A trio of outstanding teachers from the fields of biology, engineering and sociology were honoured Thursday with this year’s Teaching Excellence and Innovation Award at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
Joyce Boon, associate professor of biology in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, and Carolyn Labun, senior instructor in the School of Engineering, are co-recipients of the award for senior faculty. The award for junior faculty went to Christopher Schneider, assistant professor of sociology, also in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences.
In announcing the award winners, Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, Provost and Vice-Principal, described Boon as an innovative, caring teacher who nurtures, encourages and pushes students to learn. She is faculty sponsor for the Biochemistry Course Union, and introduced to the Okanagan the Math, Science Infinite Choices program, which encourages young women to consider science as a career option.
Labun was applauded as a passionate and dedicated teacher who puts students first. She uses novel assignments and projects to challenge students, and is devoted to building a learning community with her colleagues and students.
Schneider was acknowledged as a very enthusiastic professor who excites students about their studies. He often applies theories from coursework to experiences in university life through group discussions, and engages students with video and newspaper articles to spark discussion and illustrate sociology and criminology concepts.
The award recognizes innovative teaching in class but also takes into consideration activities that support teaching that occur outside of the classroom.
In addition to the Teaching Excellence and Innovation Awards, more than three dozen other faculty members were recognized with Honour Roll distinctions, and awards were given to outstanding teaching assistants and tutors.
“Great teachers inspire students and prepare them to achieve remarkable things,” said Doug Owram, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Principal. “The influence of a great teacher goes far beyond the course they teach — it has a long-term effect. It’s always a pleasure to see people recognized for their great work, and especially when it is in the field of teaching.”
The Awards for Teaching Excellence and Innovation will be formally presented to the three winners at UBC’s Okanagan convocation ceremonies in June. The awards include cash prizes of $3,000 (to be shared by co-recipients), and the recipients will join UBC’s Okanagan Academy of Teaching Excellence and participate in the selection process for future teaching award nominees.
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