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Archive for the 'All Profiles' Category

SFU mathematics instructors will have prominent roles at CMS summer meeting

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Two senior lecturers in SFU’s Department of Mathematics will deliver prize lectures at the summer meeting of the Canadian Mathematical Society in Regina, Saskatchewan, in June.

Veselin Jungic on blended learning

Veselin JungicThe first is Veselin Jungic, who will receive the society’s 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award for “sustained and distinguished contributions in mathematics teaching at the undergraduate level at a Canadian post-secondary education institution.”

Besides being deputy director of the Interdisciplinary Research in the Mathematical and Computational Sciences Centre (IRMACS), Jungic teaches a number of courses, including introductory calculus courses with more than 500 students. He also conducts research on methods and techniques for teaching large classes and has written research papers on the subject. He frequently incorporates online assignments and pioneered the use of Lon-CAPA, an online course management system, for mathematics courses at SFU.

Jungic was instrumental in the development of many of SFU’s outreach programs, including the “A Taste of Pi” program, which features enrichment activities for high school students, and the Math Student Ambassador Program, which connects SFU student volunteers with high schools to speak to students about pursuing university mathematics. In addition to his work with university and high school students, Veselin regularly teaches basic courses in mathematics to adult learners, including students in the SFU Liberal and Business Studies program and First Nations individuals who did not complete secondary education.

Jungic will deliver a prize lecture on “The Blended Learning Approach to Teaching a Calculus Class: What May Change and What Should Stay the Same.” His presentation will examine some general facts about blended learning – which he suggests can be described as an integration of “seemingly opposite approaches, such as formal and informal learning, face-to-face and online experiences, directed paths and reliance on self-direction” – and will analyze the use of the approach for various university-level science classes. Finally, he will discuss an ongoing attempt to introduce the blended learning approach to teaching calculus classes at SFU.

Malgorzata Dubiel on teaching the teachers

Malgorzata DubielThe second senior lecturer is Malgorzata Dubiel, who in December received the society’s 2011 Adrien Pouliot Award for “individuals or teams of individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions to mathematics education in Canada.”

Dubiel will deliver a prize lecture on “Mathematics for Elementary Teachers: The Most Important Course You Can Teach?” In her abstract, Dubiel notes that the presentation will consider the evolution of SFU’s MATH 190 Mathematics for Elementary Teachers course, “its influence on similar courses at other B.C. institutions, and its influence on our enrichment programs.” Given that many students aiming for careers as elementary school teachers lack confidence in their ability to teach math and often dislike the subject, and given research findings that suggest people form lasting attitudes towards math by the end of grade 5, Dubiel asks, “Shouldn’t we be investing more into educating those who have a crucial role in introducing the next generation to mathematics?”

Learn more about Veselin Jungic and Malgorzata Dubiel:

Veselin Jungic’s faculty profile page: www.math.sfu.ca/people/staff/faculty/veselin_jungic

Veselin Jungic’s personal website: people.math.sfu.ca/~vjungic/

Malgorzata Dubiel’s faculty profile page: www.math.sfu.ca/people/staff/faculty/Malgorzata_dubiel

Ash Parameswaran

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Ash Parameswaran

When Ash Parameswaran, a professor in the School of Engineering Science, was named one of three recipients of SFU’s 2011 Excellence in Teaching Awards, John Jones wasn’t surprised.

Jones, who is acting director of the school, identified the quality that makes Parameswaran unique in an interview with the SFU News: “The reason Ash’s teaching stands out, even in a school with a number of very good teachers, is simple. He takes delight in discovery and creation, and he is able to convey that delight to his students.”

Parameswaran, who previously received the APEGBC Teaching Award for Excellence in Engineering and Geoscience Education in 2007, reveals that his enthusiasm for teaching is grounded in the belief that knowledge transfer plays an important – perhaps the most important – role in advancing the welfare of the entire community.

It’s interesting to note that he doesn’t advocate a particular style of teaching. Rather, he recognizes that some students learn well from lectures, while others learn more from hands-on experimentation. Many of his students participate in co-op work programs, and he is happy to help them connect classroom concepts with workplace applications there as well.

