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 University-wide award selected entirely by undergraduate students.

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Award is also awarded from the same pool of nominees by the Vice President, Education to recognize teaching excellence alongside winners from our other partners in the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance.

The instructor is nominated by a student, is then endorsed by their class of students, and finally the WUSA Teaching Award Selection Committee advises the is comprised of students (the next year’s Undergraduate Student Senators, the WUSA President Vice-President Education and incoming President and 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!

Awards for the 2020 Teaching Year

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 WUSA Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, Drs. Zack Cramer and Mark Stewart Dolson and of the OUSA Teaching Award, Dr. Tara Bissett.

Teaching Award Winner, Zack CramerDr. Cramer, a Lecturer in the Mathematics Undergraduate Group in the Faculty of Mathematics, receives this award after a genuine groundswell of nominations pointed out his efficacy in creating a learning environment while teaching over 1000 students in 2020. Creating an environment teaching large courses poses a special difficulty, but students noted his dedication including his work in designing videos that were “intuitive”, “high-quality”, and “second to none”. Dr. Cramer’s embrace of technology to bridge the COVID gap, his attention to quality teaching in the large-section context, and meeting students where they are all make him a model recipient for WUSA’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Teaching Award Winner, Mark Stewart Dolson

Dr. Dolson is a Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Health Systems and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. Students and is faculty endorsee all attested to his inspiring teaching philosophy, driven by a passion for deep learning. His nominees have shared in depth how they felt his teaching has changed their outlook not just on the subject matter, but on life generally. His instruction has led to expansion in enrollments in the electives he teaches and his compassion for students, strong teaching scores and high number of student endorsements all reflect his passion. It is WUSA’s honour to present Dr. Dolson as our nominee for the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

OUSA Teaching Award Winner, Tara BissettDr. Tara Bissett is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. Dr. Bissett’s teaching has been wide reaching, from the design studio to teaching about research and writing. In only a relatively short time teaching at Waterloo, she has also developed her own course “Architecture: Pre-Renaissance to Reformation”. Her teaching has been met with widespread acclaim by her students, even with the added difficulty that remote teaching has presented. Her nominators endorsed her prioritization of mental health, her willingness to learn about student’s hobbies and interests, her use of film as a teaching tool, her commitment to teaching non-Eurocentric perspectives, and the deep learning approach of her course deliverables. Her faculty endorsee expressed that Dr. Bissett never wants to rest on her laurels. Her commitment to new pedagogical approaches and care for students make her a shining example of the quality of teaching and a model recipient for the OUSA Teaching Award.

Past Recipients

Previous winners of the WUSA Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award:

Awards are given the year after the teaching year recognized. For example, the award for teaching in the year 2014 was given in 2015.

Dr. Mohammed Nasser
Dr. Veronica Austen

Prof. Steve Balaban
Dr. Brenda Lee

Dr. Chris Vigna
Dr. Chad Wriglesworth and Dr. Norm Klassen

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