Teaching Awards

University of Waterloo Distinguished Teacher Award

The University of Waterloo's Distinguished Teacher Awards were approved by Senate on December 15, 1975. Since then, three or four awards have been granted annually. The overriding criterion is a record of excellent teaching at the University over an extended period, usually at least five years.

The Distinguished Teacher Award has been set up by the Senate of the University of Waterloo in recognition of the great importance of excellence in teaching at all levels at the University. The award is open to all those who teach students at the University of Waterloo and is not limited to those holding faculty appointments.

Recipients are to be chosen from among nominees by a Selection Committee of faculty and students.

Past recipients

The School of Accounting and Finance is honoured to have had a number of its faculty members recognized as Distinguished Teachers and applauds them for their outstanding efforts, as outlined in the original citations.

Upkar Arora, 2022

Upkar Arora, a Lecturer at the School of Accounting and Finance, embraces a student-centric mindset to create the conditions for active participation, reflection, curiosity and continuous learning by students, in and out of the classroom. His students admire his willingness to challenge them in the inclusive, interactive and innovative seminar series: Success Beyond the Classroom. Students are able to glean insights about diverse career paths beyond the typical accounting and finance roles, make more informed career choices relevant to them and navigate these with increased confidence. Faculty colleagues describe Upkar as “someone who has a vast amount of industry experience, who would take time to mentor countless students on a one-to-one basis. He continually helped students through critical inflection points and continues to guide them throughout many challenges that they face in their careers.”

Upkar’s commitment to social and environmental justice, demonstrated by the work he is currently doing through Rally Assets, inspires students to explore the world beyond numbers and apply their knowledge, skills and energy to create meaningful positive impact.

Jee-Hae Lim, 2016

Since Jee-Hae Lim joined the University of Waterloo in June 2006, she has been credited for taking a course that students approached with trepidation and turning it into a course that students love. She is known for establishing a personal connection with students, even in large classes -€“ by learning names, doing homework checks in the classroom, and offering career advice during her office hours. One undergraduate described Lim as “dynamic in the classroom, supportive during office hours (regular and extended), and overall a great instructor and person to interact with.” Lim’s innovative assignments are designed to get students to extend their knowledge beyond the classroom and the textbook. An alumna commented that “Jee-Hae is like an invisible hand, gently pushing from behind, [and] encouraging people to accomplish that which at first seems impossible, pausing and applauding as each milestone is reached before gently pushing again towards an even higher goal.” One of Lim’s colleagues wrote that “She brings the same analytical and comprehensive approach to delivering her courses that she brings to developing her research. In both cases, her performance is exemplary.”

Nancy Vanden Bosch, 2010

Professor Nancy Vanden Bosch is truly passionate about helping students learn. In the classroom, her enthusiasm for business strategy has motivated her students to learn. She constantly challenges them to do more; she never simply provides them with the answers. Her questions provoke discussion, further thought and deeper understanding. Nancy delivers the theory and techniques, integrated with her extensive experience, in a highly accessible and meaningful manner. She makes a real impact by not only helping the students understand the course material but also allowing them to see how they can apply this material to make a difference in their world. Outside of the classroom she always accepts the invitation to interact with students and share her experiences and expertise with them. In the school of accounting and finance, Nancy leads the implementation of our learning model which is an extensive re-design of our undergraduate program. A key purpose of this re-design is to help students learn how to take what they have already learned and apply it to resolve issues across a variety of functional disciplines.

James Barnett, 2006

Professor James Barnett’s total record in teaching is one of continuing excellence. He is respected for his vast knowledge of income taxation, yet he creates a learning environment that is friendly and exciting. He has the ability to present very complex material in a way that his students can understand, learn and apply in practice. They remember what he has taught well after graduation. His students appreciate his thorough preparation for every class in every course. He engages his students in an active learning process that motivates their participation with his untiring enthusiasm for his subject and a sense of humour. He treats students with respect, empathy and compassion. He exhibits extreme patience and a genuine concern for the academic and personal growth of his students. Professor Barnett is a leader in tax education, developing and constantly improving courses and materials that are unique in accounting education and his approach that blends his considerable professional experience with academic content and technology. He has acted as a facilitator in the Teaching Excellence Academy to promote teaching excellence on campus.

