From the Provost’s Desk: Congratulations to the recipients of the 2024 Awards for Teaching Excellence

Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Verna Yiu extends her gratitude to these faculty members for their exceptional contributions as teachers, researchers and community builders.


(From left) Louise Harrington, Kristin Marie Zelyck, Guillermo Hernandez and Rebecca Gokiert have received awards this year for their excellence in teaching, research and service.

On behalf of the University Teaching Awards Committee, I’m thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2024 Awards for Teaching Excellence. These four incredible faculty members are recognized for their outstanding achievements in teaching, research and service to students, the university and the wider community.

Provost’s Award for Early Achievement of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Louise Harrington, assistant professor in the Faculty of Arts

Louise Harrington is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Arts. Her research interests involve conflict and peace, postcolonial studies and critical border studies, with an emphasis on South Asia, Ireland and Northern Ireland, and Palestine and Israel. Since joining the Department of English and Film Studies, she has designed and taught 15 different undergraduate courses. She is passionate about the value of mindful awareness and reflective practice to help students examine their lived experiences and gain insights beyond the limitations of traditional essay assignments. With a teaching style characterized by compassion and inclusivity, she centres marginalized writers, forms and places to give students a wider perspective on literature, religion and ethnicity — and to better reflect their own diverse cultures.

Kristin Zelyck, Faculty of Nursing graduate, assistant teaching professor and current PhD student.

Kristin Zelyck has a deep relationship with the Faculty of Nursing as a graduate, an assistant teaching professor and a current PhD student exploring Indigenous patient experiences and health-care provider practices in intensive care settings. As a practitioner, educator and student, she approaches teaching and learning with curiosity, creativity and humility. During the pandemic, she developed clinical hybrid learning activities for the Advanced Acute Clinical course, and adapted the Indigenous Health in Canada course for online delivery by building relationships with Indigenous community members and creating a podcast to share their knowledge with students. In 2023, she was recognized as a U of A Wellness Champion for promoting healthy behaviour to her peers, colleagues and students.

Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Guillermo Hernandez Ramirez, professor in the Faculty of ALES and director of graduate studies in the Department of Renewable Resources.

Guillermo Hernandez Ramirez, professor in the Faculty of ALES and director of graduate studies in the Department of Renewable Resources, is passionate about the science of sustainable agriculture — and through his innovative use of technology as an experiential learning tool, he sparks that same passion in students. He successfully implemented a software modelling program in his sustainable agriculture course, enabling students to simulate farming systems and evaluate management options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He also developed DigiMapping, a mobile platform that enhances students’ learning in the field and gives them hands-on experience with digital tools used by industry and government. And as a mentor in the Certificate in Sustainability program, he helps hundreds of students diversify their education and contribute to solving sustainability challenges from local to global.

Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching

Rebecca Gokiert, registered psychologist, professor in the School of Public Health and director of the Evaluation Capacity Network.

A registered psychologist, professor in the School of Public Health and director of the Evaluation Capacity Network, Rebecca Gokiert embodies her teaching philosophy that instructors and students are on a shared journey of discovery. She co-led the development of the thesis-based Master of Arts in Community Engagement program — the first of its kind in Canada — and led the development of experiential learning courses in which students co-create evaluation plans with community-based organizations. She has also been instrumental in streamlining courses and developing new curriculum focused on evaluation as a core competency in the School of Public Health. She received the McCalla Professorship in 2019 and the Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring in 2022 for her commitment to mentorship and integration of research and teaching to nurture students’ growth and success.

The recipients of the 2024 Awards for Teaching Excellence were recognized earlier this week at our Festival of Teaching and Learning. They will also be acknowledged at our annual Celebrate! Teaching. Learning. Research event this fall. 

Join me in congratulating our 2024 recipients on these well-earned honours.

Verna Yiu
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)