Announcing the Winners of the 2022 UBC Faculty of Education Alumni Educator of the Year Award

August 31, 2022

The Dean pro tem of UBC Faculty of Education, Dr. Jan Hare announced Ashwani Kumar, PhD’11 and Janis Sawatzky, BEd’14, Dip (Ed)’17 as the winners of the 2022 UBC Faculty of Education Alumni Educator of the Year Award!

Ashwani Kumar, PhD’11

Ashwani is a highly appreciated teacher and colleague at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), and he is an acclaimed scholar whose pedagogical innovations and research in education have been recognized nationally and internationally. His teaching and learning experiences in Canada and India and his research in education led him to develop a pedagogical approach called teaching as meditative inquiry (TMI) that pervades all of his courses.

TMI is a holistic approach to teaching that fosters deep learning and nurtures students’ minds, bodies, and hearts. By offering students choice and flexibility, TMI centralizes their autonomy, individuality, originality, passion, and creativity and thereby makes space for their unique personal development and expression.

“His pedagogical approach, rooted in his life experience and professional values of humanism and holism, stem from a deep-rooted sincerity and commitment that is transmitted to us as inquisitive learners of his instruction and guidance. His teaching style not only helps to develop our learning and rationalizing abilities, but also nurtures the whole student, their inner personal interests, abilities, and talents.

Janis Sawatzky, BEd’14, Dip (Ed)’17

Janis is an outstanding example of excellence in every respect.  Firstly, she bases her approach to her responsibilities on a solid foundation that is always underpinned by a deep and wide-ranging knowledge of current and past Foreign Language Learning research.  Not only is Janis able to discuss research and principles of the ESL field, but she also translates them into practical applications within the scope of her job.  This is clearly evident when she is required to interact with students.  Janis has had experiences working with diverse students, including in an inner-city setting.

“The net effects of her personal efficacy and her positive impact are multiplied exponentially because of the innumerable professional development activities that Janis spearheads.  Whether in after-school Professional Development workshops for teachers in Langley or other districts, or multi-day training courses, Janis inspires and effectively shares new ideas and methodologies with in-service educators with a gamut of levels of experience and training.  In her sessions with teachers, she demonstrates excellent communication skills, infinite patience, and a high level of technological competence.”