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Distinguished teachers

Prof Greta Kroeker in library stacksWaterloo's Distinguished Teacher Awards

The Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA), UWaterloo’s most prestigious teaching accolade, is awarded by the University Senate each year “in recognition of a continued record of excellence in teaching at the University of Waterloo.” The recipients are chosen by a committee of students, faculty, staff and alumni based on nominations from the university community. Faculty of Arts teachers hold the most DTA awards than any of the other five faculties at UWaterloo.

Distinguished Teacher Award holders in Arts

The Faculty of Arts congratulates professors Steve Balaban and Andrew Houston, two of the University of Waterloo's 2019 Distinguished Teacher Award winners.

Steve Balaban, Accounting and Finance

Steve Balaban

Steve Balaban, a lecturer in the School of Accounting and Finance, has received many praises from not only his students and his fellow colleagues in the Faculty of Arts, but also from his colleagues in other faculties. Balaban influenced the careers of several of his students, and continues to be a mentor to them long after their graduation.

His peers admire the efforts he has made to incorporate new and interactive learning techniques into his lesson plans, such as problem-based learning and experiential learning. His students also really appreciate his efforts, as one student noted: “His lectures never felt like lectures, but rather interactive discussions.”

Balaban shows genuine interest in seeing his students succeed, and many have commented on the integral role he has played in their professional and academic success. His lessons are known to emphasize “the importance of personal development, teamwork, communication, and relationship building.” Balaban has been described as “passionate,” “engaging” and “humble.”

Additionally, it is noted that his most admirable quality is “his constant desire to improve his teaching abilities and the learning environment.”

Andrew Houston, Communication Arts

Andrew HoustonProfessor Andrew Houston is widely known in the Theatre and Performance program as an “inspiring mentor,” a “gifted teacher” and a “generous collaborator.” Students have described Professor Houston as “warm, welcoming and eccentric.” They also appreciate the “consistent care, compassion and support” that he provides them with; which follows them well beyond graduation. His dedication and passion for theatre arts has had lasting impacts on several of his former students; including those who have since moved on to pursue occupations in different fields.

Additionally, he uses his strong network of contacts to provide them with opportunities to further their careers. It is noted by many students that his most outstanding quality is his ability to engage diverse learners in his lessons. As one student commented: “He makes sure to teach each concept by explaining it in multiple different ways, so that everyone understands.” One of his peers noted that his dedication to collaborative pedagogies “enriches and strengthens the department, the work of his colleagues, and the university as a whole.” Houston is highly regarded by students, alumni, colleagues and local artists in the community.