Lara Aknin awarded 2021 Barry Beyerstein Award for Excellence in Teaching

July 07, 2021

Associate professor Dr. Lara Aknin has been awarded the 2021 Barry Beyerstein Award for Excellence in Teaching. Based on nominations from students, this award has been given annually to recognize excellent teaching of regular faculty. Within the department, Aknin teaches PSYC 260 (Introduction to Social Psychology and PSYC 391 (Selected Topics in Psychology: The Science of Happiness).

Aknin has received strong praise from students, who have noted her dedication to ensure her students were supported and engaged with course content.

“Dr. Aknin whole heartedly took on the challenges of teaching during the pandemic and created a course that was impactful, engaging, and extremely valuable. Her communication throughout the course was sincere, frequent, and encouraging. From course design and implementation, to communication and connectedness, she excelled at making her students feel truly supported,” says one of the student nominators.

Students have also highlighted her understanding, kindness, and compassion. “Dr. Aknin goes beyond what is expected from her as a professor. For example, she gives recipe suggestions every week and frequently checks in to ask how her students are doing. During these uncertain times, she has been a light of positivity for many students, such as myself,” says another student.

The 2021 Barry Beyerstein Award for Excellence in Teaching is a testament to Aknin’s commitment and passion for teaching. As one nominator says, “She is an amazing professor, and I feel blessed to have been able to learn from her. Simon Fraser University is very lucky to have her as a faculty member.”