2023-24 Recipients of the Cheryl Regehr Early Career Teaching Award (PDAD&C #33) 

From: Trevor Young, Vice-President & Provost 
Susan McCahan, Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education 
Date:  April 5, 2024 
Re: 2023-24 Recipients of the Cheryl Regehr Early Career Teaching Award (PDAD&C #33) 

We are delighted to announce the recipients of the 2023-24 Cheryl Regehr Early Career Teaching Award. In addition to congratulating this year’s recipients, we would like to thank the nominators for their work in preparing submissions. We would also like to thank the members of the selection committee for their dedication to recognizing excellence in teaching at the University of Toronto. 

University of Toronto Early Career Teaching Award, 2023-24 

This award recognizes faculty members who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to student learning, pedagogical engagement and teaching innovation. This year the committee granted five awards of $3,000. 

Spyridon Kotsovilis 
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream 
Department of Political Science, University of Toronto Mississauga 

Professor Spyridon Kotsovilis is Assistant Professor, Teaching Steam in the Department of Political Science (Mississauga) since 2021, and an associate graduate faculty member at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Prior to that, he taught at McGill and the University of Toronto (Scarborough and St. George).  

Professor Kotsovilis believes excellent teaching should be captivating, motivating and transformative. Towards this goal, he uses a variety of novel and engaging teaching and learning approaches. These have included in-class team debates and collaborative work paired with visiting guest experts on International Law, a student performative reading of an ancient tragedy on war, exercises linked to literary works and popular culture on archival and ethnographic research methods, and a special virtual roundtable with Indigenous legal scholars from law schools across Canada. His classes are multimodal and employ creative and fun assignments, as well as music, literature, and videos related to the topics presented, and podcasts based on student questionnaires.  

Professor Kotsovilis recently participated in the development and launching of the tri-campus Global Leadership program. He has been the inaugural instructor for its introductory course, and during his time at U of T he has designed and developed numerous courses. He has been disseminating his work in journals and conferences where he has also held workshops on innovative pedagogies, and since 2018 he has received multiple teaching recognitions ranging from his department to the Faculty of Arts & Science. His work has been supported by various department, division, university and provincial educational grants. 

Alison Olechowski 
Assistant Professor 
Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering and Practice, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering 

Professor Alison Olechowski is jointly appointed to the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (MIE) and the Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering Education and Practice (ISTEP), reflecting her expertise in both engineering design and engineering pedagogy. She teaches courses in both the Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering programs (the only professor to do so), as well as the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead). She designed the course TEP1502: Leadership in Product Design, for the ILead program and has completely revamped MIE459: Organization Design. Beyond her classroom teaching, Professor Olechowski is an emerging leader in engineering education research. She has regularly presented at the annual conferences of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and has twice won best paper awards from ASEE, including for her work investigating the disparity of participation in the machine learning and artificial intelligence communities. Professor Olechowski is also working with computer-aided design (CAD) education researchers nationwide on initiatives to make CAD education more accessible and inclusive. She is an active supervisor of the Spark Design Club and the U of T Aerospace Team and a mentor in the Girls SySTEM Mentorship program. In 2018, Professor Olechowski received a Dean’s Spark Professorship and a Technology Enhanced Active Learning Fellowship. She garnered the MIE Early Career Teaching Award in 2021 and received the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering Early Career Teaching Award in 2023. 

Jasty Singh 
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream 
Department of Immunology, Temerty Faculty of Medicine 

Professor Jasty Singh joined the Department of Immunology in 2019 as an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream. She is currently the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies in Immunology, and the Director of the Immunology program at Trinity College. Professor Singh teaches courses aimed at improving data and statistical literacy for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as introductory immunology courses. Professor Singh prides herself on creating a supportive learning community in her courses and getting students excited to learn. She actively seeks feedback and fosters a sense of community and collaboration among both her students and her colleagues. Professor Singh’s pedagogical research interests primarily focus on building cross-disciplinary collaborations for preparing undergraduate life sciences researchers to engage with statistics in research. To this end, Professor Singh has collaborated with developmental biologists, statisticians, and bioengineers, and she has designed and delivered three new undergraduate courses and one graduate course at the University of Toronto. She incorporates several pedagogical approaches into her teaching including active learning techniques, case studies and reflective exercises to foster learning. Professor Singh actively shares her collaborative experiences and the impact they have on student learning through international conferences and publications in the fields of Immunology, Statistics and Engineering. She is also the recipient of the Excellence in Graduate Teaching in Immunology Award (2022), the Undergraduate Excellence in Teaching Life Sciences Award, Temerty Faculty of Medicine (2023), and the Early Career Excellence in Teaching and Mentorship Award, Temerty Faculty of Medicine (2024). 

Roberta K. Timothy 
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream 
Dalla Lana School of Public Health 

Professor Roberta K. Timothy is the Black Health Lead, and the program developer and inaugural program director of the first Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in the field of Black Health. She is an Assistant Professor, a political scientist, psychotherapist and community health leader. She specializes in the areas of critical intersectionality; health ethics; Black health, Black families, Black women and children; confronting anti-Black racism; resistance, and empowerment centered praxis; transnational African/Black and Indigenous health; racialized health, gender and violence; healing and wellness; and anti-oppression/anti-colonial/decolonizing approaches to mental health. With extensive teaching experience in universities, colleges, and in social service organizations and community settings, she has expertise in critical health pedagogies, art-based practices, and social justice health policy development and implementation. In 2021, she started a mentoring group for Black graduate students at Dalla Lana School of Public Health and has initiated a peer mentoring program for students in the MPH in the field of Black Health. Professor Timothy is the Principal Investigator for the Black Health Matters (BHM) Lab started in 2020. Currently, she is working on pedagogy and research related to Black health and covid-19 and a Black Health Library Guide to be released in April. She utilizes her decolonial, African/Black feminist, intersectional, pedagogy and methodology developed in her Doctoral studies and community health work entitled “Resistance Education” to support all aspects of her teaching, research, and psychological work. Professor Timothy has lived and worked with a corneal (dis)ability since the age of 19.  

Photos credit: Jim Rankin from Toronto Star. 

S. Trimble 
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream 
Women and Gender Studies Institute, Faculty of Arts & Science 

Professor S. Trimble is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream and the current Associate Undergraduate Director at the Women and Gender Studies Institute (WGSI). Author of Undead Ends: Stories of Apocalypse (Rutgers, 2019), her research is situated at the intersection of feminist studies and cultural studies, with a focus on the politics of pop-cultural storytelling in the US, Canada and the UK from the 1950s to the present. Winner of the Faculty of Arts & Science Superior Teaching Instructor Award (2020), Professor Trimble is an outstanding teacher, committed mentor and visionary academic leader. They created the Feminist Sports Club, an exciting wellness and graduate student teacher training initiative that draws on a network of university partners to offer sports programming linked to a new and popular undergraduate course that Professor Trimble has introduced at WGSI. Feminist Sports Club connects undergraduate and graduate students through a series of activities that includes everything from line dancing to weightlifting, representing a unique opportunity to combine embodied experiential learning, community-building and graduate professional development. Professor Trimble is also the successful recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant to create a digital oral history project offering crucial pedagogical material on the field of feminist cultural studies; and is currently co-applicant on an imaginative project across Canadian universities to understand how Canadian teachers, students, administrators and community organizers use feminist pedagogy to engage in transformative outcomes and responses to violence through education. She also writes for non-specialist audiences, including, most recently, a personal essay on The Exorcist that appears in the ground-breaking anthology, It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror (2022).