Outstanding faculty members who have demonstrated innovative approaches to teaching will be honoured during the 2018 Spring Convocation Ceremonies with the President’s University-Wide Teaching Awards. Recipients were selected by the Senate Committee on Awards for their imaginative and significant contributions to enhancing the quality of learning for students enrolled at York University.
“We are delighted to recognize this year’s recipients for the innovative teaching practices, creativity and commitment they bring to providing the best possible learning experiences for our students,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton. “We are grateful to these academic leaders in our community not only for their dedication to our students, but also for their vital contributions to creating a culture of teaching and learning excellence that makes York one of Canada’s leading progressive and engaged universities.”
Each recipient will receive $3,000 and their names will be engraved on the President’s University-Wide Teaching Awards plaque in Vari Hall.
Professor Ruth Koleszar-Green in the School of Social Work, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, is the University’s inaugural Special Adviser on Indigenous Initiatives to the Office of the President. She is also the co-chair of the York University Indigenous Council, an advisory body on Indigenous education. Koleszar-Green will receive the President’s University-Wide Teaching award in the Full-Time Faculty category. Koleszar-Green, who identifies as an urban Indigenous person, is a citizen of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She is from the Mohawk Nation and is a member of the Turtle Clan. Koleszar-Green is an expert in Indigenous education and social issues that impact Indigenous communities, as well as anti-racist education and income security reform.
In their letters of support, Koleszar-Green’s nominators consistently praised her teaching and knowledge of Indigenous peoples in Canada and for her approach to creating an inclusive environment. “Professor Koleszar-Green always motivated the ongoing development of learning processes inside and outside the classroom through disruptive, creative and Indigenous ways of knowledge production,” writes one of her nominators. She has led the way in Indigenizing institutional research and teaching structures at York University, receiving accolades from one nominator, who writes: “Her incredible skill as a knowledge keeper for our community continues to inspire and encourage us to believe that change is not only possible but, under her leadership, it is inevitable.”
The purpose of the President’s University-Wide Teaching Awards is to provide significant recognition for excellence in teaching, to encourage its pursuit, to publicize such excellence when achieved across the University and in the wider community, and to promote informed discussion of teaching and its improvement. The awards demonstrate the value York University attaches to teaching. There were five recipients from across campus.