Media Release – February 15, 2022
Canadian Mathematical Society

Professor Dan Wolczuk to Receive 2022 Excellence in Teaching Award

OTTAWA, ON — The Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) is pleased to announce professor Dan Wolczuk (University of Waterloo) as the 2022 recipient of the CMS Excellence in Teaching Award. Professor Wolczuk will receive his award at the CMS Summer Meeting.

Dan Wolczuk believes in the importance of teaching his students how to learn, and practices this through his style of instruction. One paragraph in particular stands out from Dan’s teaching statement:

“My other main belief about mathematical teaching is that everyone can learn mathematics. I have found that main key is to develop their interest in and enthusiasm for mathematics. I do this by showing my own love, passion, and enthusiasm for mathematics. After that, it is about having students move at their own pace and, perhaps most importantly, ensuring that they understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. From my experience, the most common reason for people to have a math phobia is that nobody helped them understand mathematics.”

Dan is well known at the University of Waterloo for his extremely enthusiastic lectures, his booming loud voice, and the overall popularity of his classes. Dan Wolczuk has such a wonderful reputation among students that students from outside of his section choose to attend his class instead. This is likely thanks to his presentation skills, which he developed during his high-school acting lessons and dance training. It is also probable that his commitment to student learning, his helpful tips, and overall knowledge of pedagogy play a role in his success (and popularity) as an educator.

It is clear that Professor Wolczuk’s students are not the only ones that have great respect for him and his teaching methods. The following quote from his colleague, Carmen Bruni, lecturer in the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, attests to this:

“It is without a doubt that the dedication and commitment to mathematics education that Dan has exhibited over the years is a stalwart example of an exceptional ambassador of mathematics. His care towards student learning and well-being is unparalleled at the University of Waterloo and his impact will be felt years down the road. There are few people in this country as devoted to mathematics as Dan and you will be hard-pressed to find a happier, more enthusiastic and more energetic mathematician than Dan Wolczuk.”

Professor Wolczuk obtained his BSc in Mathematics from UNBC in 2001. He completed his MMath in Pure Mathematics from UWaterloo in 2004, where he has worked as a lecturer in the Faculty of Mathematics since. Although he is a mathematician, his work is interdisciplinary. Dan has collaborated on various projects with members of the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Science, Department of Psychology, Student Success Office, and Centre for Teaching Excellence. He has co-authored a linear algebra textbook with Pearson Publishing (which is now in its third edition).

What’s more, Dan is a very active volunteer. He taught in a grade 5/6 gifted program for 14 years, organized and ran a math enrichment program for gifted high-school students for 9 years, and even taught Ukrainian dancing for 8 years. Currently, Professor Wolczuk is volunteering with the “Ask a Mathematician” program through the Fields Institute.

Dan Wolczuk has received many well-deserved honours. In 2010, he was invited to carry the Olympic Torch to recognize his exceptional spirit of volunteerism. In 2013, Dan was awarded the Award for Distinction in Teaching from the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics. In the same year, he received the University of Waterloo Mathematics Student Society’s Instructor of the Year. Most recently, he was presented with the 2021 University of Waterloo’s Distinguished Teaching Award. The Canadian Mathematical Society is proud to add the 2022 Excellence in Teaching Award to Dan Wolczuk’s ever-growing list of achievements.

About the Excellence in Teaching Award

The Excellence in Teaching Award recognises sustained and distinguished contributions in mathematics education at the post-secondary undergraduate level at a Canadian institution. The award was established in 2004 to recognise teaching excellence as exemplified by effectiveness in the classroom and/or commitment and dedication to teaching students.

For information about past recipients visit: Excellence in Teaching Award

About the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS)

The CMS is the main national organization whose goal is to promote and advance the discovery, learning and application of mathematics. The Society’s activities cover the whole spectrum of mathematics including: scientific meetings, research publications, and the promotion of excellence in mathematics competitions that recognize outstanding student achievements.

For more information, please contact:

Prof. Peter Taylor (Queen’s)
Chair, CMS Selection Committee for Excellence in Teaching Award
Canadian Mathematical Society
or Dr. Termeh Kousha
Executive Director
Canadian Mathematical Society