Dr. Simonne Horwitz – Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Teaching Award
Dr. Simonne Horwitz (DPhil) received the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Teaching Award, which recognizes an individual who promotes and advances the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in teaching and learning. Individuals nominated for this award should demonstrate a proven commitment to respect and inclusivity in instructional practice and in utilizing intercultural communication in all learning environments.
“I was incredibly honoured and grateful to my nominators and all those who took the time to write me references, and really grateful to the university for putting me forward,” said Horwitz, an associate professor in the Department of History in the College of Arts and Science. “It is a difficult time for many in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and being recognized for my work and advocacy for queer students at this time was really meaningful to me.”
Horwitz has previously been celebrated for her dedication to students and learning at USask. For example, she introduced a Taught Abroad trip to South Africa in 2010 and received the J.W. George Ivany Internationalization Award for Faculty in 2020. Her teaching explores key concepts of colonialism and places North American experiences within a comparative context with Africa, including South Africa. Earlier this year, Horwitz was honoured with the Provost’s College Award for Outstanding Teaching, following the Provost’s Award for International Teaching in 2013, the Provost’s Award for Outstanding New Teacher in 2011, and the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union (USSU) Teaching Excellence Award in 2016/17 and 2008/09.
Horwitz continually looks for new ways to decolonize her classroom and support Indigenous students, and she will teach in the Indigenous Student Achievement Pathways (ISAP) program in the College of Arts and Science this coming year. She strives to create an accountable and inclusive learning environment for all students. A nomination letter in support of Horwitz notes her approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion is holistic, focusing not just on students but on the entire teaching community.
Horwitz’s teaching philosophy is based on four principles that are rooted in anti-racist and social justice-based work. She aims to engage students in the study of history by encouraging them to connect history to current issues.
“I believe strongly that education is about more than the course content but is key to preparing the students to be active, engaged global citizens,” Horwitz said.
“Second, I endeavour to create an environment where students can develop research and analytical skills and critical thinking. Thirdly, I strive to provide an educational setting that encourages excellence, responsibility, and hard work. At the same time, I strive to empower my students to achieve to the best of their ability and give them the tools to access the help and support they need to meet these expectations.
“Finally, I consciously aim to be a role model for queer and neurodiverse students, as well as those living with mental illnesses, and make my classroom a safe, accountable, empowering environment in which all students can thrive. I want diverse groups of students to see themselves in my classroom.”