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Distinguished Teacher Award recipients

The University of Waterloo's Distinguished Teacher Awards were approved by Senate on December 15, 1975. Since then, three or four awards have been granted annually. The overriding criterion is a record of excellent teaching at the University over an extended period, usually at least five years.

The Distinguished Teacher Award has been set up by the Senate of the University of Waterloo in recognition of the great importance of excellence in teaching at all levels in the University. The award is open to all those who teach students in the University of Waterloo and its federated and affiliated colleges. Recipients are to be chosen from among nominees by a Selection Committee of faculty and students.

The Faculty of Applied Health Sciences is honoured to have had a number of its faculty members recognized as Distinguished Teachers and applauds them for their outstanding efforts, as outlined in the original citations:


Kelly Anthony

Recipient of 2013 Distinguished Teacher Award

Kelly Anthony has been a lecturer for the School of Public Health and Health Systems since 2005. Recently, she has been appointed the teaching fellow for Applied Health Sciences. 

Like the best teachers, she intuitively cultivates interest and genuine enthusiasm in her students, “[lighting] up the fire” and stirring their dormant appetites. Anthony’s interactive teaching style stresses discussion-based classes and experiential learning, deftly eluding the passive transfer of facts. These discussion-based lectures “provoke conversations that guide learning and respective epiphanies… engaging [her students] in intellectual spars fostered by an environment that was facilitated by her open nature”.  Under her mentorship, several undergraduate students have developed research projects and participated in independent studies abroad. “Her passionate disposition, superior critical acumen and moral sensibility” confirms her place as a “distinguished teacher” at the University of Waterloo.

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Michael Sharratt

Recipient of 2008 Distinguished Teacher Award

Michael Sharratt has been a faculty member of the University of Waterloo since 1974. From 1998 to 2005, he held the title of Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. His courses include the Physiology of Coronary Artery Disease, Physiological Adaptations to Physical Activity, and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Practicum.

Professor Sharratt developed the web-based electrocardiogram learning tool, which allowed students to read electrocardiographs at an advanced level. He also initiated both the 'Hardy Hearts' and 'Well Fit' programs in the Kitchener/Waterloo community. Students appreciate his passion for getting them to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real world settings. This provided students with both the confidence and expertise for the working world. He has also been a motivating factor for students in their careers after graduation.

For many students, Michael Sharratt sparked an interest in heart disease and heart disease research. His profound knowledge, the combination of his historical and contemporary lecture content, and his passion for helping people with heart disease has been described as "inspiring and impressive". A former student of Michael's stated that after writing a final exam for one of his courses, she left the exam room feeling "sad that a course had ended".

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Ronald McCarville

Recipient of 2003 Distinguished Teacher Award

Ron McCarville, a Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, is an outstanding teacher, particularly at the undergraduate level, where he has impressed, motivated, and inspired many hundreds of students over his thirteen years at the University of Waterloo. Dr. McCarville is perhaps the most coveted and influential Canadian academic in terms of influencing public policy ranging from municipal recreation contexts to federal agencies such as Parks Canada.

In 1992 and 1993, Dr. McCarville received a Teaching Appreciation Award from the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. A colleague notes that "since then he has gone from strength to strength, continually reviewing his teaching philosophy and approaches, and taking into account the changing needs and interests of students". Graduate students "have greatly appreciated his enthusiasm, concern, encouragement, and academic guidance".

Ron is especially adept at communicating complicated issues and theory in a manner that is effective, yet non-threatening to first-year undergraduate students. He is an outstanding speaker and lecturer with an exceptional ability to maintain student interest through making his classes relevant, entertaining, and dynamic. His one-year sabbatical leave was actually two consecutive Winter terms in order that he could teach REC 100, the introductory course in Recreation and Leisure Studies. His upper-level courses and seminars (REC 310: Commercial Recreation Business Development, REC 314: Quality Assurance in Leisure Services: Theory and application, and REC 413: Advanced Seminar in Leisure Service Management) are consistently over-enrolled and his personal approach to improving professional practice is legendary among Recreation students past and present. A colleague notes that "he makes a concerted effort to learn all student names as quickly as possible, and is always willing to talk about academic (or other) matters with students outside of specified class times." Dr. McCarville is not satisfied with "reruns" of previous lectures, but constantly seeks to update his readings, other sources of information, and the examples and applications that he uses. "He believes passionately in active student participation in the learning process and is remarkably successful at encouraging student participation in discussion, even in large classes, and whenever possible he encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning and intellectual development."

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James Frank

Recipient of 2001 Distinguished Teacher Award

James Frank, an Associate Professor in the Kinesiology Department, is also the Head of the School of Anatomy and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. Prof. Frank is passionate about his role as an educator and is devoted to his students. One of Prof. Frank's former Teaching Assistants states "If I were asked to determine why Dr. Frank should be considered for this award, I would focus on his preparation, interactive teaching approach, innovative explanations of difficult course material, and his enthusiasm. I believe what separates Dr. Frank from many other educators I have observed is his compassion for and commitment to his students and the advancement of their learning."

Prof. Frank contributes to the development of young scientists through his role as a mentor for graduate students. He encourages graduate students to pursue the Certificate in University Teaching (co-ordinated by the TRACE Office) to develop their teaching and learning philosophies. Prof. Frank supports and contributes to the development of graduate students enrolled in the Certificate program by regularly attending Certificate events, challenging students to think beyond the obvious, and sharing his own insights and experiences related to teaching and learning. He engages in these activities with enthusiasm and a genuine passion for the craft of teaching.

Graduate students further recognize his contributions and consistent support of graduate studies through his role as Chair of the First Annual Graduate Studies Research Conference. This conference has been well received by the graduate students and is the largest one of its kind in Canada.

