Qualitative Student Assessment of Teaching

UNIV*6800: University Teaching, Theory & Practice, Fall 2013

Gavan is presents in a very clear and organized manner. He makes you want to listen because you can tell he is very passionate about the subject of teaching and learning. He often provides references to the literature that are helpful.

Dr. Watson! It was a pleasure having THE Dr. Watson himself teach us a whole course. All the TSS workshops I attended where Dr. Watson was a speaker were amazing – and I always wished he’d teach a course that i’d be in. I was glad when I found UTTP. Gavan could publish a book on teaching and learning. He is very knowledgeable, always on top of his research (I really enjoyed how you always referred back to some research that was going on somewhere), and very professional.

[Gavan] was knowledgeable and resourceful. Easily approachable.

Gavan was really knowledgeable and approachable. He conducted the classroom with understanding and respect for individual ideas and personalities. Erin and Gavan both work very well together and play off of each others strengths.

Very approachable and knowledgeable. I also appreciated the personal stories that came along with the lessons.

UNIV*6800: University Teaching, Theory & Practice, Fall 2012

Gavan kept everyone on track pretty well throughout the semester, and his occasional use of self-depricating humour was well received.

Gavan was a very engaging instructor and I always appreciated his constructive feedback. I also liked how he would lighten the mood with his wit, but never at the expense of the lesson (i.e. would not make light of the topic under discussion).

Dr. Watson is knowledgeable about teaching and learning in higher education. By adopting many of the deep learning techniques in his approach to this course, he also “practiced what he preached.” He is kind, thoughtful, encouraging and enthusiastic. I am grateful to him for his contributions to this course.

Gavan, without a mention of a word I know with you at the front of the class that you are welcoming, strong and confident in yourself and the material. I find myself constantly interested in your opinion on each discussion topic as you always have very interesting comments and useful suggestions. I really enjoy your ability to had humour and humility in the classroom and to essentially show us that you are human and were once where we are right now. I always get the impression that your comments, criticisms and advice are sincere and that you truly care about the students you instruct.

UNIV*6800: University Teaching, Theory & Practice, Fall 2011

Provided opinions to push thinking and get individuals to consider other aspects to any given situation. This was helpful to fully appreciate any/all of the material. Provided excellent critical and formative feedback. Was very observant and could comment on various aspect of presentations and could note teaching techniques. Overall excellent instructor and I think that future students would benefit from his teaching.

[Gavan] was funny, engaging, and friendly. I felt like I was in good hands with him leading discussion, as he was always there to play “devil’s advocate” and make us think non-linearly. He made a comfortable environment in which I felt able to disclose personal information and to share and add to the conversation.

Gavan has a great, quirky personality, as can be seen by everything from his approach in the classroom to his fashion sense ;) He comes across as a fun prof, and yet still maintains the respect of the students (sometimes the “fun” prof gets labelled as the “easy” prof that students take advantage of, which is not the case here). I found him to be easily approachable.

I like how you incorporate a degree of spontaneity into your teaching (i.e. picking up on a point that someone else mentioned and elaborating on it). You’re clearly passionate about teaching and helping us (as students) foster our own teaching abilities. You’re an excellent instructor!

ENVS*1010c: Natural History of the GTA, Fall 2009

On quality of instruction:

Gavan is by far, the best instructor that I have had in the four years that I have attended York. He is funny, energetic and genuinely cares about students. I found the way he ran his course was very unique and very helpful in helping me retain information. I looked forward to every single class, whether it was a field trip or a lecture. ENVS 1010 has to be my favourite class of all time.

The instructor, Gavan Watson, conducted the course in such a way that novices, such as myself, were able not only to grasp basic concepts but apply them in the real world. The instructor created an environment in which questions were always welcomes and encouraged to ensure that his students understood the material and concepts discussed.

Gavan explained concepts really clearly, and the humour he added really helped make some ideas stick well. I would love to take another class that he teaches!

Gavan did a great job with explaining concepts in class, as well as on trips. I’d definitely take another class taught by him!

Organized, clearly spoken, makes the subject interesting.

He tends to rattle on during lectures, but sometimes it’s useful—other times it’s just repeating stuff that was not really important.

On assignments:

The assignments allowed us to be very creative.

Worst feature of course:

The test.

Personally, I hated the idea of Twitter. I also did not like that his tests were very hard and picked up on the randomest details of things that were not discussed in class.

Density of material, too detailed, especially for a first year class.

Density of material. IT WOULD GREATLY HELP to also have TUTORIALS.

ENVS*1010c: Natural History of the GTA, Fall 2008

Best features of the course:

The field trips were the best feature of this course, as it took the knowledge of the course and applied it with a visual perspective.

I think Gavan Watson created a very well-rounded and interesting course. What helped to make the potentially boring class come alive, are his interesting facts and excellent understanding of nature. Great instructing, field trips were good examples of what we were learning in class and readings.

Gavan’s lecturing methods are very effective in order to explain and understand course material, he makes it fun to learn and easy to understand.

Worst features of the course:

The lecture was really long—too many slides.

Other comments:

I thought Gavan was a great prof! Funny, engaging and kind!

ENVS*4120: Natural History, Winter 2008

Best features:

The interesting and broad lectures—awesome discussion and fantastic insights

Interesting pedagogy, inclusive and diverse perspectives on natural history

Enjoyed all readings, lectures and assignments (course was exciting and challenging)

Nothing. Too much ecology of trees.

Worst features:

Too many journals to write—maybe reduce to 6-8?

Too many small assignments: something must be removed, either journal or questions.

Presentation assignment was a bit vague—which I understand was to allow for a student-guided process, but end result was all over the place.

Other comments:

I learned so much in this course. Thank you. It really changed how I see things.

The Bachelor of Environmental Studies program needs this professor and this course. Especially for those planning students.

Gavan is probably the best lecturer I have ever had—am disappointed I won’t be able to take any of his other courses.

Hated this course.