Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision 2016-2017

Richard Cook - Statistics and Actuarial Science

Professor Richard Cook has been a faculty member in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science since 1995. He is one of the most influential biostatisticians in the Canadian and international medical community and has been awarded many distinctions and several prestigious awards for his methodological research work.

Over his career, Prof. Cook supervised 10 postdoctoral fellows, 19 doctoral and 29 master’s students. His students have successfully obtained academic positions and have established themselves as independent researchers or taken on leading scientist roles in the pharmaceutical industry or biomedical community. The quality and rigor of the research work by students under Prof. Cook’s supervision sets a very high standard. His PhD students have earned many major awards including: 4 winners of the annual Statistical Society of Canada’s Pierre-Robillard Award for the best PhD thesis; 6 winners of the annual Sprott Award for the best PhD thesis proposal in the department; 3 winners of the Distinguished Student Award from the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics and the International Biometrics Society Eastern North American Region; and one winner of the Canadian Journal of Statistics Prize for the best paper of the year.

Prof. Cook’s nomination for the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision received many enthusiastic letters of support from current and former students. These students passionately described their experiences under his supervision and all speak to his deep commitment to the success and well-being of his students as well as academic excellence.

Carl Haas - Civil and Environmental Engineering

Professor Carl Haas is currently the Canada Research Chair in Construction and Management of Sustainable Infrastructure in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Prof. Haas joined the department in 2005 after spending 14 years as a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin.  His areas of expertise include advanced construction techniques and technologies and construction productivity. During his career he has supervised 36 doctoral and 67 master’s students and has published more than 375 papers in journals and conferences. He has carried out research with a large number of private and public sector partners and serves on numerous editorial boards and professional committees. He is also a recipient of the Faculty of Engineering Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision.

Prof. Haas has had a profoundly positive impact on his graduate students. His past and current graduate students state that “his contributions to my life and career have been well above and beyond graduate supervision”, and even after graduating “he remains one of the key influential people in my life”. A faculty colleague stated “Carl clearly commits substantial time and energy to placing all of his graduate students in rewarding positions on their graduation and to guiding and developing their careers through the following year.” 

Prof. Haas has demonstrated a long record of excellence in graduate supervision, research, education, and leadership within the University and in the profession. His dedication to educating, mentoring, and supporting his graduate students is exemplary.

Bill McIlroy - Kinesiology

Professor Bill McIlroy exemplifies excellence in graduate supervision through his extraordinary capacity to recognize talent and potential in trainees, foster their development, and provide ongoing support throughout their careers. He questions and challenges, while also supporting and inspiring, within a clear framework of mutual expectations and accountabilities. His ‘student’s first’ attitude is not a cliché, but is the priority around which he organizes his time and effort.

While fostering an environment in which trainees develop effective communication skills and establish strong scholarly track records, Prof. McIlroy also inspires a spirit of entrepreneurship, innovative thinking and collaboration by removing limitations in thinking and problem-solving. He instils in his trainees that the goal of scientific research is not to earn a degree or a publication, but to advance our knowledge of science to promote health and well-being and to transform lives.

Prof. McIlroy tailors his approach to each student as an individual with different needs, strengths, and areas for development. He is regarded by his students as both a master mentor and career path navigator. His previous trainees attest to the value of his ongoing mentorship, and pay him the ultimate compliment that a supervisor could receive – emulating his approach with their own students. The impressive cadre of successful researchers, clinicians and other professionals that Prof. McIlroy has trained are a vibrant testament to his legacy of excellence in graduate supervision.

Susan Tighe - Civil and Environmental Engineering

Professor Susan Tighe has accumulated a distinguished record of research, teaching, graduate supervision, and service to the profession. She joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2000 and has supervised/co-supervised 19 postdoctoral researchers, 19 doctoral and 46 master’s students. 

Prof. Tighe has been the Norman W. McLeod Chair in Sustainable Pavement Engineering since 2011 and has inspired her graduate students to carry out impactful research. She and her students have won numerous national and international awards for best paper and best presentations and have published over 400 papers in journals and conferences.

Prof. Tighe is an internationally recognized leader in her field. She is the Director of the Centre of Pavement and Transportation Technology and the President-elect of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering. She has led and been involved in numerous national and international research projects including projects in Africa, India, Chile, China, Australia, New Zealand and North America.  She is also a recipient of the Faculty of Engineering Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision.

Prof. Tighe’s students describe her as “very understanding and supportive with a contagious positive attitude”, a supervisor who “has a keen sense of what is practical and relevant in the real world and makes sure that her students produce work that can be applied”, “the best at getting her students involved in real projects”, and someone who “genuinely cares about us”.

The University of Waterloo is fortunate to have Prof. Susan Tighe as a graduate supervisor, researcher, and educator in the Faculty of Engineering.


All winners of the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision