2020 CEPS Awards

Posted on Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Image of headshots of faculty and staff winners. From left: Ali, Huan, John, Manjusri, Jay, Ryan

The CEPS faculty and staff awards were presented to six individuals on June 26, 2020.

Our success in making research advancements, promoting collaboration across sectors, and training new experts in our fields is a direct result of the dedicated, talented faculty and staff employed by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS). Never has that been proven more than in the face of the unprecedented global pandemic this year caused by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Each of our team members deserve recognition, and particularly so in this context. The CEPS faculty and staff awards were presented to six faculty and staff at the College’s virtual Annual General Meeting on June 26, 2020.

The nominations were adjudicated by the College Awards Committee, which is composed of one voting member from each of CEPS’ five academic units: Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics. The winners are as follows:

CEPS Assistant Professor Research Excellence Award

Awarded to the assistant professor who best demonstrates enhanced research productivity and the potential for continued program growth, Profs. Ali Dehghantanha, School of Computer Science; and Huan Yang, Department of Physics, were this year’s recipients.

Dehghantanha received the CEPS REA for his leadership, innovation, and excellence in the field of cybersecurity and digital forensics. Since joining the University of Guelph in Fall 2018, he has attracted more than $350,000 in competitive research funding, including from the Department of National Defence (Canada) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Dehghantanha has provided significant leadership to the field; he has supervised 20 HQP in the last five years, chaired national and international committees, and undertook significant editorial activities for major digital forensics and data privacy journals.

Yang received the CEPS REA for his innovation and research intensity in gravitational waves and black hole mergers. Since joining the University of Guelph in Fall 2017, he has attracted significant NSERC funding, including a Discovery Grant with a discovery accelerator supplement. Yang has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed articles in top journals, such as Physical Review Letters and Physical Review D, and is an active referee for the highest-impact physics journals. He is also a highly sought after speaker at national and international conferences.

CEPS Graduate Supervision Award

Awarded to the faculty member who best exemplifies sustained excellence in graduate student supervision, Prof. John Dutcher, Department of Physics, receives the CEPS Graduate Supervision Award. He is frequently referred to as an outstanding mentor, having supervised more than 40 graduate students, many of whom have gone on to have high-impact, successful careers. Dutcher encourages his students to be active in their academic careers, with nearly every PhD student having at least one refereed publication as first author. Moreover, his students and postdoctoral fellows have given a total of 314 talks at scientific conferences. Dutcher is considered “one of the most influential teachers and mentors” his students have ever had, creating an open and stimulating environment, engaging his students, and encouraging collaboration. 

CEPS Undergraduate Supervision Award

Awarded to the faculty member who best exemplifies excellence in undergraduate supervision, Prof. Manjusri Misra, School of Engineering, receives the CEPS Undergraduate Supervision Award. Misra maximizes her students’ potential in both educational and applied settings, having supervised more than 50 undergraduate students in the last 10 years at U of G, many of whom have received national and international recognition in connection to Misra’s mentorship. She provides students with opportunities to enhance their experiences in academia, with 25 students as primary authors and 14 as co-authors on peer-reviewed manuscripts in high-impact journals. Many of Misra’s undergraduate students have pursued graduate studies. Misra consistently demonstrates her “enthusiasm, encouragement, and belief in the potential of every student,” and leaves a lasting impression on those she mentors.

CEPS Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award

Awarded to the faculty member who best exemplifies sustained excellence in undergraduate teaching, Prof. Ryan Clemmer, School of Engineering, receives the CEPS Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. Clemmer is well respected by his colleagues and well loved by his students, recently winning the Engineering Society award for Best Instructor in Mechanical Engineering. He has worked to improve the student experience through various roles, including as course instructor, Engineering Peer Helper faculty co-supervisor, and School of Engineering First-Year Faculty Liaison. Clemmer is dedicated to continuous curriculum improvement and always puts the student first. One of the students who nominated Clemmer for the award wrote: “Dr. Clemmer has proven time and time again that he is dedicated to the betterment of individual student successes.”

CEPS Staff Excellence Award

Awarded to the staff member who has provided exceptional contributions towards fulfilling the College’s mission and mandate, Dr. Jay Leitch, Department of Physics, receives the CEPS Staff Excellence Award. He has shown immense acumen in helping lead the launch of the nanoscience program and laboratories, creating one of the top, unique-in-its-kind laboratory experiences for an undergraduate science program in Canada. In doing so, Leitch has enabled second-year undergraduate students to participate in research-grade experimental techniques, normally not accessible to students until graduate school. Also, he instructs numerous nanoscience laboratory courses, continues to conduct research and present at conferences, and supports outreach and recruitment events such as Let’s Talk Science. 

Congratulations to all of the 2020 CEPS faculty and staff award recipients!

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