The Faculty of Science is honoured to announce Chemistry instructor Dr. Rick Marta and Vision Scientist Prof. Kristine Dalton as this year’s Excellence in Science Teaching Award (ESTA) winners for their dedication to hands-on learning and mentorship. Teaching is a core mission at the University of Waterloo and this prestigious award acknowledges the special role Science faculty members play in inspiring the next generation of science and technology professionals.
“This year – like every other year - the ESTA selection committee received many compelling letters of support for all the nominees. It’s always difficult to select just two ESTA winners. That said, we are very pleased to recognize Dr. Marta and Prof. Dalton with this year’s awards," said Dr. Carey Bissonnette, a Continuing Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and the Faculty of Science Teaching Fellow. "Their dedication to their students’ growth is not just impressive but inspiring.”
Rick Marta, a laboratory instructor in the Department of Chemistry, has consistently received outstanding teaching evaluations for his undergraduate courses, which include some of the department’s largest and logistically challenging classes. Students, teaching assistants and fellow faculty members were unanimous in their praise of his organization, patience, leadership and natural teaching abilities.
“Students marvel at his ability to present difficult concepts lucidly and in plain language; they praise his willingness to sit down with each of them to explain it all over again, no matter how large the class or how long the hours,” said Prof. Michael Palmer, who collected many letters of support for Marta’s ESTA nomination. “Rick is a master of organization and timing.”
Kristine Dalton is an assistant professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science. She has been a pioneer in the field of sports vision, establishing and directing Canada’s first Sports Vision Clinic at the University of Waterloo, which has expanded to include the new Brain Injury Clinic.
Dalton’s students praise her dedication in- and outside the classroom, whether she is teaching a large class, supervising a graduate student, or training students in a clinical setting. Her hard work and unique qualifications as an educator, professional optometrist and outstanding researcher have been inspiring to students, who consider her a role model and mentor.
“Optometry is a rapidly changing field and to be an excellent educator you need to be up-to-date with current knowledge and be evidence-based in your educational approach. Kristine tick’s both these boxes,” said Prof. Lyndon Jones, Professor in the School of Optometry in his recommendation letter for Dalton. “She teaches with passion and expertise that is a pleasure to behold.”
Since 2011, the Faculty of Science has been recognizing the outstanding dedication of its faculty towards educating and training students through the annual Excellence in Science Teaching Awards (ESTA). Winners of the ESTA receive a certificate and a monetary award, which is used to support teaching activities.
Congratulations, Prof. Dalton and Dr. Marta!