Killam Teaching Prize & Award for Excellence in Mentoring 2021 Recipient Citations

The Killam logoThe Killam Teaching Prize is awarded annually to faculty nominated by students, colleagues and alumni in recognition of excellence in teaching. Among the criteria taken into consideration for this award is the ability to motivate students and stimulate critical thinking, sustained teaching excellence and development of innovative approaches to teaching methodology and curricula.

Killam Teaching Prize 2021 Recipient Citations

Dr. Joanna Cannon, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education, Faculty of Education

Dr. Joanna Cannon has been a faculty member in the Special Education program since 2010, primarily teaching in the concentration in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Her innovations in curriculum and pedagogy demonstrate the wide reach of her instructional activities: to graduate students in Special Education, undergraduate and diploma students, and practising teachers. She aims to increase educational options for students – regardless of hearing status -- across the campus, the province, and the country. As one former student attests: "Her pedagogical methods modelled the way we need to teach to be effective educators."

Dr. James Charbonneau, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Science

Dr. James Charbonneau is a physicist who engages his students in the process of learning. Dr. Charbonneau believes that we "learn by doing" and that part of this process involves stages of confusion before we reshape the way we think. Dr. Charbonneau creates an educational environment where his students feel comfortable and motivated to learn, even outside of his classroom. To further support students, Dr. Charbonneau has designed and implemented a range of active learning tools including the educational software technology compare, which is now used in post-secondary institutions worldwide. Dr. Charbonneau is an innovative and highly effective educator.

Dr. Michael Cox, Department of Urologic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

Dr. Michael Cox exemplifies the commitment it takes to excel as an educator in a dedicated research environment. From creating sustainable funding opportunities, to interdisciplinary teaching, curriculum development, and one-on-one mentoring, Dr. Cox is fully engaged in all levels of graduate education. He prioritizes non-didactic learning that empowers students to take charge of content, embrace the challenges of refining technical writing and formal presentations, and nurture communication skills needed for success in their careers. Using his gift to inspire the next generation of scientists to pursue knowledge and foster critical thinking, Dr. Cox has selflessly dedicated himself to advancing education excellence.

Dr. Lori Daniels, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, Faculty of Forestry

Dr. Lori Daniels' teaching interests focus on the pressing issue of forest fire management. Dr. Daniels has developed an online teaching platform which allows students to learn the fundamental principles of forest fire management and to interact in a number of novel ways: through virtual field trips; asynchronous discussions; synchronous 'campfires'; and case studies informed by her research. Her burning passion for teaching and experiential learning is also evident in the other courses she leads at UBC, such as the hugely popular Fall Forestry Field Camp and her vibrant graduate level instruction and mentoring.

Dr. Hugh Davies, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine

Dr. Hugh Davies' passion for teaching is evident in his graduate-level instruction, supervision and mentorship – of both professional and research-oriented trainees – in the discipline of occupational and environmental hygiene where he has taught for almost 20 years. Dr. Davies continually embraces new classroom technologies and employs best practices for learner-centered and blended learning environments. Learners consistently describe Dr. Davies as equipping them with practical knowledge and problem-solving skills for 'real-world challenges', fostering lifelong learning, and enhancing their personal growth and development. For Dr. Davies, teaching is the most enriching aspect of his career, and interactions with learners continually motivate him to deliver high-quality educational experiences.

Dr. Tamara Etmannski, Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science

It is rare that a new Instructor's first task is to lead the development and launch of an entirely new degree program, but that is exactly what Dr. Tamara Etmannski has done. Combining her expertise in engineering, policy, sustainability, and entrepreneurship, she is the driving force behind the Master of Engineering Leadership / Master of Health Leadership and Policy Programs. Dr. Etmannski's approach in the classroom is dynamic and engaging. Her commitment to her students on an individual level, and to the student experience as a whole, routinely extends beyond the classroom and often beyond the program. Students praise the transformative experiences and mentorship that she has provided and are quick to recognize her role in their successes.

