Each year, the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union presents its teaching excellence award to a professor nominated and chosen by students. This year’s recipient is psychology professor Bruce McKay, who has been at Laurier since 2008.
McKay is currently teaching courses on biopsychology, drugs and behaviour and statistics. “I am fortunate that I have been able to teach the perfect courses, given my background,” remarked McKay, whose background and research centre on cellular and behavioral neuroscience.
McKay noted that for courses like Biopsychology and Drugs and Behaviour, “the interest is there.” Students come to class with initial knowledge and curiosity, and McKay sets out to maintain and build on existing interest.
McKay has built his courses based on a question posed at the end of each of his final exams. “If you were the professor of this course, what would you do differently?” he asks.
He strives to continuously improve both the content and delivery of his courses, constantly updating slides with new studies and research findings.
As well, he seeks to promote discussion in his classes and is always willing to do additional research to address questions posed by students.
For McKay, you just have to “know your stuff and be passionate, everything else will work itself out.”