TEA Recipients

MRFA Teaching Excellence Award Recipients

  • Jeella Acedo (2023 Full-time)
  • Kris Hans (2023 Contract)
  • Harpreet Aulakh (2022 Full-time)
  • Namrata Khemka-Dolan (2020 Full Time)
  • Dixie Cole (2020 Contract)
  • Liza Choi (2019 Full Time)
  • Tonya Mousseau (2019 Contract)
  • Susan Morante (2018 Full Time)
  • Gülberk Koc MacLean (2018 Contract)
  • Christian Cook (2017 Full Time)
  • Michelle Briegel (2017 Contract)
  • Brett McCollum (2016 Full Time)
  • Karen Overbye (2016 Contract)
  • Yaw Asante (2015 Full Time)
  • Micheline Maylor (2015 Contract)
  • Melanie Peacock (2014 Full Time)
  • Aubrey McPhail (2014 Contract)

Jeella Acedo , Chemistry and Physics
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2023 (Full Time Faculty)

Screenshot 2023-10-30 101005Dr. Jeella Acedo joined the Department of Chemistry and Physics at MRU in 2019 as an Assistant Professor. She has so far taught courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Her research is on the discovery and characterization of peptide antimicrobials and is federally funded by NSERC through the Discovery Grants Program (2021-2026), along with a Discovery Launch Supplement. Her research group is part of The Antimicrobial Resistance – One Health Consortium, a pan-Alberta collaborative platform focused on antimicrobial use and resistance research, policy, training, outreach, and commercialization.

Prior to coming to MRU, Jeella was an NSERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the research group of Prof. Wilfred van der Donk. She obtained her PhD in Chemistry (Chemical Biology) in 2017 from the University of Alberta, where she was an Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Scholar under the supervision of Prof. John Vederas. Before coming to UofA, she worked at the University of the Philippines Los Baños for 3 years as a university chemistry instructor and taught lab courses in organic, analytical, general, and physical chemistry.

Kris Hans, General Management and Human Resources
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2023 (Contract Faculty)

Screenshot 2023-10-30 101122Kris Hans is an ideas generator capable of turning dreams into reality and truly a social entrepreneur. He continues to undertake diverse roles and responsibilities that bring his skills and experience to serve Calgary’s many communities — a testament to the value that he places on civic participation and social enterprise.

Currently, Kris is Co-Founder and Strategist at Market Grade, an interdisciplinary consultancy focused on marketing, design, innovation, and strategy. Kris teaches a wide range of courses at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. He also served as the first-ever Entrepreneur in Residence at W21C in the O’Brien Institute of Public HealthCumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. Kris continues to work with students and start-up ventures to help grow their businesses and diversify the Alberta economy.

Harpreet Aulakh, Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2022 (Full Time Faculty)

Screenshot 2023-10-30 101226Teaching:

  • CRJS 1013 – Diversity Issues and the Criminal Justice System
  • CRJS 2002 – Indigenous People and the Canadian Criminal Justice System
  • CRJS 5001 – Honours Seminar
  • CRJS 2003 – Young Persons in Conflict with the Law
  • Regularly supervise Honours students


Dr. Aulakh’s primary research interests are:

  • Youth crime and youth justice
  • Youth resiliency
  • Young gangs
  • Intersections of race, ethnicity, and the criminal justice system
  • Indigenous People and Justice
  • Critical criminology
  • Qualitative methods
Namrata Khemka Dolan , Mathematics and Computing
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2020 (Full Time Faculty)

Namrata’s M.Sc. research work at the University of Calgary (2004-2005) involved applying optimization algorithms to soccer kick simulations associated with the Faculty of Kinesiology. During her Ph.D. work at the University of Calgary (2006-2008) she developed an interactive toolkit for exploring and visualizing multi-dimensional data.

