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Agriculture students hone their skills in a dairy laboratory classroom. // PHOTO FROM UM DIGITAL COLLECTIONS - ARCHIVES & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Agriculture students hone their skills in a dairy laboratory classroom. // PHOTO FROM UM DIGITAL COLLECTIONS - ARCHIVES & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

13 classes our alumni think are A+

September 12, 2018 — 

We asked our alumni community to tell us about the most memorable class they took at the U of M, as part of our Alumni Answers series. From amazing professors to perfect-score papers, these are the classes they say made the grade. (Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.)


Applied Biological Safety, by Dr. Steven Theriault! The course was taught super well and the material was incredibly interesting! I poured my blood, sweat and tears into a research paper (that got 100 per cent) – still a proud moment for this Science grad. 

This alumni question prompted me to go back and re-read my paper (on Yersinia pestis – the cause for the pneumonic/septicemic/bubonic plague). I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of that awesome course, and how engaged I was as a student. Kudos to Dr. Theriault for knowing how to teach.
~ Sana M. [BSc/10]

Calculus taught by Donald Trim in the old engineering building room 219. Amazing teacher.
~ Eric S. [BSc(EE)/89]

Legal History with Cliff Edwards O.C. Q.C. Never forget him!
~ Julian V. [LLB/09]

Social Issues in Business with Professor Reg Litz. Amazing professor, amazing person.
~ Kelly K. [BComm(Hons)/99]

My favourite course was Economics with Jesse Vorst. I found him to be a really inspiring and a captivating lecturer … it is one of those courses I have remembered over time.
~Roxana M. [BComm(Hons)/84]

I took Dr. Sarah Elvins’ “History of U.S. Since 1939” from 2005-2006. Not only were the lecture topics incredibly and consistently engaging, but Dr. Elvins had a media-rich pedagogy that was extremely hard to pull off in the pre-YouTube, early Google days. Her teaching style was enjoyably humorous, and she fostered rich class discussions. Dr. Elvins would then supplement lectures with movie clips, songs, etc. and I do appreciate now that she had to gather all of these media elements physically, likely at a cost. Thank you Dr. Elvins for a wonderful History course that I still think about (eg. Malvina Reynolds’ Little Boxes song)!
~ Nicole Gareau-Wilson [BA/06, Bed/08, MEd/18]

Ross Henderson, Business Policy. He knew how to teach if you were willing to learn.
~ Jerome Knysh [BSc(IE)/84, ExEd/87, MBA/90]

Family Financial Health with Karen Duncan. Best class, hands down best prof! She inspired me to delve deeper in my readings and provided a supportive learning environment that also challenged me to be an independent thinker.
~ Melissa GS. [BHECOL/17]

Dental Science with Israel Kleinberg.  Was he one fired up dental researcher and educator . ❤
~ Frank G. [DMD/70]


Introductory Psychology taught by Dr. V. Kamaya. It was a class that was late in the day, smaller because of the hour, and there seemed to be students from a variety of faculties – I was in Commerce. While the official coursework was quick to learn, the whole class participated and the questions we asked went deeper than any of us seemed to have expected.
~ Patrick S. [BComm(Hons)/84]

Introduction to Sociology with Daniel Albas was fantastic and eye opening for me. I would say that was the most memorable course I’ve ever taken.
~ Amirali Y. [BSc/17]

The best class I had was International Trade from Professor Barry Coyle. The course is very theoretical, but simplifies and explains the concept of comparative advantage and the role of international trade in global economy. It offers a scientific response to the current protectionism. Nearly all students who take Barry’s course firmly believe that he has the course roadmap in his mind and whenever in the class, he just pulls the information out of his head like Professor Dumbledore with his Pensive!
~ Yuan Z.  [MSc/16]

My most memorable class was called Meeting the Needs in the Near Environment. This was a mandatory first year general human ecology class and our textbook was written by prominent home economist Eleanor Vaines. I wrote a paper that received a mark of 100 per cent – it was the only time I ever received that mark and I still have that paper and the textbook.

After completing my human ecology degree I worked for 10 years, completed an education degree and became a home ec teacher. A decade after that I enrolled in the UBC home economics and everyday living cohort where I had to write a reflective paper about me and my chosen professional path. The first thing I thought of was the book by Vaines. Throughout my master’s program I reflected many times on that book, what Professor Shannon taught in that class, and the paper I aced. That class gave me purpose and direction in 1987 and again in 2011. I was never the so-called perfect academic student but I knew what I wanted to do with my life and I have been thankful for the home economics professors who believed in my abilities and my path.
~ AnnaLee Parnetta [BHECOL/93]


Alumni Answers is our way of building community with our alumni by sharing memories, ideas, and opinions with one another. Every month, we pose a new question with an opportunity to learn, laugh, and ponder together.

Next month, we’re asking: What meaningful relationships did you make at the U of M? To send in your answer, click here, or email


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One comment on “13 classes our alumni think are A+

  1. Kenneth Wong

    I have been travelling a bit lately and I didn’t see this question. Don Trim is truly amazing — agree with that one. I would have said Economics of the European Union. It was Paul Duprez, a then-retired Belgian diplomat that was involved in the BENELUX Accord negotiations. He changed my life — he inspired me to be join the Canadian Foreign Service.

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