Rob Mann awarded the 2019 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Rob MannThe Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2019 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to Robert Mann, University of Waterloo, for his overall accomplishments in teaching, and the promotion of quality teaching both at his institution and through the CAP, which are exemplified by the instigation of an annual Teaching Retreat at the University of Waterloo and the implementation of the CAP's Award for Excellence in High School/CEGEP Physics Teaching.

"Our present day understanding of physics stands as one of humanity’s great achievements, and I am always pleased and excited to communicate our knowledge of physics to anyone, from novice to expert. To be recognized for this as the recipient of this year’s CAP medal of excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is a great honour indeed."

Prof. Robert Mann is very passionate about communicating his enjoyment and deep knowledge of physics concepts to undergraduate students by working with them individually, in small and large classes at all levels and by incorporating active learning strategies and novel demonstrations. Dr. Mann has endless patience and works tirelessly to nurture passion in his students, with an overriding concern for their success in learning and in life. Furthermore, Robert Mann improved teaching and learning in his department, not only through his example, but through the introduction of annual Teaching Workshops and curriculum and course redesign.

Robert Mann is appreciated by his students for his approachability and the time that he spends to improve their understanding of physics. He challenges and successfully engages his students at all levels of instruction, from first year survey courses to specialized honours thesis research on the frontiers of knowledge, for some, turning a dislike of physics into enjoyment. His reputation precedes him so that his lectures are always full. Senior undergraduate students are often exposed to research projects that result in publications, and that in turn inspires them to pursue research and/or teaching careers. He is a natural and trusted student mentor.

During his two terms as departmental Chair, Prof. Mann oversaw impressive growth, including in undergraduate and graduate enrolment. Contributions to teaching in the department included the introduction (with Jayasundera) of an annual Teaching Retreat and the establishment of new undergraduate courses in modern physics, biophysics, quantum information and particle physics; and a new program in Mathematical Physics. The breadth of Prof. Mann’s impact includes excellent administration, impressive research and graduate student supervision. But none of these contributions is more important than his superb contributions to undergraduate teaching where the seeds of the next generation of physicists are planted.

Robert Mann came to the University of Waterloo in 1987 on an NSERC University Research Fellowship. He has always valued teaching, and his teaching excellence goes hand in hand with his stature as an internationally recognized theoretical physicist with over 450 publications. In 2009 he received the Teaching Excellence Award from the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance; in 2010 he was awarded the University of Waterloo’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2014 the University of Waterloo’s Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision. Prof. Mann was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the CAP's Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics which recognizes outstanding teaching at the high school/cegep/college level in five regions across Canada every year.

Republished from the Canadian Association of Physics press release

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