Namrata began her career at Mount Royal University in 2010. She teaches in both Computer Information Systems (BCIS) and Computer Science University Transfer (CS-UT) programs with a focus on introductory computer programming, human computer interaction, and computer architecture.

Dixie Cole , Nursing and Midwifery
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2020 (Contract Faculty)

Dixie has been teaching at MRU in a contract capacity since 2009. She started out in the BN Program teaching mental health and community health in clinical settings and expanded her teaching to the BCN Program in lab and lecture settings. She also teaches in General Education and Interdisciplinary Studies. Dixie enjoys creating a learning environment based on collaboration and she looks at teaching as an opportunity to facilitate conversations to support knowledge generation, critical thought, critical reflection, and growth. Dixie is a past recipient of an Alberta Nurse Educator Award for leadership in nursing education. She is looking forward to working as a Senior Lecturer to support Internationally Educated Nurses in obtaining their education to practice as Registered Nurses in Canada.

Liza Choi, School of Nursing and Midwifery
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2019 (Full Time Faculty)

Liza eMBA photo zoomAs a passionate educator Liza believes that “learning is a transformational process where teachers bring learners from a state of unknowing to knowing.” Liza stresses that teachers who exude idealized influence are individuals who act as a role model for others and motivated by a commitment to the common good. Evidence of this is seen through Liza’s work with, and dedication to, English-As-An-Additional Language (EAL) Nursing Students for the last ten years. Liza has shown tremendous commitment to this group of disadvantaged students and has shown so many students their own path to nursing success and fulfilment. As well, Liza has successfully published in highly competitive, peer-reviewed nursing journals and has designed and redeveloped courses within MRU’s nursing program.

Tonya Mousseau, Department of Biology and General Education
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2019 (Contract Faculty)

Tonya_PeachBGTonya uses her extensive experience and commitment to advancing knowledge to provide quality educational experiences to her students.  She has developed and taught a range of undergraduate level courses in biology and general education sciences including lab-based project courses. Tonya emphasizes three overall goals in her classroom: increased critical thinking skills, increased scientific literacy, and learning to collaborate with peers. These believes that these goals help students to move forward in their education, but more importantly, extend beyond the classroom and lead to success in many aspects of their lives.  Further, Tonya remains committed to her own personal learning and development and actively participates in various initiatives within the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).

Susan Morante, Department of Chemistry and Physics
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2018 (Full Time Faculty)

Susan’s has been teaching at MRU for over 35 years and brings an innovative and interactive approach to her classes.  Susan strives to ensure that students are not only enthusiastic about the subjects she teaches, but about learning in general.  Using “dry labs”, “wet labs”, computer simulations and clickers are just some of the innovative tools that Susan uses to challenge and engage her students.  Susan has also been Chair of the Chemistry department, has contributed to new program development, has actively served in a variety of MRU committees and has written solution manuals for textbooks.

Gülberk Koc MacLean, Department of Humanities
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2018 (Contract Faculty)

GulberkGülberk teaches a variety of philosophy courses, has numerous publications and is a sought-after presenter due to her knowledge and expertise.  Gülberk strives to create curiosity and wonder within her students while developing their critical thinking skills.  Students are encouraged to provide reasons for their beliefs, both through written and verbal communication. Gülberk  is a published author who continuously strives to enhance her own knowledge and teaching skills and has contributed to curriculum and program development at Mount Royal University.

Christian Cook, Department of General Management and Human Resources
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2017 (Full Time Faculty)

Teaching 1Christian’s teaching focus is in the field of human resources (HR) and her expertise is greatest in the areas of HR strategy, employee relations, leadership development, adult learning, and employee performance. Prior to a career transition to teaching and research, Christian worked for over twenty years across several large, international organizations and has held the Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation for fifteen years. She draws on a wide range of practitioner experiences and research foundations to provide a dynamic and engaging environment for participants in her university classes and professional workshops.

