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School of Continuing Studies | University of Toronto

Announcing the 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award Winners

The University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies congratulates the 2012 winners of the annual Excellence in Teaching Award.

For more than twenty years, we have honoured exceptional instructors who deliver outstanding learning experiences. They exemplify teaching excellence by their ability to engage and inspire learners while imparting their expertise. We look forward to formally recognizing their achievements at an awards celebration on December 12th.

This year’s Excellence in Teaching Award winners are:


Lucien Benacem – Languages & Translation

Lucien Benacem has been teaching all levels of French at the School since 1983. His passion for French language and culture radiates the classroom.

 “He exemplifies everything that a ‘great teacher’ should be: encouraging, dynamic, comprehensive [and] completely knowledgeable about his subject material.”

Steve Bland – English Language Program

Steve Bland joined the School in 1996 with a background in drama and improvisation. He brings flare and a great sense of humour to his classrooms; his engaging teaching style is very popular with students.

“He is a very active and well-organized teacher. He knows what his students need and is supportive. In addition he has all teaching requirements – you can gain huge amount of knowledge from him.”


Rob Fischer – Business & Professional Studies

Rob has taught Operational Risks and Internal Controls Fundamentals since 2009. When not teaching, he is the Executive Director of Compliance, AML and Risk at UBS Wealth Management.

“Rob can very easily illustrate a rather dry topic by combining students’ own experiences with his extensive knowledge and experience. His classes don’t seem like classes, more like interesting panel discussion – after which you realise you have learned a lot.”


Beth Kaplan – Creative Writing

Author Beth Kaplan has been teaching Life Stories since 2007. She is described as enthusiastic and “able to bring the best out of her students through constructive feedback and encouragement.”

“Beth Kaplan personifies excellence in teaching and I was fortunate to learn from her.”

Doug Purdon – Arts & Science

Doug Purdon has taught Visual Art at the School for 8 years and is a practicing artist himself. His students say that his “passion is infectious”.

“Doug Purdon has a marvellous store of information, which he presents in a humorous and informative manner, capturing the artists and their muses and making them come alive.  It is obvious that he loves art and wants his students to feel the same way.”

On behalf of the extended School of Continuing Studies community, we offer our congratulations to this year’s winners.