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Home Centres and Institutes Teaching Excellence and Academic Quality Teaching Excellence George Wicken Memorial Award and the Diane Fagel Award

George Wicken Memorial Award and the Diane Fagel Award

George Wicken Memorial Award and the Diane Fagel Award

The George Wicken Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence celebrates the memory and contributions of George Wicken, a Centennial College English professor who died in 1984 at the age of 36, shortly after he gained a full-time teaching position. George was revered for his tireless dedication to students and the teaching profession. His colleagues described George as energetic, positive, innovative, and a mentor to his students. His research interest was Canadian literature, and he published a well-received critical analysis of major Canadian poet William Wilfred Campbell in 1983, as well as numerous articles and bibliographies. The journal Essays on Canadian Writing awarded a prize in his memory for 15 years, from 1985 to 2000, for the best critical essay by a student.

Centennial has held the Wicken Award Dinner annually since 1985, to honour Professor Wicken’s memory. His favourite dessert was a butter tart, so this is a traditional offering at the banquets. The two Wicken awards honour an outstanding full-time or contract faculty member from any Academic School across the College and a student with high accomplishment in an English course through the School of Advancement.

The Diane Fagel Support Staff Excellence Award recognizes the contributions of a support staff member who contributes to teaching and learning excellence to benefit students. This award honours the contributions of Diane Fagel, a Centennial College Support Staff member who was an active supporter of the Wicken Awards from their inception until her retirement in 2004. Providing support for teaching and learning excellence is an integral part of creating an effective learning environment and this award recognizes the key role that our support staff play.

Nomination Process

George Wicken Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence

Faculty members are nominated by Centennial College students who are invited to nominate a faculty member from either Fall or Winter semester of the academic year. Faculty who accept the nomination will be asked to submit their class climate report and be interviewed by the Wicken Selection Committee

For more information on the Wicken Awards process, please download the PDF attachment

Diane Fagel Support Staff Excellence Award

Any member of the college community may nominate any full-time or contract support staff employee for recognition of their outstanding support of teaching and learning. Support staff members who accept the nomination are asked to submit a brief statement of their views about providing service to students. The recipient of Diane Fagel Support Staff Excellence Award is determined by the Diane Fagel Awards Committee through a formal interview.

Current and Past Recipients

2017 George Wicken Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence Recipients

Congratulations go to Professors Paula Demacio from the Centre for Organizational Learning and Teaching, and Donna Hinds from School of Community and Health Studies who are the 2017 recipients of the George Wicken Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. The recipients of this award will also be designated as the recipients of the Board of Governors' Teaching Excellence Award, reflecting the strategic commitment of the College to transformative learning and teaching.  

Professor Paula Demacio

Paula is a scientist by training, but found her true passion in teaching at Centennial College. She has been part of the SETAS Applied Biological and Environmental Sciences team since 2003 and has enjoyed teaching many different courses in the Biotechnology program. Paula believes that in the right environment, enthusiasm for learning can be contagious. She brings energy, passion and enthusiasm for what is known, as well as a sense of wonder for what is unknown. Paula strives to promote curiosity, ignite passion and build a strong foundation for lifelong learning. She makes a genuine effort to get to know her students, so she can meet them where they are and tap into their learning motivations. Paula takes pride in her ability to meet the diverse needs of her learners, and to keep pace with the changing landscape of higher education, especially in the area of blended and hybrid learning. As excited as she gets to try something new with her students, she gets just as excited and energized to share an idea with a colleague or learn something new from them. Paula believes that collaboration represents an engaging and empowering approach to advance teaching excellence and foster innovation in teaching and learning. Paula recently began a faculty secondment in the Centre for Organizational Learning and Teaching and is currently supporting other Centennial faculty members with their teaching endeavours. Paula feels privileged to be an educator and is very proud to be a teacher at Centennial.

Professor Donna Hinds

Donna Hinds graduated from Centennial College's Social Service Worker program in 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Social work from York University and is presently completing her Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership. Donna is a member of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. She reviews social work related textbooks for some of Canada’s leading publishers and is a motivational speaker.

Donna has been teaching at Centennial College since 2010 and takes pride in motivating and encouraging students. She incorporates a constructivist, experiential, and anti-oppressive learning paradigm where students can ask questions, scrutinize, and assess what they know about themselves and the world to create personal interpretation and meaning as they develop their learning skills. Donna believes learning is a life-long process and that each new day presents new learning opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Professors Paula Demacio and Donna Hinds were selected from a slate of excellent nominees from five Schools, including:

  • Professor Nadia Jones, The Business School
  • Professor Karim Allidina, School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science
  • Professor Mandy Lam, School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science 
  • Professor Amy Warren, School of Community and Health Studies
  • Professor Carol Gottwald, School of Community and Health Studies
  • Professor Elizabeth Logaridis, School of Community and Health Studies 
  • Professor Lorne Hilts, School of Community and Health Studies
  • Professor Sasha Boersma, School of Communications, Media, Art & Design
  • Professor Chris Conrath, School of Communications, Media, Art & Design
  • Professor Helen Sianos, School of Communications, Media, Art & Design
  • Professor Tim Doyle, School of Communications, Media, Art & Design
  • Professor Tyler Anderson, School of Communications, Media, Art & Design
  • Professor Roy King, School of Transportation
  • Professor Victor Conley, School of Transportation

Diane Fagel Support Staff Excellence Award

Congratulations to Rajeev Jesuthasan from the Centre for Organizational Learning and Teaching, who is the 2017 recipient of the Diane Fagel Support Staff Excellence Award. This award is presented to a support staff who has contributed to supporting teaching and learning at the College.