Michelle Briegel, Department Child Studies and Social Work
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2017 (Contract Faculty)

Teaching 2Michelle Briegel is the Research Coordinator at the Centre for Child Well-Being.  Michelle is also a contract instructor at Mount Royal University in the Department of Child Studies and Social Work.  Michelle has over 20 years of experience in the field of Child and Youth Care, is a Certified Child and Youth Care Counsellor, and holds a Masters of Educational Leadership.  Michelle coordinates collaboration between community agencies and faculty members interested in conducting research pertaining to child well-being; as well as facilitates collaboration in professional development training within the Centre for Child Well-Being and the Child Development Lab

Brett McCollum, Department of Chemistry & Physics
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2016 (Full Time Faculty)

Teaching 3Dr. Brett McCollum is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Mount Royal University, a Nexen Scholar, Apple Distinguished Educator, and software developer. In addition to his recent contribution to Science Teaching in Distance Education: Lessons from Research and Practice, he has numerous publications that span a variety of fields including the scholarship of teaching and learning, interdisciplinary teaching in science and public policy, and the use of the radioactive positive muon [mew-on] as a probe of chemical reactivity. McCollum is the recipient of research awards and grants from organizations such as ACS, ACIFA, NSERC and Petro-Canada. His teaching duties have encompassed much of the chemistry spectrum: general, organic, inorganic, physical, spectroscopy, and nuclear. With his undergraduate research team, McCollum investigates the best practices for the use of mobile technologies in Higher Education, not just in chemistry but across the university curriculum.

Karen Overbye, Department of English & Languages
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2016 (Contract Faculty)

Teaching 4Karen Overbye has been teaching at Mount Royal since 1997. Among the courses she teaches are Critical Writing and Reading, Advanced Writing, and junior courses in fiction, drama, and poetry. Her research and publications have focused on issues of gender and race.  Her current research focuses on the representation of zombies in literature, television, and film, particularly in “zom rom coms,” zombie memoirs, and other sub-genres where sentient zombies are featured.

Yaw Asante, Department of English
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2015 (Full Time Faculty)

Teaching 5Born in Ghana, West Africa, Yaw Asante obtained a Teacher’s Diploma in English and taught in several secondary schools in Ghana. After he received his doctoral degree from the U of Calgary in 2000, he was offered a full-time position in the Department of English, Mount Royal. A specialist scholar of African literature and postcolonial theory and practice, Asante has contributed to these areas of research through numerous presentations and articles. His current research interest is in violence in African fiction. He organizes field schools to Ghana.

Micheline Maylor, Department of English
Teaching Excellence Award Recipient – 2015 (Contract Faculty)

Teaching 6Micheline Maylor specializes in creative writing and twentieth century (and beyond) Canadian literature. She’s involved with current trends in independent publishing and works as the editor in chief at a literary magazine. She teaches introductory creative writing, composition, and literature classes. Her publications include “Full Depth” (Wolsak and Wynn. 2007), “Starfish” (Rubicon Press. 2011), and “Whirr and Click” (Frontenac House. 2013)

Melanie Peacock, Department of Human Resources
2014 Recipient of the first annual MRFA Teaching Excellence Award for full time faculty

Teaching 7“Melanie’s passion for teaching is inspiring and her dedication and her commitment to being an educator is noted by both peers and students. Many students have…declared HR as a major after taking an HR class from Melanie.”

In her teaching, Melanie tries to “challenge students and stretch their thinking while still making the learning experience enjoyable and valuable.”

Aubrey McPhail, Department of English
2014 Recipient of the first annual MRFA Teaching Excellence Award for contract faculty

Teaching 8Aubrey “feel[s] strongly that excellent teaching involves not only expertise and knowledge on the part of the instructor, but an exchange or dialogue between the students and the teacher, and amongst the students themselves.” His ability to create an interesting and interactive learning environment was commented on by one of his nominators who stated that they “intentionally sought out other courses taught by Aubrey” even though the courses were not needed for their program.