Prof. Andrea Buchholz, Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, has received a teaching award from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). She is one of five recipients this year; the award recognizes outstanding contributions to the quality of higher education in Ontario.

Buchholz, who joined U of G in 2004, has related her teaching style to her love of performing on stage with a local improve troupe: “For me, lecturing is a distinct form of theatre. There’s a lot of gesticulating and projecting my voice, and I walk around the room and up and down the aisle. There’s also a certain degree of improv in teaching because you’re dealing with humans. Sometimes you get heckled, sometimes your AV equipment fails, and you have to be able to think on your feet.”

She adds that humour is an important lecturing tool, particularly in her clinical nutrition course, where a lot of time is spent talking about sickness. “Sometimes I need to lighten the mood and offer a different perspective while being highly respectful of the disease conditions we’re talking about. It can be a very heavy course if I don’t try to lighten it up and inject a bit of humour.”

Buchholz also enhances her lectures with research results from studies looking at the role of nutrition in heart disease. She operates a human body composition and energy metabolism lab, the first facility in Ontario capable of measuring fat mass and fat-free mass and energy expenditure in a “one-stop shopping” fashion.

“This facility allows me to evaluate the effects of exercise, diet and supplement interventions designed to modify body fat, muscle mass and bone mineral mass,” says Buchholz. “This, in turn, can help reduce the risk of chronic disease and improve human health and performance.”

The OCUFA teaching award will be presented Oct. 23 in Toronto.