Simon Ellis (2013)

Ellis1Affiliation at the time of the award: University of British Columbia, Wood Science.

Citation: “Where would our undergraduate programs be without Dr. Ellis? He is one of the chosen ones.” As a ‘youngster he wanted to be a Coke truck driver or a meteorologist with a PhD, but as a second-year GTA, in an “aha!” moment, he found he wanted to teach. Now, Simon says, “My career path chose me.”

His colleagues call him a “key faculty member.” Why? Simon teaches in a department almost exclusively research-driven, where he is the inspiring advocate, mentor, and innovator for teaching. What, you may wonder, is Simon’s specialty and passion? Wood. He is the Professor of Wood. What do his students think of him? “Give this man a raise because he is a rare gift to teaching. Make clones of this man to teach the world”—not a bad idea.

Simon chairs active committees on recruiting, teaching, and curriculum. He works closely with the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, earning many grants for pedagogical research and several awards for his pedagogical practice. “Helping a group of students understand wood—about which I am passionate—sparks something in me.”