Steve Furino, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2007

Mathematics, St. Jerome's University

Steve Furino, an associate professor in mathematics at St. Jerome’s University, has been teaching mathematics and computer science since his arrival in July 1989. He is also cross-appointed to the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization at the University of Waterloo. Professor Furino has taught algebra, linear algebra, principles of computer science, coding theory, linear programming, network flows and design theory for almost 20 years. Professor Furino is keen and willing to try new teaching strategies in order to engage the students in his classes. During his weekly ‘History Friday’ he spends some time incorporating the history of mathematics into his lectures. He talks about the people and places involved with the mathematics students are learning so that they can see that mathematics has been and remains a part of the world in which we live. Professor Furino recently assigned the preparation and instruction of a small part of each class to students so that they would be forced to learn the material thoroughly before the class. Photographs are taken of the first year class on the first day of term and professor Furino learns the students’ names by the end of the first month of class. A colleague noted that “one need only to sit in Steve’s class for five minutes to realize that this instructor is doing what he loves to do most – teach.” His enthusiasm is contagious. Many students noted that professor Furino makes “learning math fun.” In 1997/98 he received the Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award which is awarded by undergraduate students in the Faculty of Mathematics.