The Ring

Honouring this year’s top teachers

Mon, 2011-11-07 15:59

Agathoklis
Agathoklis
Coogan
Coogan
Corless
Corless
Donaldson
Donaldson
Etmanski
Etmanski
Hadwin
Hadwin
Love
Love
Maki
Maki
Magnusson
Magnusson
McKenzie
McKenzie
Pantaleo
Pantaleo
Thomson
Thomson

At Convocation, the University of Victoria celebrates the accomplishments of our students and the great promise that they bring as they enter on a new stage of their careers. It is also an occasion when we recognize the outstanding talent, dedication and creativity of the faculty members and other teaching staff who provide such a high quality of education to our students.

“We are extremely proud of the recipients of this year’s awards for excellence in teaching,” says Vice-President Academic and Provost Reeta Tremblay. “On behalf of the university, I would like to offer our gratitude and congratulations to these inspiring teachers who contribute so much to the lives of their students and to the value of a UVic education.”

This year's recipients are profiled below. See http://ring.uvic.ca/news/awards-honour-four-uvic-legacies for information about this year’s recipient of the Harry Hickman Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, Dr. Gary MacGillivray of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Dr. Panajotis Agathoklis

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Since 1983, when Dr. Panajotis Agathoklis started teaching at the University of Victoria, he has taught a wide variety of courses in the areas of control theory, multidimensional digital filtering and video processing at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels. In his teaching, he places great emphasis upon the connection between theory and applications and he consistently succeeds in creating an interesting and motivating learning environment for his students. Agathoklis inspires and challenges his students to explore how mathematics can be used in engineering practice and he encourages them to pursue and develop their own ideas and to evaluate them critically. With his enthusiastic approach to the subject matter in his courses, and his dedication to teaching, he has inspired many hundreds of students.

Dr. Laurence Coogan

School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science

Dr. Laurence Coogan’s aim is to help students “think like a scientist.” Rather than cramming large amounts of material into their brains for regurgitation, Coogan engages students by placing key concepts in the context of the “big-picture.” An accomplished researcher, Coogan believes that learning to think like a scientist is best achieved by doing scientific research. He encourages undergraduate students to undertake honours and research-based directed studies projects. Coogan has found that students learn more, and work harder, during such self-driven projects than in any classroom environment. He is an excellent example of a complete academic who has successfully integrated the core teaching and research missions of the university.

Jason Corless

Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering

In his seven years as a senior Instructor at UVic, Jason Corless has taught thousands of students in computer science courses ranging from large first-year programming courses to intimate upper-level classes. His student evaluations are consistently strong and positive. In the classroom, Corless is known for an amusing yet passionate delivery style. He encourages students to use their minds actively during class, often demonstrating concepts by quickly coding examples “live” and on the spot. Students commend him for providing context for course material by sharing anecdotes from his own workplace experiences. Corless invites students to explore the world of computer science that lies beyond the classroom.

Dr. Ran Donaldson

Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences

Dr. Ran Donaldson, sessional lecturer since 2001 and a full-time family doctor, is the 2011 recipient of the Gillian Sherwin Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching among sessional lecturers and lab instructors. Donaldson teaches human osteology (the study of bones). Between 2007 and 2009, students in gave him evaluations that averaged 99.5 per cent. His award nominators noted his knack for making dense terminology and intricate details interesting and accessible, along with his good sense of humour. An alumnus wrote: “(He) is a one-of-a-kind teacher, doctor, mentor and human being. It is educators of this calibre that stand-out in a student’s mind for a lifetime.”

Dr. Catherine Etmanski

Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies, Faculty of Education

Dr. Catherine Etmanski is described by her student nominators as a “committed, knowledgeable, … kind and generous” instructor who creates amazing learning opportunities for students and takes time to ensure that all students receive the educational support that they need. She uses technology to continue contact with students and to facilitate contact between students so that learning extends beyond the boundaries of the class periods.  She has created, with others, discussions on diversity and community-based research (CBR) which further engage her students and garner their respect for her scholarship; scholarship which is, in turn, evident in the content of her courses. Through her modeling of great teaching and scholarship, she builds capacity within her students to engage in CBR and to become thoughtful, inclusive, yet critical members of the academic community.

Dr. Allyson Hadwin

Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies, Faculty of Education

Dr. Allyson Hadwin informs what and how she teaches with the cutting edge research about learning that she and her graduate students have produced. ED-D 101 Learning Strategies for University Success, which Hadwin designed, implemented and has taught for the last five years, has made a meaningful contribution to the retention of students at UVic. As a result of Hadwin’s educational leadership, the teaching in universities both nationally and internationally has improved through a better understanding of how students can contribute to the effectiveness of their learning. “Allyson was a totally awesome teacher who really, really cared about us and how we did in her course and other courses,” says one of her students. “She really helped me to figure things out and take responsibility for my learning.”

