Monica Leoni, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2008

Spanish and Latin American Studies

Since joining the University of Waterloo in 1997, Monica Leoni, an associate professor in the Spanish and Latin American studies department, has taught courses such as Introduction to Spanish 1 and 2, Intermediate Spanish, Introduction to Spanish Translation, and Spanish Golden Age Theatre: Drama. Professor Leoni has used some unique teaching tools in her classes such as the introduction of Spanish tongue twisters and listening to Spanish music, which helps in keeping the students engaged with the course material. She makes an effort to get her students to participate in class and is open to suggestions for new ways to present the material. Specifically, in her Spanish Golden Age Theatre class, she is able to explain the direct connections between these play plots and movies of today. Monica's love for Spanish is contagious and some of her former students, who are now teachers, mention that they use many of her teaching techniques in their own classes. It has been said that Monica is the “heart of the Spanish and Latin American studies department.” She has demonstrated a passion for what she teaches, and patience and understanding with her students.