Chris Yakymchuk wins the 2020 Jane Lang Excellence in EES Teaching Award

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Headshot of Chris YakymchukChris Yakymchuk has won the Jane Lang Excellence in Earth and Environmental Sciences Teaching Award for his high quality teaching, use of current and best teaching practices and contributions to improving the teaching and learning in the Department and University.

He consistently receives high student ratings for his Earth 332 (Metamorphic Petrology) and 471 (Economic Geology) courses. He incorporates currents events and issues into his courses to bring the material to life. He also uses and passes around real physical samples of the rock or gemstones being discussed to further emphasize the take-home messages of the lecture. He also regularly attends the Earth 471 labs and participates alongside his TAs.

He's an animated and enthusiastic instructor, who engages his students by employing new and creative ways to explain challenging topics - including interpretive dance. He includes humourous and descriptive images in his lectures to provide multiple ways to explain a concept, ensuring students of all learning types understand the material. His enthusiasm for the topic makes his lectures interesting and easy to sit through.

Yakymchuk explains multiple sides of the story and encourages students to do their own research before settling on their own point of view. He continually provides up to date knowledge on topics and will update the class on any progress or new information discovered throughout the semester. His open door policy and tireless effort to answer questions and discuss questions at length encourages students to seek help and attend his lectures.

"Dr. Yakymchuk is an amazing professor who cares that his students learn in his class. He ensures that we learn the most relevant and current theories to make us the best earth students we can be," said Carson Kinney, student nominator.

He was also a mentor to the interdisciplinary Waterloo team that competed at the 2015 World Mining Competition. They won second place in the international undergraduate mining strategy case competition.

His research focuses on how mountain chains form through the process of plate tectonics. He is also interested in fluid–rock interactions in the deep crust and applying the principles of igneous and metamorphic petrology to understand the petrogenesis of mineral deposits. Each year, Yakymchuk takes on around five to seven honour thesis students as well as co-op and Earth 499 students. His students work on a wide range of research projects, including igneous and detrital zircon geochronology, metamorphsis and economic geology.

Yakymchuk also promotes learning outside the classroom and in the community. He has given several outreach and public talks about his research in Antarctica to various groups, including the KW Gem and Mineral Club.

The Jane Lang Excellence in EES Teaching Award recognises and promotes teaching excellence in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. It acknowledges instructors who demonstrate a dedication and enthusiasm for high quality teaching and inspire undergraduate and graduate students to appreciate and understand the natural world and important aspects of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Yakymchuk was nominated for this award by previous award recipient Brian Kendall as well as Jen Parks and several current and former undergraduate EES students.

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