Centre for Teaching Excellence award recipients

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Distinguished Teacher Award 2019

Paul Fieguth, Systems Design Engineering

Paul Fieguth is noted as being a “strong academic leader” within the department of Systems Design Engineering. He was the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies (2005-2009) and is the chair of his department. He has been involved in undergraduate curriculum development as well. They feel that “his main goal is truly to help students learn.” He provides his students with support in their projects and continues to offer them guidance when they are no longer his students. Professor Fieguth has been the recipient of other awards in graduate supervision and teaching excellence.

Steve Balaban, Accounting and Finance.

Steve Balaban has received many praises from both his students and colleagues. Balaban influenced the careers of several of his students, and continued to mentor them long after their graduation. His peers admire the efforts he made to incorporate new and interactive learning techniques into his lesson plans. His students also really appreciated his efforts.  Balaban shows genuine interest in seeing his students succeed. Balaban has been described as “passionate,” “engaging,” and “humble.” desire to improve his teaching abilities and the learning environment.”

Robin Cohen, Computer Science

Robin Cohen, a professor at the Cheriton School of Computer Science, is able to keep her students engaged in her lectures at all times; even while talking about the social impacts of technology amongst a class of computer science majors! The “dynamic and collaborative learning space” she created in her classroom is kept her students interested and motivated. Cohen, a past recipient of the Faculty of Mathematics Award for Excellence in Teaching, has been described as “passionate,” “knowledgeable,” and “caring.”  Her peers and students recognize the work she has done over her years of teaching.

Andrew Houston, Communication Arts

Professor Andrew Houston is widely known in the Department of Communication Arts as an “inspiring mentor,” a “gifted teacher,” and a “generous collaborator.” Students have described Professor Houston as “warm, welcoming, and eccentric.” As one student said “He makes sure to teach each concept by explaining it in multiple different ways, so that everyone understands.” One of his peers noted his dedication to collaborative pedagogies “enriches and strengthens the department, the work of his colleagues, and the university as a whole.” Houston is highly regarded in the community. 

Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student 2019

Marcus Abramovitch, Chemistry

Marcus Abramovitch, a Ph.D. candidate in Chemistry, is recognized by students and faculty members for his leadership, patience, and dedication in teaching.

A faculty member who supervised Abramovitch in his teaching commented that he “put himself 300 per cent into the course material, not just in time, but in effort that was well appreciated by the students.”

Abramovitch students said he was very approachable. He filled in for six lectures “with aplomb and excellence.”

A student highlighted that Abramovitch “went above and beyond the expectations for his role as a TA.

Abramovitch has been a teaching assistant for CHEM 310.

Apratim Chakraborty, Mechanical Engineering

Apratim Chakraborty, a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical and mechatronics engineering, is recognized by students and faculty members for his “never-give-up mentality, above-and-beyond learning attitude, and excellent communication skills.”

A student remarked that Chakraborty had made “several profound impacts on [their] learning and the way [they] approach difficult problems.”  When asked what made Chakraborty an exceptional teacher, a student replied that “humility, kindness and diligence really set [Chakraborty] apart as a teaching assistant, but what sets him above is his compassion and care for the students he helps.”  Chakraborty T.A.s ECE 209, ME 115, ME 235, ME 596, and MTE 203.

Heidi Fernandes, Pharmacy

Heidi Fernandes, a masters student in the School of Pharmacy, is recognized by her students, peers, and faculty members for her leadership, teaching methods, adaptability, and passion in teaching. Fernandes “thrived” in her role as a tutor for PHARM 422; a challenging course where she guided students in their learning, provided constructive feedback, and facilitated class dynamics with excellence. She also completed the Fundamentals of University Teaching certificate offered by the Centre for Teaching Excellence. Fernandes was a teaching assistant for PHARM 222, 223, and 422, and a lab facilitator for PHARM 229, and 329.  She also guest lectured for PHARM 378, 472, and sSWK 601R, and was a supervisor for PHARM 401.

Caelan Wang, Mathematics

Caelan Wang, a Ph.D. candidate in Combinatorics and Optimization, is recognized for her teaching strategies, dedication and passion in teaching. Wang continues to look for learning opportunities to grow in her teaching, as well as in others by mentoring graduate students in their teaching.

A graduate student whom Caelan had worked with reflected that their “teaching skills have greatly benefited from [Wang’s] advice and support.” Wang is also a mental health advocate and part of the Women in Mathematics Committee as a Graduate Student Representative.

Wang has been an instructor for MATH 239, and a teaching assistant for MATH 674 Topic 3.