Christopher Power honoured for excellence in teaching

Christopher Power, assistant professor, department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the 2022 recipient of the R. Mohan Mathur Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The Award is presented annually to an outstanding Western Engineering faculty member to recognize exceptional contributions to university teaching and promoting academic excellence amongst our students. 

chris-power-ins“Teaching and interacting with students in Engineering is such a pleasure for me, and to receive this award is an honour. I just want to see my students develop, graduate, and excel in their careers,” said Power. 

“I want to dedicate this award to the late Jason Gerhard, my amazing mentor, dear friend, and former colleague to us all in the faculty. Amongst many things, Jason was an outstanding and inspirational teacher who constantly showed me what was possible. His philosophy still helps me every day,” he added. 

Power teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, supervises research students, co-directs the RESTORE research group and leads the Water/Environmental stream in the CEE MEng program. 

“Despite his workload and the need to maintain high research productivity, his teaching evaluations have remained consistently high,” remarked Ashraf El Damatty, professor and chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. “As an exceptional teacher, he often adapts his teaching methods to suit the needs of students and works hard to ensure comprehension of the subject matter.” 

Additionally, Power is known for his mentorship, which has led to undergraduate and graduate students earning awards on the local and national stage. 

“In 2021/22, he was the main academic advisor in the CEE 4441 Capstone Design Project where his group achieved 3rd place in the City of London Design Competition,” shared El Damatty. 

“He also supervised two students in their CEE 4441 Thesis Project in 2021/2022, and they finished in 1st and 2nd place in the CEE Thesis Presentation Competition. The winner presented at the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) Annual Conference,” he added. 

Power is a lifelong learner who is committed to the idea of continuous improvement. He has taken the opportunity to engage in the revamping of courses to enhance student experience and learning, and it is clear from the nomination package that he genuinely cares for the professional and personal development of his students. 

The following are just a couple examples of the positive feedback Power has received from his students, admiring him for his consistent care and support: 

“When COVID challenged us all, he overhauled his course to provide us with an online experience that was the perfect mixture of asynchronous and synchronous material, allowing for flexibility in learning the course content while still having access to real-time lessons and help.” 

“Professor Power’s contribution to my undergraduate success and guidance toward career choices were invaluable. He is passionate and cares deeply for his students’ well-being, delivers an outstanding teaching experience and provides strong mentorship.” 

“Much of the success I have had in my young career as an engineer in training at Menard Canada is due to the knowledge, skills, work ethic, and positive attitude encouraged by professor Power.” 

Power contends that while his job is to help and inspire our students to develop fundamental skills in engineering by keeping his finger on the pulse of what industry requires of our graduates, he also tries to understand the external pressures specific to each student. 

“Every student is unique and one size doesn’t fit all. I am always adapting my approach to the individuals and dynamics in the classroom.” 

He added: “While I feel like I am only getting started, I consider myself very fortunate to be in this position. I just want to ‘pay forward’ all the support, inspiration, and kindness that I received during my own journey. If someone is willing to learn, I am right there beside them.” 

Western Engineering is thrilled to celebrate this outstanding achievement with Christopher Power and will honour him and other award recipients at the annual awards banquet on Thursday, June 1, 2023.