Ralph Krueger, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1985


Ralph has been teaching Geography at Waterloo for twenty-three years, but his life has been devoted to teaching for much longer than that. Ralph has taught in the public school system of Ontario, he has taught as a teaching assistant at Western, he taught as a lecturer in the United States, and he taught at Waterloo Lutheran University, which subsequently became Wilfrid Laurier University, our sister institution down the street. In honouring Ralph Krueger, we are recognizing a lifetime commitment to teaching. Teaching takes many forms. There are undergraduate lectures in the classroom, there are graduate seminars, and there are correspondence courses for distant students; there is the supervision of undergraduate student projects, and the advising of graduate students engaged in thesis research; there are class notes prepared and course handbooks developed, and textbooks written; there is the teaching of teaching assistants, and helping fellow teachers to teach; there are curriculum reviews and there are conferences of professional societies to develop education programs; and there is the unceasing need for contact with students at all levels to communicate, to motivate, to criticize and to encourage – and Ralph Krueger has been doing all these things for years, and doing them superbly. Professor Krueger is acclaimed by his colleagues. The chairman of the Department of Geography puts it bluntly: “Ralph Krueger is a dedicated teacher who has inspired his students with an interest in geography by his great teaching.” Describing his success as a teacher, another colleague refers to “his enthusiasm for his subject matter that has been acquired through a fruitful and active research career.” The teaching resource officer of the University puts his finger on another of Ralph Krueger’s great attributes as a teacher in these words: “… a dedicated teacher who is concerned not simply with transmitting the subject matter of the discipline, but with the very process of education.” Ralph Krueger’s students praise his teaching, but they don’t stop there. Their letters of support refer to his personal qualities, his enthusiasm, his high standards, and his concern for their welfare. Here are some excerpts from student letters: “He was (the) primary reason I stayed in the geography program” and in the same vein, “I feel he was one of the major influences that encouraged me to ‘hang in there’ and complete my year and ultimately … an honours degree in geography.” A graduate student said that she found “… the high quality of Ralph Krueger’s intellectual rigor and enthusiasm, and his research skills stimulating and enviable” ; and a correspondence student who wrote at length about the importance to her of the advice and counselling she received from Ralph also included these words: “Ironically, I don’t even know the man’s face.” The face and name are both widely known among geographers. Ralph Krueger has received the recognition of his peers in many ways. His textbooks are used across Canada. His colleagues in the Canadian Association of Geographers presented him with the “Award for Service to the Profession of Geography” in 1983. In 1984 he received the Distinguished Teaching Service Award of the National Council of Geographic Education. The competition for these awards extends to all of North America.

[Professor Krueger died in 1999]