Dr. Jennifer Gagnon, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts

Dr. Jennifer Gagnon epitomizes the kindness, passion and dedication that characterize an exceptional educator. She is highly praised by both colleagues and students. One student comments that "Dr. Gagnon has an impressive ability to create a comfortable and inclusive environment in which participation from students in each and every class consistently fosters meaningful connection and participation." Another student found that Dr. Gagnon's "willingness to engage with students outside of scheduled hours in order to continue facilitating their learning made a great difference." Well-loved by her students, Dr. Gagnon's enthusiasm and encouragement goes above and beyond in helping her students think about the future, and their unique places within that future.

Dr. Jordi Honey-Rosés, School of Community and Regional Planning, Faculty of Applied Science

Dr. Jordi Honey-Rosés is as much an orchestrator as an instructor, taking each class through a unique educational journey. An advocate for active learning, he uses a case study method to provide students with rich opportunities to study, debate, engage with external stakeholders, and even role play in their exploration of real-world planning scenarios. Through this method, he gives all students a chance to speak out in the classroom, share perspectives, and examine complex issues from multiple angles. Not confining himself to the traditional classroom, Dr. Honey-Rosés has also led international field school courses in Mexico and Spain, allowing students to participate in immersive service-learning opportunities.

Ms. Ihhwa Kim, Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts

Ms. Ihhwa Kim is described as an "innovative curriculum developer who has made numerous stellar contributions to teaching and learning." She sets high standards for her students, and then inspires her students to excel beyond those standards. As one of her students remarks, "Ms. Kim is one of the most intriguing and passionate instructors I have ever seen. If preparation for each lecture is the basis of being an instructor, then Ms. Kim's passionate and enthusiastic lecturing renders her a wonderful educator." Ms. Kim's passion, excitement for teaching and dedication to the craft of language learning makes her an inspiring educator.

Mr. Michael Lee, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine

Mr. Michael Lee, an Associate Professor of Teaching, is an outstanding instructor and expert in psychosocial rehabilitation, student well-being, and curricular research and development. He is admired as an educator amongst students, clinicians, and scholars alike, and consistently receives exceptional teaching evaluations. Integrating his research findings into his teaching, Mr Lee intentionally applies teaching strategies that support students' well-being. His expertise is highly sought in continuing professional education opportunities, and he is especially passionate about interprofessional education and works collaboratively with other educators to develop interprofessional curricula.

Dr. Stella Lee, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science

Dr. Stella Lee is a biologist who actively engages her students in the process of learning. A skilled educator, Dr. Lee moves fluidly between teaching high enrollment lecture-based courses and hands-on laboratory classrooms. In the online learning environment, Dr. Lee demonstrated a remarkable ability to motivate and connect with her students using a clear, interactive, and enthusiastic teaching-style. Students describe her as being 'down to earth', 'always approachable' and a 'real gem'. Dr. Lee hopes that her students will appreciate and develop learning strategies that they can apply beyond their post-secondary years. Dr. Lee is truly a dedicated and highly effective educator.

Dr. Katherine Lyon, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts

Dr. Katherine Lyon has excelled in all areas of teaching. Dr. Lyon's most creative and impressive teaching innovations have been in the area of community-engaged and experiential learning, designed to give students a special experience in the university setting. Dr. Lyon's students especially appreciate her teaching innovations that "focus on the themes of inclusivity, accessibility, and experiential learning." Another Killam laureate enthusiastically comments: "So many grants and so much innovation! The work on the sociology of teaching, and on the cultural assumptions that underlie learning at Vantage College, is fantastic stuff." UBC is fortunate to have such a skilled and passionate educator.

Dr. Laurie McNeill, First Year and Interdisciplinary Programs, Faculty of Arts

Dr. Laurie McNeill is a dedicated and innovative educator who has made significant contributions to teaching and learning at UBC. One colleague observes that Dr. McNeill's teaching "reflects some of the best and most current developments in education in the arts and humanities." A student notes that Dr. McNeill's teaching comes "from a genuine place of wanting her students to succeed." Another Killam laureate adds that Dr. McNeill's teaching demonstrates "patience, a collaborative and consultative approach, attentive listening skills, transparency in explaining actions and rationale, and a sincere desire to do what is best for her students." Dr. McNeill's work on student integrity and jumpstart reaches well beyond the classroom.

