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1999 MTA Winner: Richard Charron


Although the Math Department is blessed with a number of talented professors, we can think of no better choice of recipient for the 1998-99 Motivational Teaching Award than Dr. Richard Charron. To be worthy of winning the Motivational Teaching Award, an instructor requires many rare qualities; we believe Dr. Charron possesses these in abundance.

It is an undeniable delight to participate in a lecture with Dr. Charron. Far from being stiff and formal, Dr. Charron brings a relaxed, humorous and congenial atmosphere to class (not to mention copious amounts of orange juice!). This makes the difficult and often highly technical material he teaches far easier to understand, be it the use of computers with mathematics, delving into numerical analysis, or navigating the twists and turns of optimization. In many hands, these subjects would be unfathomable -- utterly impossible to understand, let alone work with on an assignment or exam! Dr. Charron has a remarkable ability to make what he teaches accessible to the students, combining an informative lecture style with detailed, helpful notes.

Dr. Charron is also one of the most approachable profs outside of class. He is always willing to help students when they drop by his office, and has performed services above and beyond the call of duty -- for instance staying until late in the evening, when most everyone else had long since gone home, to help students in the computer lab with an end-of-term project. He has even been exceedingly helpful to students seeking assistance on courses other than his own, always willing and able to answer a question about Maple or C programming.

And Dr. Charron's graciousness is not limited to coursework. In organizing the upcoming Canadian Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, for example, Dr. Charron has been a constant source of support on matters ranging from seeking funding to inviting guest speakers -- all this despite the time-consuming role he has taken in preparing for the meeting of the Canadian Mathematical Society at the same time.

But, of course, this is a nomination for the Motivational Teaching Award. And there can be no doubt that Dr. Charron has motivated each of us to not only learn more about math, but to more fully understand and appreciate that which we felt we already knew. It is perhaps a most fitting testament that at least one of us can trace to his first course with Dr. Charron the transition from his simply learning about math to acquiring a true passion for the subject, a passion which has only flourished since.

For his outstanding teaching, unerring helpfulness, and infectious love of math, we encourage the selection of Dr. Richard Charron as winner of the 1998-99 Motivational Teaching Award.


  • Karen Chafe
  • Paul Marshall
  • Shannon Sullivan
  • Robin Swain