Conestoga news

December 11, 2023 6:21 AM

Community Services professor awarded Conestoga’s top teaching honour

Debashis Dutta, a professor in Conestoga’s School of Community Services, has been awarded the 2023 Aubrey Hagar Distinguished Teaching Award. The honour recognizes leadership and outstanding contributions to teaching and learning at the college.

Dr. Debashis Dutta (right) has been awarded the 2023 Aubrey Hagar Distinguished Teaching Award.

Dutta began his teaching career at Conestoga in 2001 and has made tremendous contributions to the development and delivery of multiple programs in the School of Community Services. He served as program coordinator for the Human Services Foundation program for 12 years, playing an instrumental role in the program’s instructional design, and also taught in the Bachelor of Community & Criminal Justice degree program. He now teaches in the Social Service Worker diploma program.

Dutta holds a PhD in Social Work from Memorial University as well as an MSW from the University of Windsor and both a BA and a BSW from McMaster.

Students and instructors alike describe Dutta as a wise and thoughtful educator who is deeply committed to supporting both the professional and personal development of his students.

His ability to create an environment where students feel valued, understood and supported has been widely recognized, along with his ability to foster a strong sense of community and belonging. Many former students have maintained their connection with Dutta as a mentor and colleague as they advance in their professional careers.

His commitment to Conestoga and to the success and well-being of his students extends well beyond the classroom. He is a valued mentor for new faculty, providing guidance and support and freely sharing best practices as they advance in their own teaching careers. He is an active ambassador for the college and remains actively engaged in professional practice in the broader community.

Dutta was presented the award during the college’s 2023 fall convocation celebration, which ran from November 6 through 10, joining an esteemed group built over a 35-year tradition of recognizing and celebrating outstanding contributions to teaching excellence at Conestoga.  

Established in 1988, the Aubrey Hagar Distinguished Teaching Award is named in honour of respected teacher, mentor and innovator Aubrey Hagar, who fostered the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning. A member of the college’s founding Board of Governors, he went on to provide leadership to the college for more than 20 years in roles that included director of Academic and College Planning as well as director of Strategic Planning.

Candidates for the annual award are nominated by their students and peers and evaluated by a selection committee based on their outstanding contributions in the areas of learning design, innovation and creativity, integrity and professionalism, promotion of quality in education, concern and sensitivity for students, and ambassadorship for the college.