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Susan M. Cash

Recipient of 1995 Distinguished Teacher Award

Susan Cash has been a member of the Dance Department since 1987. She is a widely respected professional modern dance performer, teacher and choreographer whose work is known across Canada.

Professor Cash's continuing artistic output and academic growth have made her a master teacher whose classes in dance technique, composition, and production offer ongoing challenges to her students. She encourages them to take risks, and to stretch both physically and intellectually. Her expert knowlege and her passion for the art of dance inspire confidence and strength. The following student tributes are typical:

"Susan Cash has the special talent of teaching one how to learn."

"She brings out the best in all her students by encouraging us to explore and reveal our own unique potential."

Susan's work with medical practitioners treating movement disorders in dancers and musicians has added a unique dimension to her classes in dance technique. Based on awareness of good body mechanics, students are encouraged to question traditional teaching methods. She promotes two-way communication through which they actively explore alternative solutions.

By producing and directing the annual Dance Department Concert. Professor Cash provides students with opportunities to apply classroom knowledge, hone performance skills, and make connections with other Fine and Performing Arts across campus. She willingly spends extra hours in and out of the classroom, instilling in her students a love of and appreciation for hard work, determination, and self discipline.

Alumni remark on her genuine interest in the progress of their careers, and praise her ongoing mentorship and constructive feedback. Several have become colleagues who continue to seek her input and guidance.

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David Mills

Recipient of 1987 Distinguished Teacher Award

David Mills has been teaching at Waterloo since 1981 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Studies, but he won't be doing that for much longer. From July 1, he will be teaching there as Associate Professor.

Health Studies is an energetic young department at the forefront of this university's thrust in the health area. As you know, this university does not have a medical school. Our chosen role is to study and promote health maintenance and disease prevention. Our concern is wellness rather than illness.

David Mills is one of the bright young scholars who make Health Studies hum. He is a physiologist interested in stress physiology, hypertension, and nutrition, and he has already made important research contributions to his field. However, today he is being honoured for his extraordinary accomplishments as a teacher.

Writing in support of David's nomination, his Department Chairman used these words: "As a teacher, he is an absolute virtuoso." That virtuoso seems to have a very wide repertoire. He teaches introductory courses to first and second year classes of several hundred students, he teaches advanced courses to upper year classes, he supervises fourth-year undergraduate theses, he teaches graduate courses, and he supervises graduate students. And he does all this very effectively, with great competence, good organization, humour, and a rare ability to convey knowledge to students at all levels.

Professor Mills is a demanding teacher and his students know it. In the words of one student: ".he sets high standards for himself and expects the same in return from his students." His students and colleagues appreciate the intellectual breadth of his teaching. The Chairman of Health Studies puts it this way: ".outstanding teachers tend to have broad interests, and a capacity for helping students understand the general implications of material being presented. This is certainly true of David.although his formal training is in physiology, he is knowledgeable about the behavioural sciences. Hence, he is able to talk in an incisive way about the interplay between behavioural and physiological processes. David embodies the truly interdisciplinary perspective we are attempting to nurture in our students."

Such success does not come easily. Many of the undergraduates who wrote letters in support of David's nomination have remarked on the effort he puts into helping them learn. One has noted his "unusual zeal for teaching." Another comment was that ".(he) answers questions (inside and outside) the classroom with the same eagerness that he displays in presenting the material." He is a very busy man, who makes himself available to students when they need him. In the words of one student writing on behalf of many, "His door is always open to advise and counsel students." Another student put it this way: "(he gives) a sense of guidance and warmth to his students."

Some of the students writing to the selection committee indicated a concern. They were concerned that Health Studies was a small department, and that the case they were making on behalf of David Mills might not be noticed by the committee. They need not have worried.

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Frances Allard

Recipient of 1983 Distinguished Teacher Award

Frances Allard is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology. She is also the Associate Chairman for Graduate Affairs of that department. Professor Allard has been teaching at Waterloo for the last decade, specializing in Psychomotor Behaviour, which is her research field. Her first appointment was in Psychology. Later she held joint appointments in Psychology and Kinesiology, and since 1980 has been located full-time in the Department of Kinesiology.

Professor Allard teaches at all levels, ranging from special lectures for visiting high school students all the way to graduate seminars. She is effective both in large classes and in small groups, in formal lectures and in individual consultations on research projects.

The picture of Fran Allard the teacher emerged from the many dozens of letters which constituted her nomination for the Distinguished Teacher Award - letters from faculty colleagues and from former and current students at the bachelor's, master's and PhD levels. What emerged as the most important attribute of Fran Allard as a teacher was her ability "to get the most out of her students," to encourage her students to work at the limits of their abilities, and to guide them in extending those limits. Time and again, colleagues and students provided examples of this talent, some from observation, and many from personal experience.

These letters also provide many other clues to Fran Allard's success as a teacher. Let me quote some: "She has mastered the.skill.of quickly and correctly judging the level of the audience.then speaking appropriately." "She approaches teaching with a conviction that it is possible to be casual, informative, humorous, and demanding all at once." ".she revels in the spirit of inquiry.(and).inspires and excites others to do so also." "(She) possesses a superior mind and has the ability to.integrate material from other disciplines into her teaching." At the graduate level - "she knows and enjoys her subject matter, has little tolerance for those who evade the issues, and is an astute and penetrating critic."

The last word should be left to a former student who is now himself a successful academic: "Please consider my progress and success as a product of Dr. Allard's teaching and advising."

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Jill Officer

Recipient of 1979 Distinguished Teacher Award

Citation unavailable.

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