Engineering prof receives Queen's teaching honour
Teaching has always been a vital component of academics for Brian Frank, this year’s recipient of the Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award. An associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Frank has been at Queen’s since 1993, completing his BSc, MSc and PhD degrees here.
“When I started my PhD, my passion was for the teaching aspect of it,” says Dr. Frank. “It’s a thrill to receive this award, and to see a university value teaching in this way.”
As a new faculty member, Dr. Frank enrolled in a teacher-training program offered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (then known as the Instructional Development Centre). He also worked with the CTL for three years as an educational development faculty associate, promoting teaching and different teaching initiatives at Queen’s.
Dr. Frank says he tries to provide a variety of experiences for students to develop, including in-class activities, team projects, and educational technology. He likes to begin his classes by sharing a concrete example, such as a current news item that relates to the day’s material, and posing a problem he can work through with the class.
Dr. Frank also believes in the value of community service learning, where students work with local clients to complete a task or project. He says it allows his students to learn about teamwork, communication, and other important skills in addition to the technical components of a course.
This year, Dr. Frank is developing a multimedia learning module that students can complete before class, so class time can be spent in the computer studio applying that knowledge and working through any difficulties they may be experiencing.
“I tend to change my course a lot every year based on what I see in the classroom and in the projects,” says Dr. Frank. “I try to provide a course structure that encourages my students and helps them stay on top of things.”
Established in 2003, the Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award recognizes undergraduate or graduate teaching that has had an outstanding influence on the quality of student learning at Queen’s. It is awarded annually for activities that lead to improved learning, including curriculum development, educational leadership, design and delivery of out-of-classroom educational experiences, or classroom teaching and supervision.
For more information about teaching awards at Queen’s visit the Centre for Teaching and Learning website.