Gary R. Davis
Master Teacher Award - Fall 1998
Professor Davis joined the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics during the 1991-92 academic year. He received his B.Sc. (Honours) from McMaster University, his M.Sc. from the University of Toronto, and his Doctoral degree from Oxford University. He was tenured in the Department and promoted to Associate Professor in 1995.
Professor Davis has been nominated for the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union (USSU) Teaching Excellence Award three times and he was its recipient in 1994. He has also been awarded the 1997-98 Department of Physics and Engineering Physics Teacher of the Year Award for outstanding performance in teaching. Both of these awards specifically recognized his commitment and dedication to teaching excellence and his respect for his students and for his position as teacher. His reputation is such that students try hard to get into his section of Physics 111.6, and it is reported that some students in other sections even sneak into his class.
Professor Davis has been a member of the First-Year Transition Teaching Circle since 1993 and has served as its Coordinator since 1995. This Circle focuses on the transition from high school to university, the difficulties students encounter, the implications for teaching, and how instructors can facilitate the transition. His dedication, organizational skills, and commitment have been major factors in the success of this Teaching Circle. In addition, Professor Davis has a very active research program involving three experimental programs, two satellite based and one ground based, and he is developing an excellent relationship with his international peers.
As a teacher, Professor Davis' lectures have a wonderful clarity. He anticipates when concepts might confuse his students and devises alternative presentations of ideas to make them clearer. He uses real examples, from baseball to space travel! Professor Davis has a sincere desire to see his students succeed. He encourages them to come to his office if they require assistance since he understands how difficult many students find Physics 111. He cares deeply about his teaching and through his organized, entertaining, and interactive lectures, he creates an environment conducive to learning. One student indicated that they had not enjoyed physics in high school and would never have taken Physics 111 if it had not been a prerequisite. Professor Davis was instrumental in this student developing a continuing interest and appreciation for the subject of Physics. By the high standards set in his professional and teaching career, Professor Davis has been an example and an inspiration to his many students, earning both their respect and affection. He is a truly deserving recipient of this year's Master Teacher Award.