Master Teacher Award - Fall 2004
The Master Teacher Award honours faculty who excel as teachers at the University of Saskatchewan. Professor Terry Matheson receives this prestigious award at Fall Convocation, 2004.
Matheson earned his B.A .at the University of Winnipeg, his M.A. at the University of Manitoba, and his Ph.D. at the University of Alberta, specializing in American literature. Terry came to the English Department in 1972, becoming Professor in 1989.
Maclean's magazine calls Terry one of our most "Popular Profs." He has participated in high school orientations and sent his graduate students to careers in the discipline. He has offered teaching workshops, generously shared pedagogical techniques, offering advice to new faculty, and is familiar on radio and television discussing, always with humour and wisdom, the intricacies of language use and literature.
Dr. Matheson teaches smaller sections of introductory English, jumbo sections, and televised distance education classes with the confidence and humour of a teacher at home in his subject. His students respond: "I . . . extend my appreciation to you . . ." and "you rock!"
His senior undergraduates have said, "There is simply no way to overstate your influence on my life." Dr. Matheson also generates a sense of success in those who would be considered by some to have been unsuccessful: "I want to truly thank you for your faith in me . . . . I really enjoyed your class and learned a lot." The unsolicited letters from students to this "superlative teacher and mentor" agree that his classes are communities in which the head and the heart are at work. Not surprisingly, the University of Saskatchewan Students Union has given him their Teaching Excellence Award.
Graduate students seem unusually forthcoming with Dr. Matheson: "encouraging, conscientious, and supportive," with a "sense of humour worked nicely in conjunction with his openness to new ideas," his "attitude was. . . empowering to a graduate student." Matheson does not try to master anyone but nourishes what grows from the engagement of his abilities with the abilities of the student.
Professor Matheson's research and scholarly work are wide-ranging, publishing on American, Canadian, and Romantic literature, on science fiction and popular culture. His remarkable book, Alien Abductions: Creating a Modern Phenomenon (1998), obliges readers to understand these strange narratives in original ways.
Terry's colleagues believe that his dedicated service to teaching, his accommodation to the challenges of different classroom formats and distance education, for which he received the Garth Ferguson Award, his availability to students at every stage of their careers, his generous collegiality, and his pedagogical wisdom make him an ideal recipient of the Master Teacher Award.