Suzanne Kearns, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2021

Suzanne Kearns, Geography and Environmental Management 

Suzanne KearnsSuzanne Kearns, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management, is commonly described as a catalyst of success for University of Waterloo’s aviation students. She consistently finds ways to bring students engaging and interactive learning material, and develops her courses in a way that challenges students to grasp concepts on a deep level, ensuring useful knowledge is carried forward with them into their careers. One student notes, “Dr. Kearns always strived to provide us with the best knowledge and learning environment, challenging us academically, while empathetically supporting us in our passions and pursuits.” Dr. Kearns encourages leadership in her students, and over the past two year has led efforts to create the Waterloo Aviation Research Cluster. She has also fostered a community of aviation students by helping to create the UW Aviation Society. Dr. Kearns’ colleagues praise her dedication to student supervision, noting that she not only provides academic guidance to students but also strongly supports their career goals. Industry colleagues also praise her work, which “has not only had an impact beyond the classroom, it has had an impact around the world,” including extensive work with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations and the source of international aviation safety standards and policy. Dr Kearns has shown a deep passion for the aviation industry, and ensures that this passion translates into education for her students.