Launched in 2014, the Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching celebrates faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to teaching and learning in our undergraduate programs. These educators integrate innovative techniques and actively engage students in the learning process.
Students nominate those educators who have made an impact on them. Once the list of nominations is finalized, the nomination packages (including, among many other things, letters of support from students) are reviewed by the adjudicating committee, which includes an undergrad and a graduate teaching assistant.
Awards are given in three categories: full-time tenured faculty, contract faculty and teaching assistants.
2020-2021 Teaching Awards
Congratulations to the winners of the 2020-2021 Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching:
Andrea Kalmin was recognized in the Teaching Assistant category. Professor Kalmin teaches in the Department of Social Science, where she prioritizes a community of practice that is grounded in understanding and empathy. She considers it an honour and privilege to facilitate and advance meaningful and engaging teaching and learning experiences for York’s undergraduate students. Dedicated to embodying a growth mindset and enacting it in the classroom, what excites her most these days is the ability to collaborate with like-minded educators and innovators. She is inspired (and consistently impressed) by our student leaders, who are seeking to work together to make a difference and have a real-world impact. This passion has led to her ongoing interest in SoTL research, her teaching involvement in C4 (Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom) and an emerging relationship with the York Capstone Network. She is grateful to be part of York’s vibrant community of teachers and learners.
Department of Social Science Professor Ryan James, with the Department of Social Sciences, was recognized in the Contract/Adjunct/CLA category. James is an anthropologist and a course director in the Urban Studies Program. His goal as an educator is to provide space for students to empower themselves by thinking critically, and by developing the research, communications, and analytical skills it will take to understand social problems and challenge social inequity in the 2020s and beyond. His current teaching is focused on urban social movements, cities in popular culture, and climate change adaption and mitigation.
When classes moved online in 2020, James reconceptualized the lecture component of his courses as a series of YouTube videos. To boost interest and engagement, he added music, visuals, and other effects to the videos, and made them available to the public. “My goal is to make the video lectures look like something people would watch on YouTube because they want to,” James said. “Through my own prior experiences as a first-generation university student, I’ve seen how relatable and accessible content can inspire and motivate students facing barriers.”
Professor Tsvetanka Karagyozova received an award in the Tenured/Tenure Stream. Karagyozova is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Department of Economics. Her teaching portfolio includes 20+ courses, from introductory-level required courses to upper-level electives, taught in both small- and large-size class settings, in-person and online. She has held various teaching appoints with universities in both Canada and the U.S. such as the University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Connecticut, and Wesleyan University.
Morris Beckford received an honourable mention in the Teaching Assistant category. Beckford is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Social Work. His focus is on Leadership: Race and Leadership, non-profit organizations, and community development and engagement. He has a passion for education which is notably seen through his commitment to students and to his community.
Professor Paul Brienza received an honourable mention in the Contract/Adjunct/CLA category. Brienza teaches in the Department of Equity Studies. Professor Brienza has had a career of teaching excellence that is reflected in the awards mentioned as well as in a stellar commitment to the continuing enhancement of the learning experience of students. This has involved him in the continuous refinement of the classroom experience through the use of innovative pedagogical methodologies, technological linkages, and critical insights that continue to inspire students to achieve academic excellence. Brienza has developed a unique classroom strategy that allows for the integration of “critical” and “progressive” perspectives on the history and context of Human Rights and its practice in an increasingly complex global environment. This pedagogical strategy is combined with an intense research and scholarly commitment that has led Dr. Brienza to explore the conceptual history of Human Rights discourse through the publication of several theoretically oriented monographs and journal articles. The recent publication of The Ontology of the Norm: Essays in the Philosophy of Human Rights has allowed for Brienza to bridge the gap between classroom and scholarship. At present, he is also working on a text that is slated for publication in early 2022 and that surveys the intellectual history of the idea of Human Rights. Dr. Brienza has had a sustained commitment to the Faculty of LA&PS through his extensive work on the creation of an innovative and unique Critical Human Rights MA degree. His commitment to improving the profile and standing of the Department of Equity Studies as well as the Faculty and York University is unwavering. Brienza seeks to combine academic excellence with participatory expansion and student growth now and in future endeavours.