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To the editor:
One of the most important aspects of teamwork is giving credit where credit is due. The recent article on the 2002 Alan Blizzard Award won by the teaching team of The Evolving Earth ("Go, Team Teachers, Go!", May 9) fails to do this, hence this clarification. Although we three have been the course coordinators on both campuses, we are by no means the only people who "sat down four years ago to design a new winter-semester interdisciplinary course." The design process that ultimately resulted in the existing course lasted several months, with a much larger committee comprising faculty members from at least seven departments and the Centre for University Teaching and Learning. Almost a dozen people who have never been part of the teaching team provided insights and feedback that were key elements in structuring our approach to this course and the way in which it is delivered. As we moved toward "opening day" in January 1999, the course design duties began to fall more heavily on those who would constitute the final teaching team. The membership of this group has changed somewhat over the past four years through sabbatical replacements and other departmental commitments, but all seven members of the group -- Don Baker, Michel Lapointe, Martin Lechowicz, Jeanne Paquette, Wayne Pollard, Marcia Waterway and Terry Wheeler -- are integral and equal contributors to the success of this course. Granted, the course coordinators are responsible for the invisible (to the students at least) work of submitting grades, juggling course administration and chasing each other down as deadlines loom. However, in the classroom and on WebCT, where the course design and delivery really matter, we are all full partners in the ongoing process of evolution in this course.
Although the issues discussed above represent the most serious oversight in this article, we would also like to point out that this course is a first-year, 200-level course, not second-year as the article states. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, our course is part of the core curriculum in the McGill School of Environment and very much reflects the cooperative, interdisciplinary spirit that the MSE fosters.
Terry Wheeler, Natural Resource Sciences
Martin Lechowicz, Biology
Marcia Waterway, Plant Science