2018 EFS Teaching Award Winners

The Department of English and Film Studies congratulates 2018 Faculty of Arts graduate student teaching award winners Helen Frost, Brittany Reid, and Laura Sydora and 2018 Faculty of Arts Academic Teaching Staff teaching award winner Rachel Prusko.

29 March 2018

Helen, Brittany, and Laura are PhD students who have, while working toward the completion of their degrees, also demonstrated consistent excellence in their teaching as principal instructors of junior English. Rachel Prusko, who holds a PhD from the Department of English and Film Studies, is a specialist in Early Modern Literature and teaches across the curriculum. Rachel's philosophy of teaching attests to what her students frequently and in glowing terms observe as her generosity and commitment as a teacher: her "central goal as a teacher has always been to turn a room full of strangers into a community of thinkers and writers; no matter what the course, engaging students in texts and writing means helping them belong to a group and find their voices within it." All three graduate student teaching award winners similarly affirm the importance of community and engagement in our EFS classrooms and, in particular, in our first-year classes. "I encourage students to consider the relationships between local, regional, and global literature," writes Helen Frost, and "to think of these coordinates in relation to one another to facilitate their understanding of their own implication as global citizens." The "most important component of my job as an instructor," observes Brittany Reid, "is creating an open, supportive, and dynamic learning environment for my students." For Laura Sydora, working together with students is vital to creating a "community within the classroom": "My approach in every class," she says, "is responsive and collaborative."

Helen, Brittany, and Laura were among those honoured in a celebration of Graduate Student Teaching Awards hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research on March 27th. Rachel Prusko will be nominated in 2018-19 for the University-wide William Hardy Alexander Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. All four instructors will be celebrated with other award winners in the Faculty of Arts at an event later in the term.