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David Harmsworth


2015 Award for Distinction in Teaching

DAVIDIn 2015, the Faculty of Mathematics awarded two individuals with distinctions in teaching. One of those awards went to Professor Steve Drekic. The other award was given to Lecturer David Harmsworth.

After completing a degree in linguistics from the University of Regina, Harmsworth’s natural affinity to mathematics led to the completion of a three-year general degree and a masters in applied mathematics here at the University of Waterloo. Now he spends his days lecturing about calculus and differential equations to audiences across faculties.

You may imagine teaching the same courses year after year can get tiring but for Harmsworth it’s all about staying positive and staying motivated. “There’s occasionally a student who values the effort that goes into preparing and teaching the courses,” explained Harmsworth. “That always makes a difference. It’s about enjoying the participation in each class and seeing their determination and perseverance.”

When asked about his teaching style, Harmsworth said he tries to approach it professionally, discussing material the old fashioned way. He doesn’t use much technology in the classroom to the chagrin of some of his students but without flourishes he can focus on being clear and making sure everyone understands the material.

A youthful looking lecturer, Harmsworth admits getting respect is primarily about keeping your word and admitting when you don’t know the answer. “It’s not like you’re going to know everything,” he said. “Teaching is a lot of effort, there aren’t any shortcuts to take.”

Drekic and Harmsworth join 16 past recipients of the Faculty of Mathematics Award for Distinction in Teaching since its inception:

  • 2014 - Penny Haxell and Javid Ali
  • 2013 - Dan Wolczuk and Yu-Ru Liu
  • 2012 – Stephen New and Levent Tuncel
  • 2011 – J.P. Pretti and Jeffrey Shallit
  • 2010 – Serge D’Alessio and Alfred Menezes
  • 2009 – Ian Goulden and Troy Vasiga
  • 2008 – Robin Cohen and David McKinnon
  • 2007 – Beverly Marshman and Ian VanderBurgh

Nominate your outstanding Faculty of Mathematics teacher for this award!

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