Jeffrey Steeves

Master Teacher Award - Fall 2007

Professor Jeffrey Steeves is the quintessential teacher-scholar who combines strong research and scholarship with classroom teaching that is dynamic, compelling, evocative, and inspirational, and that facilitates independent thinking and inquiry, and a deepening of human understanding.

Professor Steeves’s academic record speaks for itself, as he has published in highly regarded international and comparative journals such as The Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics. His main field of research is comparative government and politics in Africa and South Asia and his scholarship has focused on democracy and the politics of decentralization and ethnicity. He has conducted much field research in both Africa and South Asia, and he has continually used his findings and experiences to enrich and deepen the content of his lectures and seminars, as his students have testified at length.

Professor Steeves’s teaching has been widely recognized by students and faculty at the University of Saskatchewan and beyond. He was nominated three times for the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award, in 1995, 2000 and 2005, and in 2002 he achieved the distinction of being awarded the College of Arts and Science’s Teaching Excellence Award. In 2001 and 2002 he was also recognized by the Maclean’s Annual Survey of Canadian Universities as one of the best teachers at the University of Saskatchewan.

Students consistently draw attention to Professor Steeves’s remarkable capacity to spark attentiveness and stimulate interest, his mastery of his subject, his extraordinary energy, the currency of his material, his genuine concern for the well-being of his students, his striking rapport with students, and his wide-ranging knowledge. His course evaluations over the years bear a remarkable testimony not only to his capacity to inspire students but the significant impact that he has had on their academic and professional lives.

In a letter written in support of Professor Steeves’s nomination for the Master Teacher Award, a former student captured the essence of this remarkable colleague’s gifts:

“Without a doubt, Professor Steeves was the best professor I have ever had, and he is truly an inspiration to me. He was so much more than a university teacher, he was a guide and mentor and I am indebted to him for the path of life I chose.

What struck me most about Dr. Steeves class was that he taught more than just politics and theory; he taught how ideas were more important than papers, people more important than theory, and how dedication, kindness and humour can truly play an important role in politics and the world. Most importantly he taught me the value of continuous learning, not for the sake a degree or certificate, but for the sheer passion of it”.