Teaching Awards

Pat Duong, Peter Kavanagh - EngSoc Teaching Awards Members-at-Large W16
Posted on: March 30, 2016

The Engineering Society Teaching Award was started in Fall 2014, and is geared towards promoting and celebrating phenomenal professors, lecturers and lab instructors who go above and beyond for the students and their learning experience. The winner and runners up are chosen for how they implement non-conventional teaching techniques, allow opportunities for experiential learning, and exemplify commitment and dedication towards ensuring academic success for their students.

The winner of this term’s Engineering Society Teaching Award  is Derek Wright. Derek Wright is a lecturer in the ECE department who focuses on bringing hands-on learning to the classroom, in addition to industry exposure and independent decision making. He is an engaging professor who fosters students and their learning by exploring different options and approaches to solving particular problems and ultimately gives students the independence to choose their own solutions (whether or not the solution is ideal). In addition, he relates materials taught in class to his past experience in industry and has even arranged events for his classes to meet current members of the industry. By varying content and using diverse teaching media (e.g. whiteboards, videos, guest lecturers etc…) he is able to keep the class interesting and relevant. He keeps an open mind when asking for and incorporating student feedback to improve how his class is taught and run. With many terms of teaching experience and great teaching reviews, Derek Wright is revolutionizing the ECE department’s teaching style while incorporating much needed and wanted practical experience.

The first runner up for the Teaching Award is Dr. John Saad. Dr. Saad is a lab instructor for an upper year nanotechnology engineering labs. Over the past four years, he has completely changed and improved the way some courses are taught. He skillfully translates theoretical knowledge  that the students have learned into practical activities that help ground their understanding of the concepts. The design projects that he developed for the lab incorporate elements that can be used in the real world. The projects are difficult but rewarding, and result in the creation of a quality device built from scratch. He encourages students to be autonomous and promotes the analysis and correction of mistakes. He encourages extra learning for his classes by hosting many extra tutorials and help sessions. Not only is he dedicated to ensuring his students succeed,  but Dr. Saad has grown the Nano program as a whole through implementing a variety of new projects. Dr. Saad is a professor that any student would love to have, and the amount of passion and dedication that he has shown is remarkable and which in turn makes the University of Waterloo that much better.

Professor Derek Rayside is the other runner up for the Teaching Award. Professor Rayside of the ECE department teaches one of the most difficult ECE courses. He shows dedication for the success of students by making himself readily available after labs and classes, and is always willing to have discussions about material not covered in the curriculum. He also implemented a unique collaborative-lab working scheme that encourages collaboration and optimizes learning. Derek regularly communicates to the class for feedback and positively welcomes it. Professor Rayside clearly communicates with his classes and teaches in a very structured way, which optimizes the understanding of the students. Derek Rayside has a passion for teaching and deserves recognition for his teaching excellence.

The winning instructor will have their name added to the EngSoc Teaching Award plaque in the CPH Foyer. Packages will be made on behalf of the winner and the runners to submit their names towards Faculty and University-wide awards.

If you have or know amazing professors, lecturers and lab instructors committee, remember to nominate them for the EngSoc Teaching Award next term!