The MSU Teaching Awards — Past and Present

MSU Macademics
5 min readFeb 9, 2021


Hello reader! MSU Macademics is excited to announce that Teaching Award Nominations for the Winter 2021 term are OPEN! If you have a professor or TA that you would like to nominate for an award, please fill out the nomination form(s) below:

Nominate a Professor

Nominate a TA

Nominations close on Saturday February 13, 2021 at 11:59pm (EST).

Background on the Teaching Awards:

The teaching awards are presented each year to one outstanding instructor from each faculty. Merits which are considered include the ability to communicate, approachability, and enthusiasm of the instructor as recognized by their students. The recipients are determined by the number of nominations while considering class size and student evaluations.

The teaching awards also recognize Teaching Assistants who have demonstrated exceptional organizational skills, comprehensive knowledge of the subject, excellent clarity and communication skills, enthusiasm about the subject and teaching, ability to engage students, and constructive and timely feedback.

Read more about the teaching awards and MSU Macademics here

If you’re interested in knowing more about past winners, look no further! Here is a list of all the MSU Teaching Award recipients from 2017–2020!


Artsci: Nadine Ijaz

Commerce: Anwar Husain

Engineering: Eu-gene Ng

Health Sci: Michael Wong

Humanities: Craig Jennex

Kin: Phillip White

Nursing: Lynda Poole

Science: George Dragomir

Soc Sci: Jennie Vengris

Community Engagement Award: John Maclachlan

Merit Award: Moataz Mohamed

Lifetime: Henry Jacek

OUSA Award: Catherine Anderson

MSU Distinction Award: Anushay Irfan Khan


Supriya Singh

Jack Legere

Ali Abu Helal

Muzammil Syed


Arts and Science: David Penner

Commerce: Teal McAteer

Engineering: Mostafa Soliman

Health Science: Margaret Second-Gilbert

Humanities: Tracy Wong

Kinesiology: Krista Howarth

Nursing: Jillian Halladay

Science: Felicia Vulcu

Soc Science: Jessica Braimoh

Lifetime Achievement Award — Judy Major-Girardin

Merit Award — Katie Moisse

Innovation Award — Ryan Belowitz & LIFESCI 2L03 team

Community Engagement Teaching Award — Dawn Bowdish

TA AWARDS: Brent Urbanski, Abdullah Haroon, Allen Li, Michelle Ogrodnik

TA OF THE YEAR: Brent Urbanski


Arts and Science: John Maclachlan

Science: Josie Libertucci

Engineering: Matthew Minnick

Humanities: James Sikkema

Social Science: Rebecca Gilmour

Health Science: Caitlin Mullarkey

Commerce: Ken Li

Nursing: Elaine Shuhaibar

Kinesiology: Trevor King

Innovation Award: BioBlend Team

Merit Award: Christina Vani

Community Engagement Teaching Award: CityLab Team

Community Engagement Teaching Award: Elizabeth Weretilnyk

TA Awards:

Eric Desjardins

Ahmednur Ali

The MSU Teaching Awards are a great opportunity for you to recognize professors and TAs who go above and beyond for their students. When our Research and Resources team sat down to write this article, we were prompted to reflect on our best experiences with educators. Keep reading to hear what members of our team had to say about the impact that a professor/TA had on them in their undergraduate journey!

  • During my first year, one of my TA’s was very understanding and engaging with the students, and always put their learning first. She assured me that there are “no stupid questions”, which was a source of a lot of anxiety for me. I felt more confident in my knowledge, and I was able to participate and enjoy my labs without fear of judgement.
  • My professor discussed the importance of mental health instead of holding a regular lecture, and for the first time, I felt like my professor actually cared for me rather than saw me as a number and grade. It made me want to focus more on myself and my happiness, rather than working non-stop without caring about anything. It encouraged me to find balance during my academic life.
  • Starting second year with online classes was definitely an overwhelming and anxious experience. Even though I had never met this professor in person, they really tried their best to make myself and everyone in the class feel comfortable and supported. Months later, they continue to emphasize the importance of mental health and try their best to check in with students, which has really helped with the transition to online classes.
  • I was an incredibly nervous first year student who was too intimidated to participate in class or speak with my classmates, let alone approach my professors. However, a professor for one of my smaller and more interactive classes always came in with the biggest smile and an infectious enthusiasm. They made an intentional effort to chat outside of class and support each of us personally. As the year went on, I felt more comfortable with fully engaging with my learning knowing that even if I feel judged by my peers or begin to harbour self-doubt, there will always be at least one person in this classroom who wants to see me succeed.
  • First year was not the greatest because I unfortunately got the earliest slot for Chemistry labs and since the residences were literally on the other side of campus, it was not fun making that trek early in the morning. What made those mornings bearable was my wonderful TA. She was kind, thoughtful, and always started the mornings with a smile on her face. Whenever I had questions about the lab, she was able to walk me through it in a way that was easy to understand. Plus, my lab reports were always given back with really pretty stickers so what more could I ask for?
  • I struggled in first year calculus; it wasn’t a subject I liked and I found it really difficult. The best part of that class was my professor. He took the time to get to know every single one of us and our interests outside of academics. Before midterms and finals, he held countless extra help sessions, even coming into school on the weekends to help us prepare! He knew I was nervous for the exam, and helped me calm down beforehand, and then checked in with me after I was done writing to see how it went. I’ve had many good professors, but I can truly say that this one went above and beyond, by both preparing me to succeed academically, and helping me navigate the transition from high school to university.

When you’re filling out your nomination forms, keep some of these comments in mind and be sure to share how your professors and TAs have helped improve your McMaster experience.

All inquiries regarding the MSU Teaching Awards can be directed to the Teaching Awards Committee Coordinators via email at

Written by: The MSU Macademics Research and Resources Team



MSU Macademics

MSU Macademics is a service that advocates to improve the quality of education and celebrate teaching excellence at McMaster.