Dale Payne, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1998

Renison College, Non-regular award category

Dale Payne has been a part-time faculty member at Renison College since 1977. Over the past two decades, he has taught numerous social development studies courses in a variety of formats - nine-week courses, 12-week courses, and intensive, two-week sessions. He has also been instrumental in developing a set of specialized courses that comprise the college's Certificate in Social Work (Child Abuse). Described as an innovative instructor, Dale teaches sensitive material relating to child abuse and family violence in a manner that supports the intellectual and psychosocial development of his students. He strives to bridge the gap between theory and practice, and often draws on his own clinical experiences to illustrate his point. One former student says: “He never directly challenges a student's thinking; instead he presents the information with clarity and persuasiveness through lecture, discussion groups and guest speakers. This allows the student to come to the appropriate conclusions independently.” Many former students point to his empathic nature and caring manner as the key factors which greatly enhanced their learning experience. In fact, his genuine concern and support for his students seems to have had a lasting effect. One former student states: “Many years later, his effective instructional strategies and his ability to encourage us to be higher-order, critical thinkers, continue to impact on my work.” Another student states: “Professor Payne gave me the confidence and drive to pursue a career in social work.” Perhaps a colleague best summarizes Dale's exceptional teaching capabilities by stating: “There is little that I can add to the glowing and moving endorsements of Dale's teaching. I can only re-iterate that these students' opinions are representative of hundreds of students whose lives Dale has touched over the past two decades.”