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Victoria ParaschakKinesiology prof Victoria Paraschak and colleagues Dora Cavallo-Medved, Jasminka Kalajdzic, and Sigi Torinus are 2021 recipients of the Alumni Award for Distinguished Contributions to University Teaching.

Alumni honour professors as excellent educators

The University of Windsor Alumni Association is bestowing its Alumni Award for Distinguished Contributions to University Teaching on four professors during Spring Convocation ceremonies.

The award honours faculty members — nominated by colleagues, alumni, and students — as incentive and encouragement for achieving excellence in teaching and learning at the University of Windsor.

This year’s recipients are:

Sigi TorinusProfessor Sigi Torinus in the School of Creative Arts has enhanced the lives of numerous art students and has had a positive impact on their creative and professional endeavours.

An expert specializing in the area of integrated media, Prof. Torinus shares her passion for art through the creation of a personal, connected classroom that allows students to reach their highest potential. She says she believes in “active, experience-based learning and maintaining a lively and interactive classroom, changing delivery methods and including the students as much as possible in disseminating information.”

Students and colleagues remark on her dedication to teaching.

One student says that through Torinus’ mentorship she “learned that being an artist meant that” she is on a “continuous journey of self-exploration and self-expression.”

Many students credit Torinus with building their confidence and helping them to find their place in the professional world of art.

Torinus was recognized during the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences ceremony on June 7 at 4 p.m.

The creative, innovative, and caring approach to teaching of kinesiology professor Victoria Paraschak (MHK 1978) has helped develop the strengths of her students as leaders and professionals. Her  approach to teaching in the university environment is often cited as one of the things that contribute to her stellar reputation and impact on students.

Dr. Paraschak is lauded for her passion for aboriginal and marginalized peoples as well as her constant encouragement of students to think outside the box, debate, and research. One of her students says that Paraschak’s “teaching style was supportive, challenging and student centered with an open-door policy for further discussion and questions. Her efforts towards teaching each student encouraged me to work to my best ability during my undergraduate years.”

Paraschak’s class in Outdoor Recreation is known across campus for the opportunities it offers for skills and leadership development. As one of her colleagues says: “She is a teacher, a leader, a role model and a mentor.”

Paraschak was recognized during the Faculty of Human Kinetics ceremony on June 9 at 4 p.m.

Dora Cavallo-MedvedDora Cavallo-Medved (BSc 1994, MSc 1996, PhD 2000), a cell biologist in the Faculty of Science, has shared her love of science with numerous University of Windsor students. Her approachable manner and her belief in making strong classroom connections have contributed to the personal growth, success, and self-confidence of her students.

Dr. Cavallo-Medved is known for her devotion to teaching and research, and her positive work has spread throughout campus. She works collaboratively with other faculties and students in a variety of disciplines. No matter the program, she can engage and excite students with her own passion for science and learning.

As one of Cavallo-Medved’s colleagues says: “she goes above and beyond to enhance the student experience, to embrace our local community in academic learning and to facilitate the growth of our programs and faculty professional development.”

Cavallo-Medved was recognized during the Faculty of Science ceremony on June 11 at 2:30 p.m.

Jasminka KalajdzicProfessor Jasminka Kalajdzic from the Faculty of Law is a scholar and expert in class actions in Canada. Prof. Kalajdzic has put University of Windsor students at the forefront of her work. In 2019, she established Canada’s first class actions clinic located in Windsor Hall. The clinic relies primarily on students to provide advice about specific lawsuits and class actions to the public.

Kalajdzic demonstrates passion for teaching and mentoring students in many ways. She regularly coaches students in the annual moot competitions against other Canadian law school teams. She also developed a cross-jurisdictional course on comparative class actions which allowed students to collaborate across several countries through technology.

Most important, Kalajdzic’s teaching philosophy mirrors her impact on Faculty of Law students. “I believe people are their best when they know they are valued,” she says. “Ultimately, I hope to teach students about the importance of caring about their clients.”

Kalajdzic will be recognized during the Faculty of Law ceremony on June 16 at 4 p.m.

Convocation ceremonies continue through June 16. All sessions are available for viewing through the Convocation website.