Rosemary Nielsen (1991)

nielsenAffiliation at the time of the award: University of Alberta, History & Classics.

Citation: Professor Nielsen is an exemplary university teacher. She loves her subject and communicates her passion for her students’ learning both in and out of the classroom. When asked, “How do you rate your instructor in this course?”, students give Rosemary Nielsen exceptional evaluations. (Her ratings consistently average 4.9, where 5 is the highest possible, in courses of well over 100 students. This is extremely unusual, even among outstanding teachers). It is no surprise that her teaching has been recognized through the University’s Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Teaching Award of Excellence. In 1990 she was the first Canadian recipient of her own professional association’s award for excellence in the teaching of classics.

Professor Nielsen devotes unstintingly of her time and talent to the improvement of teaching and learning. In her own field, her aim is to make classical writing alive and significant in the lives of her students. Her contributions beyond her own courses include the development of curricula for a new MA and Ph.D. program in classical studies which she single-handedly initiated.

Her influence, however, spreads far beyond her own discipline. As one colleague writes, “She is a visionary teacher who has established a reputation as a reliable and enthusiastic resource person for teaching consultation and peer support.” Another points out that “It is in no small part due to her eloquence that the Faculty Salaries and Promotion Committee has given substantial weight to a professor’s teaching record”. Her contribution to wider teaching excellence includes her active participation in numerous faculty workshops and on the University’s Committee for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning. She has presented many university-wide seminars on teaching, designed to help others improve their teaching, and presented talks on teaching in off-campus venues. She is “an advocate for quality education throughout the curriculum, and for the quality of life for students and faculty alike.”