2011 Cormack Teaching Awards

September 26, 2011

The three recipients of the 2011 Cormack Teaching Awards, Alison Ayers, Sociology and Anthropology; David Cox, Economics; and Alexander Dawson, History, were honoured at the FASS Fall reception held September 22nd.

Photo: (l-r) Alexander Dawson, FASS Dean John Craig, David Cox (Alison Ayers not pictured)

In 2010, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences established the Lesley B. Cormack Award to recognize excellence and innovation in teaching within FASS. The awards are decided through an annual nomination and review process that begins following faculty reviews each year. Part of the process also requires recipients to present, in a public forum, highlight areas of their particular expertise. The awards and presentations allow faculty to inform and engage their colleagues.

Alison Ayers, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Alison Ayers is an assistant professor cross appointed to Political Science and Sociology and Anthropology. She is renowned among students for her innovative teaching methods and lecture presentations that include everything from cartoons to role playing to standard bullet points. Her experience working for European NGOs, the United Nations, and her research and program work in Latin America and Africa gives her a base of practical and diverse experiences that she shares with her students. She is also famous for providing arguments for and against all theories, a mark of the intellectual flexibility and open mindedness that her students have come to respect and admire. Learn more about Alison Ayers.               

David Cox, Department of Economics
David Cox is a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics. Over the past two years, he taught 15 courses to 2,160 students. David’s average teaching evaluation score over those courses was an amazing 3.53, and it has never been below 3.28. Students in his large classes sing his praises saying “he’s the best prof I ever had”; “interesting relevant lectures,” and “great prof, hard course.” He brings energy and clarity to a wide diversity of classes at all levels, from first to fourth year, while still finding time to mentor students in their academic and career goals. Learn more about David Cox.        

Alexander Dawson, Department of History/Latin American Studies
Alexander (Alec) Dawson is an associate professor in and director of the Latin American Studies program. One of the challenges he has faced in his teaching at SFU is lower division courses in which he had to survey the history of some 30 different countries in 13 weeks. Recognizing that students emerged from such courses with only a vague overview of the subject and few tangible skills, he decided to do something about it: he created a new teaching text, Latin America Since Independence: A History with Primary Sources (Routledge 2010). With this innovative text in hand, he rearranged his classes so that students had to draw their own conclusions from primary materials, to collectively analyze texts and other materials, and write as historians. Learn more about Alexander Dawson.