The UVic Torch · University of Victoria Alumni Magazine · Spring 1997

Alumni News

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 Photo of Dr. Joan Backus

 Photo of Dr. Dave Berry

 Dr. Joan Backus, School of Music
UVic Photo Services
 Dr. Dave Berry, Chemistry
UVic Photo Services

Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Awards

Drs. Dave Berry and Joan Backus, this year's winners of the Alumni Association's Excellence in Teaching Awards, share a love of teaching and a commitment to improving their teaching skills.

Berry, a senior lab instructor in the Chemistry department, has been teaching at UVic since he was a PhD student in 1977.

"I thought I'd return to research after I got my degree, but I've never left," he laughs. "I still do research, mainly in new undergraduate experiments, and I have a fair amount of administrative work, but teaching is what I love."

Backus, a senior instructor in the School of Music, came to Victoria in the early 1970s with a degree in biology from the University of Alberta. She took a music course that year and was hooked. ("My heart was never really in science.") In 1975 she earned a music degree from UVic, began teaching in 1982 and has been a full-time sessional since 1988. Last year she became a senior instructor.

Both work hard at improving their teaching skills and credit UVic's Learning and Teaching Centre for much of their success.

"I think there is some opinion on campus that teaching is not important, but it is and the Centre really supports that idea. It has helped me a lot," says Berry.

Backus agrees and says that the Centre is a vital part of our campus.

"I go to as many of their programs as I can fit in my schedule and I've never come away without some new idea I can take into the classroom."

Students of both teachers wrote glowing reviews of their work in the classroom.

"Dr. Berry is a fabulous lab instructor," wrote one. "He's very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humour," wrote another.

"Dr. Backus challenges her students." "She is by far the best professor I've ever had and she's always open to new ideas."

Excellence in Teaching award winners are chosen by a selection committee of students, faculty and alumni. There were 29 nominations this year.

OOPS! Our Mistake

In our feature story on UVic's co-op program in the April issue, we neglected to mention that students from the physics & astronomy department are currently doing co-op terms at Cominco Engineering Services Ltd in Vancouver. Thanks to UVic undergrad Brad Cavanagh, who is doing a work term there, for pointing this out.

1997 Distinguished Alumni

For the past five years, the Alumni Association has sponsored an annual Distinguished Alumni Award to recognize the outstanding achievements, present stature and future potential of alumni of UVic. The 1997 winners are:

Photo of Barbara Hall


(BA Psychology and Sociology '72)

Mayor of Toronto

Mayor of Canada's largest city since 1994 Barbara Hall is a social activist who has been involved throughout her adult life with youth and housing issues. A former Company of Young Canadians volunteer, street worker and teacher, she has a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. Prior to becoming involved in municipal politics she had her own law firm specializing in family and criminal litigation. She was first elected to city council in Toronto in 1985 and has been a council member since then.


Photo of Dulcie McCallumDULCIE MCCALLUM

(LLB '81)

B.C. Ombudsman

The first woman to hold the position of B.C. Ombudsman, Dulcie McCallum was selected by an all-party committee of the Legislature, demonstrating the universal regard in which she is held. Previously, she practiced law with a special interest in persons with a disability and served as legal advisor to the Canadian Association for Community Living and the Canadian Disability Rights Council. A registered nurse, she was senior community health nurse for the Haida First Nation and police nurse with the Vancouver City Police. She has devoted her talents and time--both professional and volunteer--to the betterment of the lives of those less fortunate.


Photo of Alison SydorALISON SYDOR

(BSc Biochemistry '89)

World champion mountain biker

Alison Sydor is one of a handful of Canadian female athletes whose name is becoming a household word. The reigning world mountain bike champion for the third year in a row, she won a silver medal in the inaugural Olympic mountain bike event in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. She was named the Canadian Press female athlete of the year in 1996 and world cyclist of the year by the influential Velo News. She was 1996 honorary chairperson of Operation Rednose, a community service offering free rides home to party goers during the Christmas season. She is also one of the organizers of Kids on the Shore, a North Shore-based mountain-bike club for kids aged 12 to 18.

The awards will be presented at the Alumni Association AGM, May 28 at the Faculty Club.

Featured Branch: HONG KONG

When the clock strikes midnight in Hong Kong on June 30, 1997, there is no question where Clarence (BA '75, MA '81) and Viviana (BA '75) Reser will be. "We will be here past the magic date" says Clarence, a former executive member of the UVic Alumni Association, who has been living in Hong Kong since October 1993. A dedicated alumnus and Hong Kong government employee, Reser is organizing the fledgling Hong Kong branch of the UVic Alumni Association.

Although he has been away from Victoria since 1987, Reser retains fond memories of his undergraduate years in political science and geography and his graduate studies in public administration and political science.

Hong Kong is a complex city where everyone is extremely busy. Finding time and locations for meetings is a constant dilemma, but Reser has applied his public administration training to the task of organizing the branch by producing a branch development plan, a 23-page document he would be pleased to share with anyone involved in establishing an Alumni Association Branch.

Reser is aware of the challenge that awaits any organization attempting to wrest the interest of alumni in Hong Kong from their primary business orientation. Of the estimated 100,000 alumni of Canadian institutions working and living in Hong Kong, only 86 are from UVic. But Reser points out that Hong Kong is Canada's largest source of international students. Today's students will eventually be alumni and many will return to work and live in Hong Kong.

All alumni in Hong Kong are invited to contribute suggestions to Clarence Reser at Apartment 15C, Tower 1, Hillsborough Court, 18 Old Peak Road, Central, Hong Kong or fax him at (852) 2572-0277). UVic President David Strong plans to be in Hong Kong in May 1997, and will be meeting with branch leaders and members. As Reser says,"Why not join me in doing something important in Hong Kong? Let's establish the best alumni branch anywhere!"*

Branch Contacts

To set up a branch in your area, contact Nels Granewall by: phone 1-800-808-6828;

fax (25O) 721-6265;

or e-mail

Message from the Alumni President | Feature | Around the Ring | Campus Newsmakers | Notable Alums | Eureka! | Development News | Travel | Keeping in Touch | Where are You Now? | Tribute to Karlovsky | Vox Alumni

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