The recipient of the Leo Yaffe Award for 2022 is Gabriel Venne, assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. The award is given each year to recognize a faculty member for superior teaching at the undergraduate level in the Faculty of Science.
In announcing the award at the May 24 Faculty of Science meeting, Leo Yaffe Award committee chair Edith Zorychta noted: "Gabriel has transformed the experience of learning anatomy through his innovative strategies in the classroom, and by introducing state-of-the-art techniques in the teaching laboratory with an array of AV equipment and 3D technology. Following these successes, he has created two additional courses and is now working on the third with great appreciation from his many students. Gabriel is repeatedly described by current and former students as the best teacher they have had, and his distinctive qualities are well illustrated through a collage of remarks from these many students."
What Gabriel Venne's students say
He is an absolutely superb teacher who cares about his students, makes an effort to get to know each and every one, and wants them to succeed. From his tone of voice to his body language. he exudes a passion and enthusiasm for teaching. He has an incredibly strong and positive classroom presence, which can captivate just about anyone. He knows his material inside and out, and his enthusiasm and energy are actually contagious. It is very rare to be distracted in his classroom as there is never a dull moment and he finds a way to introduce humour and creativity within every concept, which contributes profoundly to the learning experience. His humour, kindness and passion for what he is teaching make his class easily the most enjoyable one. He's approachable, insightful, engaging, makes class very interesting.
He inspires me to think about how the course material applies to daily life. He covers a vast amount of information and yet he never fails to make us laugh while making sure we learn everything well. And, to help us learn he incorporates metaphors, acronyms, mnemonic devices, and provides us with real-world examples. I took his class four years ago. I am now a medical student and I still know the name of every single nerve, artery, foramen and organ he taught us. In addition to his classroom capabilities, his superb organization is also distinctive. The topics flow perfectly from one week to another and there’s never a gap of information. Review sessions, practice sessions and evaluations are all thoroughly planned out and well executed, and lab components perfectly supplement the theoretical content. His passion for human anatomy and his dedication to teaching are truly inspiring.
He’s the best professor I’ve had in my three years at McGill. Thank you, Dr. Venne, for your unwavering enthusiasm, care and effort toward keeping the class engaged and trying to truly help us to understand every step of the way.
Prof. Venne gratefully accepted the honour, responding to his students' words of praise with characteristic humility: "It's surprising to hear this because it doesn't sound like me at all. But I'm honoured, just honoured. Thank you so much. And thank you so much for all of your support. Without the support of the Faculty, I don't think we would be able to do what we're doing."
Congratulations, Professor Venne!