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Date: March 06, 2000

Three Great Teachers

The UVic Alumni Association has selected this year's recipients of its Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Edward Berry (English), Prof. Elsie Chan (sociology), and Dr. Richard King (Pacific and Asian studies) come from different academic fields but their approaches to education have common threads of innovation, enthusiasm and dedication.

"Teaching is a collaborative effort so my students deserve at least half the credit for the award," says Berry, a Shakespearean who has been with the UVic English department since 1975. Berry also conducts highly regarded seminars for judges to help them improve the writing skills they apply to their written reasons for judgement. Several judges who've taken his seminar wrote letters supporting Berry's nomination.
In less than two years since becoming a sessional instructor, Chan is already something of a legend in the UVic sociology department. "I would be failing if not for Elsie," is commonly heard among her students, especially those in the demanding and mandatory introductory statistics course for sociology undergrads.
"I place great emphasis on the importance of developing an understanding of the purpose of learning," says Chan. "I believe in setting reasonable and attainable goals, and I also seek to encourage each student to recognize their individual potential."
Walk into one of Richard King's first-year Chinese language courses and you'll find a kaleidoscope of technology and culture that might include Asian rock-and-roll, students acting out skits, and even stuffed animals loaned by the professor's kids.
"Essentially, I'll use anything that keeps students' attention in a two-hour class," says King, who chairs the Pacific and Asian studies department. "I have had students watching Chinese TV news and variety shows delivered by satellite, finding news stories and magazine articles from throughout the Chinese-speaking world on the Web and I've tried to incorporate new Chinese cinema and popular music into courses on both language and literature."
The UVic Alumni Association will host a special reception to recognize the Excellence in Teaching award winners on Wednesday, March 15 at 4:30 p.m. in the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, University Centre.

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Media contacts:
Mike McNeney
UVic Communications
(250) 721-7642

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