2018 TD Canada Trust Distinguished Teaching Award winners announced

Aug 15, 2018

The TD Canada Trust Distinguished Teaching Award is the highest teaching honour of its kind at SFU’s Beedie School of Business.

Shafik Bhalloo and Andrew Flostrand have been named the 2018 winners of the TD Canada Trust Distinguished Teaching Awards, the highest teaching honour of its kind at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. Bhalloo is SFU Beedie’s Academic Director and Associate Professor of Practice in the Strategy area, while Flostrand lectures at the school in the Technology and Operations Management area.

Each year, SFU Beedie students, faculty, and alumni nominate instructors in both undergraduate and postgraduate programs for this prestigious award. Up to two awards are presented each year to instructors based on engagement, distinction, and excellence in teaching.

Shafik Bhalloo and Andrew Flostrand, winners of the 2018 TD Canada Trust Distinguished Teaching Awards

Bhalloo is an experienced, practising lawyer who teaches commercial law, business ethics and employment law courses. He has a keen interest in student engagement in his courses and tries to bring his real world legal experiences into class, to assist students in understanding the subjects he teaches. He is now a two-time recipient of the TD Canada Trust Distinguished Teaching Award, having previously earned the accolade in 2013.

“I am incredibly honoured and moved to receive the TD Canada Trust Distinguished Teaching Award,” says Bhalloo. “I must confess that I am equally surprised this time as I was the first time in 2013. On both occasions, my instinctive reaction was to ask: ‘Are you sure?’ I do not expect to receive an award for doing something I really love and get much intrinsic satisfaction from.”

Flostrand is a highly qualified computer systems administrator and data analyst who coordinates and presents the credit course “BUEC232-4 Data and Decisions 1” to classes of 150-250 students per semester. This introductory statistics course provides business and economics students with valuable tools as they develop their critical-thinking skills.

“Gaining the ability to form a mental picture of distributions whenever we encounter sample values is like growing an extra eyeball!” he says. “It empowers us to know where we can and can’t put weight on these values in our decision making. Basic quantitative skills are needed to protect us from manipulation by others. If I can assist students toward making better decisions using the tools I teach, then they will benefit personally and collectively contribute to a wiser society.”

In an environment where students have countless pressures and competing priorities, Flostrand recognizes the challenges they face and an important part of his philosophy is to underscore the importance of the skills they will develop in his courses.

“To encourage them to burn the necessary calories to focus, practice, and learn in my classes, I know I have to communicate what is in it for them to go the extra mile,” he says. “Luckily, I’m responsible for teaching content that is much more valuable than a few credits toward a degree so I can easily show them how and why they want to learn it.”

Nomination letters for Bhalloo and Flostrand, as well as references solicited from their past students, were distinctly positive, reflecting the importance and lasting impact of material learned from these individuals.

“I am very humbled when I look at the list of past recipients of the Award,” adds Bhalloo. “It is truly an honour and a privilege to join this list which consists of many excellent educators some of whom I know, admire, and work with such as Associate Deans Peter Tingling and Andrew Gemino and Academic Director Stephen Spector. I also want to thank Associate Dean Brenda Lautsch for affording me the opportunity to teach the fun and interesting courses I do.

“Finally, and very importantly, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to my former and current students who nominated me for the award.”

For more information on the TD Canada Trust Distinguished Teaching Awards, visit beedie.sfu.ca/teaching/distinguished-teaching-awards/.