SFU engineering science professor Lesley Shannon wins top teaching award
By Caitlin Dawson
The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC) has recognized SFU engineering science professor Lesley Shannon for her dedication to preparing future engineers with a world-class education.
Shannon received the 2014 Teaching Award of Excellence, presented annually to an outstanding educator whose superior performance has made significant contributions to education and outreach in engineering or geoscience.
Shannon is a “highly effective teacher” who is skilled at “simplifying complex material so students gain a solid understanding of fundamental concepts,” says nominator Tessa Ryan, Shannon’s former student and former president of the Engineering Science Student Society.
Shannon’s research focuses on computing system design, in particular making architecture smaller and more efficient.
Described as “exceedingly likeable” and “down to earth,” Shannon leverages her network of contacts to host seminars connecting students with leading B.C. engineering companies. She also works with the engineering co-op office to ensure industry connections translate into job opportunities for students.
As chair of the School of Engineering Science computer option, she spearheaded the computer stream curriculum redesign, showing “tremendous tenacity and leadership,” says Faculty of Applied Sciences dean Nimal Rajapakse.
“This was an extremely demanding responsibility and I was impressed by her ability to steer the project and ultimately gain consensus in adopting a new vision.”
In addition to her duties as professor, Shannon has established numerous outreach and mentoring programs for SFU engineering students. She has played a significant role in recruiting and retaining female engineering students and promoting careers in science, engineering and technology to women.
She is the current faculty advisor of the SFU Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (SFU West) group, which was established to help students network, share resources and promote events that connect women in the field.
Shannon previously served as faculty advisor for SFU’s Women in Engineering Group (WEG) and was program chair for the 2013 Creating Connections conference through her work with the Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WWEST) program.
“Dr. Shannon is one of the most effective teachers I have met during my career,” says dean Rajapakse. “She is dynamic, engaging and uses her extraordinary people skills and professional talents to offer students a well-rounded experience that goes beyond the classroom.”