Heather Addy

Heather Addy

Mentor of Distinction

Barbara Chabai


Educational and Professional Background


Dr. Heather Addy obtained her BSc with Distinction, from the Department of Botany from the University of Alberta in 1983. She furthered her education, completing her Masters in Plant Ecology from the University of Alberta in 1986. In 1995, she obtained her PhD in Soil-Plant Relations from the University of Guelph. She researched the extraradical mycelium of a vesicular-arbuscular fungus and propagule infectivity following a period of winter freezing.




Throughout graduate school, Dr. Addy was a TA for other undergraduate courses. She enjoyed the opportunity to interact with students, make connections with other disciplines and the ability to think about topics that were broader than her own research area. Since then, she decided that she wanted a career that would allow her to focus on teaching. She joined the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary in 1998. . Since July 2003, Dr. Addy has been a senior instructor at the University of Calgary in the Department of Biological Sciences. Her primary responsibility is teaching, although she continues to research symbiotic relationships between plants and fungi with Randy Currah, from the University of Alberta. She has taught a variety of undergraduate courses, including introductory Biology and upper- level Botany courses. She also has supervised independent projects for four students.


Dr. Addy is fortunate to have a faculty position that emphasizes on teaching; such position is quite unique in Canada. According to Dr. Addy, the large class size in the first-year classes is the most challenging part of her job. She tries to get to know her students as much as possible, counteracting the anonymity that many students feel in such large classes. It also creates opportunities to interact with her students outside of class. Dr. Addy not only helps students understand course material, she also makes herself available to discuss ways for them to succeed at university and explore possible career options.




Dr. Addy has been nominated for the Teaching Excellence Award three times, and she received the Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005. She has also been the recipient of various other awards including the Soil Ecology Society Poster Award, the Mary Edmunds Williams Fellowship and the Morwick Scholarship, both from the University of Guelph. In 2002, she was awarded a Learning Commons Fellowship from the University of Calgary’s Learning Commons for laboratory development and TA training. She attended conferences related to biology lab education in order to obtain research ideas for these new labs. She has introduced a series of new labs into Biology, including ones that allow students to grow and study both seed and non-seed plants throughout the plant life cycle.


Contributions to Society


Dr. Addy has influenced the community through her many committee and volunteer positions. She is involved in various organizations within the University and community. She is a Biological Sciences Department representative and part of the planning committee for the Experiential Learning Centre at the University of Calgary. In addition, she is a faculty representative on the Refugee Student Board and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Issues. She has also taught science classes to elementary school students in various areas within Calgary and area.


Dr. Heather Addy has touched the lives of thousands of students in Calgary. Her enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and contributions to the field of science have made her a favorite among her students and a promising researcher.