Cream of the crop

By Eric Fung

The right professor can make the dullest of subjects entertaining.

Twenty-six instructors at the University of Calgary were honoured on Wed., April 3 at the Teaching Excellence Awards. The awards were given by the Students’ Union to exceptional professors and teaching assistants nominated by students in the fall and winter sessions.

"The individuals who can foster curiosity in students are crucial to a research university," said Associate Vice-President Student Affairs Dr. Peggy Patterson. "Teaching is to help engage students, to help students learn, to help themselves learn."

The awards winners were chosen from a pool of over 200 nominees based on a number of criteria, such as their ability to inspire critical thought, fairness, availability and general enthusiasm for teaching. After receiving the nominations, the Teaching Excellence Awards Committee collected 20 student evaluation forms per class, which they used to select 13 winners and 13 honourable mentions.

"It takes a community to teach, not just faculty members," said TEA Committee Chair Duncan Wojtaszek. "We’re proud to recognize everyone. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your work."

SU VP Academic Nic Porco explained that the number of nominations rose steadily over the years since the first awards were given in 1984.

"I think it’s a lot more for the teachers than for [the SU]," he said. "It’s an honour to be able to recognize the excellent instructors at this university."

Patterson agreed with Porco, adding that the increasing number of nominations is a result of excellent teaching at the U of C.

"As a person who works with students on a daily basis, there is nothing better than being recognized for your efforts," she said. "It’s one of the highest honours to be recognized by your own students."

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