Learn more about Parameswaran and his passion for teaching by following the links below:

Faculty profile page: www.ensc.sfu.ca/people/faculty/ash_parameswaran.html

Engineering Science News and Events: Teaching excellence in Engineering Science.

SFU News: 2011 Teaching Excellence Awards.

Lynne Quarmby

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Lynne Quarmby

The bio page of Lynne Quarmby’s blog says “she’s got a bit of a passion for teaching.” If you follow the explanatory link after that statement, you come to a poem entitled “Course work,” by A. R. Ammons. It goes like this:

Ideas go
through most
heads without

picking up

any substance
or leaving
any trace

Quarmby, a professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, quotes it because she “thinks that A. R. Ammons got it mostly right about how our system of education works.” And because she’s not content with that state of affairs, she has made a point of trying to change it in her own classes by cultivating “a classroom culture where even the shy find themselves comfortably engaging in the conversation.”

Her efforts have made a deep impact on her students, who frequently describe her as inspiring. They have also drawn the attention of the wider SFU community: in February she was one of three faculty members to receive a 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award. That’s an impressive achievement for someone who is also known as a dedicated researcher. But Quarmby sees her teaching and research activities as complementary.

“Research breathes life into my teaching,” she explained in an interview with the SFU News. “Not only can I share my excitement and stories from the front lines, but also a sense of the amount of work required to make a discovery that becomes a single paragraph in a textbook.”

Learn more about Quarmby and her passion for teaching by following the links below:

Faculty profile page: www.sfu.ca/mbb/People/Quarmby/

SFU News: 2011 Teaching Excellence Awards.

Jamie Mulholland

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Jamie Mulholland

It’s interesting that when Jamie Mulholland talks about math, he uses words like “beauty” and “beautiful.” Clearly this lecturer in the Department of Mathematics loves his subject, and that passion – along with his desire and ability to awaken a similar feeling in his students – is one reason why he was chosen to be a recipient of SFU’s 2011 Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Mulholland, whose background is in pure math, has always had a strong interest in communicating his own appreciation for math to a wider audience. On his faculty profile page, he states, “I’m interested in mathematics education and promoting mathematics to students at all age levels: elementary school through college/university.”

The creativity with which he pursues that goal is evident on his personal website. There’s a page called Applets for calculus with tools he has developed to help students visualize abstract calculus concepts; the applets are as entertaining as they are informative. There’s also a link to the course notes for Mathematics of Permutation Puzzles, a third-year course he developed to introduce group theory through puzzles like Rubik’s cube.

For Mulholland, it’s all part of a mission he expressed in an interview with the SFU News: “My goal in terms of lifetime achievement for my career is to have everyone appreciate mathematics, but if I just make them less anxious, then I’m happy.”

Learn more about Mulholland and his passion for teaching by following the links below:

Faculty profile page: www.math.sfu.ca/people/staff/faculty/jamie_mulholland

Jamie Mulholland’s website: www.sfu.ca/~jtmulhol/index.html

SFU News: 2011 Teaching Excellence Awards.

DD Kugler

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Professor DD Kugler received the 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award.

A professor of theatre with the School for the Contemporary Arts, he’s at his desk by 6:30 am most days to deal with administrative work so that he’s free to chat with students when they drop in. After hours, he’s often supporting former students by attending their performances, helping them with their writing, or sponsoring their ambitions.

“I have high expectations,” he acknowledges. “But ultimately, the students are kind of honoured by those expectations.  They accumulate a sense of fulfilment that they did it—that they can read it, understand it, think about it, talk about it, write about it, and defend it.”

Watch a video of Kugler discussing how he encourages students to step beyond their boundaries: http://blogs.sfu.ca/projects/tlcomm/2011/03/dd-kugler-on-winning-an-excellence-in-teaching-award/

Email: ddkugler@sfu.ca

Department: School of Contemporary Arts

Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Link: http://cgi.sfu.ca/~scahome/?q=user/49

News Story URL: http://blogs.sfu.ca/projects/tlcomm/2011/03/dd-kugler-on-winning-an-excellence-in-teaching-award/
News Release URL: http://www.sfu.ca/archive-pamr/media_releases/media_releases_archives/winning-secrets-to-teaching-excellence.html

Andrew Gemino

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Professor Andrew Gemino received the 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award.

