Penny Haxell


2014 Award for Distinction in Teaching

Penny Haxell
In 2014, the Faculty of Mathematics awarded two faculty members with distinctions in teaching. One of those awards went to Professor Javid Ali and the other to Professor Penny Haxell.

Joining the Faculty of Mathematics in 1993 as an assistant professor, Haxell took a love for the beauty of mathematics and turned it into a teaching style.

By focusing on student engagement and identifying key ideas and concepts, Haxell notes that if students understand the main ideas then all the details follow much more easily. It’s that transparent and open approach to teaching that has made her a favourite and respected professor among her students.

“[During her time as a faculty member], Penny has made many outstanding contributions to the development and teaching of combinatorics courses at all levels, and to undergraduate and graduate student supervision,” wrote Combinatorics & Optimization department chair, Alfred Menezes.

Motivation to see her students succeed comes from understanding that teaching is an important part of her role as a professor and that faculty members must do the best they can to educate their students – especially when mathematics is essential across so many fields.

The most gratifying part of teaching for Haxell is catching the interest of her students so they are motivated to learn more about the subject either independently, or in future courses.

Haxell and Ali join fourteen past recipients of the Faculty of Mathematics Award for Distinction in Teaching since its inception:

  • 2013 – Dan Wolczuk and Yu-Ru Liu
  • 2012 – Levent Tuncel and Stephen New
  • 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!