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Her work goes far beyond the three standard measures of academic performance: teaching, research, and service. Her teaching "is deeply informed her commitment to, and scholarship in, human rights and the core values of the profession," says Kenneth Gariepy, who nominated her for LJ's award. Her career is defined by her activist dedication to student understanding, learning, and success: the ethics of the information professions; and. most important, the application of these elements to the pursuit of social justice and the engagement of librarians and information workers in that effort. For this, Toni Samek, associate professor at the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS), University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, has been chosen by LJ s editors as the recipient the first annual LJ Teaching Award, sponsored by ProQuest. (For other nominees, see Editorial, p. 8.)
Where rhetoric meets reality
"I am a teacher first!" Samek declares, adding that she learned that from the best teachers who taught her at both Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS. and as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin--Madison.
"It is very important for library educators to teach both the rhetoric and reality of our field. I like that part of the criteria for this award, about connecting to current issues," says Samek. She more than meets the award criterion she cites, which describes the winner as one who "effectively integrates theory, practice, and research, infusing teaching with real-life librarianship."
This has meant that her students have studied in the "foundations course" the way homeless people use public …