Three faculty members who were recognized for their excellence at spring convocation share one thing in common – they are all STU alumni.

Human Rights professor Dr. Amanda DiPaolo (BA’01), received the John McKendy Memorial Teaching Award, English professor Dr. Matte Robinson (BA’98) received the University Scholarship Award, and Sociology professor Dr. Erin Fredericks (BA’06) received the University Service Award.

John McKendy Memorial Teaching Award

Since coming to St. Thomas three years ago, Dr. Amanda DiPaolo has become known for her innovation and commitment to the highest standards of teaching, and has received outstanding evaluations from her students.

In the classroom, she is able to engage even the most reticent students and uses her knowledge of international legal systems, politics, and human rights to create a broad and versatile learning environment.

She credits her passion for teaching to some of the professors who taught her during her undergrad.

“When I was a student at St. Thomas University, I decided in my second year of study that I wanted to be just like my professors,” she said. “I think I learnt most of everything I know from the people who are still here around me at STU today.”

DiPaolo has expanded the Human Rights Program by adding numerous new courses and an honours component. She teaches courses on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international human rights, and conducts independent studies on issues ranging from constitutional law to the Holocaust.

DiPaolo developed the Moot Court Program at STU, which is the only Canadian university to be a member of the US Collegiate Moot Court Association. The rigorous program sees students meet the challenge of becoming experts in American constitutional law as they argue cases in front of jurists. Many of her students have earned recognition during competition by finishing among the top 22 teams (out of 350), qualifying for the National Championships, or earning speaking awards.

With an intensive program that runs from May to January and includes case briefs and legal arguments, individual practice sessions, dress rehearsals, and four weekends of travel in the US, DiPaolo has dedicated countless hours to help students excel and learn practical skills in analysis, writing, and public speaking, as well as self-confidence and leadership skills.

“It's so humbling to be recognized in this way. I'm surrounded by incredible colleagues who inspired me both inside and outside of the classroom. It means the world to me to join an incredible group of scholars in accepting this award.”

University Scholarship Award

Dr. Matte Robinson’s research and writing on American modernist writer H.D. has contributed significantly to scholarship in North America, the United Kingdom, and France, and has appealed to wider discussions about modernist female authors and spirituality.

Though H.D. is recognized as a major figure within literary modernism, students rarely encounter her more substantial work before graduate school because little work has been done to help readers approach its complexities. Much like the important role critical scholarly guides play for the works of T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound—peers of H.D.—Robinson’s goal has been to make the work of H.D. available to wider audiences.

Robinson has been involved in the publication of five previously unpublished late works of H.D. He has co-edited H.D.’s Hirslanden Notebooks and authored a book on H.D., religion and the occult, The Astral H.D. He has written six articles and chapters, including contributing to the Cambridge Companion to H.D. and Presse Universitaire de Paris Ouest’s Intercalaires: agrégation d’anglais series.

“St. Thomas University shaped me into a young scholar, and I think it did so chiefly by providing a scholarly community,” he said. “That an undergraduate student could be able to work so closely with faculty in the discipline—and to get to know students and faculty from other disciplines—was really a fine thing, too easily taken for granted. Being in a tight-knit and collaborative community didn't just expose me to good researchers in my (new) discipline, it also modeled how such scholars interact, collaborate, and bring new members into the fold.”

“Returning to STU as a faculty member has allowed me a much deeper understanding of the wide variety and world-class quality of research being done here. It’s an honour to have my work recognized. The award inspires me to keep working and to reach out to collaborate with others in this community of scholars.”

University Service Award

Dr. Erin Fredericks is being honoured for her advocacy and support for the LGBTQIA+ community on campus and in Fredericton. Inspired by the notion to “be who you needed when you were younger,” she has worked to make STU a safer place for queer and trans students.

“We often think about graduate degrees as the preparatory degrees for academics. But, in many ways our undergraduate education teaches us what it means to work in a university and what the roles of universities are in our communities. STU prepared me for academic service work by teaching me that academic knowledge can be used for social justice, and that professors have the privilege to work as activists in our communities.”

As facilitator of the Safer Spaces program, Fredericks developed an LGBTQIA+ inclusion training workshop for staff and faculty. She has offered the workshop many times on campus and to community organizations, as well as the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety. As STU’s LGBTQIA+ Resource Advisor, she meets with students, supports queer and trans equity initiatives, and advises staff and faculty. She has also promoted queer and trans visibility by supporting the development and work of the Q&A Student Society, facilitating the raising of the Trans Flag at STU, advocating for queer and trans students facing issues on campus, and helping establish all-gender washrooms on campus.

Off-campus, Fredericks is the co-founder and co-chair of the trans advocacy organization TransActionNB.