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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
December 4, 2016
Canadian Excellence


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Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts receives Laurier’s Residence Academic Partnership award

Dec 17/12

Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts, associate professor in the Languages and Literatures Department, has received Laurier’s Residence Academic Partnership award. The award recognizes faculty members who support academic initiatives within the university’s residences.

Rowinsky-Geurts spends up to two hours a week with first-year students living in the Languages and Literature Residence Learning Community (RLC), one of Laurier’s themed residence environments designed to bring together like-minded students who share common goals and interests. All of the students in the Languages and Literature RLC are enrolled in Rowinksy-Geurts’ first-year Spanish class or in a second-year class.

“I am amazed at how much she has given to the students in the RLC. She has been unbelievable by volunteering her time on a weekly basis,” said David Shorey, associate director of residence education. “Students feel a strong connection to her. She cooks with them, talks about her experiences and encourages students to share with one another. It has made an impressive impact in terms of student satisfaction.”

Rowinsky-Geurts has more than 30 years of teaching experience and has been at Laurier since 1994. In addition to her teaching role, she is also associate dean of students: student affairs and special projects for the Faculty of Arts. Her passion for teaching has been recognized with several prestigious awards, including a 3M National Teaching Fellowship in 2008.

“Having the opportunity to work closely with the students was a transformative experience for me as a professor,” said Rowinsky-Geurts. “Through 12 weeks, we have built a close community of learners. We have cooked together, eaten together, explored texts from a critical perspective, played games while learning, and in the midst of all these activities, we have discovered the power of getting to know each other as human beings. It has been a gift for me, and I believe this is one of the most powerful experiences we can have with students if we want to inspire lives of leadership and purpose.”  

Rowinsky-Geurts will continue her involvement with the Languages and Literatures RLC in the winter term.

The Residence Academic Partnership award is bestowed to one faculty member each term. Previous recipients include Bob Sharpe, associate professor of geography, and Julie Pong, an academic advisor in the Faculty of Arts.


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