Greta Kroeker, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2015
Dr. Greta Kroeker, an associate professor in the Department of History, joined the University of Waterloo in July 2007. Kroeker goes beyond the expected levels of an instructor by creating a “learning environment all its own,” as one alumnus describes it. Teaching courses that require students to complete readings can be difficult. However, Kroeker compels students to complete such assignments with an interest in the material and enthusiasm as well. She uses her own enthusiasm, humour, and deep understanding of the content to encourage students to work at what they are learning. As one graduate student shares, “Dr. Kroeker encouraged me to continue to pursue my studies in history, thereby greatly impacting and influencing my own learning”. By acting as a mentor and a motivator, Kroeker allows students to “feel safe and secure in their learning environment”, and dedicates many hours to supporting them. Innovating courses that students with an outside perspective may view as content-heavy is another way Kroeker goes beyond the realms of teaching. By structuring tutorials and assigning group projects that encourage creativity, students are able to develop “‘out of the box’ thinking when presenting research information”, which is an aspect an alumnus appreciated. As her fellow colleague explains, “Dr. Kroeker personally builds a compelling case for higher education, linking practical skills with intellectual achievement”.