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U of T Engineering has awarded 11 faculty and staff for their continued pursuit of excellence. Recipients were recognized for their leadership, citizenship and innovation at the “Celebrating Engineering Excellence” reception this week—an annual event to honour all those who’ve won awards in the Faculty over the past year.

“It is my privilege to bring everyone together to celebrate another year of extraordinary achievements at U of T Engineering and to thank all of you for contributing to our shared success” said Dean Cristina Amon. “On behalf of the Faculty, I offer warm congratulations to the outstanding recipients of this year’s staff, teaching and research awards.”

This year’s winners:


Joe Baptista (MIE)
Influential Leader Award

This award is for a staff member who demonstrates exemplary support for the U of T Engineering’s endeavours and has made significant sustained contributions to the Faculty.

Joe joined MIE in 2003 as building services officer, and was promoted to director of operations in 2011. During his 12 years with MIE, Joe has made several significant contributions to the physical assets of the department, exemplifying dedication and leadership. One of his major achievements was proposing and overseeing the consolidation of MIE’s administrative facilities, which had previously been split between two different buildings. This was an enormous undertaking, requiring not only outstanding organizational skills and technical expertise, but a great deal of tact and diplomacy. Joe’s excellent interpersonal skills and dedication to the Faculty earned him the MIE Employee of the Year Award in 2008 and the Agnes Kaneko Citizenship Award in 2010.


Foster_circleJason Foster (EngSci)
Faculty Teaching Award

This award is for a teacher who demonstrates outstanding classroom instruction, develops and uses innovative teaching methods, and goes above and beyond to ensure the best possible learning experience for students.

Since joining EngSci in 2005, Jason has developed and taught a number of mandatory capstone and cornerstone design courses and played an important role in developing other capstone design courses across the Faculty. In 2010, he worked closely with the vice-dean, undergraduate to establish the Engineering Design Education Group as a means of promoting increased collaboration among the Faculty’s design instructors. Regarded as an expert in design education, Jason has been active in initiatives related to design education outside the Faculty in partnership with organizations such as OISE and the Toronto District School Board. His research on engineering education has been presented at conferences for the Canadian Engineering Education Association and the American Society for Engineering Education.


Hayward_circleKelly Hayward (ECE)
Harpreet Dhariwal Emerging Leader Award

This award, which was renamed last year in honour of the late Harpreet Dhariwal, recognizes a staff member who demonstrates potential to assume a more senior leadership role.

Kelly joined ECE as program manager for ECTI in 2008, and was appointed operations manager in 2012. In this role, she is responsible for the management and oversight of nearly one third of all the Faculty’s space. In addition to responding to emergencies such as water leaks and heating failure, Kelly has shown great leadership in pulling stakeholders together to find ways to maximize limited resources. Her outstanding communications skills and commitment to the Faculty’s mission have inspired her fellow staff members to contribute at the highest level. Kelly is a volunteer member of several committees and has served as co-chair of ECE’s Joint Health and Safety Committee. She is also the department’s green ambassador, working to make ECE and the Faculty more sustainable.


Li_circleBelinda Li (ECE)
Agnes Kaneko Citizenship Award

Named in memory of a valued staff member, this award recognizes staff who have served with distinction and made contributions to the Faculty’s mission above and beyond their job description.

Belinda is the administrative coordinator for the Energy Group in ECE. Her positive attitude and consistent willingness to go beyond her expected duties and lend a hand have made her indispensable to the faculty and students she supports, as well as her administrative colleagues. Belinda is always seeking out new opportunities to learn more, contribute more and improve administrative efficiency and student experience. She takes great pride in her work and genuinely cares about our students; she invited some of the graduate students in her group who could not make it home for Thanksgiving to her home for dinner.This is just one example of the dedication and consideration for others that makes Belinda such an exemplary Faculty citizen.


Mehramiz_circleMike Mehramiz (ECE)
Quality of Student Experience Award

This award recognizes a staff member who has made significant contributions to the quality of student experience in the Faculty.

