Paul Elliott receives MI teaching award renamed in honour of Dr. Peter Fisher
Friday, July 22, 2022

Paul Elliott

Paul Elliott, instructor and academic director of the Masters in Applied Ocean Technology program in the School of Ocean Technology, is this year’s recipient of the renamed Dr. Peter Fisher Teaching and Learning Award.

The annual MI award recognizes the teaching excellence of instructors who have gone above and beyond in the pursuit of teaching and learning, innovation, and leadership.

“Paul Elliott has a genuine enthusiasm and passion for teaching and demonstrates a commitment to students’ learning and skills acquisition,” said Dr. Angie Clarke, MI’s Associate Vice-President (Academic and Student Affairs).

“For being an insightful colleague, a trusted advisor to students and an innovative leader, Mr. Elliott is very well deserving of this special recognition.”

The award was presented by Dr. Rob Shea, Vice-President of Memorial University (Marine Institute), during the June 24 in-person graduation ceremony.

Award renamed for Dr. Fisher

The teaching award was renamed this year in honour of Dr. Peter Fisher, former AVP, Academic and Student Affairs, who passed away in April.

“Dr. Peter Fisher was an incredible leader, a modest visionary, intelligent, empathetic and kind – and he was consistently committed to making the MI campus a better place,” said Dr. Clarke.

“As a faculty member and a curriculum specialist, he was unmatched in his ability to see past barriers, see the good in students and more generally in people. Dr. Fisher elevated what many thought was possible in terms of graduate and undergraduate education here at the Marine Institute. As a leader, he had a vision that we are still collectively bringing to life.”

He spent almost 41 years at both Memorial University and the institute before retiring in 2011.

During his 24 years at the Marine Institute, Dr. Fisher was a member of the institute’s executive team in a variety of roles, including director of Instructional Development and Student Services and head of the Division of Degree Studies and Research.

He was also instrumental in developing MI’s first bachelor and master degree programs.Paul Elliott

Lifelong learner

Mr. Elliott is a lifelong learner currently working on his doctorate in education. He also holds two diplomas, three bachelor degrees (two in education and one in science) and a Master of Education.

He joined the Marine Institute in 2008 as an instructor in the School of Ocean Technology (SOT). Prior to this, he was a vice-principal and teacher in the province’s Kindergarten-Grade 12 school system.

During his time at MI, he has taught, developed and supported 44 different courses within all three of its schools – ocean technology, fisheries and maritime studies.

He also led development of SOT’s first graduate program, the Master of Applied Ocean Technology (Ocean Mapping). This program graduated its first students this year.

What students say

Students describe Mr. Elliott as an exceptional, inspiring and hard-working instructor who positively mentored them throughout their programs and was a “beacon of hope” during the pandemic and transitions to remote learning.

One student said he goes above and beyond “to ensure the complex concepts are fully understood. He has created a series of video tutorials, conducted extensive troubleshooting into technical issues we’ve been having, and he always makes time for one-on-one video assistance.”

Another student said Mr. Elliott is an “inspiring instructor, who links theory to practice, and provides relevant real-world examples of how the course material relates to current practices in the field. His unwavering dependability and dedication establish a positive classroom climate where students can learn and thrive with the support of an enthusiastic leader.”

What colleagues say

Colleagues praised his “student-centred approach” and leadership in attaining national accreditation and international recognition for SOT programs.

“He likes to use inquiry-based instruction where students can apply prior skills to real-world applications that allow for the creation and application of new knowledge within a transformational learning environment,” said one colleague.

Another colleague noted, “Paul is an example for any student to emulate. He is a dedicated academic professional, both as a strong team player and as a diligent self-motivated individual. I was impressed with his ability to successfully lead his specialist team of faculty in securing both the Canadian Technology Review Board accreditation and the International Hydrographic Office (IHO) recognition of the Bachelor of Ocean Mapping program. The highly valued IHO recognition was the first ever awarded to a bachelor’s program.”

Staff service award

The 2022 Marine Institute Award for Exceptional Service will be presented in October, when a graduation ceremony is planned for 2020-2022 students whose ceremonies were postponed or whose program completion was delayed due to COVID restrictions.

The annual service award recognizes employees who demonstrate exceptional service, exceeds expectations and makes significant contributions to the Marine Institute and university communities.