Owen Ward, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2006


Professor Owen Ward of the Department of Biology is recognized by his undergraduate and graduate students, as well as his colleagues, as an inspired, truly gifted teacher. His enviable ability to bring his lectures on microbiology, fermentation and bioprocessing to life, using real world examples, including his own entrepreneurial experience in the commercialization of technology, captivates students in the basic science and soon drives them to the cutting edge. Equally as important, Dr. Ward’s reputation for deepening students’ educational experience goes far beyond the science of the classroom or laboratory. Students regard him as a concerned and compassionate mentor who is approachable and encouraging, and willing to spend time with students on issues beyond course material. Even during formal lectures, Dr. Ward routinely provides his personal insights on effective job-interview strategies and employment opportunities based on his own industrial experience, and challenges students to “think outside the box” about their place in science and their eventual career paths. Mentoring is not restricted to students. More junior faculty in the Department of Biology have benefited substantially from Dr. Ward’s constructive advice, and afterwards, so have the students. Dr. Ward was appointed recently as the Director of Waterloo’s successful science and business program, and his imagination and boundless energy have further propelled the profile of the program and the success of its students.