Sarah Keefer (2009)

Sarah KeeferAffiliation at the time of the award: Trent University, English Literature.

Citation: Colleagues and students call it a “privilege” to have worked with Sarah. She has transformed departments, minds, lives, and her entire discipline: Anglo-Saxon and Old English. Sarah’s combination of high expectations and humane support is evident in her continual experimentation with ways to make every student a full participant in his or her education. Offering courses like “The Anglo-Saxon World of Tolkien” or “Imagining the Monstrous: A Journey from Abhorrence to Understanding,” Sarah keeps her classes current and engaging. In every instance, her governing verb in defining the learning process is “delight.” That joy defines her teaching and her contribution as an education leader. Undergraduate students peer-review one another’s work and, in other significant ways, mirror the professional practices of professors.

Workshops, conferences, programs, committees, mentoring, research, and preparation of the future professoriate—each of these endeavours are given shape and life under Sarah’s creative leadership. Awards for both teaching and educational leadership have come her way, but the Educational Leadership and Innovation in Instruction award is particularly significant because her daunting area of instruction is scarcely regarded as relevant to undergraduate students, or even to universities at large. Her students consistently say, “Dr. Keefer’s effect on my life has been profound.”