important academic experiences I’ve had at U of T.”

Alex Stringer, Graduate Student Course Instructor, Department of Statistical Sciences 

Alex Stringer.In his Probability and Statistics II and Methods of Data Analysis II courses, Alex Stringer combines data analysis, technical and non-technical communication as well as mathematical foundations and computational thinking into his teaching.

An exceptional course instructor known for setting high standards his students are willing to meet, Stringer has earned great praise for his clarity and logical presentation and colleagues have described him as “engaging, challenging and caring.”

As one student said, Stringer’s course “not only provided a solid foundation for my study in higher level statistics courses, it also motivated me to appreciate how beautiful inferential statistics is.”

Stringer has also taken on a leadership role in the development of undergraduate statistics education working with faculty members to redesign a foundational statistics course and creating resources that will be adaptable for all future instructors.