Mike has served as manager of the Design Centre Lab in ECE since 2002. In this role, he provides crucial support and guidance to students throughout the creation of their final year design project, as well as other design assignments. Mike continually seeks to improve the experience of students in his lab through innovative technological, ergonomic and operational enhancements. He recently completed an overhaul of the lab, which doubled its capacity and created a more user-friendly space in just a few months. The students he serves consider him a mentor, and often seek his advice on technical problems outside the scope of the lab. Mike received a U of T Excellence Through Innovation Award in 2012 for his role in developing and running a series of tutorials to teach ECE students electronic lab skills.


Ramsay_circleScott Ramsay (MSE)
Early Career Teaching Award

This award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching during their early career.

Scott is the course coordinator for ‘Introduction to Materials Science,’ a first-year course taken by about half of our undergraduates. He not only completely overhauled and enhanced this course, but also developed initiatives to improve the first-year experience in all large, introductory courses. Improvements included implementing portable tabletop labs which don’t require laboratory space, and short online videos explaining key course concepts. Scott is currently spearheading a project to create multimedia reusable learning objects related to materials science, which can be used across multiple courses and departments. He is also developing the open online course ‘Introductory Chemistry from a Materials Perspective,’ which will be offered next year. In 2012, Scott received the Wighton Fellowship, a national award recognizing excellence in laboratory teaching.


Rose_circleJonathan Rose (ECE)
Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award

This award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching over a sustained period of time.

Jonathan’s commitment to student success has made him an extremely popular educator and sought-after supervisor. He is known for his emphasis on teaching design and his innovation in laboratory and design courses. Jonathan developed a unique design course for graduate students called ‘Creative Applications for Mobile Devices.’ This groundbreaking course has yielded roughly 75 new mobile apps in disciplines ranging from music to medicine. Jonathan is also passionate about entrepreneurship, serving as chair of The Entrepreneurship Hatchery’s Advisory Board. A four-time recipient of ECE’s teaching award, he has also been recognized with the Faculty Teaching Award in 2012 and the U of T Faculty Award in 2014.


Tran_circleHonghi Tran (ChemE)
Research Leader Award

Established in 2013, the Research Leader Award recognizes leadership in interdisciplinary and multiple investigator initiatives that have enhanced the Faculty’s research profile within the broader community.

Honghi is the Frank Dottori Professor of Pulp & Paper Engineering and director of the U of T Pulp & Paper Centre. Over the past 25 years, he has led and coordinated 10 research consortia reaching across borders and disciplines to advance the global pulp and paper industry. These consortia have undertaken projects involving more than 30 faculty members and 200 students from across the University, as well as 50 industrial partners from around the world. Honghi’s own research has also had an exceptional impact on the industry. For example, the sootblower nozzle he designed to remove deposits in boilers is now used in more than 95 per cent of recovery boilers worldwide, saving the industry an estimated $100M per year. His many research awards include the John S.Bates Gold Medal from the Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada.

Jaro & Wong_circlesDarlene Gorzo, Jaro Prostupa and Joe Wong (all ECE)
Innovation Award

This award recognizes staff members who have developed an innovative new method, technology or system.

Darlene, Jaro and Joe are being honored for their development of ECE’s Graduate Research Information Database (GRID). GRID was developed to address the University’s requirement for an annual meeting between all PhD students and their supervisory committees. With roughly 260 PhD candidates in ECE, scheduling these meetings demanded significant departmental resources. GRID solves this problem by providing a web-based virtual meeting space where students can submit a summary of their accomplishments and future plans, and supervisors can review this information and provide feedback. Administrative staff can also use GRID to collect and store other data related to the student’s progress, such as completion of course requirements. GRID has significantly streamlined a previously cumbersome process, resulting in considerable benefits to students, faculty and staff.

See a Flickr gallery from the “Celebrating Engineering Excellence” reception.

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