University of Waterloo
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Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
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Excellence in teaching is both a tradition and a core mission of the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Science. Each year the Faculty of Science celebrates this dedication and superior teaching calibre by selecting up to two instructors to receive its highest teaching honour: the Excellence in Science Teaching Award (ESTA).
The ESTA is not just a teaching award – it recognizes the unique contributions our instructors make to science education, both inside and outside the traditional lecture hall, as well as the positive and lasting impact they have had on their students, programs, and colleagues,” says Carey Bissonnette, Senior Teaching Fellow for the Faculty of Science and continuing lecturer for the Department of Chemistry.
This year’s ESTAs were awarded to Richard Epp for his successful outreach and course development efforts and Michael Beazely for his dedication and unwavering mentorship of graduate students.
A continuing lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Richard Epp has developed several new introductory courses aimed at making physics not only understandable, but relevant to Waterloo undergraduates across the university. He’s probably best known for his demonstration of Einstein’s theory of general relativity using just tape and a yoga ball.
Beyond regular teaching duties, Epp has spearheaded new outreach initiatives, dramatically increasing the department’s profile among local high schools. At the same time, he’s developed several online courses, and short courses for high school teachers.
Epp serves as the Undergraduate Officer for the department well as the Undergraduate Officer for the Math Physics program. In 2016, he was named winner of the Physics and Astronomy Departmental Teaching Award.
Michael Beazely, an associate professor at the School of Pharmacy, has been responsible for the pharmacology content in the pharmacy curriculum since the School of Pharmacy first opened in 2008.
Beazely lectures in up to 10 different courses within a calendar year. His lecture style is engaging, especially given the complex content of topics like cardiology and infectious disease, and he receives consistently high reviews from his students.
He is also an exceptional mentor and instructor at the graduate level, and was the recipient of the School’s first ever Outstanding Faculty Mentor award for his dedication to graduate education. He’s extended his educational efforts to the Kitchener-Waterloo community as well, presenting in several public lectures and acting as a media source on fentanyl overdoses and opioid addiction and misuse.
The winners of the ESTA receive a certificate and a monetary award, which is used to support teaching activities.