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Professor Sandra Schecter awarded 2020 FGS Teaching Award

Professor Sandra Schecter awarded 2020 FGS Teaching Award

Congratulations to professor Sandra Schecter on being named the recipient of the 2020 Faculty of Graduate Studies' Teaching Award. The Award is bestowed annually on a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies who has displayed substantial, significant and sustained excellence, commitment and enthusiasm to the multifaceted aspects of teaching at the graduate level at York. The award recognizes teaching and supervisory excellence. Other elements which are taken into consideration include scholarly, professional and teaching development and initiatives in graduate program and curriculum development.

headshot of Professor Sandra Schecter smiling
Sandra Schecter

“I am truly honored to have been selected as recipient of this award—especially in light of the centrality of teaching and student mentorship to my identity—and most gratified to read the testimonies that current and past students have chosen to share,” commented Schecter. “Like other inspiring colleagues, I am committed to helping students find their voices and express their unmistakeably unique worldviews. I have learned that these goals are best achieved by assuming that our students are really smart, surrounding them with complex and provocative ideas, and expecting them to rise to the challenge. And they are; and they do.”

Since joining York in 1996, Schecter has made sustained contributions to multiple related fields of inquiry – bilingual and multilingual language acquisition and learning, language socialization, language and cultural identity, language policy and planning, and community-referenced pedagogy. Her contributions have significantly enhanced the quality of learning by York students at the graduate level.

Over the years, Schecter has received funding from the Spencer Foundation and has sustained continuous Social Sciences & Humanities Research Foundation of Canada (SSHRC) funding for her research initiatives. She served as Graduate Program Director in Education from 2009 to 2012 and in 2013-14 and has published articles, books, and edited volumes on language policy and planning, language socialization, language and cultural identity, and bi- and multi-lingual language acquisition and learning.  In 2016, she was invited to present her research on “Fostering the academic literacy development and social integration of Canadian-born English language learners” at a special symposium on Learning for the newly arrived hosted by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Swedish Department of Education.

“Dr. Schecter is a distinguished scholar and researcher in multiple fields of expertise and our program has been strengthened by her engagement with graduate students through many forums of teaching and learning,” said Graduate Program in Education Director Aparna Mishra Tarc. “Professor Schecter’s classes are regularly oversubscribed and the graduate students she supervises and teaches express great enthusiasm and gratitude for her tireless mentorship and work with them. Many of our graduate students have been given opportunities for research and scholarship and I am delighted that Dr. Schecter has received this highest honor recognizing and affirming her unwavering commitment to both the program and graduate students.”

Here is a collection of quotes from the many nomination letters that were submitted by some of Schecter’s former students.

“Dr. Schecter is among the most gifted teachers I have encountered. … I remember so looking forward to her classes: her lectures and responses to students’ contributions combined ideas in ways that were truly original and generative, and I felt at my intellectually best in her classes. (I loved her razor wit too!) The lessons I learned with and from her endure to this day, particularly her constant insistence on looking closely, and from multiple angles, at “what’s going on.” I was especially privileged to have Dr. Schecter as supervisor of my doctoral dissertation.”

“Dr. Schecter is amazing!!! I have learned so much in this course! Not only from an academic perspective. I feel like I see the world a bit differently since completing the course.”

“This course is so relevant and useful that every student in Education should be mandated to take it as a MUST. I have learned the power of ethnography and that is all thanks to the phenomenal instructor teaching the course. I have learned so much in 6 weeks from this class than I have in my entire career … I graduated from being a consumer of ethnographic research to being a producer of one. I am truly privileged to have been in this class.”

“Absolutely amazing class and professor”

“Passionate, supportive, informative and brilliant”


Schecter will be presented with the award at a virtual meeting of the Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies on May 6.

Additionally, Schecter has been recognized by the FGS Awards Committee and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and will be nominated for the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools’ Graduate Faculty Teaching Award (Doctoral level).