Rajeev Jesuthasan

Rajeev is a Centennial College alum who graduated from the Computer Programmer Analyst Program. He has accumulated over 17 years of experience through various roles, such as a Computer Technician, Helpdesk Specialist, and is currently working as a Learning Technology Specialist in the Centre for Organizational Learning and Teaching. Raj works in collaboration with Faculty, Support Staff, and Campus Administration providing essential technological solutions through consultation, mentoring support, capacity building and training. He is passionate about educational learning technologies and is always searching for the next opportunity to improve and innovate teaching and learning experiences.

Rajeev was selected from among six excellent nominees:

  • Ann Vasilopoulos, School of Community and Health Studies
  • Marge Schulz, School of Community and Health Studies
  • Bill Scott, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts
  • Melissa Tapscott, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts
  • Chetan Premjee, School of Communications, Media, Art & Design
  • Caroline Mbuthia, School of Transportation

2016 George Wicken Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence Recipients

Congratulations to Professors Michael Carter from School of Business, and Steve Ruch from School of Transportation who are the 2016 recipients of the George Wicken Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. The recipients of this award will also be designated as the recipients of the Board of Governors' Teaching Excellence Award, reflecting the strategic commitment of the College to transformative learning and teaching.

Professor Michael Carter

Michael has enjoyed teaching at Centennial College for the last three years in the Office and Legal Administration program in the School of Business. He first learned student-centred teaching techniques from his formal training at Trent University where he completed his Bachelor of Education in 2013. Prior to this, in 2009 Michael graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science. Although, Michael shares, most of what he has learned about the teaching profession has come from teaching swimming lessons for the last 15 years. This experience taught him the value of creating a fun and safe learning environment for students of all ages and skill levels. 

Michael has taught a variety of courses at Centennial College through the School of Business, as well as online courses through the Centre for Part-time Studies and Online Learning (formerly Continuing Education). He also partnered with the Centre for Part Time Studies and Online Learning to teach business office skills to marginalized students through a non-profit organization called New Circles.

Michael continues to adapt his teaching methods to meet the needs of his students and has recently created his own YouTube channel called "Mike’s Office" where he instructs on Microsoft Office programs. He was nominated for the George Wicken Teaching Excellence award for the first-time last year, and this year he is a joint recipient of this award. 

Professor Steve Ruch

Steve Ruch graduated from Centennial College's Apprenticeship program in 1981. With over 40 years of industry experience, he is certified as Automotive Service Technician holding both ‘S’and ‘T’ratings. While taking a night course at Centennial, Steve started to help other students who were struggling with the material. The professor noticed and asked if he would co-teach the course. The same year Steve graduated, he began teaching the course on his own and thus began Steve’s teaching career in the School of Transportation (SoT).

Steve has worked not only as an automotive service technician and diagnostician but has also managed service departments from 6 to 18 bays, held regional and provincial, corporate positions and instructed at both corporate and post-secondary levels. When he returned in 2006 to join the Centennial SoT faculty in the Canadian Tire MAP32 program, Steve said it was like 'coming home.' Over the past decade, he has assisted in promoting his trade and the college, through participation in skills competitions at multiple events and speaking at Ontario Youth Apprentice Program (OYAP) and High Skills Major symposiums. Steve brings that special combination of experience and knowledge with an ability to connect with his students that can be summed up in his own words: “I take pride in the trade that I teach, the methodologies I apply and the responsibility to motivate students to engage resources, including each other, in a positive learning environment." Steve is a joint recipient of this award.

Professors Michael Carter and Steve Ruch were selected from a slate of excellent nominees from four Schools, including:

  • Professor Gary Lipschutz, School of Advancement
  • Professor Linda Strickland-Short, The Business School
  • Professor Judy Hermann, School of Community and Health Studies
  • Professor Shelley Ince, School of Community and Health Studies
  • Professor Frank Trovato, School of Community and Health Studies
  • Professor Vic Conley, School of Transportation

2016 Diane Fagel Award Recipient

Congratulations to Jenita Shah from School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science (SETAS), who is the 2016 recipient of the Diane Fagel Award. This award is presented to a support staff who has contributed to supporting teaching and learning at the College.

Jenita Shah

Jenita is Centennial alumni from 2008, having graduated from two programs - Office Administration Executive and Business. She arrived in Canada with her family as a high school graduate in 2004 and immediately started to integrate herself into college life. As a Centennial Success Advisor, Jenita's positive energy and enthusiasm carries forward into everything she does for the School, the Advising Team, and the college. Jenita is always striving to enhance the student experience by continuously improving ways to provide service and she fully collaborates with all stakeholders to ensure student needs are identified and met for a positive outcome. She has demonstrated her support through her involvement with Centennial Welcomes, the SETAS Technology Fairs, and their Meet and Mingle program, for which she led the development and launch.

Jenita was selected from among several excellent nominees:

  • Jan Edward, The Business School
  • Timothy Repetski, School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science
  • Lisa Harper, School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science
  • Michelle Wray, School of Community and Health Studies
  • Christine Dell'Elce, School of Community and Health Studies
  • Melanie Holmes, Enrollment Service - Community Outreach

The list of past recipients for both the George Wicken Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence and Diane Fagel Support Staff Excellence Award