McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Two professors known for mentoring share top teaching award

By Laura Thompson
Published: July 15, 2009
Patricia Morden and Carol DeMatteo
From left: Patricia Morden and Carol DeMatteo

A McMaster nursing alumna who has shared her clinical and administrative expertise with students to develop leaders in the long-term care sector, and a pediatric occupational therapist who has enhanced teaching in the School of Rehabilitation Science through her commitment to evidence-based practice, have been named co-recipients of the 2009 John C. Sibley Award for part-time faculty.

Patricia Morden, an associate clinical professor in the School of Nursing, and Carol DeMatteo, an associate clinical professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science, have been recognized for their contributions to enhancing education in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Susan Denburg, associate vice-president, academic, for the Faculty of Health Sciences and chair of the Sibley selection committee, said this year’s winners have demonstrated strong leadership and an outstanding commitment to their students.

"The Sibley committee was impressed by the dedication of both of these individuals and their ability to inspire students through their teaching," she said. "It became clear to us that the impact of their work extends far beyond the McMaster community."

Morden earned her B.Sc.N. from McMaster in 1974 and joined the University as a lecturer in 1976. She was appointed an assistant clinical professor in 1981 and an associate clinical professor in 1990. Throughout her 35-year career in geriatric nursing, she has held clinical and senior administrative positions at hospitals and long-term care homes, as well as served as a consultant to the provincial government and several prominent non-profit organizations.

In her current role as CEO of Shalom Village, she has worked to form an academic affiliation between the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Hamilton-based long-term care facility. Her passion and advocacy for the interdisciplinary care of the elderly has inspired many of her students to pursue careers in long-term care.

"I love what I do. I’m very passionate about it, and I believe strongly in the leadership of nurses to make a difference in people’s lives," said Morden, who tutors nursing students and facilitates a variety of other clinical placements at Shalom Village.

"To be recognized in this way was really powerful for me. It’s a formal acknowledgement of the value of the work that all of us do in long-term care. I’m just one of many."

DeMatteo began teaching as a part-time faculty member in the undergraduate occupational therapy program in 1990. The associate clinical professor has played a key role in the development and evaluation of several problem-based learning courses as well as a research internship course that was coordinated in partnership with the physiotherapy program.

When the undergraduate occupational therapy program evolved to the graduate level, DeMatteo applied her expertise in evidence-based practice to assist in the development of a new stream in the program.  She is currently the coordinator of one of the three evidence-based practice courses that she helped to develop.

DeMatteo has also served as the international students coordinator in the School of Rehabilitation Science, and has mentored many students from around the world.

"I learn so much from the students," she said. "It improves my practice and my teaching when I understand what other people think, know and believe.

"I am very honoured to receive this award and I feel privileged to be able to work in a field that I love."

In addition to her teaching activities, DeMatteo has attracted significant grants as a researcher in childhood brain injury and pediatric rehabilitation. She also maintains a clinical practice that focuses on treating children with pediatric neurotrauma.

The John C. Sibley Award is presented annually to part-time faculty members in the Faculty of Health Sciences who have contributed in an outstanding manner to the education of health professionals. The award is named in honour of a former associate dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences who was known for his interdisciplinary approach to community health both locally and internationally.

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