Trent University Celebrates Outstanding Educators with Teaching Excellence Awards

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Trent University Celebrates Outstanding Educators with Teaching Excellence Awards

by ahnationtalk on April 12, 202128 Views

Virtual Celebration of Faculty Excellence in Research and Teaching on May 3 will honour Trent’s passionate and influential educators

Thursday, April 8, 2021, Peterborough

Trent University is honouring the contributions of dedicated, engaging and creative educators from Chemistry and Forensics, Physics and Astronomy, Cultural Studies and English Literature, the School for the Study of Canada, and Indigenous Environmental Studies & Science as recipients of the 2020/21 Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

The following educators have been honoured with a 2021 award:

  • Shannon Accettone (Chemistry and Forensics): Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Aaron Slepkov and Rayf Shiell (Physics and Astronomy): Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation
  • Brent Bellamy (Cultural Studies and English Literature): Award for Excellence in Online Teaching
  • Mike Perry (School for the Study of Canada): CUPE 3908-1 Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Emma Pirie (Indigenous Environmental Studies & Science): Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance

“When our instructors were asked to pivot to mainly remote and online learning this year, they did so with an incredible amount of ingenuity, dedication, and generosity. It was challenging, but they did it, showing care for their students and their learning. I was so deeply impressed by those efforts,” said Dr. Joel Baetz, director of the Centre for Teaching & Learning at Trent. “I hope that Shannon, Aaron, Rayf, Brent, Mike and Emma all feel warmed by the spotlight that we’re trying to shine on them. They are wonderful teachers, and their students are grateful for the inspiration. I look forward to honouring them at our awards celebration.”

This year, Professor Baetz surprised the award winners on Zoom to share the good news. The recipients of Trent’s Teaching Excellence Awards will be officially honoured at the virtual Celebration of Faculty Excellence in Research and Teaching, on May 3 at 4 p.m. Those who wish to join the celebration are invited to register online or email [email protected] to register.

Full profiles of each recipient can be found below.

Shannon Accettone, Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching

Recognizes faculty and staff members who encourage learning and who offer unique experiences to their students, challenge them to do their best work, and inspire them to learn.

Professor Accettone, an assistant professor, in Chemistry and Forensics, has a well-earned reputation for sharing her passion for chemistry with her students. She finds new and varied ways to explain difficult concepts and constantly reworks her courses, with the aim of giving students their best chance to learn challenging material. Prof. Accettone has inspired students to expand their horizons and deepen their understanding of their own abilities. Undergraduate and graduate students, along with alumni and staff, remarked on Prof. Accettone’s exemplary concern for students’ well-being and her willingness to show her care for her students’ learning, and highlight that, in addition to all else, she “serves as an inspiration to future female scientists in academia.”

Aaron Slepkov and Rayf Shiell, Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation

Recognizes faculty and staff who make a distinctive impact through their educational leadership and innovation in teaching and learning.

Aaron Slepkov and Rayf Shiell, professors in the department of Physics and Astronomy, are recognized for their innovations and leadership through the development of the “integrated testlet.” This evaluation technique has reshaped a traditional assessment method by creating sequenced multiple-choice questions that hone students’ analytical skills and provide them with immediate feedback on their work. Through rigorous research studies, Professors Slepkov and Shiell have documented the integrated testlet’s advantages, and they have further demonstrated educational leadership by generously sharing their research on this technique with colleagues at Trent and beyond. Their work has led to widespread interest in and adoption of the integrated testlet at both Trent and other Canadian universities.

Brent Bellamy, Award for Excellence in Online Teaching

Recognizes instructors who have demonstrated a passion for, and commitment to, online teaching and who have implemented effective approaches to fostering active learning and student involvement.

Brent Bellamy, instructor with the departments of English and Cultural Studies, is known for his creative course design and ability to engage students in online learning. Students appreciate Professor Bellamy’s imaginative, intentional, and engaging approach to online learning. His modules are filled with relevant images, readings, discussion prompts, and quizzes, which encourage students to understand the course material and see its relevance to their own lives. He guides students, with patience and thoughtfulness, through challenging and helpful ideas; and he is able to make students, in large classes, feel as though they are receiving his immediate and close attention, a crucial aspect of any online course. Faculty and staff appreciated Prof. Bellamy’s willingness to share his insights into online learning with others by making his course available to instructors new to online learning and speaking at many workshops designed to support the transition to remote teaching.

Mike Perry, CUPE 3908-1 Award for Excellence in Teaching

Recognizes contract faculty who have a strong, positive impact on students’ learning.

Mike Perry, an instructor with the School for the Study of Canada, is recognized as this year’s award recipient for his engaging class activities and commitment to student success. Professor Perry demonstrates his extensive knowledge of and passion for the law, and his seminars frequently feature distinguished guest speakers, allowing students to understand the field and the people in it, and apply course concepts to discussions of contemporary issues in law and politics. Students appreciate Prof. Perry’s interest in their intellectual and professional development, which he cultivates through individual meetings with each student, as well as his empathetic concern for their well-being and comfort throughout the course.

Emma Pirie, Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance

Recognizes teaching assistants who excel at encouraging learning in workshop, tutorial, seminar, laboratory, or field settings.

Emma Pirie, a teaching assistant in Indigenous Environmental Studies & Science, is recognized as this year’s award recipient for her extraordinary support for students’ learning. Ms. Pirie goes to astonishing lengths to help students understand the course materials and assignments. She emails weekly updates and creates reading guides; she explains – in detail – upcoming assignments (their purpose and expectations); she shares, willingly and helpfully, her personal experiences in relation to course concepts; she leads discussions in ways that are engaging, supportive, and fair. Students also appreciate how approachable she is, noting that Ms. Pirie treats each student with kindness and respect, and encourages them to develop confidence in their ideas and abilities.

For more information about the Celebration of Faculty Excellence in Research and Teaching, including more details about the teaching awards and past teaching award recipients, visit

About Trent University

One of Canada’s top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that’s personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent’s unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent’s students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent’s Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.

For more information contact:

Cara Walsh, communications & media relations officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6240 or [email protected]


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