James Charbonneau Wins 2022 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics

January 19, 2023
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James Charbonneau

The PHAS Department is thrilled to congratulate faculty member, James Charbonneau for his 2022 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics, granted by the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) in December, 2022.

This award recognizes James’ excellence in teaching in the UBC Physics & Astronomy Department, the UBC Science One program, and for his work in content development across other courses in the Faculty of Science.

Respected and highly rated by students, James is known as a caring, creative and inspiring instructor whose passion for physics has motivated students to continue in physics beyond their required first year courses, even to decide to major in physics! Students have spoken highly of his supportive classroom environment, his comprehensive resources and well-prepped transitions, interactive classroom activities and discussions, his listening to and incorporating student feedback, and by bridging the many ways in which physics connects to broader world topics.  

James has shown strong educational leadership in stimulating course content, supporting colleagues and spearheading initiatives in science. One such initiative, created by James and a working group of UBC faculty, tested the use of peer-evaluation as a learning tool in Physics classes. This work was later developed into the open-source education software ComPAIR, a student peer review platform, whereby students assess each other’s work in depth, learning from their peers through the process. This program is now widely used across UBC and other institutions.

Other Teaching and Learning contributions include his leadership in the Science One program, a first year integrated science cohort, and pedagogy in First year focus programs, where students take a common group of courses together – as a means for developing immersive understanding alongside building community and a network of peers.

Driving courses and activities to online formats at the start of the pandemic, James also spearheaded the revitalization of course content using alternate tools and resources, from using Arduino kits to learn electronics, to adding Python bootcamps to science classes.

The CAP Medal is awarded to faculty who show a comprehensive and depth of their subject, and who are able to communicate their knowledge clearly and effectively to others, enabling high academic physics achievements.

Congratulations, James, on this incredible and well-deserved award!


Learn More

CAP will organize a series of plenary medal talks to showcase the 2022 winners. Please see the CAP website for the talk schedule.

View the CAP Press Release of James Charbonneau’s Award here: CAP Medal Press Release - 2022 Teaching