Law prof competes for TVO’s Best Lecturer title

York law Prof. Allan Hutchinson has made the final top-10 cut in TVOntario’s competition for Best Lecturer 2007.

Beginning Saturday, Jan. 13, at 4pm and continuing for five weeks, TVO will air lectures by the top-10 finalists. Hutchinson’s lecture will be the last to be aired on Feb. 10 and 11 at 4pm. Following each lecture is broadcast, viewers get a chance to vote online or by telephone for their favourite.

Right: Allan Hutchinson

If a York professor wins Best Lecturer 2007, the University will receive a $10,000 TD Meloche Monnex Scholarship, not to mention the prestige associated with winning the competition.

The top-10 finalists were selected by an independent three-person jury consisting of Margaret Wente, columnist for The Globe and Mail; Camilla Gibb, novelist and former University of Toronto writer-in-residence; and Tony Keller, managing editor of Maclean’s magazine.

Hutchinson was one of six York profs who made the top 30 this time out of 155 eligible candidates nominated by students and alumni of 19 Ontario colleges and universities. The other five were humanities Prof. Andrea Davis, theatre Prof. Robert Fothergill, education Prof. Heather Lotherington, political science Prof. Stephen Newman and law Prof. Alan Young.

"Big Ideas" launched its first search for best lecturer in 2004. It wanted to find lecturers who engaged, inspired and riveted audiences with their lectures. Last year’s finalists included York musicologist Rob Bowman and astronomer Paul Delaney.

Hutchinson has been a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School since 1982 and is currently associate dean of research, graduate studies and external relations at Osgoode. Educated at London and Manchester universities, he is a legal theorist with an international reputation for original and provocative writing. He has published in leading law journals, and written and edited many books. Much of his work has been devoted to examining the failure of law to live up to its democratic promise. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and his most recent books are Evolution and the Common Law (2004) and The Companies We Keep: Corporate Governance and Democracy (2005). Hutchinson teaches civil procedure, jurisprudence and torts. He has also written a book for students on how to succeed at law school. This year, York named him a distinguished research professor.

Hutchinson will be competing against: Maydianne Andrade, a biology professor at the University of Toronto (Scarborough); Ken Bartlett, a history prof at University of Toronto (St. George Campus); Rupinder Brar, a physics prof at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology; Jacalyn Duffin, a professor of medicine at Queen’s University; Marc Fournier, a psychology prof at University of Toronto (Scarborough); Steve Joordens, a psychology prof at University of Toronto (Scarborough); Bryan Karney, a civil engineering prof at University of Toronto (St. George Campus); Nick Mount, an English professor at University of Toronto (St. George Campus); and Michael Persinger, a psychology professor at Laurentian University.

To see a list of nominees and video clips of their lectures, visit TVO’s Best Lecturer Web site.