Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision 2020-2021

Brian Forrest - Pure Mathematics

Dr. Brian Forrest’s impressive record of graduate student supervision includes 18 master’s students, 10 doctoral students and 11 postdoctoral fellows - an outstanding record in a theoretical area such as Pure Mathematics. Dr. Forrest’s students have gone on to either successful careers in academia or have applied their training to rewarding careers in other professions. Dr. Forrest also has an outstanding teaching record. He is a winner of the University of Waterloo Distinguished Teaching Award and has won several national teaching awards, including the Canadian Mathematical Society Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Forrest was the creator and first director of the Master of Mathematics for Teachers program and over the last number of years, has been the Mathematics Faculty Teaching Fellow.

Letters of support from past and present students emphasize Dr. Forrest’s multifaceted approach to supervision, which includes guiding, training and mentoring in all aspects of research and teaching. Students praise his terrific research supervision, eagerness to discuss pedagogy and ways of improving his teaching, uncanny skills for motivating people, and ability to be friendly, kind, unpretentious and endlessly generous with his many years of wisdom in teaching and research. Several letters of support were presented by female doctoral students from the Pure Mathematics department. They emphasize Dr. Forrest’s understanding of the extra challenges that women in mathematics face and his strong support and encouragement. The culture of co-operation that Dr. Forrest fosters among his students is a long-lasting value that continues post-graduation. As one of his former students remarks “I am proud to be a member of his extended mathematical family.”

Carolyn Ren - Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering

Professor Carolyn Ren has made exceptional contributions to mentoring graduate students, teaching, and research in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. She is currently supervising 11 graduate students and has graduated over 17 master’s and 11 doctoral students in the past 12 years. Dr. Ren also supervised over 20 postdoctoral fellows. Her stellar record of scholarly publications includes over 100 peer-reviewed journal papers, 70 conference papers, and 14 book chapters. Most of her published work has her graduate students as co-authors. In 2012, Dr. Ren was named Fellow of the Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineering, a recognition bestowed upon outstanding mechanical engineers who made significant contributions to the society. Later in 2018, in recognition of the emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership, Dr. Ren was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada as Member to the College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists. She also held the Canada Research Chair in Lab-on-a-Chip Technology for 10 years. Dr. Ren’s dedication to graduate supervision is highly regarded by her peers. Her mentoring and care of graduate students extend beyond classrooms and research labs, to readily assist those who need guidance. As one student put it, “... she has offered no less mentoring guidance and assistance to students on non-academic issues than in academics.” Dr. Ren’s former students fondly attribute their career successes, both in academia and industry, to the excellent supervision and training provided by her. The University of Waterloo is fortunate to have Dr. Ren as a mentor, researcher and educator in the Faculty of Engineering.

Paul Stolee - School of Public Health and Health Systems

Professor Paul Stolee is an exemplary graduate student mentor, as recognized by the Evelyn Shapiro Mentoring Award he received from the Canadian Association on Gerontology in 2012. The 31 personal letters that supported his University of Waterloo nomination laud his contributions across graduate training, research, service and advocacy. Since joining the School of Public Health and Health Systems in 2008, Paul has supervised two postdoctoral fellows, ten doctoral candidates and 19 master’s students; served on 25 graduate thesis committees and been external examiner for 35 defences. These numbers are even more exceptional in light of the quality of mentorship described. Dr. Stolee fosters an environment that promotes critical thinking, collaboration, compassion and fun. Trainees extend the relevance of their work through collaboration with policymakers, health care providers, community organizations and patient partners. Graduate students are prominent authors on Dr. Stolee’s more than 185 journal publications and numerous book chapters, reports and presentations. His unwavering commitment to student’s professional and personal development extends beyond degree completion as graduates have gone on to careers as academics, health research and health professions. While acting as interim dean (2018-2019), Dr. Stolee advanced the Faculty of Health's commitment to mental health and wellbeing; he continues to offer leadership as school chair of the sub-committee on Graduate Supervision. As director of University of Waterloo’s Network for Aging Research, Dr. Stolee’s support of young researchers and graduate students extends across all six faculties.

All winners of the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision