Dina Georgis & Olga Malyshko win Knox

Women’s studies, music professors

Women’s studies professor Dina Georgis, left, won the Frank Knox teaching award for first semester.
Women’s studies professor Dina Georgis, left, won the Frank Knox teaching award for first semester.
Credit: 
Andrew Flowers

On Monday, women’s studies professor Dina Georgis and music professor Olga Malyshko won the AMS Frank Knox Awards for excellence in teaching.

Georgis received the fall term award, while Malyshko won for the winter term award.

Georgis, who is in her third year of teaching at Queen’s, said she was “ecstatic” to be nominated for the award.

“It’s an honour when students not only notice that you’re a good teacher, but make that extra effort to have you recognized; that’s really a neat thing,” she said.

Georgis said when she teaches, she tries to engage people emotionally, as well as intellectually.

“One of the things that I really believe is that students learn not only when they’re excited, but also when they’re troubled,” she said. “In fact, sometimes when you trouble students, they become really excited, because they become open to new ideas.

“I think that’s probably what I offer my students, mostly: not so much a sense of humour, or even necessarily great lecturing style, but I engage them and have conversations with them.” Andréa Stanger, ConEd ’07 and a student in Georgis’ class, said Georgis encourages students to open up and participate in class discussions.

“Her method is really one of seminar-style lecturing and talking with students, so there’s a lot of facilitated dialogue wherein we talk openly with one another and share with one another.

Meanwhile, Malyshko has been at Queen’s for 17 years. She said she prefers to use tried-and-true methods of teaching, focusing on heavy personal interaction with her students.

“Some people say I’m a dinosaur, a real traditionalist. I am, and I’ll die that way,” she said, adding that teaching is a more serious responsibility than most people think. “Professors mould young minds, and that is one hell of a job,” she said. “Teaching should be valued more than it is in institutions of higher learning. Originally, universities existed just to teach.”

Keera Manson, Musc ’08 and a student in Malyshko’s class, said she’s not surprised Malyshko won the award.

“I love her—she’s by far the best professor I’ve had,” Manson said. “Her class is one that you actually learn in.” Stephanie Kenny, chair of the AMS Teaching Awards Committee, said it was difficult to select this year’s recipients.

“There were so many phenomenal nominees,” she said. “The calibre of nominees really beats any of the previous years; there was some pretty intense debate around the table.” Academic Affairs Commissioner Charles Sumbler said being a good professor is about more than knowledge and expertise.

“All the work we do at the commission is geared towards making sure Queen’s students have a great educational experience,” he said. “All these people who have been nominated have shown that, yes, they’re dedicated to scholarship and research, but communicating that research and scholarship into the community is important [to them], and so is finding interesting and meaningful ways of doing that.” Christopher Knapper Awards for Excellence in Teaching Assistance were also given out to development studies TA Karen Cocq for the fall term, and biochemistry TA Paul Kim for the winter term.

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