2013 Medal Winners | francais

The 2013 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics (Quebec and Nunavut)

is awarded to

Chris Whittaker

winner citation

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2013 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics (Quebec and Nunavut) is awarded to Chris Whittaker, Dawson College, in recognition of for his promotion of active learning pedagogies for teaching physics in Québec. Besides writing and producing episodes for CBC’s Ideas, Chris’ background includes a Masters degree in Engineering Physics and another Masters in Social Work. This unusual background makes Chris a unique teacher who continues to show exceptional interest in his students and genuine care for their conceptual learning. As chair of the physics department and later as Science program coordinator at Dawson, Chris spearheaded the design of next generation Active Learning Classrooms (enviously referred to by non-Dawson faculty as ‘the holodeck’). It is with great pleasure that the Canadian Association of Physicists names Mr. Chris Whittaker as the Québec recipient of this award. announcement

Chris Whittaker has been a physics teacher at Dawson College for over 15 years. In this time he has gained the respect of his students, colleagues and the administration alike. They equally have high regard and praise for him as a teacher, mentor and innovator. His commitment and passion for teaching is clearly demonstrated by the effort and time put into his pedagogy, preparation of classroom activities and out-of-class tutoring. Within the Dawson community he is currently the Coordinator of the Science Program; and, in the past has been the Chairperson of the Physics Department and member of the Dawson Senate – the College’s academic decision-making body. Chris is the engine behind an initiative to develop SCALE-UP type active learning spaces at the College. He has played a major role in designing and overseeing the remodeling of two physics labs and two Active Learning Classrooms (ALC) – the second now in progress. These initiatives have gained him praise and recognition as a leader and innovator. A major consequence of this work has been to support his colleagues’ developments in using active learning pedagogy. In the process of doing so, he has been instrumental in creating a vibrant and growing active learning community of practice among the faculty at large. His contribution to the larger physics community is demonstrated by contributions as section representative of the Quebec Association of Physics Teachers (QcAPT-AAPQc) and active participation in CAP/DPE events. Last but not least, Chris continues to set new challenges for himself and over the last six years has been involved in physics education research (PER). This path has allowed him to explore and reflect deeply on how to improve students’ learning through the intersection of pedagogy, classroom and technology design. He is an active contributor to CAP Congress, and other national and international conferences. nominator citation

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