This year's Teaching Excellence and Innovation Award at UBC's Okanagan campus goes to two professors from the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. The award recognizes Patricia Lasserre, associate professor of computer science, for her innovative teaching, and Michael Woodworth, associate professor of psychology, for connecting his courses with leading-edge research and current events.
Introducing the award on Thursday afternoon as part of the sixth-annual Learning Conference at UBC's Okanagan campus, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Principal Doug Owram noted that this year's co-recipients were chosen based upon teaching that includes in‐class instruction but also for activities that support teaching that occur outside of the classroom.
Lasserre teaches computer programming and project management. In addition, she has participated in the Faculty of Education's Summer Institute, teaching a robotics course. She has received two Curricular Innovation Awards from the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences to develop novel ways to teach computer science through team-based learning in the classroom.
"Dr. Lasserre is noted for continuously striving to improve course offerings through innovative approaches, always with a focus on student learning and how to best design a challenging and rewarding experience for her students," said Provost and Vice-Principal Alaa Abd-El-Aziz.
"In addition, she employs teaching strategies that acknowledge a wide range of learning styles. As a program advisor for computer science, she plays an active role in guiding students and has a passion for helping them succeed," he said. "Dr. Lasserre takes teaching beyond the classroom and is continuously demonstrating how and where the knowledge can be applied."
Woodworth teaches courses in Forensic Psychology and Clinical Psychology, in addition to specialized upper-level courses on topics related to psychology and law, such as psychopathy, deception, and the nature of evil.
"Dr. Woodworth is continuously integrating course material with his cutting-edge research, topical events, media resources, and a variety of perspectives to engage students," said Abd-El-Aziz. "He is often referred to as a mentor, and is known for his ongoing support and guidance of students. In the last five years Dr. Woodworth has supervised 17students. He actively works with and in the community to create unique experiences for his undergraduate and graduate students' projects, and all of his current students are working on projects with potential community impact."
Woodworth has also played an active role in developing courses and contributing to the newly approved Forensic Specialization program.
The Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation will be formally presented to Lasserre and Woodworth at UBC's Okanagan convocation ceremony on June 11. The two professors will share the $5,000 prize, join the UBC Okanagan Academy of Teaching Excellence, and participate in the selection process for future teaching award nominees.
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