Rhonda Amsel (2002)

amselAffiliation at the time of the award: McGill University, Psychology.

Citation: Rhonda has an exceptional gift to mold the curriculum so that it serves her students. Her genuine, whole-hearted respect for students and her ability to put them at ease is at the heart of creating an environment where learning is active and engaging. In her nomination letter it is stated that “Even in an auditorium of hundreds, everything in her demeanor conveys that she is speaking directly and personally with every student present.” It is not surprising that Rhonda has been showered with teaching awards including the Psychology Student Association Teaching Award, the Leo Yaffe Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Faculty of Science and the CASE Canadian Professor of the Year award.

Rhonda’s abilities extend beyond the classroom. In so many ways, she has enhanced the teaching and learning experience of Teaching Assistants, Staff members, peers, administrators and others inside and beyond her institution. For example, Rhonda is responsible for establishing the First Year Office that supports the overall learning environment for first-year students. She has designed TA programs that include the recognition of a Teaching Excellence award for them. As well, Rhonda regularly presents at McGill’s Centre for Teaching and Learning and is a co-facilitator for the annual Course Design and Teaching Workshop.

Rhonda has demonstrated her leadership on issues concerning university teaching and particularly on teaching students with disabilities. She continues to be an active member of STLHE and has published and disseminated information on adaptive educational technologies. Rhonda is an example of someone who consistently “teaches from the heart” and someone who deeply values friendships. She continues to work closely to mentor both students and colleagues.