{President's Report 2003}
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President's Award for Distinguished Teaching

President's Awards for Distinguished Teaching recognize the teaching excellence in the university community. Each winner of the teaching award receives a $5,000 grant contributed by the Memorial University Alumni Association.

Ed Andrews, Environmental Science, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College

Ed Andrews

What makes an excellent teacher? While there is no definitive list of ingredients, there are certain qualities shared by "excellent" teachers: integrity, clarity, enthusiasm, confidence, respect, innovation, endurance, patience - all of which are reflected in Ed Andrews' approach to teaching.

As one of Memorial's Distinguished Teachers for 2002, Mr. Andrews is receiving one of the most prestigious awards that Memorial bestows on its faculty members. Mr. Andrews, a professor of biology in Grenfell's environmental science program, has been a college faculty member since 1976, one year after the college was founded.

Over the last quarter century he has consistently proven the effectiveness of his teaching. In addition to being extremely well organized, Mr. Andrews is genuinely enthusiastic and interested in what he teaches.

"This enthusiasm always manages to rub off on his classes, so that many students in turn develop a passion and interest for biology," said Dr. Georg Gunther, head of science at Grenfell. "Ed also has a keen and genuine interest in his students as individuals. This has been a dominant theme over the years, and students have repeatedly expressed their realization and appreciation of this fact. To me, this is perhaps the single most important quality of any outstanding teacher, and it is a quality that no amount of education or professional development will provide - the genuine interest in the student."

Mr. Andrews also has an interest in computer-assisted pedagogy which eventually led him to his secondment to the position of the first manager of Computing and Communications. His interest in IT and software eventually helped build the IT infrastructure at Grenfell College.

For past decade or so Professor Andrews has been involved with the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE). He served for two terms on the board of directors and most recently held a three-year position as editor of the ABLE publication Labstracts. One of his lasting contributions to the association was overseeing the conversion of Labstracts from a standard print publication to a Web-based format.

"He has taught a generation of students, opening the minds of many to the wonders of the biological sciences," said Dr. Gunther.

Simply put, Professor Andrews has accomplished much of this because of an elementary belief of his: "Good teachers are always learning."

Jean Guthrie, Department of English Language and Literature

Jean Guthrie, an associate professor in the Department of English, is one of this year's recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Award. Ms. Guthrie received her MA (hons.) in English Literature and Latin from the University of Edinburgh along with a master's in Latin from McMaster University. She has also studied at Moray House in Edinburgh and Purdue University.

"The undergraduate courses I most enjoy teaching are writing courses," said Ms. Guthrie, who has been teaching at Memorial since 1968. "But the name is misleading. We read, we write, we talk, we listen, we write again. Students are thinking and writing about ideas and values, and about the forms and patterns they are given in writing. "I believe the best teaching of English brings together the love of language chosen and shaped to speak eloquently of human experience; and the desire and know-how to guide developing writers."

A former English student, Debra Gill, said "Professor Guthrie has been a positive, driving force in my life for the past several years. Due to Professor Guthrie's incredible teaching methods it was during the 2010 course that I found my voice, my confidence and my goal for the future." In 1994, Ms. Guthrie along with Dr. Phyllis Artiss, Dr. Penny Hansen (Medicine), Dr. Michael Collins (Biology), and Dr. Clar Doyle (Education) developed the Graduate Program in Teaching (GPT) in order to strengthen both graduate and undergraduate education at Memorial. The GPT is a one-semester, non-credit course that introduces graduate students to the art of university teaching. Participants come from all faculties and departments of the university.

"Jean Guthrie has that most enviable of traits - innate and genuine tolerance, not the studied kind," said John Kenney, mature student. "She treated everyone in class not just as equals, but also as equally significant; she was obviously blind to ageism, and all other isms."

In collaboration with Dr. William Barker, Ms. Guthrie has published on Renaissance pedagogy and Alciato's emblems; and she has presented papers on the teaching of writing at local, national and international meetings. "I want my classroom to be a place of respectful and exhilarating exchange where I learn from students as well as the other way around," said Ms. Guthrie.