Remembering Sue Vajoczki


To the McMaster community:

It is with profound sadness that I share the news that our colleague Sue Vajoczki passed away over the weekend.

Sue was an internationally recognized award-winning teaching professor and scholar whose passion for teaching, learning and students touched every corner of our campus and beyond. Since 2010 she led McMaster’s Centre for Leadership in Learning and was an associate professor in the School of Geography & Earth Sciences.

As an enthusiastic educator and lifelong learner, Sue demonstrated an enduring commitment to linking the student and classroom experience with research, and translating this into effective pedagogical leadership and heightened student achievement. She generously shared her expertise, serving on three of the education sub-groups for Refining Directions.

A three-time McMaster graduate, Sue was committed in all of her endeavours to helping improve student learning at every level. “I have a passion for learning, a need to understand why, and an interest in how things work and why they work the way they do,” she noted. After arriving at McMaster in 1985, Sue held many teaching roles and served as director of Experiential Education in the Faculty of Social Sciences and as a member of the President’s Task Force on Student Engagement and the Provost’s Task Force on Teaching and Learning.  She was awarded the prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship Award earlier this year.

She was a driving force within several organizations, committees and boards, including the Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and co-chair of the 9th Annual International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference, hosted by McMaster, and slated to begin October 24.

Sue’s dedication to students and academic excellence demonstrated how she valued engagement, critical evaluation, and controlled experimentation in enhancing university teaching and learning. Her many contributions will be greatly missed by her colleagues and friends.

The Susan Vajoczki Legacy Fund has been established at McMaster to honour Sue’s memory and distinguished academic career. The fund will be used to create an ongoing undergraduate scholarship to help talented students pursue research in Geography and Earth Sciences, pedagogical research, and evidence-based teaching and learning projects. The precise details of the scholarship will be developed in consultation with Sue’s family and colleagues for approval by the University Senate. For those wishing to do so, donations may be made to the Susan Vajoczki Legacy Fund, c/o Advancement Office, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4L8 or may be made online.

Alternatively, donations in honour of Sue may also be made to the Juravinski Cancer Centre or the Stedman Community Hospice.


Patrick Deane

* Friends will be received at the Dennis Toll Funeral Home, 55 Charing Cross Street, Brantford on Wednesday, October 10, from 2-4 p.m. & 7-9 p.m. The funeral service will be held in the funeral home chapel on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 11 a.m followed by a private interment at Mt. Zion Cemetery.