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OCAD U honours excellence among staff and faculty

Celebrating the recipients of OCAD University’s 2020 Faculty and Staff Awards may have been different this year, but the accolades and gratitude are no less.

Typically, held as annual appreciation events to recognize the achievements of faculty and staff members, this year the University has created a special section on the OCAD U website to celebrate this year’s impressive list of award recipients, due to the pandemic.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize the important contributions of our administrative and academic staff over the past year,” said Alan Simms, Vice-President, Finance and Administration. “COVID-19 and the related closures have presented challenges during 2020, and we as a community have demonstrated our resilience, which should be celebrated.”

For a complete listing of awards and acknowledgements, please visit the OCAD U website.

OCAD U Teaching Awards

In her message to faculty members, Caroline Langill, VP Academic and Provost, thanked faculty for adapting quickly, under the challenging circumstances of the last few months.

“With a generosity of spirit, faculty moved quickly so that students could finish their year,” she said. “It is my honour to recognize faculty and to thank all of you for the meaningful work you do with students, to change their lives, to foster their growth and give them the confidence to be successful as artists, design practitioners, scholars and curators.”

She acknowledged this particular period of struggle for the University’s Black and Indigenous faculty, staff and students: “Anti-Black racism has no place at OCAD University or beyond our own community … the pandemic has brought with it incredible challenges to the University and to our personal lives. It is important in times like this to recognize how we have come together as a community and to acknowledge our collective achievements.”

Meet the recipients of the teaching awards below:

Natalie Waldburger – Faculty of Art Teaching Award

With her empathic, intuitive, and encouraging approach to teaching, Natalie creates powerful learning environments. Highly respected by students and colleagues alike, Natalie has, with amazing persistence, brought forward new initiatives and programs at OCAD U - from Life Studies to the Celebration of the Body Exhibition.

Peter Coppin  ̶  The BLG Faculty Equity Award, sponsored by Borden, Ladner & Gervais Law Firm

Peter, Graduate Program Director for Inclusive Design and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Design is an inclusive designer, visual artist, and cognitive scientist. His work seeks to improve information inclusion through understanding how diverse perceptual-cultural-motor capabilities interact with interfaces and designs (such as diagrams in problem-solving and auditory alternatives to graphs and maps).

Sarah Tranum – Faculty of Design Teaching Award

Hailed as a teacher who builds community in very real ways, Sarah strives to make her teaching accessible and applicable to real life/real-world situations. She takes design thinking outside of the walls of the institution, and, while she is helping her students immerse themselves in these experiences, she is there with them wholeheartedly.

Michelle Miller ̶  Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences Teaching Award

Michelle has a clearly engaged and refreshing approach to pedagogy. She curates her course material and structure to suit the diverse needs of her students. Her ongoing effort to engage with her students, gather and implement feedback enhances the learning experience for both current and future students.

Suzanne Stein  ̶  Graduate Studies Teaching Award

Suzanne is an educator who fully embodies her teaching philosophy. In the classroom, she builds relationships through group work and motivates her students to learn and engage, not only with the course material, but with each other.

Josh Elliott   ̶   Teaching Assistant Award

A well-rounded teaching assistant, Josh is valued for his enthusiasm, dedication, and genuine love of teaching. With an ability to deeply connect with students and support an engaging learning environment, he has significantly contributed to students’ learning experiences at OCAD U. 

Marissa Largo  ̶  Continuing Studies Teaching Award

Marissa is a knowledgeable, dedicated, and progressive educator. She employs student-centered teaching methods and promotes inclusivity and collaborative idea exchange between students both in and outside of the classroom. She is valued for her vast experience and ability to attune to each of her students' needs. 

Nick Goso, Faculty of Design  ̶  Price Award for Excellence in Teaching

The Price Award for Excellence in Teaching is given in memory of Mamie and JH Price and the Non-Tenured Faculty Teaching Award is supported by the Office of the President.

Nick champions equity and inclusivity for faculty, staff and students and led his team with much passion, understanding and care, fostering a culture of collaborative professionalism where all voices were valued, appreciated and incorporated.

