NC’s Alex MacGregor wins prestigious 2018 Sparks of Excellence Award

Spark of Excellence
Alex MacGregor poses with his 2018 Spark of Excellence Award at Niagara College.

On November 1, Niagara College professor Alex MacGregor received the 2018 Sparks of Excellence Award at the TESL Ontario Annual Conference in Toronto.

Each year, the TESL Ontario Sparks of Excellence Award is given to up to three educators in the province that demonstrate a commitment to ESL profession.

“It’s a surprise because there are so many teachers in this profession,” said MacGregor after learning he had won the award. “It’s nice to be recognized by peers.”

TESL Ontario looks to recognize those who deliver outstanding educational experience to their students and demonstrate exceptional leadership in their work place.

“Alex was nominated for the measurable impact he has made as a passionate advocate for TESL education throughout Ontario,” said Allison Keown, manager of Member Services and Communications at TESL Ontario. “His tireless volunteer efforts supporting professional development and best practices in the TESL field, and he has delivered innovation and change to the profession over the course of his career.”

MacGregor’s exceptional teaching was recognized by his colleague Jim Papple, manager of the English for Academic Purposes program at York University, who nominated him for the prestigious Sparks of Excellence Award.

“I’ve known Alex for almost 20 years in a variety of capacities. For example, we’ve worked together previously and volunteered together on TESL Niagara’s executive committee,’ said Papple. “I think everyone who knows Alex, recognizes the hard work and dedication that he has put into his career to help others. Alex’s commitment to excellence, whether it was writing a textbook, or mentoring new teachers, or publishing research, Alex is always highly involved in every aspect of the profession.”

Each qualifying nomination is reviewed and scored by a team of five awards judges. The judges use a set of criteria developed by the TESL Ontario Communications Advisory Committee. The points-based scoring system allows each nomination to receive a maximum of 34 points. The award recipients are determined by the nominations with the top three scores above 27 points.

MacGregor began his teaching career with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education (TESL) from Queen’s University. He followed his undergrad degrees with a master’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Birmingham. Before joining NC faculty, MacGregor was a successful educator in England, Mexico, Northern Québec and Japan.

MacGregor has worked at NC’s School of English Language Studies for 10 years. During his time at the College, he has served as a student advisor, recruiter, curriculum developer and associate dean. A native Montréaler, Alex currently resides in Niagara-on-the-Lake.