While this week’s Convocation ceremonies were a celebration of the 1,700 graduating students, the University also took the time to thank some of its most dedicated educators.
Established in 2000, The Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching, is awarded to exceptional individuals who embody the best in teaching, supervising, advising and mentoring. The award is presented to one recipient in each of four categories: Faculty Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Full Professor. Included among the winners was the Faculty of Medicine’s Dr. Teresa Rudkin.
When she isn’t seeing patients in her clinical practice at the CLSC Côte des Neiges, Dr. Teresa Rudkin is thinking about her students in the Faculty of Medicine. It is a balancing act that, by her own admission, isn’t always easy.
“I probably have the same challenges as other teachers who have to balance difference types of work responsibilities,” says Rudkin, who is also the Assistant Program Director in the Department of Family Medicine. “I struggle with being available to both my patients and my students.”
Clearly, however, it is a battle she is winning – which is why she was the recipient of the Principal’s Prize in the Faculty Lecturer category. Other rewards, though less formal, are more profound. “When students tell you years after you have worked with them how important you were to them and how you influenced their careers – that is a truly great reward.”
One of the keys to her success is seeing her two careers as complimenting one and other, not being in competition against each other. “I love being a physician, but I feel like I was ‘born’ to be teacher. When I was very young, I remember lining up my dolls and teddy bears in front of my blackboard and pretending to teach them,” says Rudkin. “There was never any question that teaching would be an important part of my medical career.”
Rudkin says she approaches each class “like theatre” because “I can have trouble concentrating during lectures, so I start by assuming my audience is the same.
“I try to engage my audience and I approach topics like stories. I choose my learning points carefully – making sure my sessions are practical and extremely relevant to my audience. I then try to think of creative ways to make presentations as interactive as I can… I think enthusiasm is the single most important quality a teacher can have.”
Congratulations Dr. Rudkin!