Derek Liddington, Faculty of Art  ̶  Non-Tenured Award for Excellence in Teaching

The Price Award for Excellence in Teaching is given in memory of Mamie and JH Price and the Non-Tenured Faculty Teaching Award is supported by the Office of the President.

Derek successfully reaches all members of the classroom, making everyone feel motivated to succeed, no matter their experience level. As a drawing-based artist, he reflects regularly on mark-making as a classroom tool for decolonization. These become resources he develops and shares with colleagues.

Lori Riva, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences  ̶  Non-Tenured Award or Excellence in Teaching

The Price Award for Excellence in Teaching is given in memory of Mamie and JH Price and the Non-Tenured Faculty Teaching Award is supported by the Office of the President.

Lori constantly strives to engage students inside and outside the classroom. She is currently collaborating with other faculty members on a Seed Grant funded project she initiated, to create a podcast exploring the lives of artists and designers through a focus on the end of their lives. She has focused her research for this project on women and marginalized artists and designers and incorporated it into her classroom.

OCAD U Employee Awards

Meet the recipients of these awards below:

Employee Excellence Awards

Adam Wiendels, senior marketing manager and Darrell Currington, technician, Rapid Prototyping (RP) lab received the 2020 Employee Excellence Awards.

Since 2015, Adam has supported the Marketing & Communications department in various major projects. Most recently, Adam managed the M&C web development team to deliver an immense web migration project and move our legacy content management system to an open source content management system, in tandem with IT.

In addition, Adam is responsible for promoting OCAD University events, news and accomplishments via social media. Adam’s management of the social media accounts has increased the university’s Instagram following by 27 per cent since the 2018/19 academic year. He has consistently demonstrated a strategic and forward-looking vision towards outreach to OCAD U’s extended community and prospective students.

A technician in the Rapid Prototyping (RP) lab for more than 10 years, Darrell Currington has built the RP shop into what it is today: one of the busiest and most exciting studios in all of OCAD U. As part of the fabrication studio renovations, Darrell worked relentlessly to reimagine how RP could be more effective and responsive to evolving student and curriculum needs.

A dedicated member of the community, Darrell recently coordinated the distribution of 3D printers and the production of more than1000 face shield parts for Michael Garron Hospital; a glowing moment for OCAD U that was featured in numerous media stories.

BLG Employee Equity Award

Sponsored by Borden, Ladner & Gervais Law Firm, the 2020 BLG Employee Equity Award was presented to Phoebe Wang, a Canadian writer and educator, who works at the Writing & Learning Centre as a consultant.

Phoebe tutors students with support on writing, speaking and other academic goals. She works with first-generation, ESL and other disadvantages groups at OCAD U ensuring their academic interests are met with a substantive grasp and learning of the English language. Phoebe also manages and facilitates the Mighty Pen - a creative writing circle for Indigenous students and students of colour.

Christine Crosbie Heart of Gold Award

New this year, awarded on behalf of the Marketing and Communications team, is the Christine Crosbie Heart of Gold Award, in honour of Christine Crosbie, who passed away suddenly, in 2019.

A valued colleague and member of the Marketing & Communications team since 2013, Christine was well-known for her generous and collaborative spirit, professionalism, and passion for excellence as Manager of Communications and Media at OCAD U.

The inaugural award was presented to Andrea Hunniford, Manager, Campus Planning & Projects, who joined OCAD U in 2018. An architect and project manager, Andrea was honoured for her professional and conscientious manner and her understanding that success comes through collaboration, planning, outreach and listening.

Since joining OCAD U, Andrea has focused mainly on the Creative City Campus, a complex campus revitalization project, which included the revitalization of the Ada Slaight Drawing & Painting studios, and a complete gutting and rejuvenation of the fabrication studios  ̶  an essential component of the university’s studio-based learning environment.

The university also acknowledged its retiring faculty and staff members, colleagues marking a milestone in their years of service and academic administrators who have completed their terms. Also recognized and remembered were the contributions of our dear members of the OCAD University community that we have lost over the past year.