Rupinder Brar wins TVO's 2010 Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition

    -   UOIT lecturer takes home the title of "Best Lecturer" for the
        school's second win in five years

TORONTO, April 17 /CNW/ - For the second time in the five-year history of TVO's Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition, a UOIT (University of Ontario Institute of Technology) lecturer has won the title of Ontario's Best Lecturer.

Rupinder Brar of UOIT's Faculty of Science was chosen by TVO viewers and the Best Lecturer jury from among the top 10 televised lectures in TVO's 2010 Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition, sponsored by TD Insurance Meloche Monnex.

Brar's win also brings a $10,000 TD Insurance Meloche Monnex scholarship for UOIT as well as much deserved acclaim and bragging rights for UOIT, who now have two of the Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition winners on faculty. Christopher diCarlo of UOIT took home the title in the 2008 Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition.

Prior to teaching at UOIT, Brar taught physics and astronomy at the University of Massachusetts. Brar has received numerous awards and accolades for his teaching. He has a reputation for effectively communicating complex topics in physics and astronomy to undergraduate students of varying backgrounds with a lecturing style that is engaging, entertaining and interactive.

Brar graduated from the University of Toronto and University of Waterloo before completing his PhD in astrophysics at Queen's University. During graduate school, he researched the halos of spiral galaxies and at the same time he discovered his love for teaching physics and astronomy to undergraduate students.

Of his Best Lecturer win, Brar says, "I am honoured and privileged to have been selected by TVO viewers and the Best Lecturer jury. It is very gratifying to know that such a diverse audience appreciates the fundamental sciences. I am grateful for the TD Insurance Meloche Monnex scholarship, which will be a great help to UOIT students.

"I would like to thank the students of UOIT for their nominations and support throughout the competition. This is a victory for the entire university. I would also like to thank TVO for creating a show that is educational, yet exciting and puts the spotlight on a discipline that is rarely acknowledged on television."

Brar's winning lecture was titled "Exoplanets: The Search for Other Earths". As Brar explains "The lecture described a field which is on the cutting edge of space exploration. I am pleased that the Best Lecturer series provided the platform for the subject to be accessible to viewers: and to be able to reveal some of the mysteries of space."

"TVO's Best Lecturer Competition was created so that we can celebrate teachers like this year's winner: Rupinder Brar from University of Ontario Institute of Technology," says Big Ideas producer Wodek Szemberg. "Watching him impart knowledge to his students, one can tell that he loves both teaching and the subject matter that he teaches. The peculiar combination of the two is the magical mix that makes Rupinder Brar such a worthy winner."

Each year the Best Lecturer Competition inspires the post-secondary community and plays an important role in raising awareness about the province's great educators. This year's competition began with a 10-week nomination period that started in August 2009.

At the close of the nomination period on October 12, the Best Lecturer Competition received a record-breaking 970 nomination submissions for 692 professors from 37 post-secondary schools. Of the 692 nominated professors, 332 accepted the nomination.

Next a panel of judges narrowed the list down to 20 followed by the Top 10 shortlist comprised of five men and five women whose televised lectures aired on TVO's Big Ideas in March and April. The winner was selected after the close of the voting period on Sunday April 11.

"I would like to congratulate all of the other finalists," says the 2010 Best Lecturer winner Rupinder Brar. He adds, "having watched all of the lectures, I find it an honour to be included with such accomplished educators."

Following is a list of the top 10 finalists in TVO's 2010 Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition:

    Laurentian University at Georgian College

    Bruce Meyer
    Department of English
    TITLE: The Four Phases of Yeats
    Lecture aired March 27

    Queen's University

    Eleanor MacDonald
    Department of Political Studies
    TITLE: Are We Postmodern?
    Lecture aired March 7

    Virginia Walker
    Department of Biology
    TITLE: HIV, Parasites and the Exhausted Immune System
    Lecture aired March 21

    Ryerson University

    Sohail Rashid
    Department of Psychology
    TITLE: Birth Order and Personality
    Lecture aired March 13

    University of Toronto

    Monika Havelka
    Department of Biology, Mississauga Campus
    TITLE: Why Sex? The Evolution of a Paradox
    Lecture aired March 28

    Steve Joordens
    Department of Psychology, Scarborough Campus
    TITLE: You Can Lead Students to Knowledge, But How Do You Make Them
    Lecture aired March 6

    University of Ontario Institute of Technology

    Rupinder Brar
    Faculty of Physics
    TITLE: Exoplanets: The Search for Other Earths
    Lecture aired March 20

    University of Ottawa

    David Gray
    Department of Economics
    TITLE: Open Economy Macroeconomics
    Lecture aired April 4

    York University

    Nadia Habib
    Humanities, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies
    TITLE: Reflections on Gender & Sexuality
    Lecture aired April 3

    Karolyn Smardz Frost
    School of Arts and Letters, Atkinson College
    TITLE: Fugitive Sources: Uncovering Toronto's Underground Railroad
    Lecture aired March 14

About TD Insurance Meloche Monnex

TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, the group insurance brand of TD Insurance, works with over 700 professional, alumni and employer groups across the country to provide home and auto insurance programs. In business for over 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 sub-brands, is the largest direct-response insurance group in Canada. For more information on professional and alumni group programs visit; for information on employer group programs visit

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. For more information, visit

Where to find TVO

Cable channel 2 (channel may vary in some areas), Bell TV channel 265, Shaw Direct channel 353.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at Images are free to accredited members of the media/


For further information: For further information: Media contact: Lesley Horlick, TVO, Marketing and Communications, (416) 484-2600 x 2281,

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