Waterloo's distinguished teachers named
The Distinguished Teacher Awards for 2019 will be presented to four faculty members at Convocation, Associate Vice-President, Academic Mario Coniglio announced at yesterday’s meeting of the University's Senate. The recipients are:
- Steve Balaban
- Robin Cohen
- Paul Fieguth
- Andrew Houston
Steve Balaban, School of Accounting and Finance, Faculty of Arts
Steve Balaban, a lecturer in the School of Accounting and Finance, has received many praises from not only his students and his fellow colleagues in the Faculty of Arts, but also from his colleagues in other faculties. Balaban influenced the careers of several of his students, and continues to be a mentor to them long after their graduation. His peers admire the efforts he has made to incorporate new and interactive learning techniques into his lesson plans, such as problem-based learning and experiential learning. His students also really appreciate his efforts, as one student noted: “His lectures never felt like lectures, but rather interactive discussions”. Balaban shows genuine interest in seeing his students succeed, and many have commented on the integral role he has played in their professional and academic success. His lessons are known to emphasize “the importance of personal development, teamwork, communication, and relationship building”. Balaban has been described as “passionate”, “engaging” and “humble”. Additionally, it is noted that his most admirable quality is “his constant desire to improve his teaching abilities and the learning environment”.
Robin Cohen, Cheriton School of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics
Robin Cohen, a professor at the Cheriton School of Computer Science, is able to keep her students engaged in her lectures at all times; even while talking about the social impacts of technology amongst a class of Computer Science majors! Cohen has facilitated many group discussions, within large class sizes, and has guided her students through “extremely challenging and controversial topics”. The “dynamic and collaborative learning space” that she creates in her classroom is what keeps her students interested and motivated. As a student noted, Cohen’s teaching methods “proved very helpful in eliminating the sense of isolation in the class and improved our [their] group dynamics”. Additionally, students greatly appreciate the detailed feedback she provides on assignments, as well as how she relates the course content to their own personal experiences. Cohen, a past recipient of the Faculty of Mathematics Award for Excellence in Teaching, has been described as “passionate”, “knowledgeable” and “caring”. Both her peers and students recognize the hard work she has done over her years of teaching.
Paul Fieguth, Systems Design Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
Professor Paul Fieguth is noted as being a “strong academic leader” within the Department of Systems Design Engineering. He is very involved in the Faculty of Engineering, as he was the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies (2005-2009) and is currently the Chair of his department. He has been involved in undergraduate curriculum development as well. Students describe Professor Fieguth as being “passionate, open and enthusiastic”. They feel that “his main goal is truly to help students learn”. A student commented that “participation [in one of Professor Fieguth’s courses] felt more like a privilege than an obligation”. Additionally, students appreciate how he incorporates relevant applications of their field to real-world problems in his lessons. As a student noted: “Dr. Fieguth is always trying to connect concepts to the outside world, in order to cement the ideas in our minds, and to show the importance of them”. Furthermore, he provides his students with support in their projects and continues to offer them guidance when they are no longer his students. Professor Fieguth has been the recipient of other awards in graduate supervision and teaching excellence.
Andrew Houston, Communication Arts, Faculty of Arts
Professor Andrew Houston is widely known in the Department of Communication Arts as an “inspiring mentor”, a “gifted teacher” and a “generous collaborator”. Students have described Professor Houston as “warm, welcoming and eccentric”. They also appreciate the “consistent care, compassion and support” that he provides them with; which follows them well beyond graduation. His dedication and passion for theatre arts has had lasting impacts on several of his former students; including those who have since moved on to pursue occupations in different fields. Additionally, he uses his strong network of contacts to provide them with opportunities to further their careers. It is noted by many students that his most outstanding quality is his ability to engage diverse learners in his lessons. As one student commented: “He makes sure to teach each concept by explaining it in multiple different ways, so that everyone understands”. One of his peers noted that his dedication to collaborative pedagogies “enriches and strengthens the department, the work of his colleagues, and the university as a whole”. Houston is highly regarded by students, alumni, colleagues and local artists in the community.
Check out tomorrow's Daily Bulletin for the winners of the Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student.
#Rethink Pharmacists: A go-to resource for vaccinations
The #RethinkPharmacists series is presented by the Waterloo School of Pharmacy for Pharmacists Awareness Month in March. The series highlights services pharmacists provide in addition to standard prescription filling and counselling.
Do you have a trip coming up? Then you might be thinking about travel vaccines. In preparing for your trip, you’ll probably pick a few things up from the pharmacy. Your travel vaccine could be one of them.
