Canadian studies, English professor named Mount Allison’s top teacher

Tribune-Post Staff
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Christl Verduyn has been honoured with this year's Tucker Teaching Award.

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Mount Allison University Canadian studies and English professor Christl Verduyn is the 2014 recipient of the Herbert and Leota Tucker Teaching Award, one of the university’s highest teaching honours.

Verduyn, who is also the Davidson Chair in Mount Allison’s Centre for Canadian Studies, received the award during Convocation ceremonies on Monday.

“I am excited and honoured to receive the Tucker Teaching Award,” says Verduyn. “It means a lot to me – excitement, energy, and enthusiasm to keep doing my utmost as a teacher and to continue contributing to the special learning environment at Mount Allison.”

Verduyn is also a past recipient of Mount Allison’s Paul Paré Medal, recognizing outstanding research and scholarship. She is one of only four Mount Allison professors to receive both honours and the first woman to garner both these awards at the university.

“Christl’s work has greatly enriched the academic experience of her students in Canadian studies and English. Through her outreach events and initiatives, the entire university and greater community as a whole benefit enormously,” says Mount Allison’s vice-president of academic and research Karen Grant. “The Tucker Award is a well-deserved honour for Christl, and I offer my most sincere congratulations and thanks to her for her exceptional work.”

Described as “a passionate advocate and a model for teaching that challenges students to connect their learning with their wider life experiences,” Verduyn encourages her students to be actively and socially engaged in their learning, an aim embodied in the combination of lectures and small-group tutorial sessions that mark even her large introductory courses.

“I think professionalism is a very important component in the classroom and I strive to encourage this in my classes, for both myself and my students,” says Verduyn. “I hope that when my students are working on an assignment they see it as a representation of their work, an extension of themselves, rather than just ‘a paper for the professor.’”

Verduyn, an expert in Canadian literature, in particular women’s literature and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, teaches courses on Canadian culture and literature and strives to bring these works to life for her students beyond the classroom.

Since arriving at Mount A in 2006, she has welcomed over 40 speakers, authors, poets, and scholars to campus, enabling students to meet the individuals behind their studies. Past speakers organized in part by Verduyn include award-winning authors Lawrence Hill and Joseph Boyden, CBC personality Shelagh Rogers, and Shelley Ambrose, co-publisher of the Walrus magazine.

Verduyn also leads an active research program, involving her students in many ways including internships and conferences. She is currently co-organizing the upcoming conference Discourse & Dynamics: Canadian Women as Public Intellectuals, which will welcome such noted Canadians as Judy Rebick, founder of, Inuit scholar Siila Watt-Cloutier, and award-winning author Margaret Atwood to Mount Allison this October. The conference stems from Verduyn’s own scholarly work examining Canadian women as essayists and will involve students and faculty from universities across the country.

The Herbert and Leota Tucker Teaching Award is Mount Allison’s highest recognition of teaching excellence and the only university-wide teaching award. Established by Edmund, Harold, and William Tucker in memory of their parents, it is intended to encourage excellence in teaching at Mount Allison University by acknowledging those who exemplify this excellence.

Organizations: Mount Allison University, Canadian Studies, Royal Society of Canada CBC Walrus magazine Public Intellectuals

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