Professor Elham Marzi (ISTEP) is among the recipients of this year’s U of T Early Career Teaching Awards.
The award recognizes faculty members who are effective teachers and demonstrate an exceptional commitment to student learning, pedagogical engagement and teaching innovation. Along with four other recipients from across U of T, Marzi will be honoured at the annual Excellence in Teaching Reception to be held in the Fall.
“Teaching is something I always look forward to — my aspiration is to make a positive difference in the lives of those I teach, empower them through knowledge and engage them through motivation,” says Marzi.
“I’m honoured and humbled to receive this award. It helps reassure me that I’m on the right track and encourages me to remain committed to nurturing the growth and development of students.”
At U of T Engineering’s Institute for Transdisciplinary Studies in Engineering Education and Practice (ISTEP), Marzi is the director of the Business Engineering Minor, overseeing all aspects of a specialization that is completed by nearly half of engineering graduates.
She is also part of the leadership team for several new initiatives that incorporate global perspectives into undergraduate teaching and learning experiences. These include the International Virtual Engineering Student Teams (InVEST) initiative, the Global Classrooms initiative and the tri-campus Global Leadership minor.
All of these programs immerse students in a practical engineering challenges where global collaboration and international learning are front and centre.
“Our students are eager to cultivate professional skills alongside the technical skills they acquire in their engineering disciplines, and global and intercultural competencies are a cornerstone of the skill set required in the 21st-century workforce,” says Marzi.
“Ultimately, we aspire for our students to step into their careers ready to lead multinational projects, drive technological innovation, and shape society with a globally conscious and ethical mindset, fostering inclusive infrastructure, products, and services for all.”
In addition to these projects, Marzi runs Engineering Business Futures, a co-curricular program which allows students to learn about career pathways that bring together engineering and business through speaker series, case competitions and networking events.
She also served as Global Classroom Advisor to U of T’s Vice-President, International and represents U of T Engineering in a collaboration with six other engineering schools from around the world called the Global Engineering Studio. The latter is an eight-week, 100% virtual program in which students collaborate remotely with peers on other countries to propose solutions to pressing global issues.
“There are so many elements of the faculty that have stepped up to provide support, resources and a nurturing environment for growth and development,” says Marzi.
“I greatly appreciate the ISTEP leadership, including Professor Greg Evans, as well as the Cross-Disciplinary Programs office, Dean Emerita Cristina Amon, Dean Christopher Yip, the Educational Technology office and the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation for all they have done to facilitate these new initiatives.”
“Engineers of the 21st century must reflect the communities they serve and bring a wide-ranging perspective to their work — this is a key priority within U of T Engineering, and one of the pillars of our Defy Gravity campaign,” says U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip.
“Professor Marzi’s innovative work is a shining example of this, integrating the development of ‘power skills’ — leadership, effective teamwork and global fluency — into our leading-edge educational programs. On behalf of the Faculty, congratulations to Professor Marzi on this well-deserved honour.”