Geoff McBoyle, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1989


Let me begin this citation with the definition of a required course. A required course is one which students in a particular program must take, whether they like it or not. Enrolments in these courses are often quite large, and students in them - at least those who are there because they have to be - are not noted for standing ovations at the end of the term. All of Geoff McBoyle's undergraduate teaching is in required courses. This alone suggests that his consistently strong ratings from students, and his repeated nomination for this award, are at the very least, remarkable. Perhaps Geoff's impact on students is best captured by a person who took courses at Waterloo many years ago. That individual said: “He taught a second year course in climatology in the early years. He would come into class in the winter with those black and red rubber boots, walk across the stage, kick off the boots and teach the class in stocking feet. As the lecture went on, Geoff would get more and more involved … and by the end of the class his socks (which were work socks…) would be hanging off the ends of his toes.” So much for the pedagogic uses of comic relief! As a teacher and research advisor, Geoff has been recognized by his students as stimulating, demanding, enthusiastic and caring-the combination of qualities in a teacher that students remember as having made a difference in their lives. Geoff has increasingly taken a quiet leadership position in making innovations in “teaching and learning” at this university and in the community at large. An example is his central role in the development of co-op geography. As Undergraduate Dean in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, he has responded to student concerns with insight and unfailing consideration for the students' best interests. Geoff, we don't often see you with your socks off these days, but clearly your teaching style hasn't suffered!