WUSA Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award

The Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award is presented every year to professors who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to undergraduate student learning. The WUSA Teaching Award recognizes non-conventional teaching techniques, opportunities for experiential learning, and a long-term commitment and dedication towards ensuring academic success for undergraduate students.

This is the only award awarded by the University of Waterloo Senate selected entirely by undergraduate students: the instructor is nominated by a student, is then endorsed by their class of students, and finally the WUSA Teaching Award Selection Committee who makes the final decision is comprised of students (the Undergraduate Student Senators, the WUSA Vice-President Education, and the WUSA Academic Affairs Commissioner).


Is there a teacher who has inspired you this term? Check out the criteria below and complete the  nomination form to celebrate great teaching at the University of Waterloo.


The following three categories are considered during the selection process for the WUSA Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award:

Quality Teaching:
The delivery of course content and presentation of material is engaging and useful to the student. This can include anything from excelling in a traditional lecture style, to incorporating discussions for a seminar-format class, to the use of innovative and unique technologies for presenting material to students in an engaging way.

Commitment to Student Success:
The instructor is conscious and considerate of student well-being and is eager to aid students in ways which set them up for success. This can include being attentive to student needs and accommodations, helping students plan for future degrees or employment opportunities, or pointing students toward extra resources which will help students develop skills and excel in their personal, professional, and academic goals.

Looking Beyond the Classroom:
Opportunities which allow students to work with or apply course materials outside of the classroom are available. This includes experiential learning opportunities, field trips, participation in events and extracurricular activities which provide students with the opportunity to engage with materials outside of a lecture, lab, tutorial, etc.

The nomination deadline is the second Friday in February. The winners are announced at the March meeting of Senate and awards will be presented at the Annual President’s Reception for Excellence in Teaching and Research in April.

Nominate a teacher today!

2018 Award Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 WUSA Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award: Dr. Chris Vigna, Lecturer and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Kinesiology, Dr. Chad Wriglesworth and Dr. Norm Klassen, Associate Professors, English Language and Literature!

Chris VignaThe WUSA Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award is based solely on student nominations and feedback, showing the impact the recipient has had on their students. Dr. Vigna’s students described him as a kind, charismatic, patient, and respectful professor who deeply cares about students and their learning. Praised for a “highly infectious enthusiasm which makes it impossible not to stay engaged,” his students have “fallen in love with the course material” just as much as he has. Admired for his “comfortable and open classroom dynamic,” students found his lectures to be incredibly engaging, personable, and fun, free of stress and anxiety. Students said Vigna makes them feel “at home in the classroom,” and as one student notes, “coming to class actually makes me feel better not just about my academics, but about who I am as a person.” His outstanding care, compassion, and commitment to student success and well-being was obvious in the dozens of nominations we received, making him a clear choice as one of this year’s award recipients.

Dr. Wriglesworth and Dr. Klassen

Dr. Wriglesworth was nominated by many of his students this year for his co-taught RS 291 course titled The Sacramental Imagination. He was described by his students as a thoughtful, compassionate, and inspiring professor whose passion for course material is “obvious and contagious.” His students found him to be incredibly supportive and considerate, going out of his way to help students engage with course materials outside of the classroom and in their own personal lives. Helping students “realize their thoughts can go deeper and that there are always many layers to what you see,” Wriglesworth brings a new approach and perspective to learning that is “refreshing, timely, and life changing.” The abundant praise received from his students made him a clear choice as one of this year’s award recipients for the WUSA Teaching Award.

Dr. Klassen was also nominated for his co-taught course, RS 291: The Sacramental Imagination. His students describe him as a passionate, engaging, and inspirational professor who left them with “more thoughts than [they] knew [they] could think about.” One particular student even described him as “the most mind-blowing and outstanding professor” they have had during their time at Waterloo. He devoted time to personally get to know each of his students, making them feel that their opinions, ideas, and interpretations were not just relevant, but important. Students felt that Klassen always encouraged them to push themselves, to try their hardest, explore new ways of thinking, and to never settle when they knew they could do better. His teaching approach and dedication to helping students grow personally and academically made him a clear choice as one of this year’s award recipients.

Dr. Wriglesworth and Dr. Klassen were also this year’s recipients of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance’s (OUSA) Teaching Excellence Award (External link). Each OUSA member school presents a faculty member from their respective institution with a Teaching Excellence Award. The award recipient is selected based on OUSA’s yearly priorities, and is presented at the organization’s Partners in Higher Education Dinner at the end of the winter term. Learn more about OUSA’s 2018 Teaching Excellence Award Recipients(External link).

Past Recipients

Previous winners of the WUSA Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award:

Dr. Frankie Condon

Michelle Ashburner

Prof. Rohan Jayasundera

Dr. Josh D. Neufeld
Dr. Chad Wriglesworth

Alex Shum

Dr. Gordon Stubley

Dr. Mark Seasons

Professor Doug Kirton

Dr. Robert B. Mann