Gary Bruce, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2007


Gary Bruce, an assistant professor, has been teaching undergraduates and graduates in the history department at the University of Waterloo since September 2003. The courses taught by professor Bruce include the Holocaust, Eastern Europe Since 1945, Nazi Germany, Modern European History II and the Western World II. Profesor Bruce’s students note that he has the gift of rhetoric with the “ability to capture his students in a lecture, dazzle students in discussion, and his creativity generates thought outside of the classroom.” Professor Bruce’s play regarding the East European purge trials generated a lively discussion. His innovative activity called ‘Did I vote for Hitler?’ encouraged the students to apply their knowledge. In this activity, the class must decide whether a certain person voted for the Nazis based on the character and demographic traits of random individuals presented in a series of slides. As the faculty liaison to the History Society, professor Bruce has been involved in putting together numerous functions that enrich the student’s university experience. From the first day of class, professor Bruce’s passion for teaching is apparent and the passion does not end until he finishes lecturing on the final day of the course. A colleague describes his courses as a bridge between the past and the present. ”His courses are journeys and he invites students to accompany him on them. And from what the students tell me, each time he teaches a course it has all the magic of the first time he taught it, yet also all of the wisdom that goes into a course that has been taught many years by a great instructor. It is a fine line to walk, but somehow Dr. Bruce manages with flying colours. It is an art that comes naturally to him and one that he has mastered early in his career.”