Norman Gibbins
Microbiology, University of Guelph
Peter Kennedy
Economics, Simon Fraser University

Professor Kennedy has long and wide experience as a teacher and a consistent record of achievement. The hallmarks of his teaching are his use of innovative techniques, the great clarity and cogency of his explanations, and a combination of rigour and helpfulness. He instituted a Teachers’ Forum at Simon Fraser, inviting faculty interested in teaching to exchange perspectives and ideas. He also took advantage of a research trip to investigate teaching techniques at various Ontario Universities. His initiative led to the successful introduction of a university-wide “TA Day” modelled on the program at McMaster University.

A winner of three previous[...]

Professor Kennedy has long and wide experience as a teacher and a consistent record of achievement. The hallmarks of his teaching are his use of innovative techniques, the great clarity and cogency of his explanations, and a combination of rigour and helpfulness. He instituted a Teachers’ Forum at Simon Fraser, inviting faculty interested in teaching to exchange perspectives and ideas. He also took advantage of a research trip to investigate teaching techniques at various Ontario Universities. His initiative led to the successful introduction of a university-wide “TA Day” modelled on the program at McMaster University.

A winner of three previous teaching awards, two of them international awards in his field.
A teacher who, in his own quiet and persistent way, clearly and actively works for teaching excellence at Simon Fraser.
Peter on preparing for class: “I try to fantasize the whole class, all 50 minutes, in order to decide if that’s where we should go.”

Jack London
Senior Counsel, Pitblado LAW

Professor London’s teaching abilities and contributions to the development of methods and programs have been outstanding. He demands a great deal of his students, and they respond to his high expectations. As an academic administrator (Director of Education for the Law Society and later Dean of the Faculty of Law), he has given imaginative and effective leadership in the development of new education programs. He is a serious student of the techniques and strategies of effective professional education and has written extensively on the history and structures of legal education and continuing education in the profession.

Students respond to his[...]

Professor London’s teaching abilities and contributions to the development of methods and programs have been outstanding. He demands a great deal of his students, and they respond to his high expectations. As an academic administrator (Director of Education for the Law Society and later Dean of the Faculty of Law), he has given imaginative and effective leadership in the development of new education programs. He is a serious student of the techniques and strategies of effective professional education and has written extensively on the history and structures of legal education and continuing education in the profession.

Students respond to his high expectations and his ability to present the substance of the law in its larger social context.
His work with the Canadian Law Teaching Clinic has earned him national recognition as a leader in the field of law teaching.
Jack on his role: “I try to teach the paradoxes … the dilemmas; I am not a guide to the truth.”

Ron Marken
English, University of Saskatchewan

Before retiring from the University of Saskatchewan’s English Department, Ron established, throughout the academic community and the province, a reputation for teaching excellence. His specialist fields of teaching and published research include Modern Irish Literature, Poetics, and Modern British Poetry and Drama. He has presented at Irish Studies conferences from Sydney to Belfast, Vancouver to West Germany, and served as President of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies and Editor of The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies. A theatre and book reviewer for the CBC, he is also a published playwright and poet. His plays have been performed professionally and[...]

Before retiring from the University of Saskatchewan’s English Department, Ron established, throughout the academic community and the province, a reputation for teaching excellence. His specialist fields of teaching and published research include Modern Irish Literature, Poetics, and Modern British Poetry and Drama. He has presented at Irish Studies conferences from Sydney to Belfast, Vancouver to West Germany, and served as President of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies and Editor of The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies. A theatre and book reviewer for the CBC, he is also a published playwright and poet. His plays have been performed professionally and broadcast on radio. As well, he frequently hosted educational radio and television programs. He offered a course in creative writing at Prince Albert Penitentiary that inspired Don’t Steal This Book, the published writings of his incarcerated students. In the 1980s, before internet, he developed a live, interactive, televised, credit class in freshman English. The course reached all corners of Saskatchewan, to students unable to study on campuses, due to anxiety, isolation, illness, or poverty. His contributions to adult education include non-credit literature courses for seniors, creative writing courses for seniors, and effective writing workshops for Saskatchewan’s crown corporations.

His belief in the power of language to transform life has been witnessed by students on- and off-campus, by his students in the local penitentiary, and by colleagues around the province. As a recipient of the campus Master Teacher Award and awards for distance education, he is often a featured speaker at workshops for colleagues. Since his retirement in 2006, Ron has worked tirelessly for the 3M Fellowship programs, serving as Fellowship Coordinator for three years.

His motto, borrowed from his favourite poet, W. B. Yeats: “All the most valuable things are useless.”

Ernie McFarland
Physics, University of Guelph

Ernie McFarland has been responsible for the development of many courses, demonstrations, and experiments in physics at the University of Guelph. He chaired the formation of innovative interdisciplinary first-year courses for scholarship-level students in physical science, and helped to create modular instruction units for large-enrolment biophysics courses. Ernie has contributed greatly to workshops and seminars on teaching and learning at the University of Guelph and other institutions, and has acted as an educational consultant for such organizations as TV Ontario, the Ontario Natural Gas Association, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, and the Ontario Ministry of Education.

