“Unsung heroes” and others honoured at annual awards ceremony


Last Wednesday, outstanding UTM staff were honoured at the Principal’s Awards Reception.

The Innovation Complex rotunda was packed with faculty, staff, students, and family of the recipients of this year’s Excellence Awards.

The first award—the Staff Service Award—was open to all non-teaching staff. This year’s recipient was Thomas Klubi of the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre. Senior lecturer  Andrew Petersen presented Klubi with the award and gave the audience some of the backstory of Klubi’s services to UTM, which began with the launch of the Academic Skills Centre in 1996.

Professor Konstantin Khanin of the math department received the Research Excellence Award, recognizing extensiveness and influence.

The Teaching Excellence Award for Faculty was given to chemistry professor Paul Piunno.

“When I first started my career, I had no intentions of teaching. Now, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said.

The last award was the Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants, whom Principal Deep Saini described as the “unsung heroes” of the university. The award recognizes remarkable undergraduate teaching and contributions to the academics of UTM students.

This year, there were three recipients for the award: Alvin Singh, a biology TA who has worked with the department since 2011; Meital Avivi-Reich, a psychology TA associated with what is supposedly one of the most difficult statistics courses at UTM; and Soaleha Shams, a biology TA whom Saini described as “our best optical illusion”.

The Excellence Awards are given out annually.