Mr. Jason Min, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Mr. Jason Min is an outstanding teacher and educational leader. Driven by the educational mantra "strive for the impossible, never get comfortable, " he creates highly interactive and dynamic learning environments that motivate students through technology, gamification and novel assessment strategies. His innovative work in Indigenous Health and electronic medical records is leading academic pharmacy in Canada, and his use of a reflexive visual arts assessment for cultural safety has been adopted by the UBC nursing program. As one student said, "Jason really seeks to engage us and is always learning and adapting to become better. I find that very inspiring."

Dr. Lynn Norman, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science

Dr. Lynn Norman teaches first-year biology and consistently elicits extremely positive feedback such as "a phenomenal professor" and "easily the best professor I had in my first year at UBC." Dr. Norman views learning as a journey – where individuals encounter a range of tests and challenges. To guide her students, she creates an inclusive classroom environment which includes nurturing positive student-teacher relationships. Her classrooms are a safe space for students to ask questions and conduct experiments – elements she considers fundamental to learning. By modeling kindness and respect, as well as enthusiasm for science, Dr. Norman provides students with a welcoming first-year experience that sets them on a strong path at UBC.

Dr. Olusegun Oyedele, Department of Medicine (Southern Medical Program), Faculty of Medicine

Dr. Olusegun Oyedele has been the sole anatomy faculty at the Southern Medical Program (SMP), since the inception of the Program. His reputation as an engaging, passionate and inspirational teacher has steadily grown over the last 10 years. As an educator, Dr. Oyedele comes alive in small groups – contributing thousands of hours of impactful teaching into every anatomy, neuroanatomy and histology lab ever taught at the SMP, as well as numerous case-based learning (CBL) tutorials, Portfolio group sessions and gross anatomy review labs. His genuine love for teaching is infectious and inspirational, and very deservedly celebrated.

Dr. Gabriel Potvin, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science

The scope of Dr. Gabriel Potvin's impact as an educator is nothing short of astounding. His work ranges from pre-university outreach activities to the mentorship of graduate students embarking on their first teaching experiences, and everything in between. Junior students are grateful for his patience in the classroom when teaching difficult subjects. Senior students commend his ability to design immersive lab experiences and his enthusiastic support of student-initiated projects. He gives generously of his own time in support of students at all stages of their education and has quickly established himself as a nationally recognized leader in engineering education and a valued member of the Faculty.

Dr. Karen Ragoonaden, Okanagan School of Education, Faculty of Education

Dr. Karen Ragoonaden's countless contributions to teaching and learning demonstrate her admirable commitment to scholarship and the pursuit of all forms of knowledge. A respected scholar and educator within her faculty, Dr. Ragoonaden led the establishment of the scholar-practitioner model, which is now the focus of the Okanagan School of Education. She also guided the redevelopment of the B.Ed. Program to include a significant component of land-based learning and played a crucial role in engaging with Indigenous communities. Described by her students as "influential, inspirational and innovative, " Dr. Ragoonaden's remarkable integrity and true commitment to being an educator make us proud to honour her with the 2021 Killam Teaching Prize.

Dr. Coll Thrush, Department of History, Faculty of Arts

Dr. Coll Thrush is an inspiring educator. A colleague writes that Dr. Thrush's teaching and supervision have had "profound, even life-changing, impacts on his students. He invites them to situate themselves as products of history, to think deeply about power relations within history and the historical profession, and to see writing as a complex process with mechanical, creative, and ethical components. His students become better writers, better thinkers, and better, more thoughtful and reflective inhabitants, of UBC, Vancouver, Canada, and the world." Students describe him as "fantastic", "innovative" and "inspiring." The Killam prize reviewers felt that Dr. Thrush's work on translating his research in Indigenous London into a study abroad course was a brilliant intervention

Dr. Mark Van Raamsdonk, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Science

Dr. Mark Van Raamsdonk is a physicist who is eager to share the beauty and power of physics with his students. This past year, he demonstrated his creativity and skill as an educator by designing and delivering a new course focused on the physics of music for non-science students. Embracing the challenge of online learning, Dr. Van Raamsdonk delivered interactive lectures using live demonstrations combined with theory - including his use of a tuning fork and a whistle to demonstrate the superposition of soundwaves. Dr. Van Raamsdonk's innovative efforts in teaching and learning truly resonate with his students – as reflected in comments such as "I gained an extraordinarily deep understanding of the content in his course."