“He receives the highest ratings” both[...]

Ernie McFarland has been responsible for the development of many courses, demonstrations, and experiments in physics at the University of Guelph. He chaired the formation of innovative interdisciplinary first-year courses for scholarship-level students in physical science, and helped to create modular instruction units for large-enrolment biophysics courses. Ernie has contributed greatly to workshops and seminars on teaching and learning at the University of Guelph and other institutions, and has acted as an educational consultant for such organizations as TV Ontario, the Ontario Natural Gas Association, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, and the Ontario Ministry of Education.

“He receives the highest ratings” both from his students and peers and has earned a strong reputation for in-class demonstrations.

Ernie on challenging students to think: “I like to start a class with a demonstration that students cannot explain with their present knowledge. It causes mental confusion and arouses curiosity within the students – their attention is immediately captured.”

Nadia Mikhael
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada

Dr. Mikhael is extremely dedicated to her students to whom she communicates her high level of scholarship with outstanding skill. She has taught Pathology at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and is regarded as a major contributor to the excellent reputation of the University’s medical school program. In addition, she has been regularly involved as both workshop leader and sessions organizer in programs aimed at the improvement of professors’ teaching skills. In the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Mikhael has played an active role in curriculum development, serving on several Faculty committees.

Another teacher with a long history of awards,[...]

Dr. Mikhael is extremely dedicated to her students to whom she communicates her high level of scholarship with outstanding skill. She has taught Pathology at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and is regarded as a major contributor to the excellent reputation of the University’s medical school program. In addition, she has been regularly involved as both workshop leader and sessions organizer in programs aimed at the improvement of professors’ teaching skills. In the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Mikhael has played an active role in curriculum development, serving on several Faculty committees.

Another teacher with a long history of awards, her enthusiasm is contagious. “Her students are alert and intellectually engaged.”

Her valuable leadership abilities are often applied to such teaching and learning issues as the core curriculum and evaluating learning.

Nadia on course design: “You can’t design a course or program without reviewing all of your assumptions about learning.”

Ray Rasmussen
Strategic Management and Organization, University of Alberta

Dr. Rasmussen participates extensively in committees related to teaching and learning and provides departmental and faculty leadership on teaching issues. He helped develop and actively participates in the Peer Consultation Program for university instructors and actively assists colleagues within and outside of his department on all manner of instructional issues. He frequently delivers seminars on instruction for university instructors and graduate teaching assistants and regularly publishes papers on instructional methods. He also writes instructional texts, workbooks and materials that are well received and widely used in post-secondary and adult education workshops.

“Student evaluations are consistently among the highest; colleagues hold[...]

Dr. Rasmussen participates extensively in committees related to teaching and learning and provides departmental and faculty leadership on teaching issues. He helped develop and actively participates in the Peer Consultation Program for university instructors and actively assists colleagues within and outside of his department on all manner of instructional issues. He frequently delivers seminars on instruction for university instructors and graduate teaching assistants and regularly publishes papers on instructional methods. He also writes instructional texts, workbooks and materials that are well received and widely used in post-secondary and adult education workshops.

“Student evaluations are consistently among the highest; colleagues hold his teaching methods and course content in very high regard.” He frequently delivers well received (4.93/5) seminars on instruction for colleagues and has published original work on a creative method of teaching concepts. Ray on motivating students: “I spend a significant amount of time on the `what for?’ My goal for each class is to have students thinking 90% of the time.”

Connie Rooke
English, University of Guelph

Dr. Rooke gives generously of her time to students both inside and outside the Department. She has given guest lectures to other departments and programs, some off campus, including prisons. As an administrator, she has worked hard and effectively to improve teaching. For several years she directed the Department’s first-year program, which involves more than 1500 students and later was instrumental in developing and administering important new programs in Women’s Studies and Canadian Studies. In these programs, and in her former capacity as Director of the Learning and Teaching Centre, she has had a major impact on teaching at the[...]

Dr. Rooke gives generously of her time to students both inside and outside the Department. She has given guest lectures to other departments and programs, some off campus, including prisons. As an administrator, she has worked hard and effectively to improve teaching. For several years she directed the Department’s first-year program, which involves more than 1500 students and later was instrumental in developing and administering important new programs in Women’s Studies and Canadian Studies. In these programs, and in her former capacity as Director of the Learning and Teaching Centre, she has had a major impact on teaching at the University.

“She is a total teacher, equally hard working at every level of her job, be it course creation, class preparation, presence in the classroom or her commitment to Canadian writers.”
As a result of her reputation, she was invited to head the new Teaching and Learning Centre which she nurtured until it became an important resource for all instructors.
Connie on inviting students to be co-learners: “I try to introduce every new text by pointing to those areas of the text I still don’t fully understand.

