The University of Toronto is celebrating Professor Cristina Amon (MIE), Dean Emerita of U of T Engineering, as its 2020 Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award recipient. The accolade recognizes a faculty member each year as an exemplary university citizen for his or her leadership and meaningful contributions in diverse spheres of the University.
Throughout her remarkable tenure as Dean at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Amon established U of T Engineering as a world leader in multidisciplinary engineering research and education while making incredible strides in advancing gender equity, diversity and inclusion.
Under Amon’s leadership, U of T Engineering has become a global hub for interdisciplinary research and education and is renowned for its innovative educational programming, student success, multidisciplinary research and outstanding professors. Her commitment to outreach and diversity set a new standard for Engineering schools worldwide. During her deanship (2006-2019), U of T Engineering has made tremendous strides in gender diversity, increasing the first-year engineering student cohort from 20% to 42% women and the number of women faculty from 19 to 57, while 13 major leadership roles have been held by women.
“The impact of Cristina’s legacy on our Faculty is evident in every facet of our world-leading research enterprise, innovative educational programs and vibrant community,” says U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip. “Her visionary leadership has truly transformed our Faculty, and it is with gratitude and pride that I congratulate her on this richly deserved honour.”
During her term as Dean, Amon diversified Engineering’s curriculum, initiating undergraduate minors and certificate programs in collaboration with other Faculties to expand students’ educational opportunities. She also led a new emphasis on design education, establishing the Institute for Multidisciplinary Design & Innovation and a number of multidisciplinary capstone team design initiatives in partnership with industry. In addition, Amon revitalized engineering graduate education by introducing innovative professional Master’s programs and PhD programs, and fostered partnerships with universities worldwide to provide students with rich opportunities for international experiences.
Beyond the classroom, Amon created programming to enrich the student experience and enhance experiential learning. U of T Engineering now offers students opportunities to develop the leadership, communication, business and entrepreneurial competencies to be at the forefront of societal and technological change. She spearheaded the creation of the Entrepreneurship Hatchery, the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead), and the Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, among others.
Prior to her deanship, Amon was the Raymond J. Lane Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems at Carnegie Mellon. A graduate of MIT, her research pioneered multidisciplinary thermal designs and made ground-breaking innovations to transient thermal management, optimization algorithms for renewable energy, nanoscale transport in electronics and biological systems. Her scholarly contributions are published in 16 book chapters and more than 350 articles in education and research literature.
She has been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Engineering, Royal Academy of Spain and Royal Society of Canada, and is an elected fellow of all major professional societies in her fields. Amon also received the Ontario Professional Engineers Gold Medal in 2015—the most prestigious honour for engineering public service, technical excellence and professional leadership.
Her colleagues sum up Amon’s leadership of the Faculty as transformative, pointing to increased retention and graduation rates, improved international rankings and her tireless fundraising for a much-needed building. She is universally recognized as a model of a “citizen leader” who empowers others around her to effect positive change.