Canadian Association of Physicists ASSOCIATION CANADIENNE DES


for Excellence in Teaching Physics

awarded to


"I regard the award as an educational opportunity; through the lecture accompanying the award, I can reach out to members of the physics community, who are hard pressed to find the time to meet all of their obligations, on ways to communicate more effectively with their students."

Professor Calvin S. KalmanOttawa, April 15th, 1999 - The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that its 1999 Medal for Excellence in Teaching Physics will be awarded to Professor Calvin Kalman of Concordia University for his dedication to the improvement of undergraduate physics teaching which has been manifest in both the classroom, where he has been a pioneer in employing innovative co-operative teaching techniques, and in the educational community, where he has disseminated his expertise in numerous papers on student-centered learning..

The main thrust of Dr. Kalman's endeavours is to replace the teacher-centered classroom in science courses, and physics in particular, with student-centered education. The traditional lecture-based teacher-centered classroom has been the basis of many studies during recent years. Such studies show that students entering university carry with them many preconceptions which cannot be addressed in the teacher-centered classroom and which doom many students to failure. Students hold views different from, or alternative to, those that they will be taught in their courses. This discovery about students has its roots in Piaget's early studies of the way children explain natural phenomena.

With these theoretical underpinnings, conceptual change models have become the norm for research on learning in physical and social science and mathematics. Dr. Kalman uses writing-to-learn and collaborative group methods to produce conceptual change. Writing is used to ensure that students are aware of the concepts underlying the topics being discussed, rather than viewing the material as an agglomeration of disembodied facts and formulae to be learned. Students write their way into an understanding of difficult concepts which they had not grasped before.

Dr. Kalman was born in 1944, and came to the Department of Physics at Concordia University in 1968 following studies at University of Rochester. He has been a Full Professor since 1984. He was Chair of the Physics Department for six years (83 to 89). He specializes in high energy particle research and physics education.

He is listed in the larger editions of Who's Who in the World and Who's Who in Science and Engineering. He received the Teaching Excellence Award from the Concordia University Council of Student (CIFF), in 1998. He is a frequent Conference Chair and Editor of Proceedings, International Series of Conferences on Hyperons, Charm and Beauty Mesons (Montreal 1996, Genoa 1998, Valencia 2000).

The CAP's Medal for Excellence in Teaching Physics was introduced in 1996 and has been awarded annually since. The 1999 Medal will be presented to Prof. Kalman during the CAP's awards banquet to be held at the University of New Brunswick on June 8th, 1999.

The Canadian Association of Physicists, founded in 1945, is a professional association representing over 1600 individual physicists and physics students as well as a number of Corporate and Departmental Members. In addition to its learned activities, the CAP also undertakes a number of activities intended to encourage students to pursue a career in physics.

For more information, please contact:

Canadian Association of Physicists
Tel: (613) 562-5614
Fax: (613) 562-5615

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