2022 SCS Excellence in Teaching Award Winners Announced

Adult students sit in a classroom

“The dedication these instructors have to changing lives by sharing the knowledge they have acquired through years of study and experience is truly inspiring." - SCS Dean Dr. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow

Each year, the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies recognizes instructors who exemplify excellence in adult education. SCS Excellence in Teaching Award winners are nominated by learners who feel that their instructors have gone above and beyond to share their knowledge in a way that is particularly engaging, helpful and inspiring. 

“Knowledge is such a precious, life-changing resource,” says SCS Dean Dr. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow. 

“The dedication these instructors have to changing lives by sharing the knowledge they have acquired through years of study and experience is truly inspiring. We are so proud of them and their passion for lifelong learning.”

This year’s award winners, being recognized for teaching during the 2021-2022 academic year, are: 

Excellence in Teaching – Business and Professional Studies

Joanna Tivig

Joanna’s learners describe her as an enthusiastic and excellent instructor, whose coaching skills are clearly backed by years of experience. Her industry insights in project management and agile are rich, and she generously shares this vast information with her students. Joanna is a passionate and engaging instructor. Her knowledge and experience allow her to quickly "read the room” and adapt and tailor her approach so everyone understands and benefits.

Mouaz Aref Al-Zayyat

Mouaz is described by learners as a fantastic educator who makes learning so interesting, keeping all his students engaged all the time. He is professional, easy to connect with, and very responsive to questions. He engages the class and checks in to ensure everyone is following along. He can provide a thorough webinar and review the assignments all with a smile. He is a great storyteller with his real life examples of the topics being discussed in class. 

Shelley McMain

Learners say Shelley is thorough, clear and kind in her teaching. Her lectures are informative and relevant. Her course material is well put together with excellent resources. She is an expert in her field and an inspirational teacher. She accommodates her students' diverse learning styles to make her classroom comfortable and inclusive. She shares personal examples to explain the material being covered. 

Excellence in Teaching – Arts and Science

Marta O’Brien

Learners say Marta is an excellent instructor. She is knowledgeable, a good communicator and a very interesting architecture presenter.  She has a great base of knowledge, both locally and with European architecture.  Her presentations are interesting, easy to understand, and learners gain a lot of architectural knowledge through her instruction. Marta is always interested and available to answer any questions or follow up with additional information. 

Excellence in Teaching – Creative Writing

Becky Blake

According to learners, Becky Blake is organized, warm, encouraging, and highly in tune with the professional world of creative non-fiction writing. Her feedback is detailed, helpful and encouraging. Her assignments are both fun and challenging. She cultivates a comfortable learning environment, allowing students to interact without interference, while at the same time, keeping a watchful eye on discussions and stepping in when it is helpful. She creates a positive and inclusive environment for students of diverse backgrounds. Her love of teaching and learning shines through in all she does. 

Excellence in Teaching – Languages and Translation 

Hiromi Howe

Learners say Hiromi Howe’s passion for teaching is evident. She has been in the field of Japanese Language Teaching for many years and continues to uphold the passion and value of sharing information and her knowledge to students. Her classes are well organized and prepared. She uses a variety of media to engage students and tailor the learning experience to their different learning styles.  During classes, she integrates activities and games where all students have opportunities to engage with the information learned and practice their new skills. She upholds the principle of inclusion and diversity in a learning environment. She takes the stress out of language learning and makes it a pleasant, fun and memorable journey. She is also patient and is very responsive to students' questions even outside of class time. 

New Instructor Award

Rosa Cendros Araujo

Learners say Rosa is an amazing instructor who has an incredible energy in the classroom and genuinely wants to see her students succeed. She is an inspiration for people who want to work in the Learning Design field. Rosa is very knowledgeable about current research and practices in learning design. She is very approachable, making it easy to get to know her and ask more specific questions about the field. She makes learning palatable, fun, and engaging. 

Online Teaching Award

Saeid Abolfazli

Saied’s learners say he is an amazing teacher with a wealth of knowledge. He is very patient with his students and has great passion for his work. This passion and his willingness to mentor learners are extremely helpful in guiding students on their journey. Hi is organized, and always quick to respond to learner questions. His real life examples make it easy for learners to understand difficult concepts and brings a great energy to the classroom. 

Career Impact Award

David Vrbanek

David’s learners say he demonstrates a contagious passion and enthusiasm for business analysis, inspiring students to explore careers in the industry. He provides insider insight and perspective into careers in the field, including a realistic understanding of what the daily work experience and challenges are. David highlights potential career streams to students and provide them with direction as to how to pursue new opportunities. He provides learners with an opportunity to network among their peers and make new career connections. David takes a genuine interest in the professional goals of students and provides support on how to achieve those goals.

For more information on the U of T SCS Excellence in Teaching Awards please visit our awards page

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