Ali Arya (School of Information Technology) and Véronic Bézaire (Department of Chemistry) have been named recipients of the 2023 Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) Teaching Award – the highest honour an educator can receive in the province.
“I’m thrilled to congratulate Ali and Véronic on receiving the OCUFA Teaching Award. Their accomplishments demonstrate the calibre of our teachers and students who continue to push the boundaries in advancing new and innovative teaching and learning at Carleton,” says David Hornsby, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Academic).
Arya, an Associate Professor in the School of Information Technology, is an innovative and engaged instructor whose contributions and leadership extend well beyond the classroom and Carleton University.
Arya incorporates technology into many of his teaching and learning innovations at Carleton: he not only has used virtual and augmented reality in the classroom but also has investigated and developed original 3D environments and tools to be used by other educators, introduced gamification and game-based learning into his courses and adopted an exploration-based pedagogy using emergent technologies. He has also significantly contributed to the curriculum as the Associate Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Information Technology.
Arya has also innovated by incorporating various methods of student engagement such as reflective activities into his educational practice in STEM disciplines.
“Over the last few years, I have been explicitly incorporating reflection and student well-being practices as part of the educational experience in my courses,” says Arya. “Proper and meaningful reflection allows students to make sense of their learning and provides me with an opportunity to know them better.”
His efforts continue to have a significant impact on the curriculum and student engagement and have garnered him several honours that include the Carleton University Faculty of Engineering and Design Teaching Excellence Award, the Carleton University Faculty Graduate Mentorship Award, the prestigious Carleton University Provost’s Fellowship, the Future Learning Innovation Fellowship and more recently, the Carleton University Chair in Teaching Innovation.
Véronic Bézaire in the Department of Chemistry has consistently demonstrated excellence in teaching and leadership and commitment to student-centred values, experiential learning opportunities, mentorship, and curriculum design.
Bézaire has made lasting improvements to Food Science instruction at Carleton through her various engagements and initiatives that include chairing the Food Science program cyclical review process and launching an annual Food Science workshop in collaboration with Teaching and Learning Services to evaluate and re-design courses.
As a teacher, Bézaire is committed to developing and enhancing a learner-centred and inclusive teaching and learning environment in her classes. Whether in her classroom or the Students as Partners Program, she encourages students and provides them with a safe environment built on mutual respect.
“I see teaching as an opportunity to inspire and coach young people. It is an opportunity to give students tools to learn, discover their passion, and self-improve,” says Bézaire. “As an educator, I aim to inspire students and help them develop confidence. I seek qualities in students that they may not realize they possess.”
For her dedication to her students, teaching, and scholarship, Bézaire has received many teaching awards and honours, including Carleton University’s Teaching Achievement Award and the Provost’s Fellowship in Teaching Award. She also regularly participates in local and national higher education conferences and engages in conversations that foster the culture of teaching and learning.
Since its establishment in 1973, 28 Carleton educators have received the OCUFA award. This time marks the fourth consecutive year that a Carleton educator was named.