Dr. Amy Verdun, University of Victoria, won the European Community Studies Association Canada (ECSA-C) Teaching Excellence Award at the ECSA-C Biennial 2018. She was honoured for her efforts in establishing an undergraduate EU studies program and being instrumental in teaching a large number of students in this field over the past 20 years. Dr. Verdun was also honoured for her attention to quantitative studies in the curriculum, as well as her impressive achievements in terms of facilitating networking and student exchange opportunities throughout Canada and Europe.
Dr. Verdun was hired 1997 to set up and become the first Director of the European Studies Program at University of Victoria (UVic). She played an important role in enhancing European Studies at Uvic , nationally and internationally helping to establish an EU Centre of Excellence at Uvic. She supervised Honour’s Masters, PhD and postdoctoral fellows. She has been described as an innovative teacher, consistently applying the principles of engaged learning in her teaching. Three of Dr. Verdun’s PhD students have won prizes for their PhD theses (Graeme Crouch, Assem Dandashly and Ania Zbyszewska), and one (Anastasia Chebakova) won an ECSA-C prize for a paper that drew on her thesis work. One of her ongoing efforts includes to attract research funds that can either bring her academic network to UVic or to have research funds to employ graduate students or postdocs. Dr. Verdun has shown her students what the academic community is all about and made room for her students to obtain a range of experiences. Where possible she provided students with space on workshops and conferences so that they can have an opportunity to present their work at these conferences and has given them a variety of roles at these events (i.e., conference organiser, editorial assistant of conference proceedings), etc.
This is how one of her students describes her teaching style:
“Throughout university, I have experienced a wide range of teaching styles, and as such I know that they can have a significant impact on student learning. Amy consistently goes above and beyond her role as a professor, and I can confidently say that she is one of the most effective teachers from whom I have had the privilege to learn. Her high level of interpersonal skills and communication allow her to create a positive and engaging learning environment that is appreciated by all her students.”
Picture from left: Dr. Heather MacRae, the newly elected ECSA-C President; Dr. Amy Verdun, recipient of the ECSA-C Teaching Award; Dr. Ruben Zaiotti, outgoing ECSA-C president