Brock recognizes professors for teaching and research

The Campaign for a Bold New Brock

Brock recognizes professors for teaching and research

Oct. 15, 2009

Brock students benefit from the commitment and expertise of faculty who provide a forward-thinking student-centred learning environment. Their influence engages students to think creatively and critically both inside and outside the classroom.

Brock will honour two faculty members for their contributions to teaching, and research and creative activity at Fall Convocation taking place on Saturday, Oct. 17, during two ceremonies.

“These professors are all widely respected for providing first-class learning and research experiences, and for their work in their respective fields,” says Murray Knuttila, Provost and Vice-President, Academic. “Their skills reflect well on Brock’s reputation for taking intellectual risks and for developing our students into well-rounded members of society.”

Professor James Mandigo from the Department of Physical Education and Kinesiology will receive the Brock University Award for Distinguished Teaching, the second major award for teaching excellence he has received from Brock this year. He also received the Brock University Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching at Spring Convocation. The Award recognizes a faculty member who has made a significant commitment to providing and developing quality learning experiences for students, in addition to making valuable contributions in curriculum development and the mentoring of colleagues.

Mandigo will receive the award at Saturday’s 10 a.m. ceremony. He will also deliver the morning Convocation address to students.

Professor Teena Willoughby from the Department of Psychology will receive the Brock University Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity. This award recognizes faculty members who demonstrate outstanding research achievements, contributions toward the training of future researchers, and consistency in scholarly or creative performance.

Willoughby will be presented with the award at the 2 p.m. ceremony on Saturday.

More than 700 students are expected to receive their degrees at the University’s 2009 Fall Convocation. All ceremonies will be held in the Ian D. Beddis Gymnasium and a reception for graduates, family members and other special guests will be held after each ceremony.

Professor James Mandigo, Department of Physical Education and Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences:

Professor James Mandigo is an excellent educator and leader who uses his capacities to make an impact at the local, provincial, national and international levels.

Professor Mandigo’s career at Brock exemplifies a seamless integration of teaching, research and service. He is an excellent instructor, using innovative teaching and evaluation methods, and participating actively in curriculum development efforts worldwide. He has demonstrated clear leadership in the domain of teaching scholarship: publishing in the areas of physical education, mentoring other faculty members and students, committing his talents to community and professional organizations and taking his expertise to the international arena.

He is engaged in professional development and service in his role as the Co-Director for the Centre for Healthy Development through Sport and Physical Activity, which was created in 2005 as a vital link between universities and community-based organizations.

Whether he is teaching students at Brock, or in Niagara as a key partner with Boards of Education in Ontario, or internationally with his outreach in El Salavador — working with local partners to use physical education as a means to teach peace in a country crippled by child and youth violence — Professor Mandigo has distinguished himself as a leader.

He also actively engages graduate and undergraduate students in all of these initiatives so that they have opportunities to apply their knowledge and understanding to real life and applied situations. He has been granted several other awards indicating that his excellence is recognized outside of the institution.

The words of one of his nominators sum up Professor Mandigo’s contributions and reputation: “James lives, eats, and breathes the scholarship of teaching and learning and practices cutting edge methodology in both the traditional (classroom) and non-traditional (gym) learning environments. James is at the forefront of transforming teaching and learning from narrowly defined objectives to much broader societal themes to improve the human condition.”

Professor Teena Willoughby, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences:

Professor Willoughby is a researcher who provides students with a significant research and learning experience. But the opposite is also true. Her students are also vital to her work, and their training is a critical component of her development as an academic.

Professor Willoughby has made outstanding contributions to the field of developmental psychology in areas of adolescent development, particularly with regard to risk taking, academic achievement, and media/technology influences on youth lifestyle choices.

One of her major projects has been a long-term in-depth study of 4,000 youth in Niagara, following them from when they entered high school in Grade 9 to graduation in Grade 12. This is one of the most comprehensive surveys examining predictors of adolescent risk taking and internalizing behaviours over time. Her research also includes collaborations with community agencies. She is a partner on the Niagara Regional Police Department Youth Division’s Attorney General Grant, and is a member and grant facilitator for the Research Committee of the Niagara Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Professor Willoughby is the Founder and Director of the Brock Research Institute for Youth Studies. The Institute brings together 40 Brock researchers, community members and graduate students and the group’s youth-focused research has earned Brock national attention as a centre of excellence in youth research. She was also a co-author of the grant application that created the Jack and Nora Walker Canadian Centre for Lifespan Development Research at Brock and is currently Associate Director of the Centre.

Professor Willoughby has demonstrated outstanding achievements in terms of obtaining tri-council grants, has contributed extensively toward training future researchers, and has been a consistent author of peer-reviewed publications. Throughout all of this, she provides valuable learning opportunities for students at all levels, including them as co-authors on research publications and conference presentations.

In her 13 years at Brock, she has authored or co-authored 50 articles in refereed journals, edited 2 books, is a co-author on a highly regarded developmental psychology textbook, and has delivered more than 100 conference presentations. Her work has been published in leading journals, such as Developmental Psychology, Journal of Educational Psychology, and Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.