Skip to main content
eSSENTIAL ACCESSIBILITY Crisis Centre

University celebrates excellence in graduate student supervision

The university's School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies recently celebrated faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the graduate students they supervise.
The university's School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies recently celebrated faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the graduate students they supervise.

Working on a master’s degree or PhD in graduate school culminates a student’s relentless pursuit and inquiry into a single topic that generates new knowledge. Much of the work is independent and self-directed. At the same time, a grad student must be prepared to be challenged by others to help them shape their newfound expertise.

Integral to the entire cycle of graduate studies is the degree candidate’s connection to a member of the university’s faculty: a ‘graduate supervisor’, someone who supports them even before their arrival at the university. This supervision is an additional academic task professors perform in addition to their research work and teaching commitments.

Many prospective graduate students will connect with a potential graduate supervisor before submitting an application. The supervisor may then advocate for them during the admissions process. Supervisors will often note a shared research interest while reviewing applications for admission and connect with the student.

Graduate student supervisors provide invaluable mentorship and guidance to a degree candidate throughout their program. The supervisor promotes timely completion of the thesis and encourages career development by offering leadership and support in academic matters such as publishing, presenting, and applying for funding. Even after graduation, many supervisors stay in touch with former students, providing networking opportunities and valuable career advice.

The supervisor’s interpersonal skills also play a major role in ensuring student success. They must be available for regular engagement and consultation, deliver high-quality and timely guidance and feedback. They need to respond to student needs, and help drive the student’s enthusiasm for the pursuit of knowledge.

Inaugural award for excellence established in 2018

At its recent Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision reception, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies celebrated faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the graduate students they supervise.

The Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision was established this year to recognize faculty members who have displayed excellence in the mentorship and supervision of graduate students at the university. To be considered for the award, excellence is judged on the quality of supervision and mentorship that inspire graduate students to become successful scholars and professionals.

Eight faculty members representing five faculties received nominations from peers and graduate students for the award. Miguel Vargas-Martin, PhD, was this year’s recipient. One nominator described Dr. Martin’s supervision: “His passion to share his expertise with students, his generosity in fostering students’ intellectual and professional development, his ability to create a challenging yet comfortable work environment for his students, and his treatment of students with respect, kindness and patience make Dr. Martin an ideal candidate for the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision.”

Congratulations to all faculty members recognized with nominations (selected nominator comments embedded with each name):

  • Khalil El-Khatib, PhD, Faculty of Business and Information Technology

    “He is an exceptional human being with qualities in both supervision and mentorship I have admired over the years, which is one of the many reasons he is so deserving of this recognition.”

    “I can summarize Professor El-Khatib’s approach to graduate student supervision as ‘student-centric’. He is a true mentor for his students, and does his best to provide them with every opportunity to excel themselves and reach their potential.”

    “Dr. Khalil has a unique ability to get you to believe you can pursue the impossible.”

    “His mentorship, advice and criticism were instrumental in making me succeed, not just at writing and defending my thesis, but also giving me the tools, skillset and networking opportunities to land an extraordinary job opportunity.”

    “I was very fortunate to have Dr. El-Khatib as my supervisor in both the master’s and PhD programs. I was able to exceed the expectations in both programs as a result of his enlightening guidance, motivation, vast knowledge and continuous support.”

  • Janette Hughes, PhD, Faculty of Education

    “Because of my experience with Dr. Hughes, I am now pursuing a doctorate degree and considering a future career as a professor.”

    “As my thesis supervisor, she provided the support, scaffolding and guidance necessary for me to be successful while encouraging me to continuously stretch my academic limits.”

    “Dr. Hughes has a talent for not only performing inspiring research in the field of education, but instilling that same passion for knowledge in her graduate students.”

    “Her wealth of knowledge in education, critical literacies, makerspace culture and pedagogy has been invaluable to the various research projects undertaken by the lab, and has contributed to my own knowledge and competencies in these areas as well.”

    “She provided me with a number of opportunities for intellectual growth and development of my research skills by hiring me as a research assistant, and has been instrumental in helping me build my academic and professional capacity.”

  • Hossam Kishawy, PhD, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

    “Dr. Kishawy motivates his graduate students to broaden their knowledge and turn their ideas into reality.”

    “I found him to be an excellent example of a devoted supervisor who gives his students support in all aspects of their research.”

    “Professor Kishawy is an inspiring supervisor, who links theory to practice.”

    “Composed of a broad range of international and domestic students, his research group is great evidence of his effort to build an environment of diversity and quality.”

