The University of Toronto is honouring U of T Engineering’s Jason Bazylak (MIE) with the Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience award. This award recognizes a member of the U of T community who goes above and beyond the requirements of their job, resulting in a broad and long-term positive impact on the quality of the student experience at the University.
Bazylak, a Métis engineer from Saskatchewan, is known for his efforts to address the underrepresentation of Indigenous people and women in engineering, leading reconciliation initiatives and his award-winning first-year design course.
Bazylak is a Dean’s Advisor on Indigenous Initiatives, the principal investigator at the Centre of Indigenous Research into Cultivating Engineers and co-chairs U of T Engineering’s Eagles’ Longhouse steering committee. He has championed the Faculty’s work toward rebuilding relationships between engineering and Indigenous communities and greater inclusivity of Indigenous people, particularly students, in U of T Engineering.
Bazylak’s commitment to inclusivity is reflected in the Indigenous speaker series he launched, the mentorship he offers Indigenous students, as well as his involvement in the Engineering Positive Space committee, the Engineering Equity Diversity and Inclusion action group and a student allyship group.
He is also the co-ordinator and instructor for the award-winning first year design course, Engineering Strategies and Practice, that each year introduces approximately 1,000 engineering students to their future careers. Leveraging the active-learning capabilities of the Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship, he redesigned this course to introduce technologies to improve communication in large classes, creating new inter-faculty course collaborations and more opportunities for practical, hands-on experiences.
Bazylak’s research focuses on identifying barriers to entry in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), especially for women and Indigenous students. He looks at approaches designed to remove those barriers, such as designing more welcoming student experiences and using technology to improve student engagement. Bazylak holds a Hart Innovation Teaching Professorship, which further supports this research.
Outside of U of T, Bazylak is a widely respected thought leader and founding member of both the Canadian Indigenous Science and Engineering Society and the Canadian Engineering Education Association.
“On behalf of the Faculty, I want to extend my enthusiastic congratulations to Jason for this well-deserved recognition,” says U of T Engineering Dean Chris Yip. “His dedication to welcoming and supporting our students, and both strengthening existing and creating new relationships with the Indigenous community, is key to our efforts in building a more inclusive and equitable future here in the Faculty.”