Vote now for Monika Havelka!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - 11:56am

This is your last chance to vote for Monika Havelka, a senior lecturer in the Department of Biology, who is in the final round of TVO's 2010 Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition.

Viewers can vote starting Tuesday, April 6 until Sunday. April 11 at 8 p.m., so vote now!

Havelka's lecture was broadcast on TVO on March 28. Her topic was Why Sex? The Evolution of a Paradox. It can be viewed here, and you can vote for her here.

The top 10 finalists were chosen from a group of more than 300 nominated lecturers from across Ontario-the biggest competition in the five-year history of the competition. Seven schools are represented among the top 10: Laurentian University at Georgian College, Queen's University, Ryerson University, the University of Toronto (two contenders), the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, the University of Ottawa and York University.

Viewers will be able to rate contestants following each lecture, and vote for an overall winner at the end of the contest. A panel of judges will also rate the lectures. This year, TD Insurance Meloche Monnex is sponsoring a new contest for viewers who go to to cast their vote online. Participants will be entered to win a $5,000 grand prize pack: a laptop, HD camcorder, digital SLR still camera, an iPod touch, and an iTunes gift card. A new weekly contest during the voting period will also allow viewers to enter to win a portable reader.

There are two ways to vote for Ontario's Best Lecturer:
• Online at
• Toll-free phone at 1-877-792-VOTE (8683)

The winner will be announced on Saturday, April 17. Along with some major post-secondary props, the winner's school will also receive a $10,000 TD Insurance Meloche Monnex scholarship.

Havelka completed her MSc and PhD in zoology at the University of Western Ontario, studying the evolution of life history patterns in small mammals, and has been a member of the teaching faculty in the Department of Biology at U of T Mississauga since 2003.

She has taught courses in evolutionary biology, biostatistics, landscape ecology and environmental science, and has been involved in teaching field courses and supervising student research projects. Her current student projects focus on the spatial ecology of small mammals in urban and fragmented landscapes. 

Havelka is an advocate of experiential learning -- her favourite place to conduct a lecture is on the tundra in Churchill, Man., or in a deciduous forest on the Oak Ridges Moraine. When not in the field or in the classroom, she can usually be found on the back of her horse.

The shortlisted lecturers were judged on their ability to present ideas with confidence, and authority, clarity and coherence, and energy and enthusiasm.

The finalists were chosen by an independent jury made up of teacher, trainer, television producer and host Linda Armstrong; journalist Jesse Brown of TVO's Search Engine podcast; and journalist-poet Clifton Joseph. The panel reviewed video submissions from the top 20 lectures that were selected in December.