McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Dyanne Semogas receives teaching award

Published: May 25, 2006
Dyanne Semogas
Dyanne Semogas

An assistant professor in the School of Nursing who was the driving force in the development of a course to make students more cognizant of the plight of the homeless has won the McMaster University President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (Course or Resource Design).

Dyanne Semogas was named this year’s winner of the award for her work with the innovative nursing elective course, Poverty and Homelessness, which was established in 2002.

She worked with both faculty and students to develop the course which combines the traditional McMaster tutorial model of learning with a service learning strategy.

Students explore issues of social justice in the classroom, and then apply their knowledge by serving community organizations that brings them into contact with the poor and marginalized of Hamilton.

From an enrolment of six in its inaugural year, the course has now grown to include about 40 students, many of them from outside of the School of Nursing. The course is now open to students from the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours), social sciences, business and humanities programs. Growing interest in the course has resulted in a waiting list for the past two years.

Believed to be the only course of its type in Canada, Poverty and Homelessness addresses attitudes towards and factors contributing to poverty and homelessness, health concerns of the poor or homeless, and the role of advocacy and politics in poverty.

The need for the course grew out of the McMaster University Student Outreach Clinic (MacSOC), a program of weekly volunteer service that provides the homeless in downtown Hamilton with food and clothing.

In addition to her role as co-ordinator of Poverty and Homelessness, Semogas has been a key member and academic head of MacSOC for the past seven years.
Semogas has been praised by students and community leaders for her inspiring teaching and commitment to helping the poor and homeless.

The  President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching were established in 1993 to recognize outstanding contributions to education. Each winner receives a citation and memento at Spring Convocation and a $5,000 honorarium. Their names and photographs will be included on McMaster's Wall of Recognition in Gilmour Hall.

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