York teaching assistant Mike Vesia has won a University-Wide Teaching Award this year. The doctoral student in kinesiology has been conducting undergraduate labs since 2001 when he started his master of science degree at York. The award is the latest accolade Vesia has received during his academic career, after a string of scholarships.
Left: Mike Vesia
The fledgling neuroscientist is doing his PhD dissertation on eye-hand coordination during transcranial magnetic stimulation of the brain cortex, which may have both diagnostic and rehabilitative applications. He has taught research methods, data analysis and a course on skilled performance and motor learning, highly technical courses that students find challenging. Students uniformly praise his "preparation, knowledge and willingness to assist them as they attempt to master the concepts presented during the labs in these courses," wrote Merv Mosher, a senior lecturer in Kinesiology & Health Science, in his nomination letter. Students also consistently give Vesia an almost perfect score in their year-end evaluations.
Mosher is particularly grateful for Vesia’s willingness to "go the extra mile" for students – and for him. "At the start of the winter term in 2005 when I was unable to teach the first six weeks of a course due to a heart attack, Vesia was called upon to organize and coordinate the teaching assistants for the course. He did this willingly and efficiently," wrote Mosher.
Vesia is also "an excellent role model for new teaching assistants," said Mosher. The senior lecturer recommends that new TAs observe Vesia’s labs each week prior to teaching their own. "This has helped many of them be better prepared for their labs and as a result the undergraduate students have benefitted," wrote Mosher.
Vesia is one of two TAs and one of five instructors altogether to win this year’s University-Wide Teaching Awards. See the April 9 issue of YFile for profiles of the other four.