Recognizing the contributions of part-time instructors

Until March 1, the Centre for Teaching and Learning is accepting nominations for the CUPE 3908-1 Award for Excellence in Teaching.

This is the perfect time to recognize the instructors that have made a substantial difference in your education.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3908 Unit 1 is Trent’s branch of the union for many part-time instructors. Diane Therrien, the CUPE 3908 president, believes that the award is an important way to highlight the work done at Trent by instructors that work part-time.

“People aren’t always aware of their instructor being part time,” she said.

“There’s often the assumption that all instructors are tenured faculty, which is not the case. [This award] is a good way to increase the profile of the local instructors as well as the immense amounts of work that go into being a part-time instructor,” Therrien explained.

The recipient of the award is determined by the CUPE Teaching Award Committee, and will be awarded $750 and a framed certificate. The award will be presented at the Celebration of Teaching Excellence on March 31.

The committee is looking for nominations that provide clear examples of teaching excellence, so stories that illustrate how an instructor has positively impacted you are the best way to nominate.

Established in 2000, the CUPE-3908-1 Award for Excellence in Teaching has highlighted incredible instructors for years. Recipients have said that receiving recognition for their commitment to student success through teaching excellence is an incredibly humbling and inspiring experience.

“I have such a huge sense of thanks to the Trent community to be regarded as such,” said John Dale Purcell, recipient of the 2014 award.

“It was certainly a big confidence boost. I am very grateful that there is such a recognition for teaching.”

It was a similar experience for 2015 award recipient Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, who works for the Centre for Teaching and Learning and has been teaching part time at Trent every semester since the spring of 2007.

“I was incredibly humbled. What makes it so significant for me was that it is the voice of the students who felt that I was deserving of that.”

These part-time instructors are teaching because they are passionate about it and often go well beyond their job descriptions in the process. Each hopes to make a positive difference in the educational experience of their students.

“My goal is for students to enjoy learning and to use their knowledge to be creative,” said Jose Miguel Garcia Ramirez, who was selected to receive the award in 2012.

“Paper can be used for many things. If you use it to light a fire, you can keep warm until the flame is gone, but if you use it to write a poem or make a flower, you can dream and make others dream your whole life.”

“I went into teaching because I wanted to foster a teaching practice where students have the opportunity to be successful,” said Hanley-Dafoe.

“It was important to me to be the type of teacher who helps establish a learning environment where students can find their strengths and where they can be themselves. I really wanted to foster curiosity, especially in undergraduate students and really encourage them to have deep learning.”

These attitudes are exemplary of the outstanding part-time instructors at Trent, and truly do make a difference in the student experience. As such, it is important to take the time to recognize the contributions of these instructors. If they are eligible, nominating them for the teaching excellence award is a great way to do so.

Nomination forms and the eligibility list can be found on the Centre for Teaching and Learning website,

About Zachary Cox 29 Articles
Zachary is a first year student in the Trent/Loyalist Journalism program, who has a wide range of interests from sports to politics to alpaca sweaters. He thinks Trent University and Peterborough are pretty neat and enjoys writing about the community for the Arthur. Other ventures that he is or has been involved with include the likes of the Youth Advisory Council for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games and Rotary Interact. Down the road, Zachary can see himself working somewhere in the world as a field journalist, or perhaps trying his hand at intellectual property law.