On March 1, seven faculty members were presented with a 2016 Faculty Graduate Mentoring Award. These awards are intended to recognize faculty who render exceptional service to graduate students as supervisors and research mentors. The effect of such faculty on the careers of students is frequently transformational. The awards are sponsored by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs and the Office of the Vice-President (Research and International).
Here are the winners along with the quotes taken from their nominators’ letters.
Adrian Chan (Systems and Computer Engineering)
Chan invests his time and energies in individuals, placing importance on their growth and success as a person. He is a mentor who is able to say what needs to be heard, whether that is encouragement or the facts of the matter….Prof. Chan pushes his students out of their comfort zone and lets them make their own choices and mistakes, while still remaining as a presence to guide and point the way.
- He has a vision where the success of an individual can positively influence and promote successes of the community, and thus his engagement with each student is second to none.
- ….what makes Dr. Chan’s mentorship style unique is that he personally takes the time to ensure that not only am I on the right track but that I am also gaining the most out of my degree. His guidance was the main reason I performed extremely well in my degree. His feedback on my research and thesis led to receiving unconditional acceptance of my thesis and being awarded the senate medal.
- I personally have exceeded my own expectations when it comes to academia and research. It is 100% because of him.
Sonia Chiasson (Computer Science)
During my Masters, we were writing a conference paper which was due in 24 hours. Sonia stayed on campus with me until 9 p.m. to help with the paper. After going home, she continued to work with me online until 3 a.m. She did this while having to teach an 8 a.m. class the next morning.
- Whenever there is an opportunity for us, such as an internship, a research project, a related conference/workshop, volunteering opportunities, she informs us right away. Additionally, she facilitates the way for us to participate by providing guidance and reasons on why we should.
- She opens doors in our minds about directions to tackle different research problems that we had not thought of. But I also think that her enthusiasm about research and teaching is contagious.
- She was there for me at times when I felt overwhelmed. I could count on her for support, reassurance, and above all a game plan….taking my challenges and breaking them down to do-able pieces.
- Sonia selflessly spent countless hours mentoring me in performing world-class research and writing papers publishable in top-tier journals and conference proceedings.
Ian Marsland (Systems and Computer Engineering)
Through his depth of knowledge and enthusiasm, he made a subject that can be difficult, interesting and fun…..Professor Marsland has superior teaching techniques which allow his students to grasp complex information by performing exercises that are insightful and practical.
- ….he has not only changed the direction of my research, but also my life.
- I remember that he always eagerly, after finishing the class and at a very late time, was answering the question of students and many times he stayed at the university until very late to discuss the research issues with his graduate students.
- I have observed very first-hand, over and over again, his passionate character, and his kind, gentle, encouraging, and scholarly attitude towards junior researchers. I personally learned a lot from Ian as well – what a nice colleague and friend….”
- His desire to teach his students was such that he met with me even on the weekends to assist me with the project several times. This level of dedication to graduate students is absolutely rare nowadays.
Janet Siltanen (Sociology)
Janet’s dedication to academic excellence and support of student success is superlative …Time and again, she proved herself to be a genius in framing questions that could enable significant research to emerge.
- As my supervisor, mentor, teacher (and lately colleague), Janet not only helped me to become a better, more rigorous and disciplined academic. She has also instilled a gentle curiosity in me towards the world, coupled with a sense of responsibility and accountability in my academic practice.
- She has always provided me with the time, patience and feedback necessary to guide me through the (often messy) research process.
- I sometimes wonder if I would have successfully made it through the PhD program without Janet as my supervisor.
- Janet has consistently been the most sought after graduate supervisor because of her extraordinary ability in guiding students and her genuine interests in students’ development as researchers and as human beings.
Myron Smith (Biology)
Myron is always available, welcoming, ever ready and willing to assist. He shares with me freely from his wealth of experience, things needed for me to make progress in my research.
- Myron taught me so many things from how to give a better seminar talk, how to improve my writing, how to improve time management and how to have a good time while still getting work done, how to be respectful to everyone, and even what kinds of fungi are good to eat while on a nature hike!
- Myron is extremely generous, both with his time and with financial support. When I started working in the lab, he was supervising almost 15 students and was the chair of the department, yet he always found time for all his students. Myron has never turned me away when I have had questions and he has always made time to meet to discuss drafts of papers, experiment results, and difficulties or questions that I am having with my project.
- Whether it be clear logical interpretation of data or an idea that is completely outside of the box, he is always there with great ideas that will better your project and help take your research into new, fun and interesting avenues.
- There were a number of times where I went to his office or stopped him in the hall to ask a short question, and ended up spending half an hour discussing what I had been working on that week, and getting tips for how to move forward. Smith would often spend a whole afternoon in the lab advising each student, and the blackboards were usually full of diagrams he had used to explain a concept or methodology.
Dwayne Winseck (Communication)
As an internationally recognized expert in the field of political economy of communication, Professor Winseck is a top-notch scholar and offers great guidance in directing my master’s thesis. He always goes the extra miles in reviewing my thesis and other academic works, providing very detailed feedbacks and comments.
- He not only inspired me of his excellent academic experience, but also reduces my loneliness and pressure in a foreign country. Moreover, he actively connects me with his previous students, each of whom remains close relationship with him and helps me expand my academic networking.
- Dwayne’s fervor for the media industries, media policy and the political economy of communication is infectious and he is renowned throughout the department for his incredible work ethic as well as the high bar he sets himself to.
- Dwayne has many characteristics that deserve recognition, but if I had to identify one distinguishing feature it’s that he has a bona fide and selfless interest in sharing knowledge, in encouraging other peoples’ scholarship, and for recognizing and kindling passion for knowledge in everyone he meets.
- The prospect of working with a “Winseck”-type professor entices me to explore academic routes down the road, in hopes that one day I may work with someone who exhibits the exceptional qualities Dwayne possesses.
Michael Wohl (Psychology)
The support that Dr. Wohl provides to his students and encourages amongst his students is indescribable. He goes above and beyond to ensure that his lab remains a “family” by organizing group activities and hosting annual lab get-togethers.
- I have crossed paths with many mentors but none have marked my path, my career and my life the way Michael has.
- Michael is a fantastic supervisor in every possible way, and has had such a positive impact on my life. He also encourages us to choose our career goals, and helps guide us in achieving those goals.
- Michael is the most passionate mentor I know! The amount of care and support he has for his mentees is boundless and unmatched. No matter the issue (personal or academic), Michael is always available to counsel us and always has our best interests at heart.
- By providing ample opportunities for funding, publishing and networking, Dr. Wohl does everything in his power to ensure that his student’s leave graduate school with an exemplary portfolio of skills, setting them up for success for when they enter the professional world.
- While it can be easy to teach a student the skills to conduct research, what Dr. Wohl provided me was far more important – Dr. Wohl was able to instill passion and curiosity for research because his passion for research came through in his mentorship of students.
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