UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 5 | May
Killam Teaching Prize Winner on Most Popular Professor List
By Erica Smishek
Prof. Shirley Sullivan believes learning can take place anywhere
-- in offices, hallways, lounges and even on public transportation.
I have an irresistible urge to teach no matter where
I am -- even on the bus! says Sullivan, a professor
of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies.
Her love of learning, of what it means to be human and of
classical languages and literature has inspired countless
students since Sullivan came to UBC in 1972. It has also earned
her one of 22 University Killam Teaching Prizes to be awarded
to faculty members at Spring Congregation.
University does two things, she says. First,
it imparts knowledge -- students gain information that they
never had before. Secondly it teaches students how to think.
We know they wont remember the specific information,
especially about something like the early Greeks, which are
rather obscure. But they will learn how to analyze and understand.
A distinguished scholar whose research focuses on the nature
of personality in early Greeks, Sullivan is known to exemplify
in her lectures what she demands of her students -- rigour,
passion and absolute commitment.
I tell my students that first they must appreciate
fully what the philosopher is saying. If they want to criticize
after that, thats fine. But they have to understand
how the ancient mind works, then begin to use their own minds.
Sullivan, who has been included on the most popular
professors in Canada list in Macleans university
rankings, believes effective teaching can give young students
hope in a complicated world and prepare them to be good citizens.
It helps if students are fascinated by the subject matter.
I agree with Platos conviction that people can
be happy only if they are being creative, Sullivan says.
If their creative powers are being crushed or the student
is in a subject where their heart isnt, their special
talents arent being allowed to flower and flourish.
If a student is not doing well in a course it may not
be that the subject is too difficult but that the subject
does not allow them to be creative.
Killam Teaching Prize winners are selected by their faculties
based on recommendations from students and colleagues. Each
winner receives $5,000 from university endowment sources.
Recipients are distinguished by their creativity, commitment
and dynamic approach to learning.
Other Killam Teaching Prize recipients for 2003 are:
- Faculty of Agricultural Sciences: Assoc. Prof. Gwen Chapman,
Food, Nutrition and Health;
- Faculty of Applied Science: Asst. Prof Antony Hodgson,
Mechanical Engineering; Assoc. Prof. Steven Wilton, Electrical
and Computer Engineering;
- Faculty of Arts: Assoc. Prof. Geoffrey Hall, Psychology;
Assoc. Prof. Judith Saltman, Library, Archival and Information
Studies; Sr. Lect. Allen Sens, Political Science; Faculty
of Commerce: Lect. Deborah Meredith;
- Faculty of Dentistry: Clin. Assoc. Prof. Ian Matthew,
Oral Biological and Medical Sciences;
- Faculty of Education: Prof. Graeme Chalmers, Curriculum
Studies; Assoc. Prof. Bonny Norton, Language and Literacy
- Faculty of Forestry: Asst. Prof. Paul Wood, Forest Resources
- Faculty of Graduate Studies: Prof. Wesley Pue, Law; Prof.
Michael Chandler, Psychology;
- Faculty of Law: Prof. Anthony Sheppard;
- Faculty of Medicine: Assoc. Prof. Sylvie Langlois, Medical
Genetics; Prof. Andrew Macnab, Pediatrics; Director, Asst.
Prof. Lesley Bainbridge, Rehabilitation Sciences;
- Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences: Prof. John McNeill;
- Faculty of Science: Asst. Prof. Andre Marziali, Physics
and Astronomy; Prof. James Berger, Zoology; Assoc. Prof.
Michael Feeley, Computer Science.