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April 18, 2011 — Faculty’s best teachers to receive Outstanding Teaching Awards

by Christine Elias — Monday, Apr 18, 2011


April 18, 2011
By
Kim Luke

Professors who stand out for their ability to make the incomprehensible clear, who effectively engage students in research and who are committed to making their courses engaging and relevant should get a special recognition. Each year, the Faculty of Arts & Science ensures they do by presenting its very best with an Outstanding Teaching Award.

This year’s recipients are: 

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Aneil Agrawal, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, described as a passionate, enthusiastic, reflective, caring and accessible teacher whose eloquent lectures effectively link teaching and research. Agrawal’s undergraduate courses on the mathematical and genetic foundations of evolutionary biology are among the most challenging in the department.  

Despite the difficulty of this material, Aneil’s student evaluations are extremely positive, with scores of more than 6 out of 7 and retake rates as high as 100 per cent.

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Charly Bank, Department of Geology, joined U of T just over five years ago and in that short time has become well-known as a teacher who is deeply committed to students and actively engages them in research. 

Through the Faculty’s Independent Experiential Study Program and Internationalized Course Modules, Banks has provided undergraduate students with the opportunity to examine ancient Greek sites in Turkey, do electromagnetic probes of the TTC’s subways tunnels and study the evolution of the Earth in Chile.

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Alissa Trotz, Women & Gender Studies Institute & Caribbean Studies, who colleagues and students cite for being “energetic, original, and thought-provoking,” has played a key role in transforming the curriculum to embrace international and transnational realities.

Trotz is active beyond the campus as well, as both instructor and steering committee member in the U of T Regent Park Learning Exchange, as a guest speaker at numerous Toronto high schools and at conferences sponsored by the Black Students Association in Toronto.

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Victoria Wohl, Department of Classics, has demonstrated consistent excellence and outstanding leadership in teaching courses of all sizes — from first-year seminars (199) and small senior-year language classes to large lectures — as well as in course design and curricular renewal.

Undergraduate students comment repeatedly on the excellent experience they have in her classes, noting their appreciation of her generosity in sharing her knowledge, time and support outside of the classroom. They especially cite her interactive classes where participation is encouraged and awarded. 

 

Meric Gertler, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, will present the Outstanding Teaching Awards at a ceremony on Thursday, April 28. At the same event, the Faculty will also recognize the contributions of administrative staff to student life, technical service and administration.