Ian McKenzie, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1997

Geography, Non-regular award category

Ian McKenzie, a technical staff member in the Department of Geography since 1973, manages a geomorphology lab that supports physical geography classes. With a PhD in geography, Ian supervises senior honours essays and contributes to master's thesis committees. These activities often take him into the field with students. Ian is also a well-respected adjunct professor within the department. Ian manages an intensive field course on the Bruce Peninsula for the 3A geography majors as well as organizing other field trips to Britain and to Presqu'ile Park. One student relays her experience: “My group was responsible for researching the formation of ice volcanoes at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. This required being out on lake ice in -20 degrees Celsius weather for 12 hours a day for three days. Some instructors would have said 'there's the ice - go to it' but Ian was there the entire time.” Another testimony sums up the field experience of many of Ian's students: “To describe the actual field trip would take pages. It was action-packed, fun-filled, well-coordinated, exciting, dramatic, unbelievable! I am astounded by the sheer volume of information we consumed. We were continuously learning, and all the while, Ian was subtly and gently questioning and challenging our observations and thinking so that we processed and learned what we experienced.”