St. Thomas University professor Amanda DiPaolo always dreamed of being welcomed at the door of her classroom with students lined up ready to high-five. This dream came true at STU when her students arrived to class early to surprise her.
Now, years later DiPaolo is the recipient of the Association of Atlantic Universities Distinguished Teaching Award.
DiPaolo received the award on Sept. 26 for her continued displays of outstanding teaching.
“It feels great to win but it’s also a testament to my colleagues,” said DiPaolo.
“I am very proud of how the Human Rights program has grown in the last five years.”
After graduating from STU in 2001, she taught at the Middle Tennessee State University for six years before returning to STU as a political science professor. DiPaolo is now chair of the human rights program.
To receive the award, universities nominate at most two professors from their campus. Two winners are chosen based on classroom experience along with the opportunities they’ve given their students.
DiPaolo has been teaching at STU for over five years now and said she enjoys it. She said the students are the best part of her job.
“I absolutely love the students, I feed off of their energy”.
While at STU, DiPaolo has created the Moot Court program, an internship program and added an honours in human rights.
She also received the John McKendy Memorial Teaching Award in 2017, an award given for demonstrating excellent qualities in teaching, researching, participating in community service and enhancing scholarships.
She said a large part of her work as a professor focuses on changing experiences for students.
One of the ways she’s done this is by changing the participation grade into an engagement grade for her classes. Students receive points by emailing DiPaolo with questions, thoughts, personal stories or articles based on lectures.
“It was like the classroom had transformed,” said DiPaolo.
DiPaolo said she would not be where she is today without the help of her colleagues and professors.
“It’s something I’ve learned from those around me.”