2023 Dean’s Awards honour Applied Science faculty and staff
June 20, 2023
Eight exemplary members of the UBC Applied Science community received the 2023 Dean’s Awards today.
Three faculty awards and five staff awards were presented in recognition of significant contributions to the Faculty of Applied Science, taking action to be innovators in research and teaching, inclusive in culture, and dedication to giving students the skills to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
“We’re privileged to have tremendous depth and breadth of faculty and staff talent in Applied Science,” said James Olson, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science. “It’s an honour to work with so many people who are so great at what they do. The winners of these awards represent the very best of the best.
“I’m thankful to each of them for the work they do to help teach students, conduct meaningful research, create a great diverse and inclusive culture, and promote all of this amazing work.”
2023 Dean's Award recipients
Dean’s Faculty Award for Service
Associate Dean, Students and Professional Development
Professor, Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering
Since early in his career at UBC, Dr. Davide Elmo has shown considerable interest in the student experience. As undergraduate advisor in his department, he developed systems for tracking student performance, including early identification of students facing academic difficulties. He was also instrumental in streamlining, modernizing and simplifying the mining undergraduate curriculum, as well as aspects of the graduate curriculum.
Davide has made significant contributions to strategic planning by convincingly arguing that change has to be an essential aspect of all specializations. His phrase ‘Join the change’ became a simple idea that helped focus all further discussions.
He has also contributed to the ongoing challenge of recruiting students into mining engineering, developing highly original student presentations for APSC 100 and organizing activities for in-person and online Applied Science Open House events. This has resulted in more engagement and interest from high school and first year students.
Dean’s Faculty Award for Service
Assistant Professor of Teaching and Nurse Practitioner (NP) Program Coordinator, School of Nursing
Fairleth McCauig has served as NP Program Coordinator within the School of Nursing for the past 10 years, overseeing accreditation reviews and curriculum updates. This past year, the School was asked to develop a proposal to double its Nurse Practitioner program intake – making UBC’s NP program the largest in Canada, McCauig worked on this proposal alongside a team, to envision how the School can swiftly expand while maintaining the School’s high calibre program.
She has mentored new graduates and faculty to shape the nurse practitioner profession across British Columbia.
In addition, she has also contributed to interprofessional education in the Faculties of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicine. Her service in this leadership role, while maintaining a full teaching and clinical oversight load, has been critically important to the success of the UBC Nurse Practitioner program.
Dean’s Faculty Award for Service – Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigeneity
Associate Professor of Teaching and Undergraduate Electives Program Coordinator, School of Nursing
Ranjit Dhari helped launch what was first the School’s Anti-Racism Task Force, where she took on a major role in a series of listening groups to help colleagues understand the work that was needed to address systemic racism in the university and in nursing, creating safe space for students, faculty and staff to share their experiences. This activity was pivotal in turning the Task Force into an Anti-Racism Standing Committee. In all of this work she has been inspiring to others.
In all of this work, Ranjit has brought a calm, kind, and inclusive leadership style to what can be very uncomfortable conversations, and her insights have helped shape the efforts within the School and the Faculty.
She has also represented Nursing in the Faculty of Applied Science’s EDI.I Engagement Committees, and been involved in regular integration of the Anti-Racism Standing Committee’s work with that of the School’s Indigenous Cultural Safety Standing Committee.
Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Dedication to Service Excellence
Workshop Supervisor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Doug Yuen has provided more than 37 years of dedicated service to UBC, yet remains unwavering in his standards of excellence. He provides workshop services to all – enabling researchers and students to further their research, providing tools to instructors to enhance their teaching, and providing services to other departments, such as parking (including designing and fabricating trailers, equipment for salting roads, and parking meter covers).
Mr. Yuen is, quite frankly, a miracle worker, and can build or repair anything.
He is a creative problem solver who specs and sources appropriate parts, always checking for the best value when purchasing equipment, and recycle parts and components to reduce costs and be sustainable. He continuously looks for opportunities to upgrade the workshop, in a cost-effective way — last year he obtained a non-functioning laser cutter from another unit (at no cost) and had it repaired. The workshop technicians are now trained and the workshop can offer laser cutting!
Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Early Career Excellence
Communications and Content Manager, Marketing and Communications, Dean’s Office
In her first 18 months at UBC, Briana Griffith has made an exceptional impact upon the Faculty’s reputation. Her innovative approach towards combining written articles, social media and media relations has led to a significant increase in coverage on UBC Applied Science stories. One recent video she produced about a mouthguard technology developed within mechanical engineering caught the attention of BBC journalists, who came to UBC specifically to feature this in a global news program.
The journalist said the video he saw was ‘the best piece of content I’ve ever seen from a university,’ and said he thought he was watching a feature film!
Additionally, she has played a pivotal role in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives within UBC Applied Science and UBC Engineering, from educational offerings and promoting days of significance, to promoting large, campus-wide events like the Orange Shirt Day Intergenerational March, with over 3,000 attendees in 2021 and 2022.
Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Impact
Fatima Damji’s leadership has been instrumental to the success of HATCH, a startup incubator at ICICS. She brought her logistical wizardry to bear on key developments from the earliest planning stages to securing and overseeing renovations, to planning and executing HATCH community events.
Everyone talks fondly of Fatima because she moves mountains to help support fledgling startups in HATCH. There are countless stories about how Fatima learned each company’s needs and cared so much about them.
She contributes to the entrepreneurial education of Applied Science and Sauder School of Business students by strategically hiring senior-level interns for ventures, and ensuring they are appropriately paired and exposed to several different venture cultures. The impact of HATCH has been astounding, with 75 startups raising more than $160 million in financing and creating more than 600 new jobs.
Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Inclusive Leadership
Program Manager, MEL and MHLP Professional Leadership Master Degrees, Dean’s Office
Clement Yim is deeply committed to the students, faculty and staff members he serves in his role, building trusting relationships that allow him to make an impact across 10 MEL and MHLP programs. He developed a course to bridge the technical and business content for the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering program. His work also enabled MHLP to become LEADS certified by the Canadian College of Health Leaders, meaning that students can work towards a Certified Health Executive designation, increasing their leadership capabilities.
Clement is the first person that many in our program turn to for answers, not just because of his tenure with the program, but also because of his thoughtful responses and desire to resolve challenges in order to improve our processes.
He is an early adopter of technology, training and influencing his team to use new solutions to work more sustainably. One particularly successful example is when he spent many months revamping one particular process that would take staff eight hours each time, and reduced it to 45 minutes, freeing time for staff to focus on other program priorities.
Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Student Engagement and Experience
Academic Advisor – Vantage College and Engineering, Engineering Academic Services
Tina Chan is a highly dedicated and compassionate advisor who consistently provides exceptional support and guidance to Vantage College and Engineering students. She advises students on all manner of often sensitive issues, whether it be failing a test or course, experiencing an emergency, or feeling homesick. Her manner is always calm as she explores the student’s unique circumstance and works with them towards a solution.
Tina is truly exceptional in all aspects of her work but the impact that she has on the student experience when she is advising students is truly unparalleled.
Over the years, she has designed and refined group advising and support, bringing together students, instructors, counselling services and academic advising in monthly ‘Student Success Hub’ sessions. These sessions allow students to engage in learning outside the classroom, foster new friendships, and build new skills towards academic success in a fun, rewarding learning environment.