Gabriel Niccoli, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1998

Italian/French Studies, St. Jerome's University

Prof. Gabriel Niccoli, an associate professor in the Department of Italian and French Studies at St. Jerome's University, is known as a “teacher of consummate skill and considerable compassion.” Professor Niccoli is very enthusiastic about teaching Italian no matter whether it is the language, history or the culture. His teaching method motivates students to continue studying Italian at an advanced level. Several undergraduate students commented on his teaching methods in Italian 291: “Professor Niccoli enriched the overall learning experience of Italian 291 by complementing his insightful lectures with guest speakers, slide shows, films, and a live musical performance. He provided the class with a glimpse into the culture and civilization of Italy.” “Professor Niccoli is an excellent teacher if for no other reason than his passion. He loves what he is doing and his love for teaching is reflected in his student's willingness to learn. I have not been to Italy, but Italian 291 has given me the feeling that I have. Professor Niccoli has so inspired me that I now have a great desire to one day visit Italy.” “His passion has a rather contagious effect on students he has taught. Friends who have studied under professor Niccoli, as well as myself, have fallen in love with Italy and all that is Italian.” An alumni testimony confirms this contagious effect. "Professor Niccoli's enthusiasm and love of teaching inspired me to travel to Italy after graduation for six weeks of immersion/vacation. In his teaching, professor Niccoli emphasized contemporary Italian life and language, while giving me an appreciation for the rich history and culture that has produced so many literary, architectural, artistic, and musical masterpieces.” Professor Niccoli's many attributes - his style, humour, charisma, generosity, availability and approachability outside of the classroom and most importantly his genuine concern for his students' academic and personal goals - motivated his students to nominate him for the Distinguished Teacher Award.” It is most evident that he takes a real pride in his profession to teach young adults not only a new language but also provide a human quality that one cannot help but admire and attempt to mimic.”