Great teaching in Alumni Week spotlight

- Mike McNeney

Two educational leaders who are respected for their proven abilities to inspire and challenge students will receive the prestigious Alumni Awards for Excellence in Teaching at an awards celebration during Alumni Week, which runs Feb. 3-9 this year Dr. Annalee Lepp (women's studies) is this year's recipient of the Harry Hickman Award (faculty category) and Dr. Alex van Netten (physics) will receive the Gilian Sherwin Award (instructors category) from the UVic Alumni Association.

Nominators underscored Lepp's life-changing impact on learners through her undergraduate teaching and guidance of graduate students in the Department of History, where she is a member of the graduate faculty. Lepp consistently demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge of diverse topics covered in her courses, including North American gender and legal history, sex work, human trafficking and feminist research methods.

Lepp has also been a driving force behind UNI 101, the free program for students who might not otherwise have access to university teaching. Her scholarly work in women's studies and gender issues continues to have a significant national and international impact, and she currently serves as national president of Women's and Gender Studies et Recherches F&e#180;ministes.

Physics can be a daunting subject, but van Netten's enthusiasm and imaginative teaching, particularly in PHYS 102 (for non-physics majors), manages to break down the barriers. For example, he built a wooden spindle, bow and board for demonstrations of fire starting techniques used by the foraging peoples of Indonesia.

His overall effectiveness has been rated as either excellent or good by 98 per cent of his students.

In his role as his department's Experience UVic outreach coordinator, he created a whirlwind presentation on The First Million Years of Physics. The talk takes the audience from the origins of fire making to the theory of quantum physics.

Last summer, the International Space University invited van Netten to give a presentation, via videoconference, on his model for a supersonic wind tunnel.

Lepp and van Netten each receive a $2,000 prize from the alumni association, and their photo portraits will be permanently displayed in the McPherson Library, joining a gallery of 46 other outstanding educators who have received Alumni Awards for Excellence in Teaching since 1989.

The Teaching Award Celebration will also feature the presentation of the Andy Farquharson Awards for Graduate Teaching to Jessica Blythe (geography), Scott Kouri (child and youth care), and Iman Moazzen (electrical and computer engineering).

The year's faculty and department teaching award recipients will also be acknowledged. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 5 in the University Club.

lumni Week's line-up of 17 events includes a Feb. 7 tribute to 50 alumni who have made a difference to the growth of UVic through their ongoing support and involvement in university life.

Renowned National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen, BSc '90, will give a talk and slide presentation on Feb. 6 in the Farquhar Auditorium. "Polar Obsession" is part of the Faculty of Science/AXYS Group distinguished speaker series. It's free, but tickets must be reserved in advance through the UVic Ticket Centre.

All alumni are eligible to enter the Alumni Week grand prize draw for a $2,500 flight voucher from UNIGLOBE Geo Travel.

Complete listings of Alumni Week events and registration information:


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Keywords: teaching, award, alumni

People: Annalee Lepp, Alex van Netten

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