Professor HsingChi von Bergmann, Department of Oral Health Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry

Professor HsingChi von Bergmann continues to have a significant transformative impact on teaching and learning at an institutional, disciplinary, and societal level. Her development and teaching of the "Foundations of Teaching & Learning for Dental Graduate Student Instructors" has been widely praised by both students and faculty. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor von Bergmann quickly developed a "Community of Practitioner" space for the Faculty of Dentistry, where instructors could learn to teach online. Professor von Bergmann's novel ideas contribute to her effective teaching and learning practices, and result in educational innovations that positively impact students.

Dr. Sheryda Warrener, School of Creative Writing , Faculty of Arts

Dr. Sheryda Warrener "truly epitomizes what it means to be an exceptional educator." One student writes, "Dr. Warrener's experimental and accessible approach to pedagogy … connects life experiences and reflection with broad and unusual forms of poetry." Using innovation and creativity to inspire high standards, she works hard to bring meaning and a sense of connection to her students through a deeper understanding of poetry. Students describe developing a deeper connection to words and poetry, and their own thinking, through Dr. Warrener's innovative and inspirational style of teaching.

Dr. Stephanie Waterman, Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Faculty of Science

Dr. Stephanie Waterman is an oceanographer with educational background in engineering physics and aeronautical engineering. This past year, Dr. Waterman skillfully adapted an online version of a high-enrollment first-year introductory course that uses environmental physics, chemistry and biology to explain what we know about the complexity of the Earth system and climate change on our planet. Dr. Waterman designs pedagogical tools to effectively engage her students in courses from the first-year introductory level to the fourth-year field-based project level. Dr. Waterman is a highly effective educator who is committed to the development of her students both as professionals and as global citizens.

Dr. Chunhua Wu, Marketing and Behavioural Science Division, Sauder School of Business

Professor Chunhua Wu is recognized for excellence in teaching courses on Data Analytics, Market Research, and Data Visualization. He designs assignments involving authentic data on diamond pricing and sales to facilitate practical learning. As one student remarks, "Chunhua is a real character with an absolute passion for his field. He truly cares about the students and shows it by consistently going the extra mile." In his Data Visualization course, he works with students to visualize a day in the life of taxi drivers and how mobile hailing apps change drivers' behaviours. Professor Chunhua Wu makes class engagement a top priority. He believes that relevance is the key to drive engagement.

Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring

The Killam Awards for Excellence in Mentoring recognize outstanding mentorship of numerous graduate students over many years. Recipients show outstanding ability to foster the intellectual, professional, and personal development of graduate students, as well as activities that go beyond excellent research supervision, including personal development and service to the scholarly community.

Dr. Mary De Vera (Mid-career)

Dr. De Vera’s Pharmaceutical Sciences students describe her as hands-on and supportive mentor and enthusiastic teacher, with a holistic mentoring style that recognizes each student’s needs.  Dr. De Vera is committed to providing her trainees with exposure to various opportunities to expand their skills and networks, such as involving her trainees in the preparation of grant proposals.  She is also an advocate for women in STEM, lending her experience to numerous organizations on campus.  Dr. De Vera embodies excellence in mentorship, encouraging and inspiring individuals to reach their full research and academic potential. 

Dr. Leila Harris (Senior)

A Professor in Resources, Environment and Sustainability and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, Dr. Harris exemplifies a uniquely empowering and inclusive mentorship style that supports the development of thoughtful, rigorous, and productive researchers, as well as diverse global citizens and leaders.  According to her mentees, Dr. Harris encourages her students to high standards of scholarly integrity, productivity, and research ethics.  Through her EDGES lab, she models a supportive and collaborative environment with peer-to-peer learning.  As one of Dr. Harris’s mentees notes, “Leila provides an example of the type of mentor I strive to be”.

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