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Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.

March 21, 2016

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Finding that ‘a-ha!’ moment for students is what makes Sofy Carayannopoulos an award-winning professor.

In 2014, Carayannopoulos was awarded the Teaching Award from the Ontario Undergraduate Students’ Alliance (OUSA). The OUSA award recognizes educators who excel at unlocking the potential of Ontario’s university students.

Carayannopoulos, an associate professor at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, has been hailed by her students as a caring, dedicated and approachable teacher.

Since joining Laurier as a part-time instructor in 1998, Carayannopoulos has made a positive difference in the lives of many of her students.

“My students are open, warm and welcoming, and they want to reach out and connect and learn, which is a very rewarding environment to be a part of,” she says.

Carayannopoulos is the primary instructor, designer and coordinator of Laurier’s well-known first-year course, Understanding the Business Environment. Known as BU111, this course highlights challenges in the external business environment with a focus on the impact on business decisions.

Carayannopoulos chose to come to Laurier for its outstanding reputation for fostering teaching excellence, which it does by encouraging faculty to explore and pursue opportunities and turn them into reality. Collaboration is key to successful teaching, and Laurier faculty have a reputation for collegiality and sharing, which benefits students.

“Getting my students excited about topics and engaged with the material is so important to me,” says Carayannopoulos. “I try to understand where students are coming from – what things are current and interesting to them – so when I’m telling stories or sharing news, I try and bring that into the classroom so that I can bring the material to life.”

For Carayannopoulos, teaching excellence means providing opportunities for her students to learn beyond the classroom. She connects with her students by presenting additional opportunities that she feels her students may be interested in, such as case competitions or connecting them with other faculty members to embark on a research project.

Recently, Carayannopoulos, along with a small group of students, travelled to the University of Navarra in Spain to compete with students from around the world.

She challenges her students by giving them the opportunity to go beyond the material that is taught. She encourages them to push the boundaries as far as they want to take them, as there are no limits to learning. Likewise, there are no limits in her teaching, only continuous improvement and opportunities for her and her students to explore further.

“I truly value the time that I share with my students,” she says. “Whether it’s playing trivia with them, or hanging out with them at the residence learning community, I want my students to know they are not just a number.”

“My students inspire me.”

Teaching Excellence at Laurier

Laurier prides itself on a culture that fosters, supports and celebrates teaching excellence. Learn about Laurier’s other award-winning teachers and how they engage students and inspire a love of learning.


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