John Johnson  2015 President's Medal

It is my great pleasure to nominate Dr. John Johnson for a University Teaching Scholar. I could not think of a more worthy recipient of an award that recognizes a "consistently high level of teaching excellence and teaching-related activities".


John joined the Biology Department at UNB Saint Jolm as a Lecturer in 1989. He received tenure in 1996 and was promoted to Full Professor in 2002. Over his 25+ years at UNB, Jolm has taught 119 courses at all undergraduate levels, covering at least 20 different topics. Outside of the classroom, he has supervised or co-supervised 3 7 graduate and Honours students.


In addition to his consistently excellent teaching evaluations, his success as a teacher and dedication to his students has been recognized at both ends of his career; in 1994 he received the SRC A ward for his efforts on behalf of the student body and in 2013 he was awarded the Allan P. Stewart Award for Excellence in Teaching.

John's research program is equally impressive with over 75 publications including journals, abstracts and book chapters. He has presented 62 oral and posters and helped attract over $2 million in external funding to UNB Saint Jolm from numerous agencies including NSERC, NBIF, Horizon Health, and, most recently, the Canadian Breast Cancer Association. His research success has fueled his teaching and all of his students have benefited from his expertise in his field of study and his knowledge of how to conduct successful research projects.

Not one to stand in the spotlight, John pushes his students and colleagues to the front but his influence and contributions cannot be overstated. He was instrumental in helping establish the Natural Products Research Group (NPRG) with Drs. Gray and Webster, which have had local, regional, national and international recognition. He has also been instrumental in the professional success of numerous research students from the NPRG, many who have
since been accepted into professional programs and post-doctoral positions at other universities.


The project plan proposed by Dr. Johnson is indicative of John's focus on students as the benefits of the projects directly impact the student experience. The creation of a UNB online journal for undergraduate research would provide our students with the opportunity to publish their research work in a public forum and open lines of research discussions across provincial boundaries and beyond. This is an innovative approach to involve our students in research work and graduate studies above what they would experience in a standard classroom arrangement. John's experience with supervising Honours students and his involvement with incorporating experiential learning in his courses places him as the perfect person to get this project up and running. In fact, the second component of his proposed project takes the research-based experience he already incorporates into his upper level courses and introduces this approach to lower level courses. The modules he proposes at the sophomore level would inspire students at the formative stage of their education and potentially increase retention rates in science as students see early on how what they are doing matters.

It is clear how the work proposed in John's project proposal will benefit his teaching but, even better, it is obvious that his work would benefit his students and inspire his colleagues to implement similar approaches in their own courses. Hence, not only would he benefit personally from this award, but also would our campus and university.

Dr. Ruth E. Shaw
Dean, Faculty of Science, Applied Science & Engineering
UNB Saint John