Sanjeev Bedi Wins F2020 Teaching Excellence Award

Knowing How To Cater To Students

The Teaching Excellence Award is awarded to an excellent instructor every semester. They are selected through a nomination period by a committee composed of both VP Academics, two at-large council elected members, and a representative from the Associate Dean, Teaching. The winning instructor’s nomination(s) must indicate that the instructor has contributed significantly to at least one of the following:

  1. Employed non-conventional teaching techniques
  2. Allowed opportunities for experiential learning
  3. Showed a commitment and dedication towards ensuring academic success for students

Sanjeev Bedi is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering here at the University of Waterloo. Professor Bedi has gone above and beyond to give his students the best online environment for learning, giving many opportunities for him to connect with his students. During lectures, Professor Bedi loves to give real-world examples of concepts being taught, giving the students a deeper understanding of the applications of what they are learning. Professor Bedi has implemented a unique style of experiential learning through his MTE 100 class using “TRON Days” as a way for students to get a taste of solving real-world problems, such as an engine dissection. 

He has built an amazing connection with his class, making sure to check up on each student to ensure that no one is lost and can receive the help they need. Professor Bedi often breaks up his class into groups of 4 and does a check-in with each group to talk and see if they have any questions, which is a testament to the level of dedication to his class. He understands when students are going through a tough time and often gives his students tips on how to balance academics with a healthy lifestyle. Students often hear him saying, “life is good” and it has become synonymous amongst his class as a motivation to keep everyone going. If you want to hear more about his efforts teaching, read the interview below to find out more!

When did you decide to be an instructor?

Professor Bedi has dedicated 32 years of his life to teaching. Over the course of his post-secondary education, from his Bachelors Degree to his Master’s Degree and finally his Ph.D., the idea to become a teacher naturally progressed. Professor Bedi’s first job application was for a teaching position at the University of Waterloo and he says that it will be the place he plans to retire from. The University of Waterloo will be his first and last job!

What made you want to teach in the first place?

Professor Bedi’s love for teaching stems from students, he loves to interact with them and see them grow. He believes that the liveliness of students is what keeps him young, they encourage him to adapt and keep up with their youthfulness. 

What’s your teaching philosophy? What makes a good instructor?

Professor Bedi revolves his teaching philosophy around his students, truly listening to what they have to say and taking it heart to enact change. The students are what help guide his teaching style as it helps him cater to the needs of the class. He ensures that student success is put above all else. 

Given the opportunity, how would you improve yourself?

Professor Bedi believes that learning is always an ongoing process throughout life and that you always need to adapt to new situations. Every year when he teaches a course, he knows that he needs to put in the effort to listen to the students’ needs to make sure that as many students as possible can succeed. Professor Bedi knows that teaching the same course can get tiring so he believes that teaching different courses will help in not staying stagnant as a professor. 

Favourite memory as a professor? 

Of all the memories Professor Bedi has made at the university, his favourite memory has to be the events that transpired after he gave his students a demanding project. One night, he stayed late in one of the Engineering Buildings and while he was walking down the hallway he came across a group of students that were working on his project. He could clearly see that they had been there for hours and weren’t making much progress. He sat down with them, asked some questions, and talked about the project with those students. After a couple of minutes of discussion, the students collectively solved the problem. The next morning, Professor Bedi found a chocolate bar and a card with beautiful messages of thanks from those students on his desk. He actually kept that chocolate bar for years until he had to dispose of it. Professor Bedi calls it, “the most memorable candy bar of my life!”. 

What message would you like to send to students reading this article?

Professor Bedi wants to let us know that we should all be proud that we are able to attend one of the best engineering universities in the world. He knows that there are definitely tough times throughout our lives but “when things get tough, you get tougher!”. Professor Bedi encourages all of us to continue to have a positive attitude for success because it will carry us far throughout our studies and in life. 

If you have any questions about the Teaching Excellence Award, please feel free to reach out to Amanda Morin at vpacademic@engsoc.uwaterloo.ca. If you would like to be a student at-large position for the Teaching Excellence Award committee, come to EngSoc Council Meeting 2 next school term!

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