2015 Outstanding Staff Award Winners
Six staff members from across the Faculty of Arts & Science are this year’s recipients of Outstanding Staff Awards. Established in 1999, the awards recognize employees who have achieved excellence in support of the Faculty’s mission of teaching and research. Four faculty members and the Dean’s Student Leadership Award recipients, Pratishtha Kohli and Derakhshan Qurban-Ali, were also honoured at the award ceremony on May 11th.
This year’s recipients are:
Riaz Ahmed, Earth Sciences — Student Life Award
Since 2006, there has been a tremendous surge in communication, collegiality and student engagement within earth sciences. That’s the year office assistant and receptionist, Riaz Ahmed, joined the unit. His nomination for the Student Life Award was led by a group of students who credit Riaz with helping to create an environment dedicated to student support and service. As one graduate student writes: “Riaz was the first person I met after my supervisor and he immediately made me feel welcome and comfortable in a new city. In addition to being friendly and genuine, Riaz’s professionalism, knowledge and keen sense of community are the embodiment of a world-class university. We in the Department of Earth Sciences are proud to call him our own.”
Alex DiMarco & Joseph Raghubar, Computer Science — Technical Service Awards
This year there were two honourees for the Technical Service Award, both from computer science. While each is meritorious in their own right, Alex DiMarco and Joseph Raghubar were recognized for the exceptional work they have done as a team. Together, they laid the ground work for the DCS Innovation Lab, an early-stage environment where entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial minded students can use their academic and research skills to create innovation through software. Thanks to their efforts, the department is now able to respond to requests from students to support entrepreneurial initiatives and provide more career development opportunities. The Lab is also expected to enhance computer science’s connections with industry and donors. DiMarco and Raghubar also helped to make SMARTWEEK — the aptly named international conference on emerging “smart technologies” — a success for the department.
Angela Fleury, Statistical Sciences — Administrative Service Award
In the words of one faculty administrator, statistical sciences runs like a “well-oiled machine,” thanks in no small part to Angela Fleury. The Department of Statistical Sciences has experienced very rapid growth — particularly in the number of students in their undergraduate programs — in the time that Fleury joined as department manager four years ago. In order to ensure this growth was managed smoothly, she led in adeptly reorganizing staff duties, and hiring additional sessional lecturers and teaching assistants. In addition to her superb managerial skills and exceptional powers of organization, her peers note that she has an indefatigable spirit coupled with an incredible sense of humour, plus an abundance of kindness and caring. No surprise then, that she is a pleasure to work with.
Gloria Cernivivo, Italian Studies — Distinguished Service Award
Described as the “backbone of a large department with complex needs,” Gloria Cernivivo never fails to address issues competently, swiftly and efficiently. Indeed, her dossier was filled with superlatives attesting to just how remarkable she is. But there’s more to Cernivivo than superior administrative efficiency. In the words of one colleague: “What really strikes me most is her positive spirit; she is flexible and rises above any challenge. Her intense passion for her job, genuine love of students and her integrity make her a wonderful member of staff.” She is also highly regarded for her graciousness, kindness and approachability. The Graduate Students’ Association of Italian Studies attested that she has “gone out of her way to improve the quality of student experience,” citing her as instrumental to their success.
Aphrodite Gardner, Comparative Literature — Distinguished Service Award
In the words of University Professor Emeritus Linda Hutcheon: “Aphrodite is the heart and soul of the Centre for Comparative Literature — that is the simple truth of it.” For over two decades, Aphrodite Gardner has fulfilled the duties of a job description that is rather sweeping in nature. Officially she’s the business officer; unofficially she’s the one holding everything together. She is renowned for her manifest efficiency, deep knowledge and amazing organizational skills. Her many fans note her level-headedness, pragmatism and wisdom in dealing with everything from organizing conferences to counselling students on their finances. Gardner works very closely with students: she is in charge of their funding packages, including scholarships, TA-ships, RA-ships and travel grants. And it’s not an understatement to say they adore her.