Grahame Farquhar, recpient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1982

Civil Engineering

Grahame Farquhar has been teaching in the Department of Civil Engineering since 1968. He is an active professional engineer and researcher in the field of sanitary engineering, specializing particularly on problems associated with landfills. Dr. Farquhar has a strong record of published scholarship and professional work, and has acquired an international reputation. He has held the rank of professor since 1979. Professor Farquhar has been a most effective teacher at every level, from courses on engineering concepts in first year all the way to graduate courses and short courses for professionals in his specialty. He is equally successful in the large first year classes of over one hundred students, and the small classes of two or three dozen in the fourth year. The letters supporting his nomination reflect this broad appeal. They include testimonials by academic colleagues, graduate students, senior undergraduate students, alumni, and professional engineers working in his field. The chairman of his department writes: “Professor Farquhar is, without question, one of the department's most able educators.” He goes on to present a record of his course ratings developed by the engineering society, a record which is remarkable both in the excellence of the ratings and in its consistency over the years. He then continues: “What does not appear on the record is that many students choose professor Farquhar as their project supervisor for our third and fourth year project courses. He continually attracts more students than anyone else in the department for these projects, and the work they do with him is excellent. His obvious enthusiasm and approachable manner account for this.” The students who nominated Grahame Farquhar appreciate his lectures. In their words: “[his] lectures are consistently well organized. Core material and related topical information are interestingly combined and effectively delivered.” And from another student letter: “His courses are characterized by a wealth of informative material presented in a clear, well-planned and stimulating manner.” Such lectures do not just happen. The words of a graduate student who knows him well reveal the hard work behind the success: “Grahame considers teaching his foremost responsibility. As a professor, he gains great satisfaction from his students' responses and the interaction he has with the students outside the classroom. He puts many hours into preparing his lectures to ensure that they are stimulating as well as informative.” The closing tributes to professor Farquhar as a teacher come from former students who have achieved success as practising professional engineers. Here are some excerpts from their letters: “undoubtedly, the decision to pursue an MASc degree as a result of the persuasion of Dr. Farquhar was the cornerstone of my professional career.” Another writes: “In all sincerity, I can say the Dr. Farquhar had more positive influence on the direction and success of my career than any other professor.” And one more: “His is not only a credit to the teaching profession, but also to the engineering community.”