Grant Russel, 2000

In the more than 25 years that he has been associated with the University of Waterloo, professor Grant Russell has taught thousands of students in courses ranging from large introductory management classes to small graduate classes in advanced control systems. To each class, he brings a refreshing mix of rigour, relevance, humour and compassion to his students. Professor Russell has been a pioneer in promoting and developing key educational initiatives in the school of accountancy. Most recently, he has been involved with the reinvention of the on-campus and distance education versions of the introductory management course taken by approximately 500 students each fall. Committed to ensuring that students benefit from the opportunities of technology advances in management education, professor Russell was one of the first to set up chat rooms and messaging centres so that students could communicate with each other and with him throughout the course. He also insisted that students learn first-hand about investing by buying and selling real securities over the Internet on the TSE. Two years ago, he offered the course for the first time on CD-ROM to distance education students. Over the many years that professor Russell has been teaching, his students have recognized and appreciated the genuine interest that he exhibits in his material and in his students. His classes have been described not so much as lectures but as fascinating conversations with his students in which he increases their understanding of the materials and provides an opportunity to share their experiences. Put simply, Grant Russell cares deeply for his students and is widely recognized as a committed and outstanding teacher.

Morley Lemon, 1998

Professor Morley Lemon, an associate professor of accounting, came to the University of Waterloo in January 1981. He is a recognized authority on areas of Canadian auditing and accounting which is evidenced by the widely-used textbooks that he has co-authored. Over the past several years, professor Lemon has provided a course via videoconferencing to accountancy students at Queen's University and the University of Western Ontario. He sought out special training at the University of Oklahoma in this method of distance education and has successfully implemented that training. He was also actively involved in the development of a fully equipped video conferencing room which has been in operation for the past year. While auditing might not be considered by some to be the most exciting subject, professor Lemon strives to make the classes as interesting as possible for his students.”Prof. Lemon's knowledge of the material he teaches is overwhelming. However, he never lets this knowledge adversely affect the presentation of the material to his students. He initiates insightful discussions among the class members, and never discounts anyone's opinion. He frequently expands these discussions beyond the constraints imposed by the course text, exposing the students to issues which they will be confronted with in their professional careers. One subject which frequently comes up in class discussions is professional ethics. Professor Lemon's interest and enthusiasm in this area is clear, and the points he raises will undoubtedly be useful to students long after the final exam is written.” A colleague further summarizes professor Lemon's strengths stating that “His courses are obviously well received but equally impressive is the frequency with which Morley's genuine concern for his students is acknowledged. A glance at his letters of support indicates that students are truly appreciative of his open door policy, his overriding concern for fairness, his willingness to entertain all student opinions, his knack of generating classroom discussion and his concern that students be given the utmost respect.”

Howard Armitage, 1997

Howard Armitage, an associate professor in the school of accountancy, came to Waterloo in 1981. He is presently acting director of the school and was named “Fellow of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada” last July due in part to his excellent teaching skills. Professor Armitage joins a select group of approximately 230 certified management accountants across Canada who have been honoured for their outstanding contributions to the profession of management accounting (from a population of approximately 30,000). It is important to note that he is one of the very few academics chosen for this honour, conferred by the Society of Management Accountants of Canada. As one student testifies: “His teaching is superb, using a combination of discussion, relevant case studies and industry anecdotes to illustrate his lecture materials. I was constantly amazed at his breadth and depth of management knowledge and his ability to describe difficult concepts in an easily understood manner. He has earned the respect of myself and my classmates through his knowledge, teaching abilities, willingness to invest his time and his absolute fairness.” In his role as director of the Gordon Cowperthwaite Centre for Accounting Education at the University of Waterloo, professor Armitage administers and recommends development projects for innovative teaching in the school of accountancy. A colleague reports that the development work he has done on the intermediate level of ANITA (A New Introduction to Accounting) has transformed this course from a weak link to one of the strongest two-course sequences in the accounting program at Waterloo. This integrated approach to accounting reflects current innovations proposed for accountants of the 21st century and has made the University of Waterloo a pioneer in accounting curriculum development.

