Laurentian University's Michael Persinger wins TVO's 2007 Big Ideas' Best Lecturer Competition


    TORONTO, Feb. 20 /CNW/ - Students and TVO viewers across Ontario have
voted Dr. Michael Persinger, biology and psychology professor at Laurentian
University in Sudbury, Ontario's Best Lecturer. The announcement was made on
Big Ideas, TVO's lecture series, on Saturday February 17, 2007.
    In addition to having the title of Best Lecturer bestowed on one of its
faculty, Dr. Persinger's school was awarded a $10,000 scholarship by TD
Meloche Monnex, the competition's sole corporate sponsor. "TD Meloche Monnex
is very proud to be part of this very unique lecturer competition as we have
been a strong supporter of higher education in Ontario for over two decades,"
said Paul Douglas, Vice-President, TD Meloche Monnex. "It is part of our
corporate philosophy to provide meaningful support to education, as provider
of home and auto insurance products to almost all Ontario-based university
alumni and college alumni associations."
    Launched in November 2005, the second edition of the Big Ideas' "Best
Lecturer Competition" drew over 250 nominations from students at Ontario
colleges and universities. A panel of judges, which included Globe and Mail
columnist Margaret Wente, novelist Camilla Gibb and Maclean's managing editor
Tony Keller narrowed the list to 10 finalists. "It's a privilege to win," says
Dr. Persinger. "I'd like to thank the long-term commitment of TVO to
education, and the individuals who put together the competition."
    Dr. Persinger is the only professor to be nominated by students for two
consecutive competitions. Students conveyed their high regard through comments
such as: "No one has ever suffered from the common 'boredom syndrome' (in
Professor Persinger's lectures). He manages to captivate everyone's attention,
and at the end of a lecture, I am even more enthused about the subject
matter."
    Dr. Persinger's winning lecture, which focused on psychotropic drugs,
investigated the nature of consciousness: what it is and how it can be
modified by drugs, particularly those that have political and economic impact.
When asked about his teaching style, Dr. Persinger explains: "Just because you
have a PhD does not make you an effective professor. You have to be able to
perform, to practise, and to take it seriously. This is not a nonchalant
process."
    Dr. Persinger acknowledges the important influence students have had on
him: "My creativity is primarily when I lecture in front of my students,
because of the questions they ask. Actually they should be getting the award,
because in many respects they're the ones that have allowed me to develop."
    Lectures from each of the top 10 professors aired in pairs each week on
TVO's Big Ideas beginning mid-January. Viewers were invited to grade the
lectures and make the final decision.
    Big Ideas' "Best Lecturer Competition" on TVO has galvanized the
post-secondary community and plays an important role in raising awareness
about our province's great educators. Professor biographies and video
streaming of the top 10 lectures are available at tvo.org/bigideas. For
further information and interviews with Dr. Michael Persinger, please contact
Anne Rubenstein or Paul Ginis, TVO Communications (contact information below).

    As Ontario's public educational media organization, TVO creates safe,
enriching and fun learning experiences for children, offers support to their
parents, and engages people in the complex issues that define our culturally
diverse society, all across a range of media platforms. For information visit
www.tvo.org.




For further information: Anne Rubenstein, Telephone: (416) 484-2881,
Email: arubenstein@tvontario.org; Paul Ginis, (416) 484-2600, ext. 2445,
Email: pginis@tvontario.org