    “Professor Kishawy’s goals in graduate supervision are achieving effective communication among his research team members, engaging his students in critical and effective discussions, providing his students with technical knowledge and other required resources, and supporting his graduates as they pursue their careers.”

  • Manon Lemonde, PhD, Faculty of Health Sciences

    “Dr. Lemonde has helped me to have the most enjoyable academic experience. I now have a serious intention to continue my studies as a prospective PhD student in Health Sciences.”

    “My research was not without its roadblocks, but Dr. Lemonde was always behind me and in my corner; she advocated for me and supported me whenever I needed it.”

    “She has displayed every characteristic of excellence in the mentorship and supervision of a wealth of students.”

    “As a true mentor tends to do, she saw skills and talent that I did not know I had in me, cultivated them and made certain that they came to the forefront. It was under Dr. Lemonde’s guidance and support that I developed more, as an academic, a professional and a human being, than I have at any other point in my life.”

    “Being a woman from a visible minority background, to have the opportunity to connect with a leader in her field and to see a female example of success in academia was the most critical experience anyone could have offered to me at that time in my life. No amount of words can express my gratitude or the magnitude of influence this has made throughout the rest of my growth as a student, and later throughout my career.”

  • Masoud Makrehchi, PhD, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

    “The characteristic that makes him a great teacher and supervisor is that his ideas and suggestions are always open to discussion. You can disagree and argue with him until one of you is convinced.”

    “Research collaboration with industries is one of his priorities, which makes us feel that what we are doing is actually useful in real life and brings a great deal of motivation to the lab.”

    “He is open-minded, dedicated, noble, a great mentor and a real coach.”

    “One of his most important lessons, which I still cherish today, was to remind me of my potential capabilities as a female computer engineer and the mentality I need to have in order to survive in this male-dominated field.”

    “The industry projects he brings to this team and the research topics he suggests show his abilities and position in the field. These efforts make our research group very dynamic and motivated.”

  • Miguel Vargas Martin, PhD, Faculty of Business and Information Technology*

    “Dr. Martin has been so dedicated, challenging, committed, hard-working, goal-oriented and nurturing, all of which have motivated me throughout my career.”

    “He was always deeply engaged in each of his students’ work, easily being able to apply his vast wealth of knowledge on any of our subjects and provide insight on our research topics.”

    “Dr. Martin’s passion for mentoring and helping others goes beyond his students and the university—it extends to the community at large.”

    “Thanks to his expert advice, we didn’t bump into dead ends, or reinvent any wheels, or produce incremental work on someone else’s project, but we boldly endeavoured into mostly unexplored fields of practical importance in the vast world of computer security.”

    “His passion to share his expertise with students, his generosity in fostering students’ intellectual and professional development, his ability to create a challenging yet comfortable work environment for his students, and his treatment of students with respect, kindness and patience makes Dr. Martin an ideal candidate for the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision.”

  • Carolyn McGregor, PhD, Faculty of Business and Information Technology

    “Dr. McGregor has built a strong, authentic relationship with each of her students, recognizing their strengths and aspirations, offering a nurturing environment to turn weaknesses into strengths, and always working together to clearly define expectations for their academic needs.”

    “Dr. McGregor is an outstanding graduate supervisor, professor and researcher, with an exceptionally high profile across the convergent fields of health sciences, computer science and information technology.”

    “Dr. McGregor is clearly engaged with her students but she guides them in a way that fosters independence and critical thinking.”

    “Her conversations with her students are inspiring. Instead of providing students with the answers, she provides them with the tools they will need. She encourages each individual to attempt multiple solutions and apply critical problem-solving skills to choose the best solution.”

    “She is one of the rare professors I have had the pleasure of meeting who genuinely puts her students first and provides education and opportunities simultaneously.”

  • Lennaert van Veen, PhD, Faculty of Science

    “Lennaert is an avid proponent of international collaboration. He ensured I would get to at least one international conference per year, in addition to numerous many local conferences.”

    “Lennaert’s approach to graduate student supervision involves direct involvement with each student’s project … he tries to determine what kind of supervision works best for each individual and adapts accordingly.” 

    “He is compassionate, inspiring and selfless with his time. He has, without a doubt, made my experience at the university better and I am proud to be his student.”

    “It is clear Lennaert has played a remarkable role in mentoring these young people as they mature, both as researchers and as people.”

    “Even on his sabbatical in Japan, he would Skype with his students on a weekly basis, in spite of the different time zones. Clearly, he is prepared to go ‘the extra mile’ to make himself available to his students.”

*denotes 2018 winner

Related links: