2012 Recipients

Elizabeth Charles
Research Faculty
Dawson College

Elizabeth (Liz) Charles’ colleagues all characterize her as a passionate educator. Before launching a new chapter in her career as a researcher and champion of pedagogical change, Liz was a dedicated teacher. Drawn by a desire to improve the quality of students’ learning, she completed a PhD in Educational Technology and a post-doctorate in the Learning Sciences.

Liz now focuses on research that aims to understand the process of learning, and how technology can leverage the impact of new pedagogical approaches. Her research colleagues state: “Liz’s interest and enthusiasm with respect to innovative classroom approaches and her focus on conceptual change is truly contagious.”

A philosophy of community and mentorship drives Liz’s actions. She recognizes the value of such models in bringing about change, and works to develop communities of practice. Being awarded several consecutive research grants she leads a vibrant research team including faculty from three of the English colleges in Montreal. Under the umbrella of an institutional infra-structure grant, Liz has spearheaded a college-university collaboration to promote the wider uptake of social constructivist pedagogies and technology. These efforts have empowered her colleagues who report that Liz’s efforts have given them the means to work closely as educational professionals.

Denise Gardner
Professor, School of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism
Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Denise’s teaching philosophy includes that she engages students by creating learning environments that provide for autonomy, through varied instructional strategies and assessment methodologies. She promotes purpose and mastery of skills that are important to students, so that intrinsic motivation drives students to achieve their best. For her efforts, “Denise was honoured with Humber College’s Distinguished Faculty Award”.

Denise is an active member of the School ofHospitality, Recreation and Tourism’s Academic and Program Excellence Committee dedicated to faculty mentoring, new faculty orientation and workshops to promote an environment of teaching and learning excellence.  “Denise has an ongoing dedication to both student and faculty success in terms of transformative learning”. During her secondment to Humber’s Centre for Teaching & Learning Denise has been engaged in developing a cultural competencies framework, creating and delivering workshops and resources to support faculty teaching international students.

As noted in one letter of support, “Denise’s outstanding student feedback, her leadership in college curriculum development and innovation and her stewardship of professional development activities are reflective of her visionary leadership and dedication to education”.

Roger Moore,
Instructor, Apprenticeship Training for Immigrant and Aboriginal Learners
Faculty of Foundational and Intercultural Studies
NorQuest College

Whether working with classroom students or his colleagues, Roger emphasizes that learning must be energizing, exciting, engaging and focused on construction of knowledge, skills, attitudes and lifelong learning strategies.  This enthusiasm is demonstrated in his Instructional Skills Workshops for newer faculty at NorQuest College, where he creates active and engaging learning situations where a co-presenter reported Roger’s “planning was exceptional; very detailed and to the point, yet the delivery was fresh and seemed spontaneous.” With this outlook, he is one of the original members of the College’s faculty mentoring team that believes “effective teaching skills, responsiveness to learners, and collegial support are keys to teaching excellence.”

In addition, Roger took these beliefs to Belize, where he worked with teachers to help them to facilitate teaching workshops for their colleagues.  One participant remarked “I strongly believe if all of us attended your workshop, utilize the methodologies taught, education in Toledo District, Belize will advance to another level.” With his past experiences to guide him, Roger continues to teach, facilitate, present and collaborate to create energizing, exciting and engaging learning situations that make sure that ‘learning is not a spectator sport’ and as a colleague suggested “Roger, you’re an optimistic inspiration.”

Elizabeth Pennefather-O’Brien
Instructor, UT Sciences, Division of Science
Medicine Hat College

A colleague wrote “This phrase [promote and support the development of their peers with regard to teaching excellence] immediately made me think of Elizabeth. She differentiates herself from other faculty at our institution through her outstanding teaching, leadership, and mentoring abilities.”  Elizabeth strives to improve her own teaching, and what better way than to interact with as many other instructors as possible.  At Medicine Hat College, Elizabeth is co-facilitator for a faculty learning community, sits on the Faculty Association Executive Board, and is a member of faculty evaluation, teaching innovation, biosafety, and research management committees.

She is a Resident Scholar, working with a colleague to provide a formal foundation for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at the college.  In the community, Elizabeth judges at the local science fair, volunteers at her son’s school, and is the community member for the local Animal Care Committee.  She has presented at provincial and international meetings focused on teaching, such as the Alberta Introductory Biology Association and the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society. Elizabeth plays an active leadership role in this latter society as the co-chair of the Membership Committee.  She is also contracted to co-author the next edition of a Human Anatomy textbook


Ruth Rodgers
Teaching and Learning Specialist
Centre for Academic and Faculty Enrichment
Durham College

Ruth Rodgers believes that the most successful and effective college teachers are those who recognize the need to make the shift from “subject matter expert” to “teacher of subject matter.” She says, “If we are to maintain public credibility and respect, and continue to respond to the changing nature of our student population and programming, we must take our primary profession—teaching— seriously.” Because Ruth is a firm believer in the value of collaborative learning, many of her initiatives over her more than thirty year career in the college sector have facilitated peer support and knowledge sharing.

Supporters of Ruth’s candidacy for the CSEC award cited her “thoughtful and inspiring responses to…teaching questions and challenges,” her “constant encouragement, honesty and amazing ability to provide a sensible solution,” and her “passion to contribute to the knowledge base.”  They described her as “a truly dedicated, scholarly, and professional peer leader” and “a committed volunteer, fine facilitator, and someone with much wisdom to share about teaching and learning.” Ruth is the founding Chair of the College Sector Educators Community and also recently completed a 4 year term on the Educational Developers Caucus executive.