Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

June 18, 2004

College of Arts prof receives prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship

Dana Paramskas, a University of Guelph languages and literatures professor for 35 years, has received a prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship for outstanding leadership in teaching, education and academic program development.

The award was announced in Ottawa by 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Paramskas is the 13th U of G faculty member to receive the honour.

“I’m kind of numb,” Paramskas said during an interview from Ottawa. “I realize it’s an extremely prestigious prize and I am very grateful. I know an awful lot of very good teachers at the university who are equally deserving.”

Paramskas is one of 10 professors receiving 3M fellowships this year. In total, 178 educators have been recognized by this award since its inception in 1986. The fellowships include a citation and an invitation to participate in a three-day retreat in Montebello where winners share teaching experiences and discuss new ideas. “I am looking forward to working with the other recipients and past winners, all of whom are interested in improving teaching,” Paramskas said.

U of G president Alastair Summerlee, himself a recipient of a 3M Teaching Fellowship, said: "This is a very proud day for the University of Guelph. Prof. Paramskas is very deserving of this award. She has taught French as a second language for more than 30 years and is considered a leading expert in technology-enhanced learning. She also represents our outstanding faculty, who understand the value of excellent teaching and its importance in motivating students to learn.”

In the 1970s, Paramskas developed a concept for a computer program that is still widely used today in helping people learn French. The Clef French grammar program, which came out in 1981, is utilized by 200 institutions in Canada, including the federal government.

In 2001, she and two of her colleagues released a CD-ROM called La chaise berçante (The Rocking Chair) that is used by secondary schools and post-secondary institutions across the country. The program is based on the short animated film Crac, the story of a rocking chair built in Quebec in the late 1800s that observes the art and culture around it for more than 100 years.

As well, Paramskas developed the award-winning distance education course “Basic French: Listening Comprehension” through U of G’s Office of Open Learning that was honoured by the American Distance Learning Association in 2002. In 2003, she created an online course that is an introduction to the techniques of translation from French to English.

“I am thrilled with this recognition of Dana,” said Jacqueline Murray, dean of the College of Arts. “Her contributions to the development of innovative pedagogies for teaching French language are central to our own French studies program. Moreover, she has exercised real leadership in the area of distance education and in implementing new technologies in language education. This is a well-deserved recognition of Dana's long career as an educator.”

Paramskas’s other awards include a prestigious Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations award for teaching excellence in 1973 and a Special Merit Award, which honours innovation in teaching development, from the U of G Faculty Association in 1996. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Georgetown University and a PhD from Université Laval.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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