Chemistry prof wins Early Career Teaching Award for mixing right amount of engagement and innovation

Kris Kim
U of T Scarborough chemistry prof Sanghyun (Kris) Kim has received a U of T Early Career Teaching Award (submitted photo)

Sanghyun (Kris) Kim relishes the opportunity to build meaningful relationships through his teaching.

He gets an immense feeling of joy whenever he receives an email from a former student sharing what they’ve been up to, celebrating an accomplishment or conveying how even an unassuming interaction left a lasting impression.

He also cherishes the relationships he’s built with colleagues and community members in recent years.

These partnerships have involved a deep level of trust and reciprocity that I’m thankful for. I’m excited to see how these collaborations will continue to evolve,” says Kim, an assistant professor, teaching stream, in the department of physical and environmental sciences.

Kim is one of three recipients of a 2023 U of T Early Career Teaching Award. The award recognizes faculty members who show an exceptional commitment to student learning, engagement and teaching innovation.

Kim teaches chemistry and has infused several innovative techniques to support student learning. He’s partnered with the Toronto Zoo and the UTSC Campus Farm so students can apply their skills outside of the lab. During COVID he designed “choose your own adventure” digital resources that allowed students to experience the lab virtually and develop skills such as using a burette.   

Outside of the classroom Kim helped oversee the Chemistry Ambassador Program and train upper-year undergrads to facilitate discussions and mentor first-year students. He also helped supervise undergrad research projects, collaborated with grad students to codesign new curriculum, and helped run several community outreach programs including one with local public schools and Toronto Public Library to do in-lab activities with children.

On a personal level he called receiving the award “humbling,” adding that a source of inspiration has been the resilience shown by the UTSC community, especially during the pandemic.

“I’ve been fortunate to engage in a wide array of projects and they would not have been possible without the incredible energy and support from mentors, colleagues, students, and community partners,” he says.

“It’s their tireless creativity and efforts that continue to inspire and motivate me and I see this award as a recognition of the contributions we’ve all made together.”