Michel Saint-Germain (2005)

2005 Award for Excellence in Teaching Recipient

In nearly thirty years of teaching, Professor Michel Saint-Germain has worn many hats in the Faculty of Education. As teacher, administrator, researcher and mentor, he has stood out for his unsurpassed creativity, the quality of his interpersonal relations and a contagious love of teaching.

Michel Saint-Germain received his Baccalaureate of Arts degree from the Université de Montréal in 1967, and followed it two years later with a degree in physical education. He taught in secondary schools for several years before enrolling first in a master's program in education administration, then a doctoral program, at the University of Ottawa. He joined the Faculty of Education as a part-time professor in 1975 and has been a full-time professor since 1979. At the same time, he has had a career as a professional educator at an international level and trainer for a variety of organizations, including the École nationale d'administration publique, CIDA and UNESCO.

He is the author of training manuals and a book on the linguistic situation in Haïti. He is also co-author and co-director of numerous articles and book chapters. He also created two software applications for UNESCO and has made countless presentations nationally and internationally, from Winnipeg to Bangui (Central African Republic) to Geneva. His work has been published in Canada, in the United States, in France, in Japan, in Poland, in Belgium and in Spain. He has supervised Ph.D. theses and he was, as well, an external examiner on M.A. and Ph.D. theses and an internal examiner on M.A. and Ph.D. theses.

Over the years, Professor Saint-Germain's teaching philosophy has placed the student at the centre not only of the learning process, but also of the teaching process: "You have to teach somebody something, not something to somebody." In this dynamic process, knowledge is not so much transmitted as acquired and abilities are built on the basis of experience. The interpreter becomes the catalyst. Vested with a responsibility that is scientific, moral and ethical, the professor as dialectician harnesses reality as an information source "rich in teachings."

Whether he uses psycho-dramas, role-playing games, case studies or even comic strips, Professor Saint-Germain knows how to spark his students' imagination in original ways and put them in situations of cognitive imbalance. Far from serving as guinea pigs, however, his students are informed and aware of his innovative teaching strategies, which he sets out in his course plans. Structured but not subjugated, they are eager in turn to amaze this amazing teacher.

Now director of graduate studies programs, Professor Saint-Germain has held a wide range of administrative positions in the course of his career at the University of Ottawa. Because of his exceptional leadership abilities, with the development of distance education courses for the M.Ed. Program, he has opened up access to the professional master's programs and in this way contributed to the development of Ontario's French-speaking population as a whole.

In 1999, the French government awarded Professor Saint-Germain the distinction of "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques" offered by France for services to the development of the teaching field. In 2005, he also received a Prize for Excellence in Education from the University of Ottawa. His students rave about his brilliance, his encyclopaedic pedagogical knowledge, his generous heart and his off-beat sense of humour. In this dedicated and charismatic teacher they recognize a constant concern for inspiring and encouraging them.

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