FES prof makes first cut in TVO contest

TVO has selected environmental studies Professor Anders Sandberg as one of 38 semi-finalists to compete for the title of Ontario’s Best Lecturer in the 2008 "Big Ideas" Best Lecturer Competition.

Right: Anders Sandberg

Sandberg is a geographer who specializes in wilderness preservation, resource management and conservation history. He is also associate dean of York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies.

A panel of independent judges will review video submissions of the semi-finalists’ lectures and produce a shortlist of 10 finalists. The judges – former teacher, school principal and politician Zanana Akande; author, poet, retired York English professor and award-winning journalist Barry Callaghan; and actor, writer and producer Tony Nardi – will look for lecturers who engage their listeners with passion, flair and clarity, conveying their knowledge with genuine conviction.

The 10 finalists will deliver complete lectures on "Big Ideas" over five weeks beginning March 1. Then, it’s over to the viewers to vote and ultimately decide who will be Ontario’s next Best Lecturer. The winner’s institution will receive a $10,000 scholarship from TD Meloche Monnex, which sponsors the contest.

"Big Ideas" is TVO’s televised lecture series. The Best Lecturer Competition, now in its third year, draws submissions from universities and colleges across the province. The teaching specialties of this year’s nominees range from abnormal psychology, forensic anthropology and evolutionary ecology to culinary arts, medieval literature and intellectual capital.

York professors made the top 10 finals in the first two contests: law Prof. Allan Hutchinson in 2007; and musicologist Rob Bowman and astronomer Paul Delaney in the inaugural contest in late 2005. Many more made the top-30 semi-finals in 2007 (see the July 26, 2006 issue of YFile).

For a complete list of the 38 semifinalists, including contestant bios, videoclips of lectures, student quotes and full contest details, visit TVO’s Best Lecturer Web site.