Dr. Bonne Zabolotney receives the RGD 2021 Design Educator Award for Western Canada

The RGD recognizes design faculty who have made outstanding contributions to student development and pedagogical research. Stay tuned for our announcement of the winner of 2021 Design Educators Award for Eastern Canada on August 4.


We are thrilled to announce that the RGD 2021 Design Educator Award of Excellence for Western Canada is presented to Dr. Bonne Zabolotney


As a tenured faculty member, Bonne teaches courses in the Communication Design program, the Master of Design program and in the Critical and Cultural Studies department at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC. Her areas of expertise and research include Canadian design history, with an emphasis on anonymous and unacknowledged works, theories and practices of domestic space and the political economy of design. Her practice has materialized as curation, exhibit design, writing, fieldwork and using social media as a way to develop discourse around design works. She has also acted as President of Academic & Provost, Dean of Graduate Studies and Dean of the Faculty of Design & Dynamic Media at Emily Carr University.

"Bonne’s approach to pedagogy focuses on creating communities of practice. She empowers students to be active contributors to the discipline, and to prototype through course work their own ways of practicing, of researching and reflecting on design. She actively challenges the individualistic and competitive frameworks of design education and education in general, in favour of relational and collaborative collectives. She is a caring, humble, generous and supportive educator, committed to a design education that bravely engages with the challenges of our time and practices/prototypes possible futures." — Celeste Martin, Dean, Ian Gillespie Faculty of Design and Dynamic Media, Emily Carr University


"Bonne shares her methods and resources openly and has inspired me to change how I will teach my studio class in the coming semester. She offers this generosity to all her colleagues, whether she is sharing her insights from her PhD from RMIT in Melbourne, or the considerable political experience she gained as Provost." — Louise St. Pierre, PhD, Associate Professor, DESIS Lab coordinator, Emily Carr University


Honourable Mentions

Karin Jager

Karin joined the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) in 2012 to launch its graphic and digital design programs, and, more recently, the new Graphic and Digital Design Major in the BFA. Karin integrates contextual learning into the classroom informed by her robust professional network built through her work in corporate communications and social design.


"Karin is a hard-hitter in the design-education arena. She dreams big and aims for the bleachers with every new challenge that comes her way." — Kathy Sigstad RGD, Sessional Instructor, UFV

Ben Kunz

Ben was the Chair of the Information Design Program at Mount Royal University’s School of Communication Studies 2013 to 2018. He is passionate about teaching design-thinking and typography. He is also flexing his research interests in developing a new course on Visualizing Information for Presentation emphasizing how to visually deliver the right content, at the right time, to the right audience.
"Ben has a level of zeal and passion for the teaching of design that is greater than anyone else I have taught alongside" — Dr. Milena Radzikowska RGD, Professor, Information Design, Mount Royal University

Constanza Pacher

With over 15 years experience in teaching typography and information design, Constanza is an Associate Professor in the Bachelor of Design Program at MacEwan University. In her program, she plays an active role in curriculum planning and development. Her research is focused on the scholarship of teaching and learning, and the use of experiential learning as a tool to enhance student engagement.


"Constanza displays an ongoing commitment and dedication to her students. She is quick to evolve and adapt her curriculum, well demonstrated in this challenging pandemic year." — Shelley Josey, BFA, MEd, Chair, MacEwan Book of the Year Program

Ashlea Spitz RGD

Ashlea is a Digital Graphic Design Instructor at Vancouver Community College. She was integral in helping the design department develop and grow into a new two-year Diploma which is based on applied theory, design thinking, and entrepreneurial skills.


"Ashlea continued to mentor me and other students after our program completed and I thank her for the opportunities and guidance she has given me and which helped me to get to where I am today. I am forever grateful" — Nguyen Vo, Student, Vancouver Community College