Grenfell professor named one of country’s best
Dr. Georg Gunther
When it comes to helping his students overcome their apprehensions about math, Dr. Georg Gunther is a true innovator. The math professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Sir Wilfred Grenfell College developed an original set of cartoon characters who model math problems and fliers advertising Math Problems at Low Prices.
Not only did this get the attention of his students, but this kind of innovative teaching has resulted in Dr. Gunther being named a 3-M Teaching Fellow for 2005. He joins nine others from across Canada who are being awarded the country’s only national award for university teaching and leadership.
The announcement of the 3-M Teaching Fellows for 2005 was jointly made today by the Society of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and prize sponsor 3-M.
The award recognizes excellence in teaching over an extended period of time, principally at the undergraduate level, and also acknowledges leadership and commitment to the improvement of university teaching within the candidate’s own institution.
Dr. Gunther has found practical ways to ensure that first-year students, in particular, realize their potential. Under his leadership, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook began a program of supplementary instruction that targets high risk courses and then trains student leaders to offer peer support. The success of the project has led to Dr. Gunther becoming a leading advocate for supplementary instruction across the country.
“Dr. Gunther excels in inspiring students to learn mathematics. His approaches exemplify Memorial University’s dedication to first-rate, innovative teaching. He is the fourth Memorial University professor to receive a highly coveted 3-M Fellowship since 2000. This is a remarkable accomplishment for a university of our size. We are all very proud of his accomplishment,” said Dr. Axel Meisen, Memorial’s president.
“Georg has always been among our most prized colleagues at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College,” said Dr. John Ashton, principal of Grenfell College. “His contributions to the institution have been many and diverse. However, his primary commitment has always been to his students. The warmth of the applause that greeted the announcement of his award was a testament to the high regard in which Georg is held by the entire Grenfell community.”
Dr. Gunther has been a faculty member at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College since 1977 and has been consistently recognized for the excellence of his teaching, his personal interest in his students and his high academic standards. He is known among the college’s students as a professor who both challenges and supports his students and whose unique approach always brings out the best in them.
“I will be content if I open the minds of my students, not only to the beauty or utility of mathematics, but to the tremendous potential inherent in their minds and souls,” said Dr. Gunther.
This is the sixth time that faculty of Memorial University have been honoured with this award: the other recipients were Dr. Andrea Rose, Education, in 2004; Dr. Alex Faseruk, Business, in 2003; Professor Shane O’Dea, English, in 2002; Dr. Penny Hansen, Medicine, in 1990; and Dr. Michael Collins, Biology, in 1988.