Lecturer Martin Santamaria receives the 2022 Cormack Teaching award

November 01, 2022

Economics lecturer Martin Santamaria's passion for teaching was recognized last week when he was awarded the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 2022 Cormack Teaching Award for his outstanding efforts.

In her nomination letter, economics department chair Anke Kessler wrote that Santamaria "has proven to be invaluable both as an instructor for many of our core courses but also as a resource to support student learning and shaping the department's approach to instruction." 

Santamaria loves teaching and believes that helping young people will have a positive effect of the future of society. In his talk at the 11th annual Cormack Teaching Symposium, which took place on October 25, Santamaria said that in higher education institutions some see teaching as inferior to research, but in his opinion it is the most important thing we do. "When we have a new class in front of us, we literally have the future in our hands."

His teaching focuses on encouraging critical thinking and real world applications. His approach seems to be working, as his courses are consistenly popular despite their challenging subject matter. Former student Suiyao Pan says Santamaria inspired her to study economics.  "He made me understand that studying economics shouldn't just be memorizing or passing exams. I was able to use this knowledge to explain a lot of things in my life." Pan particularly enjoyed the writing assignments based on news articles and current events as these made the learning relevant and easier to understand.   

Santamaria stressed the importance of thinking holistically about education. How can we develop healthy human beings and members of society?  He will continue to explore these questions during his next challenge: a 2-year stint serving as a FASS Teaching Fellow.  where we are sure he'll continue to impact student lives in a meaningful way.  

When asked what advice he'd give to students who are struggling, Santamaria said "learning is a lifetime activity. Don't be discouraged by life's challenges, take care of your health first, keep your head up, believe in yourself and never stop trying." 

He would like to thank his nominator Anke Kessler, the committee for selecting him as a winner, and the students for their time, attention and the opportunity to play a small part in their life's journey.