Profs, TAs recognized for teaching excellence

On Tuesday evening at the University Club, professors and teaching assistants were rewarded with more than red apples and gold stars for their efforts in the classroom.

Physical education and history professor Geoff Smith and international business professor Marc Busch were presented with the Frank Knox award for excellence in teaching. The annual award recognizes professors who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to the education of students.

This year, seven professors were nominated for the award. Smith, who won the award for the fall term, was nominated once each term. Calling himself the Susan Lucci of nominations, Smith said he has been nominated four of the last five years.

“Being nominated again and again gives you something to live up to,” he said.

In his acceptance speech, Smith attributed his quality teaching methods to his students.

“Teaching is not a one-way street, teaching is a two-way highway ... if students push you, you push back ... that’s education,” he said.

Smith has been teaching at Queen’s for 35 years.

Busch, the winner for the winter term, has only been teaching at Queen’s for four years. Before coming to Queen’s, he taught at Harvard University for six years.

Busch said it is a delight to win an undergraduate teaching award.

“There is nothing more rewarding than teaching undergrads,” he said.

Busch also celebrated his birthday as he received his award.

Both professors received engraved plaques of the Grant Hall tower.

During the awards ceremony, four TAs were also honoured with the Christopher Knapper award for excellence in teaching assistance. The award is merit-based and each nominee is determined on an individual basis.

Steven Urquart in the French department, Rupindar Brar in the physics department, Hilton Bertalan in the sociology department and Eric Carlson in the English department were all given framed certificates for their achievements.

Pak-Kei Wong, co-chair of the Teaching Awards committee, said all nominees this year were deserving of the award.

“All the nominees were worthy recipients, as each nominee had their way of getting through to students,” he said.

Winners of the Frank Knox award are determined on the basis of primary nominations by undergraduate students, two secondary nominations by any member of the Queen’s community, class visits by the AMS Teaching Awards committee and a survey of all students in the nominee’s classes.

The award is named after the late Frank Knox, who taught economics to undergraduate students at Queen’s from 1920 to 1960. It is the most prestigious honour students may bestow upon their instructors.

Student support

The following quotations were pulled from the class surveys conducted for the two teachers who won the Frank Knox award. They are from anonymous students who lauded their professors for excellent teaching.

Marc Busch

“He is a dynamic lecturer who inspires his students with the interconnections of international and domestic politics, economics and business. Professor Busch is extremely knowledgeable and he deconstructs complex topics into understandable concepts.”

Geoff Smith

“I have never seen a teacher (in any level of my schooling) so committed to engaging with their students. Every class, Dr. Smith checks in with his students, asks them what they thought of a recent news event, or relevant documentary, or how school is going in general.”

“Geoff Smith is someone who has inspired me to guide my own education and pursue my interests while maintaining a social conscience and questioning the world around me.”

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