Professor Bernard Laval wins prestigious Killam Teaching Prize

Civil Engineering Professor Bernard Laval has been awarded a 2018 Killam Teaching Prize for the Faculty of Applied Science. Nominated by students, faculty and alumni, the Killam Teaching Prizes are the highest recognition of an exceptional teaching awarded to instructors by UBC. Dr. Laval’s commitment to graduate and undergraduate learning has been a positive impact on Civil Engineering students for many years. His continuous development of engaging teaching methods, integration of student feedback, and work outside of the classroom creating new educational opportunities have given students the tools they need to master the topics at hand and grow within their educational lives.

With a broad background in Engineering Physics, Physical Oceanography and Environmental Engineering, Dr. Laval teaches Fluid Mechanics, Environmental Hydraulics, Physical Limnology and Turbulent Fluid Dynamics. Student feedback has highlighted how his additions of student workbooks, in-class problem solving and skeleton notes to the traditional lecture format have enhanced their experience and engaged multiple learning styles. His interest in student development and mentorship has been appreciated by undergraduate and graduate students alike, and his student evaluation scores consistently exceed averages.

Outside of direct classroom teaching, Dr. Laval has made ongoing contributions to enhancing student growth. As the Associate Head for Undergraduate Students for the Department of Civil Engineering for four years, he oversaw the program from admissions to graduation. Among his many contributions in this role, he created a standardized structure for departmental support of student teams, enabling these extra-curricular clubs to provide important learning opportunities to advance student’s understanding beyond the classroom. Currently, he is developing new educational opportunities as the Co-director of the UNBC/UBC Environmental Engineering program, a collaboration between the two institutions that provides Western Canada’s only environmental engineering undergraduate degree. As a leader, administrator, and student advisor, Laval’s work with this program is creating new directions in which students can forge their careers. In the Department of Civil Engineering he supervises undergraduate students in summer placements, which provides them with the research experience alongside graduate students that helps them prepare for their futures.

His commitment to students has also recently been recognized by Civil Engineering undergraduates who awarded him the Undergraduate Teaching Award for Exceptional Commitment to Students. Professor Laval has been acknowledged through similar undergraduate appreciation awards in 2004, 2005, 2014, and 2015.

Dr. Laval will be recognized with the Killam Teaching Prize during convocation, on Wednesday, May 30th.