Laura Deakin and Nardine Nakhla receive the 2020 Excellence in Science Teaching Award

Monday, April 27, 2020

Nanotechnology engineering instructor Laura Deakin and pharmacist Nardine Nakhla have been awarded the Faculty of Science's 2020 Excellence in Science Teaching Award for their innovative and engaging teaching methods.

Laura Deakin, Department of Chemistry

Laura Deakin headshot
Continuing lecturer Laura Deakin is known for her lively, engaging lectures and unconditional support for her students. She is also the Associate Program Director (Internal) for the Nanotechnology Engineering Program. 

She has taught seven different courses over the past three years, including three she created herself - aspects of nanomaterials health risk, nanotoxicology and environmental impact. She is consistently the highest rated Chemistry instructor for the Nanotechnology Engineering program and always among the highest rated in the Chemistry Department.

Deakin uses various active learning strategies to engage her students in her dynamic, fast-paced classroom. Students are given materials for self-study so they come to class prepared to participate in numerous hands-on exercises and discussion. Deakin also includes topics about professionalism and study habits in her courses to prepare her students for their courses and co-op terms.

"She teaches in a way that allows students to develop critical thinking skills, encourages them to consider the real-world applications of the subject matter as well as helps develop their independence and ability to solve problems," said Allan, a fourth-year student.

Nardine Nakhla, School of Pharmacy

Nardine Nakhla headshot
Clinical lecturer Dr. Nardine Nakhla is a practicing pharmacist and nationally-recognized expert in minor ailments, self-care, and non-prescription medications. She has played a large role in shaping the community pharmacy practice curriculum for the School of Pharmacy. 

Since 2008, Nakhla has designed and delivered the lecture and lab content on the assessment of self-treating patients, common illnesses and self-medication using over-the-counter medicines. Her student and peer evaluations are consistently among the highest. 

Nakhla is an enthusiastic instructor who uses active learning and innovative technology to engage her students. They appreciate her extensive knowledge and passion for teaching. She constantly strives to improve her already impressive teaching credentials and participates in a number of courses offered by the Centre for Teaching Excellence.

Additionally, Nakhla is dedicated and actively involved in the education and empowerment of community-based patients, pharmacists and healthcare providers regarding the safe and appropriate use of non-prescription medications.

"Nardine is continually updating her lectures to ensure that they reflect the best available evidence. As a practicing pharmacist, she brings invaluable real world experience into the classroom to provide students with an honest and realistic perspective on the literature," says clinical lecturer Brett Barrett.

The Excellence is Science Teaching Award (ESTA) was initiated by Earth and Environmental Sciences Prof. Mario Coniglio when he was the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the Faculty of Science. Since 2011, the ESTA has be awarded annually to a maximum of two candidates from the Faculty of Science.

Nominees are evaluated by a committee on their ability to:

  • demonstrate sustained and high-quality teaching in their courses
  • utilize current and best practice teaching techniques
  • present high quality subject matter with intellectual rigour and integrity
  • use and/or has developed innovative and state-of-the-art teaching techniques 
  • contributes to the improvement of teaching and learning within the Department/School or University
  • has, as an instructor, had a favourable and lasting influence on students or colleagues
  • demonstrates a sensitivity to the needs of students and a sincere concern for their overall learning, and academic and personal growth

Congratulations Laura and Nardine!