“I like to have fun with things,” says Gemino. “People learn by engaging, not by sitting for three hours watching PowerPoint slides.”

Gemino continues to do something special in each lecture, whether he’s teaching 20 students or 200.

He’s most proud of a project-management class he has developed with other colleagues that requires students to work in teams on a project that improves a community of their choice.

“I call it learning by doing with others, for others.”

Watch a video of Gemino describing how he engages his students: http://blogs.sfu.ca/projects/tlcomm/2011/03/andrew-gemino-on-winning-an-excellence-in-teaching-award/

Email: gemino@sfu.ca

Department: Beedie School of Business

Faculty: Business Administration


News story URL: http://blogs.sfu.ca/projects/tlcomm/2011/03/andrew-gemino-on-winning-an-excellence-in-teaching-award/
News release URL: http://www.sfu.ca/archive-pamr/media_releases/media_releases_archives/winning-secrets-to-teaching-excellence.html

John Jones

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Professor John Jones received the 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award.

To sustain that enthusiasm during first year, when engineering science students primarily study math and science, Jones introduced an engineering-history course that gives students a glimpse of what they can expect from a career in engineering. It’s a popular course, designed to awaken students’ curiosity.

“Unless students have questions, there is no learning,” says Jones. He frequently presents paradoxes with ridiculous conclusions that force the students to re-examine what they think they know.

Students say they appreciate his emphatic lecturing style, his passion for his subject and, most of all, his quirky sense of humour.

Watch a video of Jones discussing the importance of maintaining a sense of curiosity and a beginner’s perspective: http://blogs.sfu.ca/projects/tlcomm/2011/03/john-jones-on-winning-an-excellence-in-teaching-award/

Email: jones@cs.sfu.ca

Department: School of Engineering Science

Faculty: Applied Science

Link: http://www.ensc.sfu.ca/people/faculty/john-jones

News Story URL: http://blogs.sfu.ca/projects/tlcomm/2011/03/john-jones-on-winning-an-excellence-in-teaching-award/
News release URL: http://www.sfu.ca/archive-pamr/media_releases/media_releases_archives/winning-secrets-to-teaching-excellence.html

Peter Liljedahl

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Dr. Peter Liljedahl received the 2009 SFU Excellence in Teaching Award.

It’s a pretty tough audience, he says, since most of these students have very negative views of mathematics. Still, it’s a challenge he relishes. His teaching approach is to set students accessible tasks that encourage them to explore and discover mathematical concepts.

“I try to give students who are very resistant to mathematics an experience that is other than what they’ve had so that they can find in themselves their inner mathematician,” he says. “I love changing minds more than anything else.”

Email: liljedahl@sfu.ca

Faculty of Education

Link: http://www.educ.sfu.ca/profiles/?page_id=195

Russell Day

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Russell DayDr. Russell Day received the 2009 SFU Excellence in Teaching Award .

Student nominators say his lectures are engaging and laced with his trademark humour as well as passion for his topic. They also appreciate the music he plays (U2 and Queen) prior to class and his invitation to drop by his office and introduce themselves.

Day balances his first-year class load with teaching instructional-skills workshops at universities across the country. Not bad for a fellow who never earned a high school diploma and started university at age 30.

Email: russell_day@sfu.ca

Department of Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Link: http://www.sfu.ca/psyc/faculty/day/  


Doug Allen

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Dr. Douglas W. Allen received the 2009 SFU Excellence in Teaching Award

He uses aspects of popular culture, such as songs, movies, novels and even relationships with the opposite sex, to teach students how to apply complicated and mechanical economic techniques to their everyday life.  “I’m their preacher and I’m trying to convert them to the economic way of thinking,” explains Allen. “Microeconomics is a tool of analysis, not an end it itself.”

Email: doug_allen@sfu.ca

Department of Economics
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Link: http://www.sfu.ca/~allen/