Volume 90, Issue 80

Friday, February 14, 1997

Show Pony


Commemorating the crme-de-la-crme of class gurus

By Sara Marett
Gazette Staff

Five Western professors have been given a gold star for all their schoolwork – the university's highest awards for teaching for 1996-97.

Victor Elias, Duncan Hunter, Alexander Mikalachki and Barry Onslow are the recipients of The Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching. Debra Dawson has been chosen for the The University of Western Ontario Award for Excellence in Teaching by Part-Time Faculty. The gold medal awards will be presented to the professors at convocation in June.

The awards recognize excellence in teaching as well as contribution to curriculum and course development, explained student Scott Graham, a member of the award selection committee.

"These awards are the most prestigious teaching awards at Western – it was a really tough decision," Graham said. "If we could, we would have given everyone an award."

The committee considered letters from deans, faculty, students and alumni as well as course and teacher evaluation results when judging the nominations, he added.

Victor Elias, who has taught at Western since 1982, is a professor of applied mathematics in the faculty of science. He said he was ecstatic when learning he had won the award. "A lot of people said very nice things about me and for this I am very grateful. I will try to continue to be worthy of this award in the future," he said.

As a professor of chemistry in the faculty of science, Duncan Hunter has been teaching at Western since 1966. "I am rather pleased with the award," he said, adding he receives reward for teaching everyday from his students. "This is the greatest formal reward I've received."

Alexander Mikalachki is a household name for students of the Richard Ivey School of Business Administration, where he has taught for 37 years. "The honour of this award shows up in the letters written. I was very touched by things said by students and fellow colleagues," he said. "I think the key behind meaningful learning is face-to-face contact between the teacher and the student both in and out of class."

A professor of education at Western since 1987, Barry Onslow has been an integral part of the division of curriculum studies. "I am very proud and honoured to receive this award," he said. "Being a teacher is not just about knowing a lot on one subject – It's being able to transfer your knowledge to the students in an effective and enjoyable way.

Debra Dawson is a professor in the division of educational psychology in the faculty of education. "I am absolutely thrilled to win this award, it is a great honour," she said, adding the greatest thrill was reading the letters from the students who nominated her. "They touched my heart."

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997