The Underground’s Professors of the Year

Aly Kassam

In a recent issue, the UTSC student magazine The Underground announced the winners of the first-ever Underground Professors of the Year awards. The awards recognize faculty members who go above-and-beyond, both inside and outside of the classroom, as nominated by students. Congratulations to the winners: 

Elizabeth Page-Gould (Psychology) 

Courses taught: Social Psychology

 After only two years at UTSC, Professor Page-Gould has become a student favourite. Her enthusiasm is infectious and her sincerity makes students feel like they matter. They appreciate her approachability and willingness to address each individual’s concerns. Outside of the classroom, Page-Gould has provided numerous opportunities for students to get involved in her laboratory, providing experience that is sometimes hard to find as an undergraduate student. Most of all, students applaud her for the obvious effort that she puts into each and every lecture. 

Rene Harrison (Biology) 

Courses taught: Cell Biology, Special Topics in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics 

Students unanimously expressed praise for Professor Harrison’s ability to simplify extremely complex topics and make them accessible. She puts a tremendous amount of effort into her lectures, complementing her lecture slides with visuals that keep students engaged. She always has a smile on her face and uses her office hours to actively connect with students. As a bonus, her innovative research in bone cells is inspiring. 

Maria Assif (English) 

Courses taught: Critical Writing about Literature, Contemporary Arab Women Writers, Arab North-American Literature, Topics in American Prose 

One of the most loved professors in the English department, Professor Assif’s enthusiasm for her course material is always clear. She is extremely passionate about teaching and goes out of her way to make students feel comfortable and welcome. Her accommodating nature helps students excel in an environment that is conducive to learning and her high expectations teach students to raise the bar. She makes 9 a.m. classes bearable—enough said! 

Raymond Grinnell (Calculus) 

Courses taught: Calculus for Management I and II, Introduction to Topology 

Everyone knows that first-year calculus is a killer course, but Professor Grinnell makes it all OK. He’s articulate, helpful and entertaining and makes students want to come to class. He likes to challenge students, but never turns students away when they ask for help. Above all, students say that Grinnell isn’t just an outstanding professor but a great person. 

Jeri English (French) 

Courses taught: Language Practice I and II, Introduction to Literature in French I, Women and Film 

What students love about Professor English is her unbelievable knowledge of the material she teaches—she is able to answer just about any question. She is always available for individual meetings with students, helping students to improve if they are having difficulty with course material. Students say that they learned more from English in one year than they did all through high school. 

Roberta Rice (Political Science) 

Courses taught: Development Studies: Political and Historical Perspectives, Comparative Development in Political Perspective, Latin America: The Politics of the Dispossessed 

Anyone who has taken a course with Professor Rice can vouch for the fact that she is incredibly organized, making a student’s life much easier. Her lectures are always thorough and she regularly goes the extra mile to make sure students stay on track.