Excellent teachers given awards

By Amy Badry

On April 26 the University of Calgary campus community gathered to acknowledge professors with outstanding accomplishments in the teaching arena.

Sixteen faculty members along with two teaching assistants received a Teaching Excellence Award. Seven faculty members were inducted into the Hall of Fame, which recognizes professors who have won the award multiple times.

The award is for professors who have made a significant impression on students’ academic and personal growth. A committee containing Students’ Union vice-president academic, faculty representatives, staff members and students at large is conceived annually to look at professors nominated and decide the winners.

Quality of teaching, enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject matter are considered.

Professors need at least five nominations from their class to be considered for the award.

Shane Halasz, a TA for General Studies 300, was one of the two TAs to be awarded a Teaching Excellence Award.

“It was a very humbling experience,” said Halasz, who was nominated previously but did not win. “I think I require of my students to give as much as they can to create a positive class experience.”

Halasz, who admitted he always hated school before he came to university, said he considers himself more a guide than a teacher.

“I think that I sort of allow students to bring out of themselves what is already there and needs to be fostered rather than imposing my own viewpoint and interpretation,” said Halasz.

Halasz said a successful classroom experience relies on students. “If the discussion starts rolling and the magic starts happening that is more them than me.”

VP academic Ola Mohajer said Teaching Excellence Awards are important for both students and professors.

“Students will be able to see which of their professors are excelling beyond the norm and for professors it definitely matters when it comes to their promotions,” said Mohajer.

Teaching Excellence Awards have been conducted by the SU for 27 years. Award winners receive a $500 personal prize and a $1000 donation on the winner’s behalf to the University of Calgary Library or Teaching and Learning Centre.

Additional criteria for the Teaching Excellence Awards include professors who challenge and motivate students, support learning beyond the classroom, passionate professors who employ innovative and exceptional teaching practices and professors who inspires curiosity and critical thinking in students.

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