Diana Austin (2011)

AustinAffiliation at the time of the award: University of New Brunswick (Fredricton Campus), English.

Citation: “Teaching is a joyful dialogue.” Diana Austin practices her motto with enviable intensity. “Challenge,” “enjoyment,” “delight,” and “rigour”—terms her students persistently use to characterize her classes—balance the head and the heart.

A young TA took Diana ’s teaching apprentice program: “I learned more in one year with Dr. Austin than I did in four years on my own.” When classrooms needed painting, Diana Austin persuaded the painters to put away their institutional green and try William Blake sketches or medieval ornamentation.

Diana engages her students, despite her disabling MS. They soon forget about physical limitations. Life, Diana says, is about choices, whatever the circumstances. Diana chooses to keep teaching. She hopes they will choose to keep actively learning. Students respond warmly to this invitation. As one anonymous, undergraduate enthusiast wrote on a course evaluation, all they ask in return is for Diana to “keep up being amazing.”