Teaching achievement

The Teaching Achievement Awards are intended to enhance the quality of instruction at Carleton. Selection is based on demonstrated excellence and the quality of the teaching development projects proposed.

Steven Murphy
Assistant Professor, Eric Sprott School of Business

Since joining Carleton University four years ago, Steven Murphy has been engaging with his students actively and emotionally. Drawing on his research into personality and emotions in the workplace and his interest in improvisational theatre, Murphy likes to invite the unknown into the classroom. “I give full credit to my students, who embrace the active learning environments I try so hard to encourage.

They make my job incredibly rewarding, and I view this award as a testament to their abilities.”

Susan Aitken
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Susan Aitken encourages her students to think creatively and find their own solutions to problems, while respecting each other’s ideas and the diversity of backgrounds in the classroom. She is currently developing new courses in biophysical techniques and macromolecular structure and function, which she says will “bring students to the cutting edge of research.”

Aitken credits her teaching success to the commitment and dedication of the Educational Development Center, which is “a prime example of the forward-thinking vision required to demonstrate Carleton’s genuine commitment to the achievement of academic excellence and the quality of the student experience.”

Thomas Mical
Assistant Professor, School of Architecture

Thomas Mical, whose research includes transparency in architecture and contemporary continental philosophy, has professional architectural experience around the globe.

He encourages his students to read and research across the liberal arts “as a means of recognizing and understanding the great questions of the past, and as a means to refine their imaginations, which is necessary for designing desirable futures.” Mical says his approach to architectural education is based on questioning, specifically the possibilities and potentialities of invisible ideas translated into visible architectural space.

James Opp
Associate Professor, Department of History

While James Opp has been using technology to enhance the teaching of history for more than a decade, he is careful to ensure technology does not supplant the role of the lecturer as communicator, or become a barrier to achieving a personal relationship with students.

“Visual sources,” says Opp, “offer an opportunity for students to critically reflect on how such images are produced and whose interests they serve.” Opp plans to use his award to design and produce a new graduate course on digitizing history.

Alan Steele
Associate Professor, Department of Electronics

Alan Steele’s favourite courses are entry-level electronics classes, because of the enthusiasm of the students. Despite the detailed mathematical nature of the course content, Steele creates what he calls “breathing spaces” to keep students’ attention and to introduce them to the relevance of the material beyond the analyses. “At regular points I will include information to whet their appetites for what might come in the future.”

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