Pharmacists have been allowed to give flu shots since 2012, and in December 2016, vaccines against 13 additional diseases were added to the list of vaccinations they can provide. Many of these include vaccines commonly used for travel. Here’s the full list:
- Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) - for tuberculosis
- Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Herpes Zoster (Shingles)
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Meningococcal disease
- Pneumococcal disease
- Yellow Fever
You can receive shots for any of these right in the pharmacy, so long as you are five years of age or older. In some cases, a prescription isn't required; you can speak directly to the pharmacist and receive the vaccine promptly. The pharmacist can let you know which ones require a prescription.
Next time you need a vaccination, give your pharmacist a call. They can answer your questions and let you know about what’s required.
Campus Wellness launches Wellness Collaborative
As part of the Okanagan Charter commitments that University of Waterloo adopted in October 2018, Campus Wellness is launching a Wellness Collaborative. The collaborative is tasked with:
- Being a University-wide collaboration led by Campus Wellness with representatives that include students, faculty and staff;
- Using a holistic approach to health and wellness that is inclusive of everyone who lives, works, and learns at the University with an emphasis on mental health;
- Leveraging existing wellness programs and initiatives; identifying gaps in services and supports; setting priorities for new health and wellness initiatives; and working with campus partners to implement those initiatives;
- Responding to the unique needs and strengths of each Faculty, department and student group who will correspondingly share their insights and learnings with the collaborative; and
- Sharing the University’s experiences and best practices with other campuses and broader society through dialogue with external stakeholders regarding health and well-being in universities.
If you are interested in learning more about the Wellness Collaborative or becoming involved, visit the Collaborative website to sign up for more information as the Collaborative gets moving.
In conjunction with the Collaborative, Campus Wellness is also launching the Wellness Champions Stories. Wellness Champions are individuals, groups, departments that currently embody the Okanagan Charter through their everyday work. These stories celebrate the strengths of our campus community that enhance wellness in our learning, working, and living environment.
The first Wellness Champion featured is Dr. Wade Wilson who incorporates moments of mindfulness into his lectures. Dr. Wilson’s approach to teaching is a little different than many students may be used to. “My approach to lecturing is to try to have an impact on students that is beyond just the content,” he says. In addition to Wade’s values of being respectful, open, and transparent; in his classes, students can expect to also learn life skills that can help them even beyond the classroom.
Wade, a lecturer in Kinesiology, a sports psychology researcher, and a mental performance consultant opens each lecture with a mindfulness exercise and discusses with his students how they can incorporate this strategy into their day-to-day lives. These exercises take very little time out from the classroom content and the feedback from his students so far has been great. To read more of Wade’s story visit the Collaborative website.
Looking for wellness tips? The Healthy Workplace Committee has got some! This week's wellness tips include:
- Encouraging healthier eating by stocking the lunchroom and any on-site vending machines with healthy snacks rather than junk food.
Holding regular office fitness competitions to increase employee fitness and promote workplace engagement.
Avoiding long chair time and exercise/stretch at your desk as much as possible; this can play a huge role in your health.
Organizing monthly Lunch and Learns, and picking a new health and wellness topic to discuss each time
Attending health and wellness workshops to learn how to maintain your own health and how to help your staff members.
Here's the latest Nutrition Month "Myth vs. Fact" supplied by Health Services Dietitian Sandra Ace:
Claim: Beans are too gassy to eat regularly.
Evidence: One of the newest dietary recommendations made by Health Canada with the release of the updated Food Guide is to “choose protein foods that come from plants more often.” You’ll find legumes -beans, lentils and peas- at the top of the list of plant proteins for many reasons. In addition to protein, they are packed with other with nutrients, including fibre, iron, B vitamins, potassium, zinc and magnesium. A diet rich in legumes can help to help to lower blood cholesterol, control blood glucose (sugar) levels and keep your bowels regular. And if the health contributions aren’t enough of a reason to include these foods often, they are also cheaper and have less environmental impact than animal sources of protein.
It’s no secret though- legumes, and especially beans, have the reputation of being gassy for some people. This is the result of normal bacterial fermentation of undigested sugars in the gut. If you haven’t used beans or lentils much or avoid them because you find them too gassy, try gradually increasing the amount you eat over several weeks. Modifying the way you prepare them can help to reduce post-meal gas and bloating. Drain and rinse canned legumes thoroughly before eating. When using dried legumes, pre-soak them in water, drain, rinse well and cook them in fresh water. If you find that in spite of trying these suggestions, indulging in “the musical fruit” results in more than a tolerable amount of gas, you can try over-the-counter products that contain the enzyme alpha-galactosidase (like Beano®) which breaks down gas-producing sugars.
You may find some beans easier to digest than others. If you haven’t used a lot of legumes before, you might start with lentils, which are lower in fermentable carbohydrates so they may be easier for some people to digest. Try this inexpensive and flavourful recipe from Health Canada for Carrot Ginger Soup. Find more cooking tips and quick meals ideas here.