Michael Collins (1998)

collinsAffiliation at the time of the award: Memorial University, Biology.

Citation: Michael Collins has been described as a teacher of exceptional character, integrity and wisdom. His career-long commitment to creating the best possible learning environment for his students and his hard work and enthusiasm have inspired and promoted excellence in his students and peers. He led the introduction of new computer-based technologies into the university learning environment. He skillfully combines instruction and research. From 1988 to 1994, he was Director of General Studies where his energy and insight into the development and provision of support programs, help centres and an effective advising system ensured that incoming students received an excellent orientation together with counselling and support. In 1996, he was invited to become joint co- ordinator of Memorial’s Graduate Program in Teaching, a venture which he helped to plan and develop. This program initiated students from a wide variety of disciplines into teaching at the university level, as well as exposing them to a range of innovative instructional methods.

Michael has distinguished himself as an educational leader not only within his own discipline, but also across the university and beyond. Within the Department of Biology, he was responsible for the development of introductory and second year courses that were among the first at Memorial to use computer-based technologies in the classroom. More recently, he was the first professor at Memorial to offer a course on the World Wide Web. He has conducted numerous local, national and international workshops and presentations on topics such as the electronic classroom, use of electronic bulletin boards, computerized testing and most recently, developing web-based courses. He has presented the results of his studies into the effectiveness of these innovative techniques in international journals and at international conferences as well as at seminars and colloquia at Memorial University. He is the author of five articles on innovative teaching techniques published in the University’s Teaching and Learning Newsletter. These efforts resulted in his receipt of Memorial’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1996.

He has also just won an award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate Student Life at Memorial for his contributions to the Graduate Programme in Teaching which he co-coordinates. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors and Membership Chair of the (US) Society for College Science Teachers, and is the Provincial Representative for the (US) National Association of Biology Teachers. He is also Co-Chair of the planning committee for STLHE 2001 to be held at Memorial in June 2001.