Congratulations to Alexandru Nica, professor of Pure Mathematics, and Peter A. Buhr, associate professor of Computer Science, the recipients of this year’s Faculty of Mathematics Awards for Distinction in Teaching. Up to two awards are given each year to teachers who have “consistently demonstrated outstanding pedagogical skills and a deep commitment to our students’ education.”
Peter A. Buhr has been at the University of Waterloo since 1986. His primary research area is programming languages: he studies concurrency, polymorphism, monitoring/visualization/debugging and persistence.
In his more than thirty years teaching at Waterloo, Buhr has mentored hundreds of undergraduate students and researchers. Former students describe him as an “engaging and effective lecturer,” with a “strong dedication to student success” and a commitment to “continuous improvement.”
Buhr emphasizes that the teaching and instructional assistants, instructional support coordinator and computing staff all share in the credit for the award. “I am just one component in a multi-part effort for delivering an amazing learning experience at Waterloo,” he says.
Alexandru Nica has been in the Department of Pure Mathematics at the University of Waterloo since 1997. He does research into free probability, but has also developed a reputation as a brilliant and kind teacher, especially of undergraduate classes. “He showed me…how to learn, how to think and how to be a good mathematician” says one of his former students.
“Nica is a talented and dedicated teacher from whom I have learned a great deal over the years,” says his colleague Brian Forrest, professor of Pure Mathematics. “He has an incredible knack for getting the most out of his students, even when they did not feel they had it in themselves.”
“I was honoured and very happy to get an Award for Distinguished Teaching,” Nica says.