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Mount Allison professor receives top Atlantic teaching award

Mount Allison University's Geography and environment professor Dr. Colin Laroque

Mount Allison University’s Geography and environment professor Dr. Colin Laroque

Geography and environment professor Dr. Colin Laroque has been recognized once again for his excellence as a teacher. Laroque received the 2012 Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) Distinguished Teaching Award, which recognizes outstanding teaching over a number of years.

Laroque was the 2011 recipient of the Herbert and Leota Tucker Teaching Award — one of Mount Allison’s most prestigious honours — recognizing not only teaching excellence, but educational leadership and a scholarly approach to teaching. He has also won multiple Paul Paré Excellence Awards, which recognize outstanding faculty research, scholarship, and creative performance in combination with excellence in teaching.

The AAU winners are chosen from among the top professors at each of the 17 university campuses in the Atlantic region.

“It is humbling to get a teaching award on campus, but when it comes from all the campuses together, it is very humbling,” Laroque says. “You are going up against some pretty fantastic people.”

The AAU citation reads, in part: “Colin Laroque’s easy communication style, sense of humour, and openness help him relate to students on a personal, human level, inspiring excitement about the material, connecting them with the environment, and making them feel included in a classroom community. Colin is also open to learn everything that students can teach him and he continuously refines his teaching methods based on their feedback.”

Laroque was cited for balancing cutting-edge research with exceptional teaching and for seeking every opportunity to take students outside the classroom, developing, for example, a week-long, intensive field course in Jasper National Park.

Laroque is also the heart and soul of the Mount Allison Dendrochronology Lab (MAD Lab). Its work has been featured in a several television programs, most recently PBS’s History Detectives, where Larorque and his team used tree-ring analysis to help confirm a family heirloom was madefrom part of the Titanic wreckage.

“Mount Allison prides itself on the quality of its teaching and Colin Laroque is a perfectexample of why,” says Dr. Karen Grant, vice-president, academic and research. “Colin is passionate about his discipline, dedicated in his research, and focused on building capabilities in his students and motivating them to succeed.”

This is the second year in a row a Mount Allison professor has received this award and is the seventh award for the University’s faculty members. Previous winners include Rosemary Polegato (2011), Elizabeth Wells (2008), Erin Steuter (2006), Robert Lapp (2003), Robert Summerby-Murray (2000), and Alex Fancy (1991).

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