Lorne Russwurm Award for Outstanding TA Performance – Awarded to Andrei Balulescu
The Lorne Russwurm Award for outstanding performance by a teaching assistant (TA) is awarded by the Department of Geography and Environmental Management annually to a TA that has performed beyond the ‘call of duty’ and exemplified outstanding performance. The contributions of Andrei Balulescu exceeded instructor expectations and all formal course requirements. He provided assistance to students and the instructor well beyond the call of duty by assisting with multiple course content creation, delivery, and support. Andrei also volunteered to work with our Mapping Analysis and Design GIS Specialist Scott MacFarlane to assist high-school students and judge their work as part of the GIS Skills Canada Competition hosted by the University of Waterloo and ESRI here in the Faculty of Environment.
Andrei Balulescu was the teaching assistant for Geography/Planning 481 – GIS Project Course. The course is a 1.0 credit course comprising about 40 students. These students form groups of 3-5 and complete an independent research project within a single semester. Because the only constraints on student projects is that they use GIS, complete a significant amount of spatial analysis, and communicate their results in the form of a research paper that answers research questions, student projects vary widely. Andrei rose to this occasion and helped students understand domain specific knowledge and methods associated with LiDAR and Worldview2 imagery and elevation points; suitability analysis and site selection of wind turbines in BC, oil wells in AB, fog collectors in Guatemala; geographic information extraction; geocoding; and network analysis among other research areas and methods. Furthermore, he often had to help students understand the limits and capabilities of census data. Andrei enjoyed being pulled in many different directions and excelled at helping students. In addition to his direct help with students, he also helped solicit external project partners to provide projects for students to work on, and has continued to do so this term.
Andrei also provided assistance in Geography/Planning 381 – Advanced GIS and Geography 318 (Spatial Analysis), for which he had no formal obligations. Andrei, like many of our students, help to make the Department of Geography and Environmental Management a great place to work, study, and socialize. It is the energy and efforts of our students that combine with our research and teaching goals that bring out the best of Geography at Waterloo and Andrei has worked hard to be recognized.