Will Gorlitz, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2001

Fine Arts, Non-regular award category

Will Gorlitz began teaching at the University of Waterloo in early 1999 to cover the classes of Art Green who was off on sick leave. (These classes needed a special person to be able to take over from professor Green as Art had been the recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award himself in 1988.) Will is currently a sessional professor in the Department of Fine Arts. Last fall he taught an art theory graduate course. The graduate seminar course is designed as a critical theory discussion group of contemporary issues relating to the visual arts. Will takes an interest in each of the graduate student's individual development as artists. One student notes that “he has genuinely made an effort to understand each of his graduate student's creative processes - our backgrounds, motivations and artistic struggles.” He is currently teaching the fourth year graduating class, a first year studio class and a second year drawing class. Will Gorlitz is a unique instructor because of the way he handles the course material, the way he engages students in the course material and the clarity with which he explains the course material. A colleague pointed out that Will “is very serious, intense, extremely intelligent, and has a great sense of humour. He is also very humble, and won't point out to you such things as one of his paintings graced the entire front cover of Canadian Art last October - which is about as big as it gets in the Canadian art world.” Will makes himself available to the students at all times. Last year he arranged to exhibit fourth year student artwork at the University Club and, on his own time, helped the students transport the paintings and drawings over to the restaurant where he proceeded to install them. One student notes that “Over the past 2 years since the arrival of Mr. Gorlitz I have seen an increase in the quality of student work. Will Gorlitz's knowledge of contemporary issues has raised his pupils' level of understanding of the art process and conception. His teaching methods and constructive criticism have always been direct, straight forward, and honest, even it it is not what the student wants to hear.”