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They are the crème de la crème. This year's three Excellence in Teaching award winners, recognized at SFU's annual awards ceremony, exemplify the best traditions of teaching. They stimulate students to think creatively and critically, present complex information clearly, bring enthusiasm and innovation to the process, and genuinely care about their students' learning.

Teaching excellence through excellence in teaching

March 21, 2007

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By Stuart Colcleugh

Students can't say enough good things about art education professor Stuart Richmond. As a veteran of several courses with him observes, Richmond's classes "have always been such that everyone is encouraged to bring in their honest thoughts and concerns, and discussions are always lively, meaningful and educational. The assignments he gives spur us to extend ourselves academically, artistically and personally."

Richmond's own words sum up what all good teachers are about: "developing persons who are able to perceive critically and appreciatively, be creative, and believe in themselves as actors having ideas and values that reflect the importance of the unique, the culturally diverse, the intrinsically good and the broader needs of the community."

After more than 35 years of teaching, Jim Bizzocchi's influence can be found in legions of former students who are now key players in the gaming and electronic media industry in Vancouver and elsewhere. An assistant professor in SFU's School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at Surrey, Bizzocchi teaches interactive narrative, game design and video production. His teaching impact stems from a thorough understanding of his subject matter and his genuine concern for students, says SIAT director John Bowes. "He makes them his colleagues and companions on an adventure into technology and art."

Sophie Lavieri makes chemistry fun, pure and simple. The chemist and senior lecturer's unbridled enthusiasm inspires students to think through complex problems and gain a thorough understanding of what for many is a difficult subject.

She is "without doubt the best teacher in our department," says chemistry chair Andrew Bennet. Her students apparently agree. Out of some 3,200 student evaluations in the last five years, 70 per cent gave her an A and 26 per cent gave her a B. "Dr. Lavieri is simply outstanding," writes one. "The amount of time, effort, commitment and dedication she gives to students and the course is simply superlative."

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