Father Stewart Medal for Excellence in Teaching


Father William A. Stewart was a Professor of Philosophy and an Administrator at Saint Mary’s from 1950-1982, working in the Faculty of Arts and holding various Administration positions during a time of major growth at the University. He ontinued to volunteer on committees until 1997.  Father Stewart was one of the first professors at Saint Mary’s to embrace inclusivity by welcoming women into his classroom, and helping young women become full-time students before the University introduced co-ed education evening classes in 1952.  He was known for his strong beliefs in promoting accessible education to marginalized communities and was also very much involved in promoting teaching innovation and excellence on campus.

Established in 1983 in cooperation with the Faculty Union and the Students' Representative Council, The Father William A. Stewart, S.J. Medal for Excellence in Teaching honours this legacy at Saint Mary’s by annually highlighting full-time faculty members who have made significant contributions to the education of Saint Mary’s students through excellence in teaching and service.


This award is open to current full-time faculty members who have completed at least five years of teaching service at Saint Mary's University and have made significant contributions to the education of Saint Mary's students through excellence in teaching and service. Full criteria can be found in the Nomination Dossier.

The Selection Committee will consider candidates who:
a) Demonstrate teaching ability and classroom performance
b) Demonstrate capacity to engage learner interest in the subject
c) Develop and clearly communicate student learning outcomes, course requirements, and pathways to success
d) Use approaches to teaching and evaluation of learning that respect diverse student learning needs
e) Demonstrate active, experiential learning in and outside the classroom
f) Demonstrate reflective teaching, for example: by engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning- sharing good practice with others through workshops, presentations, or publications on teaching and learning or participating in professional development activities to enhance teaching practice


Members of the Saint Mary's University Alumni Association, University employees, and students (who are not currently enrolled in courses taught by the candidate) may submit a Nomination Dossier, which should make a persuasive case using evidence from a variety of sources, including the candidate, students, peers, former students/alumni, and exemplary teaching materials.

Nominations will be accepted between February 6 - March 24, 2023

The Nomination Dossier is available for download below. 


Members of the Committee may be substituted in the event of conflicts of interest, including current working or teacher-student relationships, or previous support of the nomination of any of the current year's candidates.

The Committee reserves the right to withhold the award in any year where nominations do not meet criteria/eligibility standards. 


Nomination period: February 6 - March 24, 2023

The recipient will be presented with a plaque as well as a $1,500 monetary award which is funded equally by the Alumni Association and the Faculty Union.

Nomination dossier

Download the Father William A. Stewart, S.J, Medal for Excellence in Teaching Dossier.

2022 Recipient: Dr. Benita Bunjun


Benita Bunjun is the 2022 recipient of the Father William A. Stewart, SJ Medal for Excellence in Teaching presented by the Saint Mary’s University Alumni Association and Faculty Union. 

Dr. Benita Bunjun is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Justice and Community Studies, and in the Women and Gender Studies program. She received her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC) on Coast Salish Territories and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Simon Fraser University with the Centre for Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health.

Recognized as an innovative educator by colleagues and students alike, Dr. Bunjun has excelled in community-based and collaborative teaching and curriculum development with community educators and SMU colleagues, particularly in the realm of Indigenous knowledges.

Through innovative teaching practices and an engaged, authentic commitment to improving post-secondary teaching, Dr. Bunjun’s contributions extend beyond her department to other programs. She is recognized by her colleagues for her tireless work as a teaching mentor to established and new faculty, shaping and supporting their teaching practice and curriculum. She has developed curricula that promote alternative and diverse perspectives and has been instrumental in assisting to educate her colleagues in relation to her work in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Through conference keynote presentations and workshops, she has also shaped the educational practices of academics beyond SMU.

Her research examines organizational and institutional power relations with a focus on colonial encounters within academic spaces. Her teaching areas include Social Power Relations; Community Organizing; Intersectionality: Theories, Methods, and Praxis; Forms of Servitude; Feminist Methodology; and Racialization and Social Control.

Dr. Bunjun is deeply committed to the academic well-being of Indigenous, Black and students of colour - who are often seen as "bodies out of place" - and to her responsibilities and responsiveness regarding the complexity of Indigenous-settler (of colour) relations.  Her commitment to innovative educational leadership practices is exemplified in her leadership of the SMU-wide Racialized Student Academic Network (RSAN), a campus-based network which she created at the time of her arrival at Saint Mary’s in 2016. In addition to her work with RSAN, Dr. Bunjun created the Critical Indigenous, Race, and Feminist Studies (CIRFS) Student Conference from which emerged an edited collection titled, The Academic Well-Being of Racialized Students (Fernwood Publishing, 2021). She also coordinates the Tenancy Rights of International Students (TRIS) Project and works with international students at various universities to promote their scholarship, rights, well-being, and self-advocacy.

Past Recipients

  • 2022: Dr. Benita Bunjun, Social Justice and Community Studies, and Women and Gender Studies 
  • 2021: Dr. John Plews, Modern Languages (German) 
  • 2020: Dr. Ethan Pancer, Marketing
  • 2019: Dr. Roby Austin, Astronomy & Physics
  • 2018: Dr. David Bourgeois, Psychology
  • 2017: Dr. Marc G. Doucet, Political Science
  • 2016: Dr. Thomas Kozloski, Accounting 
  • 2015: Dr. Ellen Farrell, Management
  • 2014: Dr. Maryanne Fisher, Psychology
  • 2013: Dr. Gene Barrett, Sociology and Criminology
  • 2012: Dr. Colleen Barber, Biology
  • 2011: Dr. Brian Bartlett, English
  • 2010: Dr. Barry Gorman, Accounting
  • 2009: Dr. Pawan Lingras, Mathematics and Computing Sciences
  • 2008: Dr. Shelagh Crooks, Philosophy 
  • 2007: Dr. Stephen Davis, Anthropology
  • 2006: Dr. Edna Keeble, Political Science
  • 2005: Dr. Adam Sarty, Astronomy & Physics
  • 2004: Dr. Porter Scobey, Mathematics & Computing Science
  • 2003: Dr. Janet Hill, English   
  • 2002: Dr. Gillian Thomas, English
  • 2001: Dr. Janet Gregory, Finance & Management Science
  • 2000: Dr. Eric Lee, Finance & Management Science
  • 1999: Dr. Robert Singer, Chemistry
  • 1998: Dr. David Cone, Biology
  • 1997: Dr. Paul Muir, Mathematics & Computing Science
  • 1996: Dr. Ronald Landes, Political Science
  • 1995: Prof. Nicola Young, Accounting
  • 1994: Dr. Cyril Byrne, English   
  • 1993: Dr. Janet Baker, English
  • 1992: Dr. Francis Phillips, Education
  • 1991: Dr. Philip Street, Psychology
  • 1990: Dr. Andrew Seaman, English
  • 1989: Dr. Peter March, Philosophy
  • 1988: Dr. Jack Ginsburg, Chemistry
  • 1987: Prof. Edward McBride, Political Science
  • 1986: Dr. John Young, Chemistry
  • 1985: Dr. David Perrier, Sociology
  • 1984: Prof. Dermot Mulrooney, Engineering
  • 1983: Prof. David Hope, Accounting