Don Westwood (1997)

westwoodAffiliation at the time of the award: Carleton University, Architecture.

Citation: Donald Westwood has been a consistently outstanding teacher since his appointment to the School of Architecture at Carleton in 1971. Without fail, his teaching evaluations have been superior. His students have always identified and celebrated his wit, enthusiasm and thorough mastery of his subject. Don’s teaching activities reflect his wide-ranging interests. Within the School of Architecture he teaches a range of courses at all levels, but has principle responsibility for the part of the program dealing with structure and technology. In addition, he has co-taught courses in Civil Engineering and Industrial Design as well as in the Technology, Science and the Environment Program. At the opposite side of the University he became involved in a Children’s Literature course where he created an enormously popular video series in order to recreate for adult students the childhood experience of hearing these stories read by a master story teller.

Don Westwood has brilliantly bridged the gap between minimum budget live-classroom television and commercial television and his TVO series “The Science of Architecture” has won awards and enjoys an international audience. The series is now distributed in thirty countries and is cited as a standard reference item for design courses in Civil Engineering. Those outside the School of Architecture are most aware of his innovations in television based distance education which include “Bridge Busting”, structural Engineering laboratories, and the use of commercially produced public educational materials in his courses. Carleton recognized Don’s powerful and innovative teaching skills by awarding him both of the internal teaching honours for which he is eligible. The University Teaching Achievement Award in 1993 enabled him to work on new ways to deliver his own courses. In 1994, he was named the inaugural Carleton University Teaching and Learning Scholar and seconded to the Teaching and Learning Resource Centre with a mandate to investigate new ways to exploit the potential of video to enhance teaching and learning. To that end, he has attended conferences, conducted experiments, written columns for Carleton’s Teaching and Learning newsletter, helped to animate a support group for instructors teaching on television, led workshops and given presentations.