Stan Laiken, 1994

Stanley Laiken has been a faculty member in the school of accountancy at the University of Waterloo since 1981. He had prior contacts in this area and attended elementary and high school in Kitchener. Dr. Laiken's enthusiasm for teaching and for his subject, taxation, has been clearly communicated to students. As co-author of the leading tax textbook in Canada, Stan is known not only to students at Waterloo but to students across the country. Many Waterloo students have been told by envious students from other universities how lucky they are to have Dr. Laiken as their teacher. His slogan, “tax is a microcosm of life” is well known both within and outside the University of Waterloo. He brings an enthusiasm to the class that motivates his students to take an active role in their learning process. His patience in explaining difficult concepts and his extensive availability outside of class also provides students with the opportunity to do well in his courses. A former student now working on a PhD has written: “My enthusiasm for tax stemmed from Stan Laiken's talent and enthusiasm as a teacher. I wanted to demonstrate to him that I could learn the material, even though I was finding it very challenging.” Other students have commented: “Dr. Laiken is both the most effective and one of the most dedicated professors from whom we have taken courses. He is an excellent instructor who is able to impart a sound foundation and conceptual base that is vital in a rapidly changing field such as taxation” and “The dearest of all rewards [to a professor] is that he has reached out to his students and made a difference in students' lives. 'Uncle Stan', as we affectionately refer to him, has done this many times and truly deserves the Distinguished Teacher Award.”

CAAA Haim Falk Award

This Award was established in 1987, then renamed in 1989 to honour Professor Haim Falk, the founding Editor of the CAAA Journal, Contemporary Accounting Research

The purpose of the Haim Falk Award is intended to stimulate scholarly thinking and research in Canada by giving widespread recognition to excellence in scholarly achievement that clearly contributes to the advancement of accounting though. 

Ken Klassen, 2021

KPMG Professor of Taxation Ken Klassen won for their excellence in scholarly achievement that clearly contributes to the advancement of accounting thought. “His insights on tax issues are highly sought after, and valued, by academics (many wrote of how much they valued his discussant comments), tax professionals and government regulators”, commented by members of the Award Committee. The Haim Falk Award also credits Ken for his work to build engagement in the tax professional community through the annual symposium and by serving on student PhD committees at the School.

Efrim Boritz, 2018

Professor Efrim Boritz won for excellence in scholarly achievement that clearly contributes to the advancement of accounting thought. Professor Boritz has an extensive publication history that spans the assurance, information systems, and financial reporting disciplines. His research has had a major impact on theory, practice, and education.

Patricia O'Brien, 2009

Anthony Atkinson, 1989

William Scott, 1988

CAAA L.S. Rosen Outstanding Educator Award

This Award was established in 1983 to honour Professor L.S. (Al) Rosen, the founding President of the Canadian Academic Accounting Association.

The L.S. Rosen Award recognizes an educator's contributions to Canadian accounting education through excellence in teaching, educational innovation, publications, guidance for students, and involvement in professional and academic societies and activities.

The School of Accounting and Finance are pleased to recognize these outstanding recipients who embody the values and mission of the Association: innovators who are committed to promoting and encouraging excellence in education and research in our field.

Jim Barnett, 2018

Past recipients include:

AAA Outstanding Educator Award

The Outstanding Educator Award is given in recognition of an educator for their outstanding education contribution in the field of strategic and emerging technologies. The winner of this award is honored with a plaque usually presented at the Annual SET Section Business Meeting.

Efrim Boritz, 2015

Efrim Boritz, was the 2015 recipient for his educational impact in the field of SET, his originality and innovation of the educational contributions, and contributions to the larger AIS and IS communities.

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 

Created in 2012 to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, this commemorative medal served to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.  

During the year of celebrations, three SAF faculty members were honoured with the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.