posted on Oct. 25: Teaching awards nominations go high-tech


Know a prof who deserves a teaching award this year? You can now nominate that prof for an award with the simple click of a button.

The McMaster Teaching Awards Committee (TAC) and the McMaster Students Union Web page editor have brought the teaching awards nominations on line. Just click here to nominate your prof for an award.

Nominations are being accepted all this week. McMaster students can put forward the names of deserving professors for one of the following: Faculty-specific awards, merit awards, lifetime achievement award.

Teaching awards are designed to recognize and encourage excellence in teaching at McMaster. In addition to the faculty awards, two Merit Awards are given to professors in their first or second year of teaching, and a Lifetime Achievement Award is given to a professor who has been at the University for more than 10 years and is nearing retirement.

The Web-based nomination form is the Teaching Award Committee's first step in the rapidly growing world of the internet. The initiative is aimed at increasing student participation in the nomination process. “The internet continually allows information to be easily accessed. I think that this year's initiative will prove to be a very successful method of increasing student nominations,” says Andrea Dumbrell, TAC chair.

Sushee Perumal, the MSU Web page editor who designed the electronic form, agrees. “I will not be surprised if we get a tenfold increase in nominations from previous years. With a Web-based nomination process, you can sip hot chocolate from the comfort of your own home while nominating your prof and feel good about it.”

In developing the online form, a number of security and validity issues needed to be addressed. Students were worried about the authenticity of the voting process, and concerns have been raised about students contributing a large quantity of ballots from a single computer. Due to anonymity of nominations, the Web server cannot request names, student numbers or e-mail addresses from users. To address these concerns, Perumal has developed a method of tracking individual computer addresses. “Nominations would include this unique address, in effect keeping track of the source of submissions. If students submit more than their fair share of nominations, we'll know.”

In addition to the online process, nominations can also be made at the booths set up from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the following campus locations: Monday: BSB lobby; Tuesday: Mills Library; Wednesday: JHE lobby; Thursday:CNH lobby (by Starbucks); Friday: Mills Library.