Top teachers recognized for excellence at UBC Okanagan

“Great teaching is fundamental to a university’s success and reputation; it is also among its highest ideals. UBC has fully committed to this in our institution’s goals,” said Cynthia Mathieson, Provost and Vice-Principal Academic, at an annual ceremony recognizing the campus’ outstanding teachers.

Two Teaching Excellence and Innovation awards were presented at the 2018 ceremony: Dr. Leyton Schnellert, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education, and Dr. Yang Cao, Senior Instructor and Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies in the School of Engineering received awards.

“Dr. Schnellert is viewed as a leader and a mentor by students, colleagues, and teachers alike,” said Mathieson. Schnellert was recognized for his innovative and transformative approach through co-teaching strategies and his work within a local elementary school, providing in situ field studies instruction and education. “This achievement has benefited many teacher candidates, current teachers, Faculty members at UBC, and hundreds of students in our community,” said Mathieson. “Dr. Schnellert creates safe and encouraging spaces for all to learn.”

Dr. Yang Cao from the School of Engineering also received a Teaching Excellence and Innovation award. Cao’s student-centered teaching approach is well-known: he earned the School of Engineering’s “Pioneer’s Award for Teaching Excellence” for 8 years in a row.

Mathieson highlighted Dr. Cao’s use of diverse, learner-centered teaching methods: “Students and faculty alike admire Dr. Cao’s teaching ability, his capacity to clearly explain concepts through different means from class lectures, to YouTube videos, all in an aim to better support students’ learning.”

Dr. Cao’s ongoing contributions to enhancing and expanding the Engineering program were also applauded, from creating and leading the Engineering Summer program, to working collaboratively across Faculties to make complimentary minors accessible for all engineering students.

Dr.’s Schnellert and Cao will be formally recognised for their outstanding achievements and commitment to teaching and learning at convocation in June.

Award Opportunities

UBC Okanagan recognizes teaching excellence and innovation through a number of prestigious awards. Recipients are exemplary role models who have significant impact on the culture of teaching and learning at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Awards are also available for undergraduate and graduate student teaching assistants and tutors, in recognition of their exceptional contributions to academic life. See a full listing of award opportunities. 

Funding Opportunities

The Office of the Provost supports curriculum innovation to enhance the learning environment at UBC’s Okanagan campus through two unique funds. See a full list of funding opportunities.