Above and beyond

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IKBSAS faculty members recognized for teaching excellence, including first Killam award for the Okanagan campus

Convocation is a time to celebrate the achievements and hard work of UBC students, but on June 7, 2018, a man who helped get many of them across the stage will also be honoured.

In early May, Dr. Stephen McNeil, an associate professor of chemistry in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, was named as the first ever Killam Teaching Prize recipient for UBC’s Okanagan campus. He’ll be formally recognized on stage at convocation.

Established in 1965 through the generous benefaction of Izaak Walton Killam and Dorothy J. Killam, the $5,000 Killam Teaching Prize is awarded annually to upwards of UBC faculty in recognition of excellence in teaching.

Dr. McNeil has a consistent history of involvement, development and commitment to teaching excellence. He was previously awarded an Aspire Learning and Teaching grant to support the reshaping of the first-year chemistry curriculum. In 2009, Dr. McNeil also received the UBC Okanagan Provost Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation, and has since made significant achievements in teaching delivery, curriculum development and community engagement.

“Stephen’s influence is beyond his classroom,” says Provost and Vice-Principal Academic Cynthia Mathieson. “Students and faculty alike see Stephen as a model and a mentor.”

Though he deserves praise for his individual efforts, Dr. McNeil was quick to credit others for helping see his ideas come to fruition.

“UBC Okanagan has a rich culture of supporting not only faculty innovation in teaching and learning but also student participation in the delivery of the university’s teaching mandate,” says Dr. McNeil. “It offers a rewarding environment to work with students both inside and outside the classroom. I think very few of the activities for which I am being recognized with this award would have been possible if I hadn’t had students working with me.”

Dr. McNeil wasn’t the only person recognized for his teaching excellence this spring. Sixteen IKBSAS faculty members were named to the Teacher’s Honour Roll – an exclusive list of UBC faculty members who have scored within the top 10% of student evaluations, campus-wide. They received their awards at a  ceremony hosted by UBC Okanagan's Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Principal Deborah Buszard and Provost and Vice-Principal Academic Cynthia Mathieson.

They are:

Heinz Bauschke (mathematics), Bonar Buffam (sociology), Paul Davies (psychology), Richard Federley (chemistry), Janet Kluftinger (biology), Eva Kovacs-Kowalke (biology), Ramon Lawrence (computer science), Maya Libben (psychology), Mark Rheault (biology), Christine Schreyer (anthropology), Megan Udala (psychology), Zach Walsh (psychology), Carey Doberstein (sociology), Emelie Gustaffson (statistics), Susan Holtzman (psychology) and Abdallah Mohamed (computer science).

Several IKBSAS teaching assistants and tutors were also recognized.

On behalf of the Irving. K Barber School of Arts and Science, we thank all of our wonderful and dedicated faculty, TAs and tutors for their efforts this year.

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