Teaching excellence awards

By Mary Chan

Excellent professors were honoured Wednesday night when the Students’ Union held their annual Teaching Excellence Awards ceremony.

“I think it’s important for the SU, the undergrad representatives, to honour profs excellent at their teaching jobs,” said Co-chair of the tea Committee and SU Academic Commissioner Nic Porco.”

According to Porco, the SU received a total of 148 nominations this year, about the same as last year. After each nomination deadline closes (one in the Fall and one in the Winter semester), SU representatives visit each nominated class with 20 evaluation forms for students. The final decision, made by a committee of Student Academic Assembly and Students’ Legislative Council representatives, was based on the evaluation forms.

“We produce a shortlist, and from that we discuss who we would rank as best, go on a consensus system,” explained Porco.

For Porco, the TEA’s show that students do care about the quality of education they receive at the University of Calgary.

“Students are taking an active role and trying to promote good profs,” he said.”

The Faculty of Social Work was not represented among the winners this year for logistic reasons.

“We had two honourable mentions,” said Porco, adding that both profs were nominated for the same course. “It was a block week course [which ran in early September] and we couldn’t do the evaluations.”

The professors themselves were extremely honoured to win.

“I’m thrilled because the award is instituted by the students, and it doesn’t get better than students acknowledging you,” said Kinesiology professor Shirley Murray, who teaches Dance Education.

This year, Murray received more nominations for the Teaching Excellence Awards (34) than any other professor.

“Dr. Murray is a very enthusiastic and outgoing professor, whose door is always open,” said a student’s nomination form.

Comments for other award recipients included “Can we clone him?” and “his enthusiasm makes students want to learn this course.”

General Studies Professor Dr. Fabio Lopez-Lazaro credits his students for letting him earn his award.

“I consider students to be my colleagues and peers in the learning environment,” said Lopez-Lazaro. “If students nominate me, that means we created a really good learning environment in the classroom. They’re as much responsible as I am.”

Law professor Nick Rafferty sees the award as a rare honour.

“In general terms, I don’t think teaching is regarded as very important by university administration,” he said. “You do it for the personal rewards and it’s nice to have that recognized by the students.”

Also winning were Dr. Michelle Vandenburg in Education, Gerry Taft in Management, Nursing’s Dr. Jim Rankin, Dr. Todd Andersen in Medicine, Dr. Ron Hugo in Engineering, Dr. Eileen Lohka for Humanities, Dr. Elisabeth Dixon for Science, Kathleen Foreman for Fine Arts, and Dr. Linda Henderson in Social Science.

The following professors received honourable mentions: Dr. David Jardine (Education); Dr. W.J.D. Shaw (Engineering); Dr. David Bershad (Fine Arts): Dr. Ron Glasberg (General studies); Dr. Jim Hume (Humanities); Philip Chang (Management); Dr. Richard Hannah (Medicine); Dr. Dave Pattison and Dr. Len Bos (Science); Dr. Chris Sears and Michael Atkinson (Social Science); Dr. Mary Valentich and Dr. Jim Gripton (Social Work).


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