History Professor Bradley Cross and Spanish Professor Haydée Sainz Honoured for Excellence in Teaching at Spring Convocation
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Professors who use different approaches in the classroom—material history, travel-study courses and cultural appreciation—were recognized with St. Thomas University’s highest teaching honours.
St. Thomas University professor Brad Cross received the John McKendy Memorial Teaching Award for Full-Time Faculty and professor Haydée Sainz received the Teaching Award for Part-Time Faculty at Spring Convocation on May 13. Both professors were nominated by their students and colleagues.
Cross, a professor in the Department of History, believes that his most successful courses are ones in which he draws attention to what the class, including himself, doesn’t know or might not be able to know. He and the students learn as a collective and through many non-traditional teaching techniques.
“I consider teaching to be a combination of preparation and response to the unexpected – teaching seems to be a dynamic process that continues to change with the work we are doing,” said Cross.
His students have studied historical artifacts at King“s Landing to learn about the past through material history. His travel-study courses to New York have provided rich learning opportunities that bring urban history to life and help broaden student’s knowledge and experience.
“His outside-the-classroom trips to study history have been as well orchestrated as his classroom sessions and have proven to be some of the greatest learning experiences of my time in university,” said a student who nominated Cross for the award.
“It was an honour to be nominated by students,” added Cross. “These students were subject to experimentation, experiential learning and hands-on approaches. They’ve been involved in research as well.”
Department of Romance Languages professor Haydée Sainz’s teaching portfolio expresses the joy that she has for teaching Spanish. She often uses films, plays and debates to engage students in learning the language to foster their cultural appreciation and analyse cultural differences and similarities. She provides her students with opportunities to use their Spanish in debating controversial cultural issues.
“Teaching is my way to connect with the students during a journey where we learn from each other and work together to achieve our goals,” said Sainz. “A nomination for the teaching award is the response from the students on the impact of this journey in their lives—this award is a great honour.”
Sainz has taken a leadership role in organising the annual Hispanic Day activities, an event that involves the wider community. She is also engaged in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning by sharing her teaching methods in regional and international teaching presentations.
“Her classroom is one where students’ confidence is fostered, allowing students learning Spanish to answer questions and participate in discussions without embarrassment of making a mistake,” said one student.
Boudreau, Coates and Dawson Earn Special Merit Awards
The Chair of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department, Dr. Michael Boudreau, and Chair of the School of Social Work, Dr. John Coates, received Special Merit Awards for their contributions in the classroom and to the wider university community.
Boudreau had a lead role in organizing Congress 2011, a major humanities and social sciences academic conference co-hosted by St. Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick. He contributed greatly to the event’s success for both campuses and the City of Fredericton, bringing widely known and respected speakers and researchers to campus and promoted the event to include all aspects of the community beyond the universities.
He sits on the editorial board of the Journal of New Brunswick Studies, several Senate committees, including, the Committee on Appointments to the Academic Staff. He has also been a member of the FAUST Negotiating Committee and the Joint Board Senate Committee on the Growth and Future of St. Thomas University. He is often called upon by media to offer comment on crime and justice issues. He also brings a high standard of teaching and mentoring of students enrolled in the Criminology and Criminal Justice programme.
Coates has been instrumental in building the School of Social Work and completing the application to expand academic offerings to include a master’s programme. He has served as co-chair for several national scholarly conferences, including Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work, International Conference on Ecology and Professional Helping.
He’s also written extensively for many academic publications, books and journals, served on numerous committees and is a founding member of Greater Fredericton Social Innovation, and a board member for Changes, Inc. His research includes work exploring the needs of First Nations Social Workers in New Brunswick, health issues concerning homeless and at-risk youth in Atlantic Canada, and many other topics.
He helped in the development of a new student code of conduct for St. Thomas as well as in the search for a new Vice President Academic, among other work for St. Thomas.
Dr. Michael Dawson was awarded the inaugural St. Thomas University Early Career Research Award. He has become widely recognized in the fields of Canadian cultural history and Canadian historiography.
He was the recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council post-doctoral research fellowship and a Standard Research Grant, and he has received five St. Thomas University General Research Grants and three St. Thomas Research Course Releases, as well as a Conference Organizer’s Award.
Dawson’s successes are evidenced by his diverse scholarly publications as well as the various prizes, awards and research grants he has gained. He has also contributed greatly to student and faculty research at STU, and elsewhere, and shows strong leadership in the academic community. He has become a widely recognized player in Canadian Cultural History and Canadian Historiography, and has also proven himself time and again as a very talented researcher, writer, teacher and mentor.