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Trent University Names Mr. David Marshall as the 2012/13 Recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Assistance Award

Senior demonstrator in the Department of Physics and Astronomy is awarded for facilitating learning

Trent University Names Mr. David Marshall as the 2012/13 Recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Assistance Award
Trent University Names Mr. David Marshall as the 2012/13 Recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Assistance Award

Trent University is pleased to announce that Mr. David Marshall, the senior demonstrator in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Assistance Award.

Established in 2006, the award acknowledges the contributions of academic assistants and those who facilitate learning in workshop, tutorial, seminar, laboratory, and field settings.

Mr. Marshall was nominated for his teaching assistance across four years of study at the undergraduate level. In particular, he is recognized for supporting Introductory Physics; second-year courses in Electronics, Introductory Quantum Physics, and Atomic, Molecular and Nuclear Physics; and a third-year course in Electricity and Magnetism.

“In receiving this award, Mr. Marshall is recognized as a skilled and passionate teaching assistant who guides his students in learning difficult concepts by finding creative ways to illustrate how physics principles apply to theoretical and real-life situations,” explains Dr. Gary Boire, Trent’s provost and vice-president Academic.

“I never liked laboratories, but David Marshall was able to change my opinion,” explains a nominator. “David’s passion for the subject matter is contagious. He makes the most tedious labs fun and much less overwhelming. He is always concocting new ways to illustrate concepts.” Examples of his effective pedagogical approach cited by nominators include throwing eggs at a door to show impulse and momentum, and pointing out interesting occurrences though out the labs and explaining further the physics behind the interactions.

Mr. Marshall’s dedication and talents are not limited to Trent’s undergraduate students, explains another nominator. “One example of how Dave is an outstanding teacher is the time that a group of local high school students came to our department. Dave was working that day and night before to prepare interesting labs for them, which he then demonstrated for the high school students. He gave of his free time (and not-so-free time) to inspire interest for physics in these budding scientists.”

In learning about this award recognition Mr. Marshall said, “I have a wonderful job: providing hands-on experiences to students that reinforce the theoretical models encountered in lectures, enabling them to make scientific discoveries themselves, steering them towards simple truths, rescuing them from floundering confusion, triggering ‘Aha!’ moments as they internalize concepts, and helping relate everyday objects and actions to the physics they are learning. I am not Superman – I just care that the students get the best opportunity to learn that I can give. There are many other teaching assistants worthy of this award, and I am thankful to be included among them.”

Mr. Marshall holds an Honours Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics from the University of Waterloo.  He joined Trent’s Department of Physics in August 1987.

Mr. Marshall was among four teaching award recipients honoured at a special reception celebrating Trent’s teaching excellence on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at Alumni House.

To learn more about Trent’s teaching excellence visit:

Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013.

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