Janet Love

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Graduate Student

Janet Love's strong teaching skills are fuelled by a compassionate spirit. An absolute treasure as a TA, she is organized, efficient and, above all, willing to take initiative and make decisions. Furthermore, her sense of humour and sense of fun make it noticeably easier for students to engage with the challenges and hard work that the course material presents. Love is not afraid to capitalize on teachable moments and boldly incorporates examples from her own experience into her teaching which creates an atmosphere where students feel safe to express their concerns and questions. Few others revere their duty as educators more than she. She is always prepared, is an exceptional listener, and fosters and active, enthusiastic, and supportive learning environment.

Mia Maki

Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

Mia Maki’s mission is to demystify entrepreneurship and provide students with a pathway to entrepreneurial success. She is dedicated to taking their understanding of accounting and finance to a much higher and integrated level and assisting students in their venture financing. She also organizes the annual UVic Pitch and Business Plan competitions and other events to give students practical experience in planning and launching a new venture. She brings several years of teaching, facilitating and business industry experience to share with her students. Students say she’s an engaging teacher, and she gauges her success by their passion for entrepreneurship, their industry experience and their deep interest in active and experiential learning.

Dr. Warren Magnusson

Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Science

Dr. Warren Magnusson is an outstanding instructor, a terrific mentor and supportive supervisor. He delivers a wealth of experience and wisdom accumulated over the years. The many students he has taught, in the Department of Political Science and the Interdisciplinary Program in Cultural, Social and Political Thought have expressed their strong appreciation of his teaching. Magnusson has made a truly exceptional contribution by mentoring and supervising nearly 150 graduate students. He takes all the time necessary to guide each and every one of them, thereby catering to their individual needs. Furthermore, the mentoring doesn’t end when students leave the program; he assists them in every possible way to succeed even years after they have left Victoria.

Dr. Andrea McKenzie

Department of History, Faculty of Humanities

Dr. Andrea McKenzie has established a reputation as an extraordinarily talented, innovative and popular teacher. The care with which she prepares her courses, the number of new courses she has created, her dynamism in the classroom and the exceptionally positive response of students are all amply demonstrated in course materials, student course evaluations, individual testimonials and peer reviews. McKenzie is a scholar in the humanist tradition. She encourages critical thinking that is applicable to all walks of life. She is also passionately committed to promoting learning as an end in itself. If the test of an educator is not just to enable students to learn but also to inspire desire for further learning, than McKenzie is definitely a model professor.

Dr. Sylvia Pantaleo

Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education

Dr. Sylvia Panteleo, a master teacher of teachers, enlivens her teaching in the language arts with authentic examples, research findings and practical activities that support education students in understanding the challenges of teaching and the joys of student learning. Clearly, her teaching and teaching methodology is influenced both by her experience of teaching in elementary and middle schools and her research on children’s literacy. Great teachers share two fundamental attributes: a strong commitment to, and enthusiasm for, the area in which they teach and a deep knowledge base in that area. On these criteria alone, Panteleo is considered a great teacher. In addition, students identify her organization, willingness to engage with students outside of class, and her very positive persona as part of her teaching excellence.

Tara Thomson

Department of English, Faculty of Humanities, Graduate Student

What distinguishes Tara Thomson is that she shines in the crucial classrooms of first-year courses, where the university sometimes struggles to engage, nurture and equip its core constituency at the beginning of their academic careers. Teaching is truly a labour of love for Thomson. Her dedication takes the form not just of attentiveness to student needs, but also, and especially, in the areas of clarity and organization. She evokes participation from even the most soft-spoken of students, encouraging their opinions and making it clear that all responses carry equal weight in discussions. First-year university is a stressful experience for most students, but with the help of faculty like her, the experience becomes more memorable, fun and desirable.

Brynn Dooley

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Graduate Student

Brynn Dooley has contributed to the teaching enterprise in chemistry for several years in a number of different capacities—as a laboratory demonstrator, a tutorial leader and as part of a pilot project aimed at developing peer-led team teaching in an advanced chemistry class. As one second-year laboratory student describes: “She takes every question seriously, treats everyone as intelligent individuals and connects with the students on a personal as well as a scholastic level.” Dooley is rigorous in her attention to detail, unceasingly dedicated to the students she teaches and thinks about pedagogy at a remarkably advanced level. Her top priority is always the positive educational experience of her students, and she doesn’t hesitate to dedicate time and energy outside of the classroom to accomplish her goals. [No photo available]