Distinguished Teaching Awards
The 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.
Dr. Phyllis Artiss, English
Be it teaching, research, or administration, the hallmark of Dr. Phyllis Artiss's style can be summarized in one word:
collaborative. An associate professor in the Department of English and a teacher for 35 years, it was her
interest in people, her enjoyment of listening to and learning from others, that led Dr. Artiss to develop a
particular interest in collaborative classes. [See full story in Teaching]
Dr. Martin Mulligan, Biochemistry
Few students in Biochemistry will be surprised to learn that Dr. Martin Mulligan was nominated to receive
the Distinguished Teaching Award. Combining technology and traditional teaching methods, Dr. Mulligan uses
computers and the Web to bring molecular biology and genetics to life for his students.
Dr. Mulligan was the first professor in the Biochemistry department to use the Web as a teaching aid. He keeps a complete set of course notes and relevant links to useful molecular biology Web sites on his
course home page. These are easily accessible by his students, who are encouraged to visit the site regularly.
“In 1991 I attended a conference ... where I saw a professor using computer animations. One of the animations showed rather clearly a concept that I had struggled to teach in a course the year before.“ He soon began using those animations as teaching aids, a highly successful program that culminated in his utilization of the Web. Yet,
Dr. Mulligan realizes that using new technology by itself is simply not adequate for his students to learn molecular biology. He instead uses teaching aids only as a supplement to class work and laboratories.
“The challenge for us is to understand the technology and use it for our advantage in teaching.”
Along with being an exceptional teacher, Dr. Mulligan is also a noted researcher. He has received a number of research grants since coming to Memorial in 1988, and his laboratory was the first to discover genes
for a particular type of RNA-binding protein in cyanobacteria in 1994.
Dr. Mulligan's dedication to students does not end with teaching and research. As the undergraduate deputy head of Biochemistry, he spends a great deal of time helping students with academic concerns and course planning.
His commitment to students has earned him the Biochemistry Society Award for Dedication in Teaching in 1997 and the Biochemistry Society Prof of the Year Award in 1999. The fact that these awards are given
by the undergraduate student society shows just how much he is respected by the students of the department.
Asked about being awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award, Dr. Mulligan stated that he was “thrilled”.
“I can't quite believe that I have been given it or that I deserve it, but having been told that one has been awarded it, I feel very honoured that people feel well enough about me to nominate me. I would like to
thank those who nominated me for the award.”
Dr. Christine Way, Nursing
Dr. Christine Way believes in spending a lot of time with her students, and that means involving
them in her research. As a teaching method, she is pleased with the results.
“They are participating, they are part of the team. It means they get a lot more out of the experience.”
It's a technique that works. For her skill in teaching, this year Dr. Way received the Distinguished Teaching
She currently teaches only graduate students, although in past years she spent a lot of time setting up and teaching the post-RN course in research by distance. Her primary responsibility has been to develop
students' awareness and knowledge of research in nursing, and to enable graduate students to conduct research.
Dr. Way's extensive expertise in quantitative and qualitative methodology underlies her teaching success. She received her PhD from the University of Virginia, an M.Sc. from McGill University, and BN
and BA (political science) from Memorial.
She holds joint appointments with the School of Nursing and the Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Medicine. In 1995 she received the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland Award for Excellence
in Nursing Education.
This year Dr. Way is involved with three major research projects and is currently the supervisor for eight graduate students and a member of the supervising committee for another two.
“It's time consuming, having students work with you on projects, but it gives the most satisfaction — you can see them developing.”
Dr. Janet Fitzpatrick, Social Work, nominated Dr. Way for the Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Way helped supervise her thesis, and Dr. Fitzpatrick was extremely impressed with the dedication and
amount of time she put into one-on-one teaching.
“I've never had such an excellent teaching/learning experience — it was empowering. What impressed me most was her vigour, attention to detail, and her unwavering commitment to a standard of excellence for
Dr. Fitzpatrick said she was particularly motivated to nominate Dr. Way because the amount of time put into one-on-one teaching is often invisible and doesn't get a lot of profile.
The letters of support that accompanied Dr. Fitzpatrick's nomination underlined the value to their own development that many other students have gained from Dr. Way's commitment to teaching.