Nabyl Merbouh's Passion and Humour Make Great Chemistry (Classes)

February 27, 2018

By Diane Mar-Nicolle: Chemistry teaching professor Nabyl Merbouh confesses that during his own university days he spent more time on the rugby fields than attending undergrad sciences classes at the University of Tours, France. This may explain why he is passionate about teaching and committed to ensuring his classes are engaging and stimulating.

Merbouh, who teaches the difficult subject of organic chemistry, has won a 2017 SFU Excellence in Teaching Award.

“I have yet to encounter another professor with as much commitment to their students' success”, says one of his students. “Dr. Merbouh has a great sense of humour and encourages discussion of topics in class which enrich student learning.”

Merbouh admits this award particularly humbles him because his former students nominated him. He attributes his love of teaching to several mentors and says, “I started as a teaching assistant at the University of Connecticut where I did my PhD. It was there that I learned the importance of my job as an instructor, from Cecile Hurley, and the power of selflessness, from James Bobbitt.”

When asked what advice he might have for new teachers, Merbouh says, “I would tell them what Charles Walsby, one of my peers in the SFU chemistry department told me when I started: organization is key if you want to be successful. Students will always appreciate a well-prepared and organized instructor.”

Merbouh is responsible for instructing future doctors, engineers, teachers, researchers and innovators, and says it is his job to ensure they leave his class believing in hard work and dedication to the task.

“Giving up is never an option,” he says, “not from me and certainly never from the students. As an instructor, show the way. We are privileged-we spend our days surrounded by a large concentration of intelligent and creative young people-with the simple job of helping them reach their goals.”