Master Teacher Award - Spring 2008
Professor Baljit Singh is a most deserving recipient of the Master Teacher Award at the University of Saskatchewan. During a relatively short period of time, Dr. Singh has achieved high acclaim related to teaching which is unparalleled. Many faculty require decades to develop and demonstrate leadership and excellence in teaching. In addition to numerous teaching awards including the Norden Distinguished Professor Award (2003), he has also been recognized internationally for his excellence in research and graduate student training. Dr. Singh clearly exemplifies the “Teacher – Scholar” model promoted by the University in a passionate, unselfish and enthusiastic manner.
Dr. Singh provides lectures in the subject area of anatomy. This fundamentally important discipline may lack the glamour and excitement of many clinically oriented courses, but Baljit has the unique ability to raise the profile of the subject material. His lectures have been described on repeated occasions as dynamic, full of enthusiasm, well organized, innovative, fantastic and challenging. He is totally concerned that students learn and understand. One colleague states, “he emphasizes understanding of concepts more than rote memorization and develops students’ life long learning skills.” One student wrote that “Dr. Singh has the elusive ability to explain complex pathophysiological processes in a simple straightforward manner.”
Outside the classroom, Dr. Baljit Singh provided leadership and mentorship to many students through his involvement in the “Faculty-in-Residence” program, which is now a nationally and internationally recognized student support program. Through this program University students, mostly first-year students, are provided insightful guidance and discussion forums on a variety of topics ranging from political, social to philosophical themes. One colleague indicated that “he sees the students' experience on a holistic level with academics being important, but only a segment of the whole.” His personable style with an infectious enthusiastic demeanor greatly encourages student participation.
Dr. Singh has championed many educational initiatives in recent years. He enabled the Western College of Veterinary Medicine to be the first Canadian university to participate in the Merek Veterinary Scholars Program, a summer research and learning experience. He provided leadership in the Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences during the recent curriculum review. He led and coordinated the development of an innovative “Biomedical Rounds” for first year students which integrated concepts from the basic sciences of anatomy, histology, embryology, physiology and biochemistry. Internationally, he has provided leadership in teaching of anatomical sciences as President of the American Association of Veterinary Anatomists.
Baljit Singh is distinctly a gifted teacher. His personable and enthusiastic style has inspired many students from a diversity of perspectives. The impact of his teaching will influence the pathways of both students and colleagues for many years. He leads by example, not only academically, but also in every aspect of daily life.