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Selkirk College Honours Excellence in Instruction

Bob Hall
By Bob Hall
November 18th, 2020

Selkirk College awarded excellence in instruction by Leesa Dean, Jane Green and Tim Thurston at a recent celebration held outside at the Mir Centre for Peace arbour on the Castlegar Campus.

The Selkirk College Faculty Association’s Standing Committee on Professional Excellence (SCOPE) Awards annually recognizes outstanding instructors who inspire students and each other through work in the classroom, on campus and in the community. Nominations are accepted each spring.

“Selecting our award winners is not an easy task, we have so many extraordinary people teaching here at Selkirk College,” Deborah Wilson, departing SCOPE committee chair, said to the small gathering of family and colleagues. “The faculty we honour here this evening are talented, gifted and respected. We appreciate you more than you could know.”

Leesa Dean is a Creative Writing instructor who actively publishes while teaching her chosen craft. Her first book Waiting for the Cyclone was nominated for the 2017 Trillium and Relit Awards for fiction. Her ability to connect with readers on the page matches Dean’s meaningful relations with all students.

“Leesa brings to each class her deep capacity to connect with all students, regardless of writing ability or experience, and regardless of age, or cultural differences and values,” said one of her student nominators. “This can be seen in both her compassionate attitude and the actual time spent with students.”

Dean is a vibrant contributor to the Kootenay writing and Selkirk College communities. She helped co-create the Black Bear Review, a student-run literary journal that garners an audience for promising writers.

“She has been an inspiring addition to the college community, and her unfettered love of language and the power of story translates into students finding their own competency in the craft,” said a colleague nominator.

Jane Green is an instructor in the Education Assistant & Community Support Worker Program who has four decades of experience in this field. She makes the connection between the quality of Selkirk College graduates and the strength of the human service field.Her inclusive, collaborative and energetic way of teaching, in the classroom and the community, is an inspiration.

“She is delightful to be with. She encourages all those around her. She shares all that she is so that everyone who spends time with her is touched with care and love… She does so with passion, enthusiasm, and joy,” said a colleague nominator.

Green is a strong advocate for people with differences, empowering those around her to find the way they learn best and building self-confidence. She supports students in hosting an annual community event focussed on reframing disabilities. Green also co-created the SPECTRUM: Lifespan Autism Resources & Training course. Developed in consultation with community in support of individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it addresses the increasing need for awareness and understanding.

Tim Thurston is a Recreation, Fish & Wildlife Program instructor who is thrilled every time one of his students achieves their dream job. He has “an incurably infectious enthusiasm” for nature and outdoor recreation. Thurston shares this with professionalism at Selkirk College.

“Clearly, Tim has earned the respect, if not the reverence, of his peers within the School of Environment & Geomatics at Selkirk College as a recognized master paddler, accomplished mountain man, literal trail builder, figurative trail blazer, committed educator and all-around good person,” said a colleague nominator.

As an instructor, Thurston leads by example as he quietly guides students. He is generous with his time and energy.

“If I approached him with an obstacle I was facing, he would ask questions that ultimately encouraged the creative thinking necessary to arrive at a solution,” said a student nominator.

Selkirk College is an institution that prides itself on providing an inspired learning environment. Learn more about program offerings at

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