Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision 2011-2012

John Hirdes - Public Health and Health Systems

In addition to being an internationally regarded scientist Dr. Hirdes is also a remarkable mentor.  His students (past and current) speak to his tremendous desire and effort to maximize their individual success.  He provides an environment that not only stimulates and challenges his students, but one that also encourages and supports. He achieves this by providing each student with unparalleled academic opportunities that are uniquely tailored to their individual interests.  His students speak to the importance that Dr. Hirdes’ mentorship has been to their professional development and academic successes.  Importantly, his students also view Dr. Hirdes as a colleague and a friend who continues to enrich their personal and professional lives even after they had graduated.  

Michael Power - Chemical Engineering

Michael Power is a Professor in Biology who focuses on fisheries ecology, population biology and environmental toxicology.  He is a highly active researcher with more than 100 journal publications and 6 book chapters.  Since his arrival at uWaterloo in 1999, Mike has supervised 18 MSc students and 8 PhD students.  He is recognized by his departmental colleagues as an incredibly strong advocate for his graduate students who is able to recognize the talents in his students, both demonstrated and potential, and to cultivate them for success.  His strong cohort of students greatly appreciate his dedication to see them succeed, the complete financial support he provides for their research including access to some of the best equipment and technology for their research, and for opportunities he generates for students to interact with leading scientists in their field.  His students appreciate the supportive lab ‘family’ atmosphere that he fosters and that he dedicates his full attention to their academic success. Key attributes appreciated by Mike’s students are that he is ‘understanding, compassionate and pragmatic’ in his dealings with them.  Mike provides his students with exciting fieldwork opportunities throughout Canada and the world, including remote locations in the Canadian and European Arctic.

Garry Rempel - Biology

Prof. Rempel is one of Waterloo’s academic elite being amongst the first to hold the distinction as University Professor.  He has received numerous awards and distinctions, has served on various journal editorial boards and has been particularly active in the Royal Society of Canada.  He has distinguished himself as an international scholar with over 283 journal publications as well as 35 patents.  His scholarly and research output can be seen as a testimony to his dedication to his students as they are the co-authors and co-inventors in his publications and patents.  All letters of support testified to the high quality and dedication to graduate supervision that is characterized by a style that encourages independence and creativity, while being supportive along the way.  Many students spoke to the personal interest he takes with his students, his caring nature for their well-being even before many arrived in Canada, and his role as a superlative mentor.  A past student best sums it up with the comment: “…that period of time has been most remarkable in my life.  Dr. Rempel is incredibly intelligent and was an amazing supervisor.  Under his mentorship I have learned many lessons, which have proven important for the development of my career and the direction of my life.”   

Susan Wismer - Environment, Resources and Sustainability

Susan Wismer is an Associate Professor in Environment and Resource Studies. She is an outstanding teacher, advisor, friend and mentor. Colleagues are deeply impressed by the constructive and supportive energy and dedication that she gives to all of her students. She demonstrates astute judgment about the kind of guidance that is appropriate for a student at each stage of their graduate research.  Students are enthusiastic about the collaborative approach that she facilitates to enable each student to contribute and gain insights through careful guidance. As one student said, “she always encouraged independent thinking and creativity in research, while playing the role of a master conductor, bringing all the individual pieces together into a symphony.”  Professor Wismer inspires the next generation of academics. She is regarded by young women entering academia as a role model and “a beacon of empathetic strength, modeling the ways in which a strong woman can be an academic, while also being creative, humorous and nurturing.”  In short, she inspires and achieves excellence in graduate supervision.


All winners of the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision