Good instructors recognize that sometimes simply knowing the content is not enough. You also need to understand how to effectively share your knowledge with your students. For Andrew Gemino, one of this year’s three Excellence in Teaching Award recipients, being a good teacher is about, “creating an environment where students want to learn and have fun learning.” He makes a point of engaging his students by adopting a friendly attitude, breaking the ice with ‘fireside chats’, using examples that students relate to, and trying to bring something new to every class.
These teaching strategies have served him well as an Associate Professor at the Beedie School of Business and as current Associate Dean of the undergraduate program. Gemino has already won several awards for his teaching, including having twice received the TD Canada Trust Distinguished Teacher award from the Beedie School of Business and two teaching awards from his time at the University of British Columbia. Since deciding to focus on an academic career rather than his music career in a rock band (he remains an avid musician), Gemino has founded a software company and has been an active researcher with grants from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council and Social Sciences Research Council of Canada.
Gemino consistently engages his students to push beyond their comfort zones and participate in class discussion, and it is evident that the lessons they learn tend to stick with them. His broad knowledge both in and out of the classroom allows him to incorporate the story-telling and practical examples that he believes are critical elements of a successful pedagogy. He says, “Abstract is a problem in the university world. Tying a concept to something concrete allows students to really learn.” One former student credits his experiences in Gemino’s classroom as the reason why his company, “has been able to sustain growth in a declining market.” It’s not surprising that such a meaningful impact on students’ learning experiences has not gone unnoticed.
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