Dr. Matt Price has been named the first recipient of the Kathleen O’Connell Teaching Excellence Award. Students and colleagues offered but the highest praise for him: When teaching his courses NEW103/113H Digital Technology and Society I & II in New One: Learning without Borders (which he has done for the past five years, since the inception of the program in 2012), Dr. Price not only takes innovative approaches to linking technology and community-engaged learning, they said, but — at least as important — manages to create genuine community in his own classroom, fostering and facilitating the kind of honest and open discussion that spurs ideas and transforms lives.
Dr. Price’s teaching draws on his training as a historian and philosopher of science, as well as on his active involvement with various social and political movements. Much of his work addresses the intimate and bidirectional relationships between technological development and sociocultural transformation. As a pedagogue, he encourages students to explore disciplinary domains beyond their comfort zones and advocates scholarly engagement with pressing social concerns and local communities. He is currently one of the technical directors of the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI), a network of scholars and activists dedicated to protecting the integrity of environmental science in the United States under the administration of President Donald Trump. He is also the co-founder of an initiative called University of Toronto Outdoors, which seeks to strengthen outdoor education at U of T. The venture grew out of the founders’ experiences bringing students to the Indian Himalayan Region.
The Kathleen O’Connell Teaching Excellence Award recognizes the essential contributions made by sessional instructors to the teaching mission of New College in its academic programs, interdisciplinary courses and Writing Centre. Its namesake, the scholar of comparative literature and modern Bengali culture Dr. Kathleen M. O’Connell, has been offering courses at NEW since 1993.
We congratulate Matt Price on the well-deserved recognition of his inspired pedagogy.