posted on Feb. 7: Nominate your favourite prof for a teaching award


Second term classes are well under way, as McMaster students prepare for the usual assortment of midterms and papers that make February one of the more stressful months of the year.

Once again, students will be given the opportunity to nominate their favourite professors. During the week of Feb. 5-9 students can submit nominations at various locations across campus, as well as at

The considerable effort put forth by the Teaching Awards Committee (TAC) to promote the first nomination period last term proved successful as nominations increased more than 300 per cent compared to last year's total nominations.

I was extremely pleased with the turnout in the first term, said TAC chair Andrea Dumbrell.

A large part of this increase in nominations can be greatly attributed to the online initiation process piloted last semester, Dumbrell said.

Considering that this year marked the introduction of the online nomination process, I think that its success was undeniable, Dumbrell said. She also noted that an even greater number of nominations are expected online this term.

We hope that the online initiative will continue to become an even more successful medium, she said. For the second semester, the goal of the TAC will be to increase the number of online nominations to at least 300.”

Dumbrell noted that the process of online nominations was much easier for students, who didn't have to find one of the nomination tables on campus.

Dumbrell also pointed out that success was due, in part, to the effort and motivation exhibited by this year's committee.

The TAC put a huge effort into getting the word out first term, Dumbrell said. Their ability to bring the nomination period into classrooms via overheads and announcements certainly raised the students' awareness of the MSU teaching awards. As well, an advertising campaign using the Silhouette, CFMU, Student Representative Assembly and the MSU Web site continued to promote the event as something worthy of McMaster students; attention.

With more than 500 nominations in total last semester, the TAC is hoping to double that number this semester, to reach a goal of 1,000 plus nominations.

One of the major concerns with the introduction of the online nominations last semester was the possibility that individuals would find a way to submit masses of nominations for a single professor. According to Dumbrell, there were only a few problems and they were rectified immediately.

Last term there were a few problems on the first day or so with some of the computers reporting an error in processing the nomination, Dumbrell said. These glitches were brought to the attention of the MSU Webmaster, Sushee Perumal, and he fixed them immediately.

Dumbrell doesn't foresee that this semester's online process will suffer from any computer problems.

Once professors have been nominated, the TAC will choose the faculty awards based on the top four professors nominated in each faculty by a randomly selected group of students in their class. Each student nomination is out of 100 marks, and student totals from each class are averaged and an overall percentage assigned to the professor. These averaged percentages are what determine the winner from each faculty.

“If the competition between professors in a single faculty is very close (within 2 per cent), the committee makes the final decision based on the remarks portion of the student evaluation, explained Dumbrell. Along with one professor in each faculty receiving an award, there will also be presentations for the Merit award and Lifetime Achievement award.

The TAC is also preparing for the annual MSU Teaching Awards Ceremony to be held on March 21 at 5:30 p.m. in Convocation Hall.

It is at this time that the final winners of the MSU teaching awards will receive their (well-deserved) recognition, Dumbrell said. As well, we will announce the winner of this year's Merit and Lifetime Achievement awards.

Students will find nomination locations in Togo Salmon Hall, Commons, Mills, and Burke Science the week of February 5-9. Students can also log on to to cast their votes.