With this recognition, Diane is granted a lifetime membership in the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) and becomes a member of the 3M Council, both of which aim to enhance teaching and learning in Canadian post-secondary institutions.
Diane says it is an honour and privilege to be recognized at the national level for excellence in teaching and educational leadership.
“I believe exemplary teachers become educational leaders because their passion and deep-seated commitment towards teaching excellence, student success and educational improvement drives them to work tirelessly to improve themselves, and to share this energy with their students, their colleagues, their work environments, their disciplines and the educational system more broadly.”
“A 3M National Teaching Fellowship is, truly, our country’s most prestigious recognition of leadership in university teaching,” says Dr. Craig Monk, provost & vice-president, Academic. “We are so proud of Dr. Symbaluk for receiving this acknowledgment. MacEwan is stronger for her work with us, and her award underscores the emphasis our institution places on high-quality teaching.”
In the classroom, Diane is an accomplished professor of sociology known for her tireless dedication to the success of her students. She has been a mentor and research supervisor to countless students, and continues to provide support and encouragement even after they graduate.
“Every fibre of Diane’s being is committed to ensuring her students succeed,” says David Fischer, Bachelor of Arts (’11) alum and lead of MacEwan’s student recruitment team. “Her office door is always open. Even if a student doesn’t seek her help, she recognizes where they’re struggling and will often offer written encouragement and suggestions on papers and exams. She pushes her students to be the best.”
“Educational leaders never forget what it is like to be a student and a new instructor, and they find means to engage and guide teachers and leaders to their potential.” —Dr. Diane Symbaluk
Outside the classroom, Diane empowers others and encourages positive change through a form of mentorship that she likens to sharing — sharing her knowledge and passion with students and colleagues; sharing her time and expertise in support of student-centred learning; and sharing her skills and experience with students beyond the classroom to help in their professional development.
Lori Giampa, one of Diane’s former students, is convinced that her own success as a student can be attributed to Diane’s mentorship. “When a student sees how hard a professor works for their students, they themselves want to do well,” says Lori. “I always wanted to do well for not only myself, but for her as my role model. I wanted to show, through my work, that her efforts did not go unnoticed. And it made me a better student in the end.”
In addition to her work with and mentorship of students, Diane has developed articles and written and co-authored textbooks based on her teaching practices. “The more I teach and develop my teaching expertise, the more it influences my scholarly pursuits and even my academic leadership.”
Receiving the 3M National Teaching Fellowship is a major highlight of her distinguished teaching career — as is every day she spends in the classroom, she says.
Diane Symbaluk receives 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award
“I believe that exemplary teachers are learner-centred communicators that display clarity, knowledge, and passion in their classrooms.”
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