2019 Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Service

Six members of the APSC community have received Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Service for their outstanding contributions to the Faculty.

The three staff recipients are Karen Seddon, Michelle Tierney and Dave Torok, while the three faculty recipients are Mari Fujita, Karen Cheung and Deborah Roberts.

The awards were handed out by APSC dean James Olson at the 21st Annual Faculty of Applied Science Barbecue, which took place at the University Golf Club earlier this month.

The citations for the recipients are as follows:

2019 Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Service – Staff

Clerical/Secretarial Staff Award: Karen Seddon

As one of the first staff employees of the School of Engineering, Karen Seddon has played a pivotal role in its continued success. When Karen joined the School, there was no equipment, no infrastructure, and the offices were moving from a portable to a temporary space on campus. Since then, she has supported the logistics of multiple moves and also provided much-needed emotional support and patience.

Karen’s colleagues use words like “exceptional”, “dedicated”, “diligent”, and “dependable” to describe her, and her unwavering commitment to the School and Faculty is why she is so deserving of a Dean’s Award of Excellence.

Management and Professional Staff Award: Michelle Tierney

Michelle excels in everything she undertakes and does so with such dedication and commitment. She provides outstanding service in her long list of duties as Manager, Student Services for the undergraduate and graduate programs in Materials Engineering and Integrated Engineering since she joined the department in 2005.

She works tirelessly on behalf of the 430 undergraduate students and 100 graduate students by counselling, advising and assisting them in any way she can. Michelle has greatly enriched the students experience in Materials and Integrated Engineering. She has an efficient work ethic and a willingness to take on multiple new challenges. She is truly one of the rocks that our department is built upon and it is our great pleasure to work with her.

Technical Staff Award: Dave Torok

Dave joined the Materials Engineering Department in 2002 as a Machinist Apprentice. During his apprenticeship, he instantly excelled in the hands-on machine work as well as his BCIT apprentice schooling. He also exhibited a great attitude towards the department, the undergraduate students in Materials and Integrated Engineering, the graduate students as well as the faculty. These are excellent qualities and it left no doubt in my mind that he would be hired full-time as a machinist in our department.

Dave continues to show excellence and pride in his work, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to complete any task he is assigned. He also has the dubious distinction of being the Materials Engineering Fork lift! As I have not found anything Dave cannot lift or push. I know that there is no more deserving person than Dave for this prestigious award.

2019 Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Service – Faculty

Mari Fujita, Associate Professor, School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture

Mari is being acknowledged for her exceptional administrative leadership and service contributions to the School.

As Chair of the Environmental Design undergraduate honours program (ENDS) since 2013, she has its worked tirelessly to enhance the quality and presence of that program in the School (as the only undergraduate cohort among professional graduate programs). Through her smart, creative, generous and extraordinarily good-natured leadership, advocacy and initiative on behalf of the ENDS program and its students, the recruiting and admissions processes, the curriculum, the faculty team and the student experience have all been strengthened and elevated.

Mari spearheaded the inclusion of ENDS students in the Co-Ordinated International Exchange program, giving students design education opportunities never before available to them. She also led SALA’s initiative to create and launch a new Bachelor of Design program, overseeing  curriculum  design and development, budgeting, curriculum and tuition consultations, co-writing the program proposal, and navigated it through reviews and approvals.

Finally, as Chair of SALA’s Academic Affairs Committee, she has reinvented and coordinated two of the School’s crucial, twice yearly all-school public academic /social events – the launch of the term’s design studio options and the review of all of the design studio work produced in the School at the conclusion of each semester.

Karen Cheung, Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering/Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Karen is being acknowledged for her outstanding efforts toward the building of the School of Biomedical Engineering. 

In BME, Karen serves as an Associate Director of the School and Director of the Graduate Program. In this context, she also acts as the Graduate Advisor for the school, assisting the approximately 100 graduate students continuing in the program (PhD, MASc, MEng) and manages the process for advancement to candidacy.

She also works to approve incoming admissions, represents the School on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Education Committee (Faculty of Medicine), and manages the academic progress for all students, among other duties. As Graduate Director she chaired our Graduate Awards committee, for awards including CGSM (NSERC and CIHR), and FYF, including growing the number of awards BME students have attracted.

As Chair of the Policy Committee, she helped set new structures for the comprehensive (qualifying) exam and supervisory committees, and initiated a new rotation program, wherein the School will accept several students who will complete 3 rotations prior to selecting a PhD research supervisor. This program has already been a great success, with several of our rotation student securing external awards and taking leadership roles in the School.

Deborah Roberts, Professor, Civil Engineering at the School of Engineering in the Okanagan

Since her arrival at the School of Engineering in 2006, Deborah has consistently contributed an extraordinary level of service to the School, the Faculty and the university. Her list of committee roles and memberships is truly impressive.

At the School level she has participated on the Curriculum and Space Allocation Committees, served as Chair of the Civil Engineering Program (for 2 years) before becoming Chair of the SoE Graduate Program (also for two years) and the inaugural Associate Director for Graduate Programs and Research.  She has served on several Faculty of Graduate Studies Committees, been a two-term member of the Okanagan Senate, including Chair of the Senate’s Nominations Committee as well as its Learning and Research Committee.

Across campuses, Dr. Roberts has also served as Co-Chair for the Associate Sub-Committee of SAC for 5 years as well as a number of other cross-campus initiatives. She has developed a faculty and staff mentoring program within the School of Engineering, taking up this challenge in her usual highly consultative style, and expanding upon the initial vision to include sub-programs focused on teaching, research, educational leadership, onboarding of new faculty members, and ongoing development opportunities for technical and administrative staff.

She is quite simply someone who says “yes” to opportunities to make the School a better place for faculty, staff and colleagues.



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