Dr. Ian Spooner earns Acadia Alumni Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching


The Acadia Alumni Association is proud to announce that Dr. Ian Spooner is the recipient of this year’s Acadia Alumni Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In making the announcement, Acadia Alumni Association President Donalda MacBeath (’75) said, “the yardstick by which we measure teaching excellence at Acadia is the current and long-term impact that professors have on our students, not only in classrooms and labs, but after graduation when students apply the tools they have developed during their time here. In this regard, it would be difficult to overstate Dr. Spooner’s influence.

“In addition to letters of recommendation from his colleagues, the Alumni Association received more than 20 testimonials from past students spanning grad years from 1997 to 2019 in support of Dr. Spooner’s nomination. It reflects, in no small way, his outstanding record of teaching excellence and the continued effect his dynamic personality and creative teaching style has had on his students. We are lucky to have him at Acadia, and I extend on behalf of the Alumni Association our heartiest congratulations on this latest personal and professional accolade.”

Dr. Spooner has been a professor and leader in Acadia’s Earth and Environmental Science Department for the past 26 years, supervising 30 Master’s and 48 Honours students since 1994. He has taught 11 different courses ranging from first-year Natural Disasters to graduate-level Quaternary Environments, and in a wide range of areas, from Hydrogeology to Environmental Impact Assessment. His primary research interest is investigating environmental change, and he conducts research in northwestern British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.

His accomplishments include:

  • Received Acadia University Student Association Faculty Teaching Award;
  • Founded the Nova Scotia University-Pictou Landing First Nation (PLFN) initiative, which matches PLFN youth with researchers working at Boat Harbour;
  • Initiated in 2012 the Morton Centre Environmental Education Program for youth (ages 8-12, primarily in Lunenburg County);
  • Established the Office for Pre-contact Archaeological research and associate courses;
  • Received numerous grants in aid of teaching;
  • Participates in Science in Schools (SITS).

He is an expert in environmental and risk assessment, groundwater and surface water contamination, and coastal erosion. He serves as a consultant on the History Channel hit, The Curse of Oak Island. Dr. Spooner has served also with numerous professional organizations and was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Atlantic Geoscience Society and the Acadia Faculty of Pure and Applied Science Teaching Award.

In February, he was appointed Director of Research at the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre and Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens. In that role, Dr. Spooner, will focus on strategy, planning and communication to ensure that the Irving Centre and Botanical Gardens continue to be a leader in environmental study.

For more on Acadia Alumni Association Awards, please visit: https://www2.acadiau.ca/alumni-friends/alumni/awards.html.

Written by Fred Sgambati (’83)


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