York professors make TVO’s top 30

In a field of 18,600, four of York’s most popular professors have been named among the top 30 in the run-up to a competition to find Ontario’s best lecturers that will be aired on TV Ontario in the fall.

The four – Rob Bowman, Dalton Kehoe, Paul Delaney and John Dwyer (see profiles below) – were nominated by students and then selected by a panel of judges in a process conducted by the program’s producers. The 30 top candidates will be considered by the judges for a place among the 10 finalists who will be featured on TVO’s “Big Ideas” program.

Irshad Manji

Right: Irshad Manji, host of TVO’s “Big Ideas” program

“The future of this province is in so many ways affected by Ontario’s 18,600 professors,” says TVO in an article in its viewers’ magazine. “Every day in every postsecondary institution across the province, there are teachers and professors giving it their all — conveying their knowledge, offering their experience, and sharing their wisdom. In so doing, they open the minds and hearts of their students to new horizons.”

In addition to coming from one of the best-represented universities in the final 30, three of the four York lecturers teach for the Division of Social Science in York’s Faculty of Arts. “It’s always nice to be recognized,” said Kehoe, one of the three social scientists, “but what I think is particularly nice about this is that it’s coming from outside.”

“Big Ideas” producer Wodek Szemberg gave Ontario students a unique opportunity to acknowledge professors whose lectures resonated with the class. It was a journey through 359 nominations, culminating in 63 final submissions. Judges, including columnist Robert Fulford, playwright Andrew Moodie, and Literary Review of Canada editor Bronwyn Drainie, shortlisted the nominees to 30. They looked for lecturers who could explain their thesis clearly, were passionate about their topic, and conveyed their views with confidence and flair.

The final 10 lecturers will each give a televised lecture. Viewers will get the chance to vote online or by telephone for their favourite lecturer following each broadcast. The lectures will be aired, two a week for five weeks, beginning Saturday, Oct. 15, at 1pm.

For more information about the Ontario’s Best Lecturers Competition and a profile of each nominated lecturer, visit the TVO Web site.

York’s nominated lecturers (as profiled on TVO’s Web site) are:

Rob BowmanRob Bowman

Associate professor of ethnomusicology in the Department of Music of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, Bowman pioneered popular music studies at York. He lectures, publishes and broadcasts in many areas of popular music, from country, R&B and gospel to reggae, rap and funk and also teaches in the Division of Social Science. He has written liner notes for dozens of recordings and regularly authors, produces and advises on major documentary and CD reissue projects for record companies in Europe and North America. His many broadcast credits include a five-part radio series on the history of Canadian popular music and frequent guest spots on CBC Radio’s Definitely Not the Opera.

Bowman’s book, Soulsville, U.S.A. – The Story of Stax Records (1997), a definitive history of the legendary Memphis-based record label, has garnered numerous honours, including the Sweet Soul Music Award at the Poretta Soul Festival, Italy, and the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award.

Parallel to his career as a teacher, writer, critic and broadcaster, Rob Bowman continues to perform professionally. His instruments – voice, euphonium, viola da gamba – reflect his eclectic musical interests: he is equally at home performing rock, jazz, rhythm and blues, and baroque music. Bowman currently serves as director of York’s Graduate Program in Ethnomusicology & Musicology.

What Bowman’s students say: “He’s definitely someone who enjoys his job and it is reflected in the way he teaches.”…”I have never seen a prof this passionate about the work and definitely makes the students eager to learn.”

Paul DelaneyPaul Delaney

Paul Delaney was born in South Australia and received his bachelor’s degree in science (experimental physics) at the Australian National University in Canberra. He then proceeded to complete graduate studies at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, specializing in observational astronomy. Since that time, he has worked as a nuclear physicist for Atomic Energy of Canada, a support astronomer at McGraw Hill Observatory near Tucson, Arizona and from 1986, as a faculty member in the Department of Physics & Astronomy in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering.

Currently, apart from his lecturing duties, he is the campus observatory coordinator, director of the Division of Natural Science, and Master of Bethune College. He is passionate about science education, especially astronomy and space science, at all levels. When not on campus (rarely) he enjoys reading science fiction, playing chess and observing the heavens.

What Delaney’s students say: “He is one of those rare individuals with excellent communication skills and the ability to reach students from all ages”…”Paul has the innate ability to connect things we encounter in everyday life to the underlying science in an entertaining manner.”

John DwyerJohn Dwyer

Dwyer hails from British Columbia. He came to Ontario in 1985 and began teaching in York’s Division of Social Science, Faculty of Arts. He obtained his doctorate in the History of Ideas at the University of British Columbia in 1985 and has held teaching positions at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and North Island College on Vancouver Island. Dwyer is the author of numerous articles and two books that focus on the economist/philosopher Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. His most recent academic book, entitled Business History: Canada in the Global Community, was published in 2000 and is a textbook used in the first year BBA program in the Schulich School of Business. He’s taught everything from natural science to intellectual history including kinesiology. For the last few years, Dwyer also taught Critical and Analytical Thinking for Business, at Schulich.

Dalton KehoeDalton Kehoe

Kehoe teaches social science and communication studies in the Division of Social Science in York’s Faculty of Arts. He also teaches in the Executive Development Division of the Schulich School of Business. Kehoe’s communication courses focus on the interpersonal, small-group and organizational levels, and he conducts workshops on effective communication for leaders. He has won the Ontario Council of University Faculty Associations Award as one of the top teachers in the province and the University-Wide Teaching Award (1992) for full-time professors at York. He consults for a wide variety of organizations and does research on the effective use of technology in teaching and on the relationship between key organizational variables and the health of employees.

Kehoe’s research interests include interpersonal, small-group, and organizational communication; workshops on effective communication for leaders; effective use of technology in teaching.

What Kehoe’’s students say: “At the end of the semester he received a standing ovation from over 600 students”…”He literally kept you at the edge of your seat for an entire three-hour lecture. Remarkable.”