Volume 93, Issue 99

Wednesday, April 5, 2000


Rez move-in day up in the air

BookStore hops on the used book bandwagon

Students get pat on the back

Kissel to school Ottawa as CASA president

Western professors celebrate excellence

Council chooses new benefactor of funds

Western to talk MRI

Microsoft appeals U.S. court ruling

Bass Ackwards

Western professors celebrate excellence

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

The University Students' Council gave Western's best teachers an apple of appreciation yesterday at the annual teaching excellence awards.

In conjunction with Western's alumni association and the Bank of Nova Scotia, the USC officially recognized four teachers for outstanding achievement in undergraduate course instruction. Each professor was awarded a cheque for $1,500 to help further their research efforts.

"Good teaching only happens when students and professors enter into a dialogue," said English professor and award recipient Alison Conway.

Conway, who specializes in 18th century literature and spends time outside the classroom conducting research for her novels, said she relied heavily on her students. "My students keep me sane and humble," she said.

"I was very surprised when I was nominated and absolutely flabbergasted when they told me I would be receiving a reward," said Shannon Gadowsky, a professor of human ecology at Brescia College.

She said she felt the award was a good indicator that she was having a positive impact on her students. "I recognize how important this is," she said.

The awards have been in place since 1996, said USC VP-education Mark Kissel, who explained this year's recipients came from a record number of nominees. "Fifty were nominated – that's the most ever and it just shows that the quality of professorship is increasing at this university," he said.

Ian Kerr, a professor with a joint appointment in the faculties of law and information and media studies, said he noticed a common thread linking great teachers when he was a student. "The best teachers seemed to excite me about subject matter in a way that facilitated my own learning of it," he said.

Kerr added he made a strong effort to respect his students, since it would ultimately make him a better teacher. "Such respect must run deep enough to recognize and then cultivate in students the idea that it is they who are ultimately responsible for their own education.

"To succeed as a teacher, one must be able to look at, think about, understand, feel, live and breathe the subject matter under investigation in much the same way that one's students do."

Tom Stavraky, a physiology professor whose wife attended his first several lectures to give him feedback on his teaching style, said he was honoured to be given the award.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000