Dawson’s Psychology Profile Coordinator Selma Hamdani is incredibly grateful to receive a mention d’honneur from the Association québécoise de pédagogie collégiale (AQPC).

“Whatever I do, it is not by myself,” she said. “So many vibrant and great ideas are sparked everywhere at Dawson. I share this honour with the Dawson Active Learning Community (DALC), the Office of Academic Development, the Psychology Department, the Communities of Practice and so many other people who helped me be the teacher I am today. Dawson is fertile ground and a special community!”

What makes a good teacher?

Being a good teacher means thinking about things from the student’s perspective and being aware of their needs, according to Selma.

“I try to remember what it was like to be a student,” she said. “I ask myself: why would it be interesting to study psychology? They need to acquire information, but we must go beyond regurgitation and give them learning experiences.”

Selma, who began teaching at Dawson in the fall 2012 semester, enjoys keeping up with new pedagogical approaches and finds support in the Communities of Practice. She is currently serving as the co-coordinator of the DALC with Chris Whittaker (Faculty, Physics).

Learning on the job with support from colleagues

“I am trained in psychology and like many CEGEP teachers, I never received training for teaching,” she said. “Through the support of colleagues and the DALC community of practice, I learned how to teach.”

Seeing the excitement of “getting it” in her students’ eyes is what keeps Selma highly motivated. “I love teaching! I feed off the students’ enthusiasm for learning and I am delighted when I can see they have understood,” she said.

Apart from teaching Psychology and being involved in DALC, Selma is also involved in the Dawson Neuroscience Research Group and the revision of the Social Science Program.

The recent experience with teaching online during a pandemic is something that Selma feels has stimulated many teachers into thinking about doing things differently. “We have faced an incredible challenge and we rose to the occasion. Everyone deserves multiple awards for these past three semesters,” she said.

Selma was nominated by a colleague for the AQPC honour and it will be presented to her and a few teachers from other CEGEPs at the annual conference June 10-11.

thank you


The thank you photo was taken when a few students took advantage of office hours on zoom to thank Selma for her work over the last semester. “I was so touched,” she said. “The only reason they came to office hours was to say thank you.”

Last Modified: June 2, 2021