September 3, 2009


McMaster profs win Ontario’s top teaching award

Hamilton, ON. September 3, 2009 –Two McMaster University professors have been chosen as outstanding university teachers.

Sheila Sammon, associate professor of Social Work, and Nick Bontis, associate professor of Business, were two of six professors selected by 15,000 peers across the province in the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association (OCUFA) Awards.

“OCUFA's Awards Committee was impressed with Professor Sammon’s commitment to student engagement through field practice, class exercise, and by pushing the boundaries of teaching and learning,” said OCUFA President Mark Langer. “As well, it was extremely impressed by Professor Bontis’ innovative thinking and creative teaching. He truly cares about his classes and the success of his students.” 

For Sammon, teaching is the best job in the world. “I have the opportunity to engage with bright minds, to encourage critical thinking, to watch people develop their ideas and life goals, and to collaborate with others,” she says. “It is particularly important in today's academic environment to focus on the relationships with and between learners. Larger classes, a more diverse student population, increased reliance on technology, shrinking resources for education and students who are financially stretched require university educators to carefully consider how they teach and why they teach.”


 In addition to being a prolific researcher and favourite teacher in the DeGroote School of Business, Bontis is director of the undergraduate program and works tirelessly to ensure the student experience is a positive one. Earlier this year he won the 3M National Teaching Fellow, and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Top Professor Award.  

“I feel blessed to win an award for what I love to do,” says Bontis. “With each award, my role as a professor at DeGroote becomes emboldened. Students and fellow colleagues significantly increase their expectations of me, and it’s my objective to continually over-deliver.”

Sammon and Bontis will each receive a 2008-2009 OCUFA teaching award at ceremony at the Fairmont-Royal York Hotel in Toronto on Oct. 3. The four other teaching award recipients are Clare Hasenkampf  (University of Toronto), Lorne Sosin (University of Toronto), Gordon Stubley (University of Waterloo), and Cameron Tsujita (University of Western Ontario).  

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is committed to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. It has a student population of 23,000 and more than 135,000 alumni in 128 countries.


For more information, please contact:

Jane Christmas

Manager, Public & Media Relations

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 27988

Michelle Donovan

Public Relations Manager: Broadcast Media

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 22869