Who is Ontario's Best Lecturer?

    Leading lecturers prepare to defend their schools' honour during the
    final stretch of TVO's 2009 Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition

    TORONTO, Feb. 2 /CNW/ -  After weeks of deliberation and hours spent
assessing some of the most inspiring and compelling lectures, the judges have
announced the Top 10 competitors who will vie for the title of TVO's Big Ideas
Best Lecturer this year. With a list that consists of a diverse group of
experts from a wide variety of academic disciplines including English,
anthropology, history, health sciences and communication arts, the race to
determine who will be Ontario's next Best Lecturer will definitely be one to
    TVO's Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition is sponsored by TD Insurance
Meloche Monnex.
    All these contenders have distinguished themselves for their ability to
present ideas with confidence and authority, clarity and coherence, and energy
and enthusiasm. They are also prepared to use this opportunity to boost their
schools with a sense of pride and a full year's worth of bragging rights. Over
the course of the next few months, students and alumni will have the
opportunity to support and vote for their school and their favourite professor
as each delivers a complete lecture on TVO's Big Ideas.
    Educational institutions now preparing to battle it out for the top
honour include the University of Toronto, with four lecturers in the Top 10,
followed by Carleton University (with two competitors) and strong contenders
from North Bay's Canadore College, the University of Western Ontario, Brock
University and York University. The finalists were chosen by a panel of
independent judges: documentary producer and author Suanne Kelman;
broadcaster, researcher and internet evangelist Jesse Hirsh; and literary
journalist and author Donna Bailey Nurse. The panel reviewed video submissions
of lectures after over 160 nominated lecturers were shortlisted in December
    "More than ever, today's professors are challenged to engage and incite a
passion for knowledge within their students," says Big Ideas producer Wodek
Szemberg. "Each of this year's 10 finalists truly embodies intellectual
passion in action. Whether it's a lecture on literature, biology, sociology or
the dramatic arts, viewers will have the opportunity to experience the best
that higher education in Ontario has to offer, and then cast their vote for
their favourite. Think of it as a five-week course without any registration or
    Big Ideas is TVO's popular televised lecture series, offering lectures on
a variety of thought-provoking topics that range across politics, culture,
economics, art, history and science. The 10 finalists will deliver their
lectures on Big Ideas, airing Saturdays and Sundays between 4 and 5 pm EST
beginning February 28 2009. Following each lecture and until April 5 2009, it
will be in the hands of the viewers to grade their favourite professors
(online at tvo.org, through a mobile device by texting the word "vote" to
mobile short code 333111, or by phone to 1.866.281.3536) and ultimately decide
who will earn the title of Ontario's 2009 Best Lecturer.
    To spur some friendly competition between campuses, TVO has upped the
ante, offering not only much deserved recognition and bragging rights to the
winner, but also a $10,000 TD Insurance Meloche Monnex scholarship to the
winning school. As an added incentive to support one's school, a contest open
to online voters will award one lucky viewer a 50" plasma HDTV and DVD home
theatre system valued at $5000, courtesy of sponsor TD Insurance Meloche
    "We have thousands of student and faculty clients, so supporting TVO's
Best Lecturer Competition for the fourth year makes us immensely proud," said
Paul Douglas, Vice President, TD Insurance Meloche Monnex. "Lecturers can
inspire students and create a truly memorable learning experience. As a
dedicated supporter of college and university alumni, we're thrilled to help
bring attention to such a talented and compelling group of lecturers."
    Created to recognize the best and brightest lecturers at Ontario's
colleges and universities, the Best Lecturer Competition invites Ontarians to
pay tribute to professors whose love of learning has helped to stimulate
imaginations, open eyes and push boundaries in institutions of higher learning
across the province. Now in its fourth year, the Best Lecturer Competition
sponsored by TD Insurance Meloche Monnex galvanizes the post-secondary
community and plays an important role in raising awareness about the
province's great educators.
    A complete list of finalists and broadcast schedule of lectures follows.
For more information, including contestant bios, video clips of lectures,
student quotes and full contest details, visit tvo.org/bestlecturer.

    Show 1 - Saturday February 28
    Matthew J. Bellamy, Department of History, Carleton University, on
    "A Watershed Moment: Canada and the Second World War"

    Show 2 - Sunday March 1
    Anton Lawrence Allahar, Department of Sociology, University of Western
    Ontario, on "Why is the whole world not developed?"

    Show 3 - Saturday March 7
    James Allard, Department of English Language and Literature, Brock
    University on "Frankenstein, Five Ways"

    Show 4 - Sunday March 8
    Doug Richards, Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of
    Toronto (St. George Campus) on "Stretching: The Truth"

    Show 5 - Saturday March 14
    Paul Stevens, Department of English, University of Toronto (St. George
    Campus) on "Milton's Satan"

    Show 6 - Sunday March 15
    Shawn Lehman, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto
    (St. George Campus) on "Primate Infanticide: Adaptation or Social

    Show 7 - Saturday March 21
    Darryl Davies, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton
    University, on "Explaining Crime"

    Show 8 - Sunday March 22
    Clare Hasenkampf, Department of Biological Sciences, University of
    Toronto (Scarborough Campus) on "Chromosomes Dividing - How It's Done and
    Why It Matters"

    Show 9 - Saturday March 28
    Rod Carley, Communication Arts, Canadore College on "Adapting Shakespeare
     within a Modern Canadian Context"

    Show 10 - Sunday March 29
    Merv Mosher, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University on
    "Statistics: What's the Point?"

    Saturday April 4 & Sunday April 5
    Excerpts from all 10 lectures

    Saturday April 11, repeated Sunday April 12
    TVO's 2009 Big Ideas Best Lecturer is announced.

    About TVO

    TVO is Ontario's public educational media organization and a trusted
source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires, and
stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO's vision is to empower people to be
engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media.

    About TD Insurance Meloche Monnex

    TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, the group insurance brand of TD Insurance,
works with over 900 professional, alumni and employer groups across the
country to provide home and auto insurance programs. In business for 60 years,
more than 600,000 clients trust TD Insurance Meloche Monnex with their
insurance needs. TD Insurance, through its TD Insurance Meloche Monnex and TD
Insurance Home and Auto brands, is the largest direct-response insurance group
in Canada. For more information on professional and alumni group programs
visit www.melochemonnex.com; for information on employer group programs visit

                                 Sponsored by
                                 TD Insurance
                                Meloche Monnex

For further information:

For further information: Sharon Hayward/Sally Byun, DDB Public
Relations, (416) 972-5844/(416) 963-4289, sharon.hayward@can.ddbpr.com,

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