Five UBC Science instructors awarded Killam Teaching Prizes

Five UBC Science instructors awarded Killam Teaching Prizes

UBC Science is pleased to congratulate the recipients of the 2021/22 Killam Teaching Prize for their outstanding contributions in the classroom and their commitment to excellence in education.

The Killam scholarship and prize programmes were established in 1965 through the generous benefaction of Izaak Walton Killam and Dorothy Killam, with the aim to support advanced education and research at five Canadian universities and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Thirty-three instructors were recognized by UBC this year. The UBC Science recipients are:

Dr. Michael Gordon, Department of Zoology

“My teaching philosophy is centred around the belief that my role is to set attainable goals, provide diverse resources to support different learning styles, establish an environment that supports mutual respect and trust, and make learning enjoyable. The thing that most inspires my teaching is the opportunity to share in students’ growing appreciation of the beauty and elegance of biology, while also giving them a window into the process and culture of scientific research.”

Dr. Fok-Shuen Leung, Department of Mathematics

“My guiding principle is that big ideas matter. Students want to know that their work is significant. Lately, though, I've been focused more on novice instructors—grad students and postdocs—who teach with me. What are their teaching philosophies, and how do those guide their decisions? Their classrooms come alive when their philosophies emerge.”

Dr. Oluwakemi Ola, Department of Computer Science

Dr. Oluwakemi Ola describes herself as the progeny of a storyteller and community builder. As an educator, she enjoys cultivating communities of exploration where students can learn and are motivated to expand their knowledge beyond the confines of the course. Her teaching approach is to incorporate evidence-based strategies that focus on both the socio-emotional as well as behavioral and cognitive aspects of learning. She also makes it a point to foster inclusive learning spaces where all students, especially those from underrepresented communities, can thrive. Outside the classroom, she focuses on building capacity by training teaching assistants and organizing events where computing faculty across Canada can engage and discuss pressing issues that influence their teaching practice.

Dr. Jared Taylor, Department of Zoology

“I really enjoy teaching, and working with university students is the fun part of my career. It’s my job to care about their learning and I take this very seriously. Some of the most robust learning happens during vigorous one-on-one discussions, and as such I emulate this in class whenever possible using proven active learning techniques.”

Dr. Elyse Yeager, Department of Mathematics

"What's often called “problem solving" in mathematics is the extremely useful skill of figuring out how to do something that one does not already know how to do. My goal as a math teacher is to give students access to a useful way of thinking that may not come naturally to them."

Geoff Gilliard