Profs honoured for kicking ass

By Rebecca Pfliger

The Students’ Union presented 13 University of Calgary professors with Teaching Excellence Awards at the 21st annual ceremony, Sun., Apr. 24. The awards honour professors who improve the profile and importance of high quality undergraduate teaching at the university.

“As the sole award given out based on the merits of teaching, the Teaching Excellence Awards have become a very coveted honour for faculty and teaching staff alike,” said Paige Forsyth, Vice-President Academic for the SU.

The terms of the awards have not changed for 20 years. Each year the SU collects nominations from students for outstanding instructors, evaluates the nominees and selects recipients from each undergraduate faculty.

For next year’s award, teachers and professors will be competing for money.

Eight per cent of the $1.6 million in “quality enhancement” money given to the SU by the U of C Board of Governors will be allocated for the awards. Forsyth noted the money will be awarded to the winners’ faculties, as opposed to individual professors.

“Attaching funds may increase the profile and impact of this very successful program,” said Forsyth. “This would create tandem improvement in both teaching and for the home faculty of the professor.”

Political science professor Dr. Allison Dube was one of the recipients of the award.

“Getting the piece of paper is nice, but the memory I will always carry with me is the moment when I came back into the classroom and people were applauding,” recalled Dube.

Dr. Nicole Sandblom, who was nominated by her Chemistry 203 class, agrees the Teaching Excellence Award means more because it comes from students.

“It’s one thing to be evaluated by your peers, but it’s special when it comes from the students themselves,” said Sandblom.

Excellent teachers are chosen for their ability to communicate broad and accurate knowledge of the subject matter, self-confidence, ability to create enthusiasm, success at challenging students, ability to cultivate creative thinking, availability outside of class, and fairness and consistency in grading.

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