Inspiring McMaster educators receive recognition for outstanding teaching

Top (from left to right): Krista Madsen, Colin McDonald, Emad Mohammad, Jake Nease. Bottom (from left to right): Robin Cameron, Kim Dej, Rosa da Silva, Lovaye Kajiura, Joanna Wilson, Alison Cowie and Alastair Tracey



“Enthusiastic, inspiring and passionate.”

Those are just some of the ways nominators described this year’s recipients of the President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning.

“This year’s President’s Award winners are a really exceptional group”, said President David Farrar. “The award emphasizes the value McMaster places on high quality teaching and learning. All of these recipients have significantly enhanced the learning experience and I thank them for their dedication, creativity and commitment to our students.”

Four individuals and one group have been recognized for their contributions to education through innovation, continued excellence in teaching, and enhanced student learning.

The President’s Award recognizes “sustained and effective achievement with weight given to evidence of continuing effort and outstanding contributions over a number of years, especially at the undergraduate level.”

Award recipients are nominated by peers, campus leaders or partners within the campus community, and nominations are evaluated by a selection committee appointed by the President.

The achievements of the Award winners will be showcased as part of the Fall Convocation virtual celebrations.

Meet this year’s recipients, complete with excerpts from their nominations.

Krista Madsen – Assistant Professor, Kinesiology, Faculty of Science

“Prof. Krista Madsen has made significant contributions to the teaching and learning culture at McMaster. At the heart of Prof. Madsen’s teaching approach and philosophy is a sense of shared humanity, where moments of failure and vulnerability are seen as central to the growth, problem-solving, community, and creativity of students in her classroom. Prof. Madsen has also been nominated by students for the MSU Teaching Award ten times, and honoured with awards on three occasions. As one colleague summarized, Krista Madsen ‘is a forward-thinking innovator who always has student well-being, and the evolution of teaching and learning infrastructure, at her core.’”

Colin McDonald – Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

“As an educator, Dr. McDonald is dedicated to creating meaningful learning experiences that help students move beyond just seeking good grades to an intrinsic motivation to learn. …Dr. McDonald’s students say, “He can bring out the best in students by encouraging collaboration, experimentation, and critical thinking.” He received the Faculty of Engineering’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2019, and was listed as a notable member of the Dean’s Large Selection Honour Roll for teaching in 2018. As one colleague notes, “As a result of the success of Colin’s teaching innovation in iBioMed, he has enabled [us] to reimagine the first-year educational experience of the entirety of Engineering 1. If that doesn’t indicate impact, I’m not sure what does.”

Emad Mohammad – Associate Professor, DeGroote School of Business

Dr. Emad Mohammad has demonstrated exceptional educational leadership in the creation of the exemplary Integrated Business and Humanities (IBH) Program, of which he is currently the Director. Dr. Mohammad has proven to be an excellent teacher and leader at McMaster who has gone above and beyond in his dedication to students, and in navigating the cultural and disciplinary differences of the Business and Humanities Faculties in order to bring the best strengths, insights, and expertise of each field into the orbit of the other. “Integrating students and integrating faculty is not easy” as one colleague attests, but Dr. Mohammad’s “innovation, drive and enthusiasm have contributed to the quality of undergraduate teaching, faculty development, and the national and international reputation of the University.”

Jake Nease – Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering

Dr. Jake Nease is an outstanding instructor, and a mentor who has had a huge impact on the students he teaches and his instructional peers. Jake is an educational ‘provocateur’ who stimulates, motivates and supports students in their learning by creating a classroom environment that encourages discussion, participation, and exploration of open-ended problems. He has adapted his teaching strategies to better serve student needs using podcasts, YouTube, and Echo 360 presentations (even before the time of COVID-19), comprehensive course packs to support student learning, and has created a very successful optional exam scheme that reduces student anxiety and stress. …In the words of a former student: Dr. Jake Nease is a “passionate, dedicated, and inspirational instructor”, “a generous leader and mentor”, and “the perfect example of the spirit of teaching we try to embody at McMaster.”

Team Award Recipient

BioBlend Team

  • Robin Cameron, Kim Dej, Rosa da Silva, Lovaye Kajiura, Joanna Wilson, Ms. Alison Cowie and Mr. Alastair Tracey

“The BioBlend Team is a splendid example of SOTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) and SOLE (Scholarship of Leadership in Education) merged into one effective and innovative teaching team. Formed in 2013, the BioBlend teaching team has created an innovative first-year Cell and Molecular Biology course (BIO1A03) that is unique within Canada. The course couples comprehensive online modules and effective in-class learning with a meaningful laboratory project, all of which is grounded in a core research question. The decision to proceed with a ‘final exam free’ curriculum demonstrates boldness and bravery in a foundational post-secondary course. The McMaster BioBlend Team, as one colleague captured, has “had a profound impact on a new generation of Biology students at McMaster, and are international leaders in pedagogical innovation. Indeed, their work is inspiring others around the globe.”

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