President's Awards for Distinguished Teaching
Presidentís Awards for Distinguished teaching recognize the
teaching excellence in the university community. Each recipient of the teaching award
receives a $5,000 grant made possible in part by a contribution from the
Memorial University Alumni Association.
|Dr. Jean Finney-Crawley
A dedicated teacher who inspires her students to excel in
the study of science, Dr. Jean Finney-Crawley is one of the President's Awards of 2000 recipients
of Distinguished Teaching. Combining a high level of preparation and
clarity of presentation, Dr. Finney-Crawley is one of the biology departmentís
most popular teachers. She has been very involved in the development of the biology program, written new courses for
the senior level and is currently undergraduate officer responsible for
continued development of the biology undergraduate program.
In nominating Dr. Finney-Crawley, her colleagues in the
biology department pointed out that what makes her an exceptional teacher is
her concern for her students.
"She is a very caring person and the students who have had
direct contact with her admire her greatly and are truly inspired," writes one.
This message was echoed by former students.
"She made biology exciting and inspired me to pursue a bachelor
of science degree with a major in biology," wrote one. "She was always helping
students, myself included, in the associated laboratory sessions.
"She was easy to approach and I did not feel intimidated by
her presence as a first-year student."
|Dr. Rick Johnstone
Volumes have been written on pedagogical method, and what
makes a good teacher. But the words of Dr. Rick Johnstoneís students speak more
eloquently than any book.
"Another student told me I should take Social Inequality
(Sociology 2100) because the course was interesting, and the prof was an incredible
instructor," said one. "He expected us to
work hard, but what we got back from him was well worth it: a class environment
where we could ask anything, where we were all equal, and any idea was
Ask his former students about Dr. Johnstoneís classes, and
the answers are remarkably consistent. He arrives early, flow charts on the
board and ready to discuss the issues of the day with class members. He knows
his studentsí backgrounds. He values their ideas. He makes time for them in a
dozen different ways, from one-on-one discussions about term papers to copying
material for his classes. None of his students are at all surprised to hear
that Rick Johnstone was awarded one of Memorial Universityís distinguished
teaching awards for 2000, although a few wonder why it took so long.
The person at the centre of all this admiration is very
modest about the whole thing ó so modest, in fact, that he was at first
reluctant about being interviewed. "Of course, I am very honoured to receive
such an award from such a fine university," he said. "But there are so many
good teachers here that I feel a bit awkward accepting this."
While Dr. Johnstone has an international reputation for his
research on apartheid in South Africa, and currently writes on other human
rights issues, he says "the classroom is the heart of the university Ė
especially the seminar class. The give and take of ideas, of learning ... itís
been that way since Socrates." Furthermore, he added, "Teaching isnít just
about communicating in the classroom, itís about students as people and
learning who they are and where they are from. If students find teachers donít
care about them, the class isnít as valuable, either for them or for the
He feels he has a lot to be thankful for. "I feel grateful
that my students would take the time and trouble to nominate me," he said, and
added later, "I am proud to be part of such a good department, such a good
university, in such a special place ... Iím especially lucky
to have been part of a great department. Thatís part of your
everydayworld of work ... it affects
everything you do."
© Copyright 2002 Memorial University of Newfoundland