Bob Schulz
University of Calgary

As the first recipient of The Order of The University of Calgary, Bob Schulz, management professor, Petroleum Land Management Director, and university Teaching Development Coordinator, exemplifies everything the award represents: going beyond the call of one’s position and outstanding performance in teaching, research, community service, and professional leadership.

“The reason you become a professor is to shape people’s lives”, said Schulz who received the Order in June of 1994 at a time when he was seriously questioning the value of his teaching efforts. “I went through a period of wondering if I am even making a difference.”

Now the award[...]

As the first recipient of The Order of The University of Calgary, Bob Schulz, management professor, Petroleum Land Management Director, and university Teaching Development Coordinator, exemplifies everything the award represents: going beyond the call of one’s position and outstanding performance in teaching, research, community service, and professional leadership.

“The reason you become a professor is to shape people’s lives”, said Schulz who received the Order in June of 1994 at a time when he was seriously questioning the value of his teaching efforts. “I went through a period of wondering if I am even making a difference.”

Now the award serves to remind him that his efforts to positively affect the lives of students are highly esteemed. “It is an external validation that all the time and effort put in are worthwhile”, said Schulz, who is affectionately called “Dr. Bob” by many of his students. Schulz notes, “I’ve taken the road less travelled – spending more time with students.

When he began teaching in Calgary in 1973, Schulz pioneered the idea of student projects. Today he sees more projects than ever before, allowing for more practical, applied orientation. “Teaching is more than just content, it is also about having a rapport with the students,” said Schulz.

But the strength of his rapport with students becomes clear as Schulz retrieves a letter recently received from a student he taught 20 years ago. The student, who now manages a hotel in Victoria, British Columbia writes, “I wanted you to know just how much your teaching, guidance, and encouragement during my 3rd and 4th years at The University of Calgary really meant to me … Bob, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Teaching Development:
Bob was seconded half-time from the Faculty of Management in 1991 to become the first Coordinator of the university’s Teaching Development Office. In addition to facilitating the development of horizontal interest groups for many different themes, Bob has continued his presentations and data gathering of student and professor learning styles.
In addition, Bob continues to coordinate the 5-year $700,000 teaching development grant from the Royal Bank of Canada. One key application involves accent reduction for graduate teaching assistants.

University Linkages:
The University of Calgary has been designated as one of 15 New Media Centres in North America. Many teaching technology applications have already been implemented.
The Teaching Development Office is helping to facilitate internal and external linkages. Further, in collaboration with McMaster University, The University of Calgary has submitted a $10 million proposal to the Networks of Centres of Excellence for Technology-Based Learning.

Personal Awards:
In addition to the 15 teaching-related awards Bob has won, some personal awards received by Bob over the past year are:

  • First recipient, Order of the University of Calgary.
  • Named to Who’s Who in American Education.
  • Named to Who’s Who in Alberta.
  • Named to Who’s Who in the West.
  • Named to Who’s Who in America.
  • First recipient, Order of Merit (Education), City of Calgary.
David Topper
History, University of Winnepeg

Dr. Topper teaches both the History of Science and the History of Art and has been active in the professional development activities directed at the improvement of teaching. In the History of Science course, he communicates a sophisticated understanding of natural science to an audience that is largely science phobic and as a result, he joined a team organized by the Dean’s Office to analyze patterns of math and science phobia and developing curricular responses to identified problems. Along with his departmental colleagues Dr. Topper developed the History of Art program and his dedication to pedagogy is also reflected in[...]

Dr. Topper teaches both the History of Science and the History of Art and has been active in the professional development activities directed at the improvement of teaching. In the History of Science course, he communicates a sophisticated understanding of natural science to an audience that is largely science phobic and as a result, he joined a team organized by the Dean’s Office to analyze patterns of math and science phobia and developing curricular responses to identified problems. Along with his departmental colleagues Dr. Topper developed the History of Art program and his dedication to pedagogy is also reflected in his writing for such publications as The Physics Teacher and the Canadian Review of Art Education Research.

“His student ratings in this required course are amongst the very highest of any in the university.”
He teaches several courses that don’t clearly fall within any one discipline. “Much of what I teach I had to learn on my own. My reflections on how I learn are useful to my students.”
David on lecturing: “Often a lecture requires a kind of performance. Large classrooms are not called `theatres’ by accident.”

Teaching Related:
In the fall of 1987, the year I became a 3M Fellow, I organized an ad-hoc committee made-up of former Robson Award Winners (see below) at the university and we met on a regular basis to discuss teaching and related matters. We produced two Reports over several years, making a series of recommendations to the Administration, many of which have been put in place (such as the creation of an orientation session and Classroom Manual for new faculty). Previous Award

I was awarded the Clifford J. Robson Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching at the University of Winnipeg in 1981.

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