CEPS Faculty and Staff Honoured with 2024 Awards

Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

Photo of awards recipients standing side by side in Sumerlee Science Complex Atrium. Left to right: Dr. William Tam, Dr. Nagham Mohammad, Dr. Richard G. Zytner, Dr. Aicheng Che and Dr. Huiyan Li.
Five faculty and staff receive College awards for their outstanding service. Left to right: Dr. William Tam, Dr. Nagham Mohammad, Dr. Richard G. Zytner, Dr. Aicheng Chen and Dr. Huiyan Li. Missing from photo: Kyle Johnston, Staff award recipient.

Five faculty and staff in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS) received the College’s annual awards, recognizing their excellence in core areas to the University of Guelph, including teaching, research and service.

“During their time at the University, these faculty and staff have shown outstanding dedication and commitment to providing a superior learning experience for our students and working environment for each other,” says Dr. Richard Zytner, interim dean CEPS. “Each of them is highly deserving of these awards.”

The CEPS awards consist of the Assistant Professor Research Excellence Award, Graduate Supervision Award, Undergraduate Supervision Award, Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award and Staff Excellence Award.

The awards were presented at a spring luncheon hosted by the dean. Award nominations were adjudicated by the College Awards Committee, which consists of one voting member from each of CEPS’s five academic units: Physics, Mathematics and Statistics, Engineering, Computer Science and Chemistry. The recipients for 2024 are:

The Assistant Professor Research Excellence Award is given out to a CEPS Assistant Professor who demonstrates enhanced research productivity and the potential for continued research program growth. Dr. Huiyan Li, School of Engineering, is this year’s recipient and has published 18 peer-reviewed papers in top-ranked, high-impact journals in chemistry and chemical engineering since joining U of G in 2020. Li has also successfully secured more than $500,000 in external funding for her interdisciplinary research, including an NSERC Discovery Grant, CFI-JELF grant, among other tri-agency funding.

The Excellence in Graduate Supervision Award is given out to a CEPS faculty member who exemplifies sustained excellence in graduate student supervision. They are a strong mentor and role model, providing a caring work environment for their students. Dr. Aicheng Chen, Department of Chemistry, receives the award this year. Chen has supervised or co-supervised 20 M.Sc. and 14 PhD students since joining U of G in 2017. Chen’s training philosophy is rooted in fostering an inclusive and engaging environment for students to learn and develop strong technical skills, while empowering them to realize their research potential and thrive professionally.

The Excellence in Undergraduate Research Supervision Award is given out to a CEPS faculty member who best exemplifies sustained excellence in the supervision of undergraduate student research or research-related activities. Dr. William Tam, Department of Chemistry, receives this year’s Undergraduate Research Supervision Award. Tam has supervised 117 undergraduate students over 25 years at U of G. Twenty-eight of these students are co-authors on Tam’s research paper, and 17 have been awarded NSERC or OGS graduate scholarships. Tam is known for creating an environment where students gain hands-on learning, and have the ability to make mistakes and learn from them. He offers guidance and aims to instill confidence in his students, along with insisting on a positive work environment.

The Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award for a faculty member who exemplifies sustained excellence in undergraduate teaching. This year’s Undergraduate Teaching Award recipient is Dr. Nagham Mohammad, Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Mohammad has a strong record of teaching excellence, improving curriculum and course delivery. She has overhauled core required courses to improve engagement, taking a skills-focused approach to courses such as MATH1080, along with implementing collaborative lab assignments and enabling a stronger feedback loop between teaching assistants and undergraduate students, among others.

The Staff Excellence Award is designed to recognize an exceptional contribution of a staff member towards fulfilling the College’s mission and mandate. This year’s recipient is Kyle Johnston, School of Computer Science (SOCS). Kyle has helped transform how SOCS supports its students and researchers with computing resources. He willingly shares his knowledge and seeks new and innovative ways of ensuring that the University’s computing school meets the necessary IT requirements of its community. Kyle is recognized for his passion, expertise and general enrichment to SOCS, along with his willingness to go above and beyond for students, faculty and other staff.

Congratulations to all the recipients!

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