Celebrating the 2024 Warren Ober Award recipients

Friday, April 26, 2024

Congratulations to Rebecca MacAlpine and Chris Martin, recipients of the Warren Ober Award for Outstanding Teaching by Graduate Students! The annual award is granted to graduate students who have made significant contributions to teaching within the Faculty of Arts. 

The awards were initiated with funds provided to Dr. Warren Ober, a now retired professor of English, who was an early recipient of Waterloo's Distinguished Teacher Award. Graduate students are nominated each February by a faculty member.

Rebecca MacAlpine

Rebecca MacAlpine

Rebecca is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History whose research explores the relationship between illegitimacy and gender-based violence in seventeenth century England. She works as a Faculty Liaison at the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Teaching Excellence, and she also received an Arts Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2021.

Before teaching the course independently, Rebecca began as a teaching assistant for Early Modern Women (1450-1750), eventually taking over the course delivery and overseeing students’ final projects when the instructor became ill. The following year, she became the History Department’s first TA Mentor and Coordinator, developing a training program to build the skills and confidence of MA Teaching Assistants during the pandemic. “One of the greatest characteristics of Rebecca as an instructor is the way she balances innovation and experimentation with proven pedagogical strategies,” says Dr. Greta Kroeker, who nominated Rebecca for the award. “She invests in universal design, privileges student choice in course construction and creates classrooms that care and support students who face challenges.”

Rebecca continues to support fellow instructors in her role at the Centre for Teaching Excellence by using innovative strategies to help design and implement courses and integrate educational technologies into the classroom. She has also produced original research and co-presented on trauma-informed care and feminist pedagogical strategies. Through her dedication to both her students and her co-teachers, Rebecca has proven herself to be a compassionate, forward-thinking educational leader.  

Chris Martin

Chris Martin

Chris is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature. His research examines the formation of ideological communities on YouTube, focusing on the interactions between content creators’ rhetorical techniques and the platform’s recommendation systems.

“Chris has an extremely sincere and passionate style before students that transforms the tone and energy of the class,” says Dr. George Lamont, who nominated Chris for the award and observed Chris in his roles as a teaching and graduate assistant. “His excitement about the potential for the study of rhetoric to inform our observations about culture and history was infectious.” Students would often wait after classes to consult with Chris about their research, and many expressed an interest in studying rhetoric because of his inspiring pedagogy.

In the past year, Chris has taught Intro to Academic Writing and Science Communication, using his background in rhetoric to create compelling courses where students from across disciplines could apply their knowledge to complex political, economic and technical issues. He embraced the challenge of teaching courses that are a degree requirement for many, incorporating extensive, discipline-specific materials and receiving high praise in his student evaluations. Chris stands out as an instructor for his passion, enthusiasm and dedication to his craft and students.