McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Educators honoured for excellence in teaching

By Laura Thompson
Published: July 24 , 2009
Kathryn Bennett
Kathryn Bennett, a professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Three faculty members who have contributed to excellence in education at McMaster University have been named recipients of the 2009 President’s Awards.

Kathryn Bennett, a professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, has won the President’s Award for Educational Leadership. The award recognizes the contributions of an individual who promotes excellence in teaching and learning at the University.

Pippa Lock, an assistant professor in Department of Chemistry, and Walter Peace, an associate professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences, are co-recipients of the President’s Award for Instruction. The award recognizes the contributions of an individual to education through innovation, achievement or continuing excellence in classroom or personal instruction.

The President’s Awards were established to recognize full- and part-time faculty members who, through innovation and commitment, have significantly enhanced the quality of learning by McMaster students. Recipients receive a $5,000 honorarium and a citation on McMaster’s Wall of Recognition in Gilmour Hall.

President’s Award for Educational Leadership – Kathryn Bennett

Kathryn Bennett has been a leader in health sciences education for more than 20 years. She has served as director of the McMaster International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN) Training Program, which established her international reputation as a skilled and knowledgeable educator in the field of international health. She has also demonstrated her academic leadership as a department educational coordinator (DEC) and later chair of the DECs for the Faculty of Health Sciences. As the DEC for the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, she pioneered the department’s curricular contributions for the new Bachelor of Health Sciences program and, as chair of the DECs, she worked with the associate dean (education) to further define the role of the DEC in two key areas: educational leadership and mentoring at the department level.

She also led the evolution of the Health Research Methodology program, expanding it to five fields of specialization and increasing student enrolment. As a teacher, Bennett has demonstrated excellence as well. She has received very high ratings and many laudatory comments from students and has shown a strong commitment to teaching.

Excellence in Instruction – Pippa Lock

Over the past seven years, Pippa Lock has developed a strong and well-deserved reputation as an outstanding professor in the Department of Chemistry. She excels in the classroom and her teaching evaluations are consistently the highest in the department. Lock’s students consistently recognize the impact she has had on their learning by consistently nominating her for an MSU Teaching Award. Her name has been put forward for the Faculty of Science four times over five years, and she was the overall Faculty winner in 2003-04.  In her first year as a faculty member, she won the 2001-02 MSU Merit Award.

Lock has had a substantial impact on the education of first-year chemistry students. In 2003-04, she was the principal investigator on a $100,000 grant funded through the Imperial Oil Foundation to improve the quality of instruction in large classrooms. The funding led to improvements in instructional quality and an overhaul of instructional design in first-year chemistry courses. Following the success of the project, similar efforts were launched to revise the entire undergraduate chemistry program.

Excellence in Instruction – Walter Peace

Walter Peace has demonstrated excellence in teaching over the last 29 years as a faculty member in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences. He has taught 15 different courses and more than 14,000 students, and has provided instruction for a wide range of classes. One factor that contributes to his teaching excellence is his passion for education and course subject matter, as noted by his students in their evaluations. Peace demonstrates a strong commitment to teaching and learning at McMaster through his receptiveness to innovative ideas, extensive reading of the teaching literature and substantial contributions to University committees that focus on teaching, particularly with respect to the geography curriculum.  

A highly regarded instructor, Peace inspires his students to excel through his approach to classroom and personal instruction.  Students have shown their appreciation of his teaching style through their comments and requests to have him as a supervisor. In addition, he has been able to integrate his experience on four community boards with his teaching by providing opportunities for students to learn geography through real world activities.

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