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Arts & Science faculty honoured with Early Career Teaching Award and Teaching Fellowship

Two Arts & Science faculty members are among this year’s recipients of the University of Toronto’s Early Career Teaching Award and Teaching Fellowship. Established in 2014, the award recognizes exceptional commitment to student learning, academic engagement and teaching innovation, while the fellowship aims to develop and support leadership and mentoring skills, and encourage capacity building to support teaching effectiveness and innovation.

David Liu — Department of Computer Science, Early Career Teaching Award

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream David Liu.

Professor David Liu began teaching at the University of Toronto in 2013, and took up his current position as assistant professor, teaching stream in the Department of Computer Science in 2015. His subject expertise and passion for innovative teaching methods led to the design and implementation of significant curricular and pedagogical developments in the seven computer science courses he has taught. Professor Liu’s ongoing contribution to the development of various pedagogical software tools used to support the learning of thousands of computer science students each year is commendable. The software gave more than 70 undergraduate students valuable experiential learning opportunities, as they worked to develop the software through summer internships, senior capstone courses, work-study positions, and the Research Opportunity Program.

In his short time at U of T, Professor Liu has taken on an active leadership role in the Computer Science undergraduate program and actively works to broaden and innovate computer science education across the University.

I’m truly honoured to receive this award. It’s great to be recognized for the hard work and care I’ve put into my teaching, and a true testament to how this university values and supports its teaching-stream faculty. It’s also important to recognize that this award wasn’t a solo effort; I’ve had great mentors from the Department of Computer Science who have given me valuable advice support, and opportunities for collaboration. I’ve also had fantastic students, who have been both a pleasure to teach, and many of whom have made significant contributions to the educational software projects I was recognized for in this award. – David Liu

Sarah Mayes-Tang — Department of Mathematics, Teaching Fellowship

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream Sarah Mayes-Tang.

Professor Sarah Mayes-Tang joined the Department of Mathematics as an assistant professor, teaching stream in 2017. She currently leads a team of instructors and teaching assistants as coordinator of the University’s largest mathematics course. Professor Mayes-Tang’s recent scholarly projects focused on innovative assessment techniques to both evaluate and improve conceptual learning. Her current projects include documenting the experiences of women teachers and students in math classrooms, developing programs to support TAs, and helping students develop positive attitudes towards mathematics.

Professor Mayes-Tang’s Fellowship will focus on the renewal and redesign of the Math 135/136 calculus sequence. These single-variable calculus courses are for Arts & Science students majoring in science and enrol approximately 2400 to 2700 students per year. This project will modernize the curriculum around the following: integrating technology and multiple representations of functions; increased focus on conceptual understanding; attention to the needs of the client disciplines; using active learning and interactive engagement methods; and, building sustainable communities of practice in the instructional team.

It is very encouraging that the university is investing in the development of large courses such as calculus. Seeing a course of this size through a significant curricular change is an incredible opportunity, and will likely only come around once in my career. The resources that the Fellowship will provide will help to ensure that we make well-informed, long-lasting, and high-quality changes. – Sarah Mayes-Tang

Professors Liu and Mayes-Tang will be honoured at an awards ceremony later this fall.

For a full list of this year’s recipients, see the announcement from Vice-President & Provost Cheryl Regehr and Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education, Susan McCahan.

With files from the Office of the Vice-President & Provost.