The School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design celebrated the start of the academic year with a fall faculty reception and teaching awards presentation Wednesday, September 18.
“The beginning of a new academic year is a special time; a time of renewal and new possibilities,” said Dean Sarah Bay-Cheng. “As I begin my first year with you, I want to acknowledge and thank all our faculty and staff for your commitments to each other and for your continued efforts to create an exciting and rewarding learning environment for our students.”
Retiring faculty were thanked and new faculty were welcomed before the teaching awards presentation.
Marlis Schweitzer, Chair of the Department of Theatre read a message from her colleague Professor Shawn Kerwin to introduce the recipient of the AMPD eLearning Award, Professor Teresa Przybylski.
“When Teresa wanted to create an Introduction to Design for Theatre course that included an online component I was hesitant. Teresa also talked about increasing the class size in order to open opportunities to more students. Design work involves ‘stuff’; models, drawings, entire theatre spaces in smaller scale. How could all of this ‘stuff’ possibly all fit into a room with twice as many students?
“I need not have worried. I saw that every year, Teresa continued to modify this course, continued to change aspects of it to respond to the evidence she found within the class. In my own professional work, as I work more and more over long distances that are now often only managed online rather than in-person, I have come to value the online experience students gain in their second year. Communicating online now as a designer is essential. How to communicate effectively online is not often obvious. Giving students an opportunity to develop their skills in second year imprints valuable methods of working that they will need to carry into their professional lives.
“So Teresa, thank you. Thank you for the desire to develop this course. Thank you for the continuing work you put into this course, constantly working to make it better. Thank you for your care and heart that you put into teaching all of your students. Perhaps mostly, thank you for teaching me something.”
Sarah Parsons, Chair of the Department of Visual Art & Art History presented the AMPD Teaching Award to Monique Johnson who joined her department last summer on a one year contractually limited appointment.
“Monique was handed responsibility for revamping our introductory survey in Art History, teaching a survey in the history of photography, teaching two courses in her specialization of the history of photography, teaching the graduate Museums seminar, and, currently, she is teaching a spring lecture course on 20th century art.
“Making full use of e-learning tools, her carefully designed courses introduced students to a wide diversity of content as well as the practical and critical interpretive tools students need to engage with art and architecture.
“Monique’s work with graduate students included mentoring them in teaching. Several of the TAs in the survey course went out of their way to tell me how much they had learned from Monique and how included and respected they felt by her incredibly organized and generous approach to teaching.
“We feel honoured to have had Monique with us in Visual Art and Art History this year.”