Honouring our top teachers

Convocation is a celebration of the accomplishments of our students and the great promise which they bring as they enter on a new stage of their careers. It is also an occasion at which the university recognizes the outstanding talent, dedication and creativity of the faculty members whose work defines the quality of a UVic education. Each year, the various faculties honour the best among UVic's educators by bestowing awards for excellence in teaching. This year's recipients are profiled below.

Dr. Erin J. Campbell
Department of History in Art
Faculty of Fine Arts

Campbell. PHOTO: Graham Miles

Dr. Erin Campbell began teaching at UVic in 2002 and has been described by her students as fair, rigorous, professional, organized and generous with her time. A scholar of early modern European art, Campbell dedicates herself with equal fervor to both her teaching and her research, for which she recently received a substantial SSHRC research grant. She is also a prolific writer and frequently presents papers at both national and international conferences. Campbell is known for her humanitarian approach to education as well as her skill in the classroom. In her statement of teaching philosophy she writes, "I see myself as a mentor, 'conductor' and research facilitator rather than an information dispenser."

Dr. A.R. Elangovan
Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

Elangovan. PHOTO: Gary McKinstry

Dr. A.R. Elangovan, or Elango to those who know him, has a passion for teaching that reflects his own experience growing up in India where higher education is considered a privilege. He feels it is his duty to nurture his students' dreams and hopes, and act as a catalyst to their growth and progress. "Not only is he a captivating lecturer who is skilled at generating energy within the classroom, he is the perfect example of the enjoyment you can have in life if you are lucky enough to find your calling and do what you love," says one student. Elango's sense of humour and his patience stand as hallmarks of his teaching style and contribute to the outstanding learning experience he provides his students.    

Dr. Sandra Gibbons
School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education
Faculty of Education

Gibbons Photo: UVic Photo Services

Dr. Sandra Gibbons is often described by her students as an exceptional mentor and is widely admired for her commitment to teaching. Her sense of humor, preparation and understanding of the educational process have all contributed to her success as an educator. In her own words, "…if I expect these future teachers to create interesting, challenging and motivating learning environments for their students, it stands to reason that I have a responsibility to provide the same for them." She extends the same level of dedication to her research, where her work in gender equity within physical education programs has resulted in curriculum changes to better accommodate girls and young women throughout the country.

Prof. Hamar Foster
Faculty of Law

Foster. Photo: Sharon Tiffin

Professor Hamar Foster has been a member of the Faculty of Law at UVic since 1978, and was the associate dean between 1998 and 2000. He is known for his spirit of inquisitiveness and excitement, his palpable passion for social justice and the humane quality of his writing. These factors have all made him one of Canada's finest legal historians and an instructor whose enthusiasm for what he teaches is eclipsed only by his dedication to his students' learning. A former student stated that Foster "taught me, by example, the three most important lessons I learned in law school: to proudly embrace curiosity, to be steadfast in my pursuit of the just, and that gentleness and compassion should be at the heart of what it means to be a lawyer."

Dr. Marie Hoskins
School of Child and Youth Care
Faculty of Human and Social Development

Hoskins Photo: UVic Photo Services

During the 20 years that she has taught in the Faculty of Education and School of Child and Youth Care, Dr. Marie Hoskins has consistently displayed integrity and a genuine love of learning. She has been called "incredibly motivating and inspiring" by her students and is known for providing a creative and stimulating learning environment. Furthermore, Hoskins has used her research grants to support a number of students, including them in her own research projects, while helping them pursue their own interests. It is this generosity of spirit that endears her towards students, faculty and staff alike, and makes her a truly remarkable educator who is committed to bringing out the best in her students.

Dr. Timothy Iles
Department of Pacific and Asian Studies
Faculty of Humanities

Iles. PHOTO: Graham Miles

Dr. Timothy Iles' teaching process is one of provoking young minds—a process that often inspires him as much as it does his students. Iles considers himself responsible not only for presenting information to a class, but also for bringing life to the subject of a course. This responsibility, he feels, extends beyond mere custodianship of the material—he strives to present relevant, absorbing content in a clear, comprehensive and accessible way. He also sets challenging assignments appropriate to the students' abilities and helps those abilities develop. As a result, his students speak of him as a congenial and compassionate teacher who demands and fosters the best from them.

Dr. Ian O'Connell
Department of Geography
Faculty of Social Sciences


Dr. Ian O'Connell is a truly effective, inspirational and compassionate educator. As a senior instructor, he teaches a wide variety of courses to students, who describe his ability as exceptional. On course evaluations, his performance is consistently judged to be extremely high, even in courses that many students dread taking. Through his infectious sense of humour, his willingness to work tirelessly and individually with students, his ability to inspire students by pointing out their unique abilities, and his generosity in offering timely career advice, he has touched the lives of his students. He treats those in his classes with the utmost respect—a respect that is reciprocated deeply.

Stefan Scott
School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education
Faculty of Education

Scott Photo: UVic Photo Services

Before leaving UVic earlier this year, Stefan Scott was a senior lab instructor and anatomy co-coordinator. He taught a variety of classes on functional anatomy, nutrition for exercise and health, and introductory human anatomy, and was responsible for the coordination of UVic's Human Anatomy Lab. He is regarded as a highly effective and remarkable educator who provides learning experiences that are both lively and academically challenging. Scott also strives to introduce new, experimental approaches to his teaching. He believes that teaching provides "an advanced opportunity to learn, as well as a commitment to helping others gain skills that will better prepare them for future endeavors."

Dr. Jill Simmons
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Faculty of Science


Dr. Jill Simmons approaches teaching with a greater goal in mind than simply delivering blocks of lecture material. She takes genuine pleasure in finding ways to break down complicated ideas so that they are interesting and accessible to all of her students. A professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Simmons has been extraordinarily successful in creating a nonthreatening and unintimidating classroom environment—not exactly an easy task for a teacher of first- and second-year mathematics courses, which many students often find stressful and demanding. With her high standards of quality and fairness, however, there is no question that her students have benefitted from her expertise, empathy and enthusiasm.

Dr. Henning Struchtrup
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering

Struchtrup. PHOTO: Robie Liscomb

During the ten years that Dr. Henning Struchtrup has taught at UVic, his students have consistently praised his enthusiasm and dedication to classroom teaching. Specializing in the field of thermodynamics, Struchtrup is also recognized for his leadership and his innovative approach to education. These qualities are illustrated by his willingness to adopt new techniques and technologies for classroom use (such as the iClicker, a device used to assess student comprehension during lectures), as well as his involvement in the department curriculum committee and faculty's teaching evaluation task force. Outstanding teaching reviews and personal notes of thanks from his students continue to serve as a testament to his fine performance.

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