A respected professor from Niagara College’s School of Media has achieved national and global recognition for his dedication to student success both in and outside of the classroom.
Peter VandenBerg – affectionately known to students, colleagues and friends as “Dutch” – received two prestigious 2023 Awards of Excellence this week – a gold Leadership Excellence Award for Faculty from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and an Outstanding Educator Award at the silver level from the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP). Both awards were presented at World Congress, a global postsecondary leadership event co-hosted by CICan and WFCP from April 23 to 25 in Montreal.
VandenBerg, who is Program Coordinator of NC’s Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film (BRTF) program, noted he was humbled and honoured to be recognized for his work.
“I feel guilty to be recognized for doing what I love but do genuinely appreciate the endorsement,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if it wasn’t for the unwavering support of my wife and two kids, the College and of course my grads. To quote one of my great grads Amy Audibert (BRTF, 2012), ‘this is a win for us all.’ My sincerest thank you to all those that made this happen.”
Fueled by his devotion to student success and his pride of community, VandenBerg is known for actively seeking unique learning opportunities for students to apply their skills to real-world projects with industry partners, often teaching social responsibility through the experiences.
“As a proud NC grad myself, I bleed blue and believe in giving back,” said VandenBerg, who graduated from the BRTF program in the 1993 and has been teaching full-time at the College since 2009. “I’m honoured to represent NC in everything I do and to work alongside a strong team of passionate people, who share a commitment to providing enriching experiences for students.”
Over the better part of the last decade, VandenBerg, his students, alumni and fellow faculty, have delivered many phenomenal production programs, including for major sporting events in the Niagara region such as the 2016 IIHF U18 Women’s World Hockey Championship, the 2018 FIBA U18 Americas Championship Basketball Tournament, watched by millions worldwide, and the 2019 Canadian Wrestling Trials. The crew has produced a live election-day broadcast in partnership with the Niagara Dailies newspaper group, professionally recorded concerts for Music Niagara’s first-ever virtual series and has partnered with many local organizations to livestream numerous community events. The crew also helped NC break new ground with its innovative model for virtual Convocation in 2020 and 2021. The virtual ceremonies provided hands-on learning opportunities for students who worked behind-the-scenes and offered graduates and their families an engaging and impactful graduation experience during the pandemic.
Most recently, VandenBerg developed the comprehensive broadcast program for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games as Chair of Broadcast Operations & Production Services. Through the opportunity, he solidified NC’s role as the Games’ official Digital Production Partner and created once-in-a-lifetime applied learning and leadership opportunities for over 100 BRTF students and alumni, who were part of the broadcast team. The team covered over 90% of the Games’ competitions and events, and delivered over 1,000 hours of live Games coverage to Canadians nationwide, and people all over the world. Current and future students will benefit for years to come through equipment acquired by the BRTF program from the Games. The program will leverage the legacy equipment to broadcast future events, including the upcoming 2024 World Rowing Championships in St. Catharines.
NC President Sean Kennedy, who attended World Congress, congratulated VandenBerg on his milestone achievements.
“The Niagara College community is tremendously proud of Dutch and so happy to see his exceptional dedication to students and industry acknowledged with these prestigious awards from Colleges and Institutes Canada and the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics,” said Kennedy.
“Dutch brings such heart and expertise in mentoring and teaching our students. He is a phenomenal ambassador for NC and consistently demonstrates our College values of being student-focused, welcoming, passionate and trailblazing. I am thrilled that Dutch’s hard work at NC, in the community, and with the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games has earned this well-deserved national and global recognition.”
CICan’s Leadership Excellence Award for Faculty
The CICan Awards of Excellence recognize and promote excellence within Canadian colleges and institutes, while showcasing the extraordinary contributions of individuals to their college/institute communities.
CICan’s Leadership Excellence Award for Faculty recognizes an individual or a team who has exhibited consistent excellence in teaching and has had a significant impact on the personal and academic growth of students. VandenBerg was presented with award at the gold level – the highest level of achievement – on April 24 at CICan’s Awards of Excellence Luncheon.
“We are delighted to award Peter with CICan’s Leadership Excellence Award for Faculty for his exceptional ability to lead, inspire and mentor students to push themselves beyond what they thought possible and find success in a meaningful career,” said Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada. “Peter’s passion for experiential learning and coaching for change, as well as his devotion to student success and community development, exemplifies the values and priorities of the college and institute sector. We applaud his commitment and congratulate him on this achievement.”
NC’s past CICan Awards of Excellence include:
- (2022) a silver Excellence in Global Engagement Award;
- (2020) a Distinguished Service Award to former NC President (current President Emeritus) Dan Patterson;
- (2018) a gold Leadership Excellence Award for Faculty to Holly Catalfamo, PhD (then Program Coordinator of Human Resources);
- (2018) a silver Applied Research and Innovation Excellence Award;
- (2017) a bronze Leadership Excellence Award for Students to Alice Mary Nakiwala (then President of the NC Student Administrative Council);
- (2016) a silver Internationalization Excellence Award;
- (2013) a gold Program Excellence Award for NC’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program; and
- (2012), a silver Program Excellence Award for its Bachelor of Applied Business International Commerce and Global Development program.
WFCP’s Outstanding Educator Award
The WFCP’s Awards of Excellence recognize member institutions and celebrate their accomplishments in the global colleges and polytechnics sector.
The Outstanding Educator Award is given to an individual who has made an impact on learners’ progress, attainment, and growth, has brought about positive change beyond their own learners, and provided a leadership role model for teaching colleagues and students. The award, at the silver level, was presented to VandenBerg on April 25 at WFCP’s Awards of Excellence Luncheon.
“Dutch embodies what it means to be an outstanding educator – someone whose passion, knowledge and skills have inspired student’s success and who has made a major contribution to educational life within an institution,” said the WFCP Secretariat on behalf of WFCP. “The nomination submitted on his behalf left a very strong and positive impression on our judges, particularly his commitment to continuously create and deliver applied learning opportunities for students.”
WFCP works with more than 30 judges to assess nominations received – for a fair and impartial process, judges do not review nominations from their own region of the world.
NC’s past WFCP Awards of Excellence include:
- (2022) Bronze Award of Excellence in Global Citizenship; and
- (2018) Gold Award of Excellence in Applied Research and Innovation.
Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 9,500 students from over 80 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is consistently ranked among Canada’s top 10 colleges for research funding. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.