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Three Carleton University Professors Make the Top Ten in Academic Idol Competition

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September 6, 2005

Source: Carleton University:

Three Carleton University Professors Make the Top Ten in Academic Idol Competition

(Ottawa)—Today, the Chair and CEO for TVOntario, Isabel Bassett, announced that three Carleton University professors placed in the top ten of the first TVO Best Lecturer Competition. They are Brian Little, Dan McIntyre, and Warren Thorngate all from Carleton’s Department of Psychology.

“This is a coup for Carleton,” says President David Atkinson. “It is also a statement about the calibre of teaching that is taking place in the Psychology Department and the University as a whole.”

“The three finalists are also active researchers who convey enthusiasm for their chosen topics to students in the classroom and are shining examples of how passionate researchers can make great teachers,” notes Mary Gick, proud chair of the Psychology Department.

The Best Lecturer Competition was the brainchild of TVO’s program Big Ideas. The producers launched the competition in the spring to find “which lecturers were able to open and engage students because they inspire and because they are memorable as great performers.” The program best described the contest as a search for professors “whose classes were not to be missed.”

TVO received a total of 359 nominations from faculty and students, resulting in 258 individual nominations. Show producers then narrowed the field to 169 and asked each professor to submit a video sample of their lectures. Using the following criteria, the producers then selected 63 quarter-finalists: clarity and coherence; energy and performance; and confidence and authority. A three-person jury composed of distinguished author and journalist Robert Fulford, playwright/actor Andrew Moodie, and the editor of Literary Review of Canada Bronwyn Drainie, then chose the 30 semi-finalists and top ten finalists. At each step along this journey, Carleton in relation to its size, outperformed every other Ontario university.

The overall winner of the first Ontario Best Lecturer Competition will be crowned on a TVO program currently scheduled for mid-November. The TV audience will vote for their favorite lecturer and ultimately choose the winner. A $10,000 TD Meloche Monnex scholarship will be presented to the winning university.

Brian Little
Dr. Little currently holds joint appointments at Harvard and Carleton Universities. At Carleton, where he is a Distinguished Research Professor, he has received a number of major awards for both teaching and research, including the 1995 3M Award for Excellence in University Teaching. He was also the inaugural recipient of the Royal Bank Fellowship in University Teaching at McGill University. In 2000, he was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and for the past four years has lectured in Harvard's Department of Psychology. Students say: “The man simply shines as a lecturer.” “I've often described him to colleagues as across between Robin Williams and Albert Einstein.” “He is both the magical-twinkling-sparkling-orator and the absolutely-gifted-hard-nosed-scientist.” “I've never had a more engaging, knowledgeable professor.”

Dan McIntyre
Dr. McIntyre originally worked with Graham V. Goddard, an up and coming Neuroscience professor at the University of Waterloo, with whom he shared many research interests. This mentorship soon turned into a long-term collaboration, where they discovered and published what has become the most commonly used animal model of epilepsy today, a model they termed "kindling". Investigations of this model and its implications have become an endless pursuit, one for which Dr. McIntyre was awarded the highly prestigious American Epilepsy Society, or Milken Family award in 2003. As a Chancellors Professor at Carleton in the Institute of Neuroscience, Dr. McIntyre mentors many graduate and undergraduate students, and maintains a very productive research laboratory, well funded by NSERC and CIHR. His students say: “Lectures are performances. I can type hundreds of words on how great Professor McIntyre is and you will never understand or have any feeling, either positive or negative, towards him, until you experience his lecture for yourself.”

Warren Thorngate
Dr. Thorngate received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of British Columbia in 1971, taught at the University of Alberta until 1979, then moved to Ottawa to begin his current position as a professor of psychology at Carleton University where he co-founded the National Capital FreeNet and Opera Lyra. Most of Dr. Thorngate’s research examines the foibles of human decision making and social behaviour but, in 1987, a random act of fate led him to develop university research and education capabilities throughout Latin America and Iran. Recently, he was honoured as the first Canadian to be appointed as an adjunct professor at Tehran University. His students say: “Professor Thorngate is popular because he combines intellectually stimulating content with wonderful class examples and a wicked sense of humour”… “His lecture style is engaging and intense, a cross between Stephen Lewis and John Cleese.”

Department of Psychology
The Department of Psychology at Carleton University includes basic sub-areas of the discipline such as cognitive, developmental, health, social, and neurosciences, as well as applied programs such as the Human Oriented Technology Lab and forensic psychology. The Psychology Department is home to two Canada Research Chairs (Hymie Anisman and Shawn Hayley both in the Institute of Neurosciences that is housed within Psychology), an industrial chair in User-Centred Design (Gitte Lindgaard), another 3M Teaching Award winter (Tim Pychyl), and a host of other dedicated scholars. The Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCI) and an interdisciplinary $28 million dollar Centre for Advanced Studies in Visualization and Simulation (V-SIM) (both under current construction on campus) will house state-of-the-art laboratories for basic and applied cognitive research, and are headed by Gitte Lindgaard (HCI), and Chris Herdman and Jo-Anne LeFevre (V-SIM), all members of the Psychology Department.


For more information:
Lin Moody
Media Relations
Carleton University
613-520-2600 ext. 8705



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