CivMin faculty and staff recognized with awards

Top row (L to R): Prof. Bryan Karney, Prof. Sarah Haines, Alan McClenaghan. Bottom row (L to R): Mark Dennis, Colleen Kelly, Pauline Martini, Alison Morley and Phill Snel.


CivMin faculty members and staff were recognized for their efforts with a number of awards, made official at Faculty Council on April 15. Among them:

  • Professor Bryan Karney: Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Professor Sarah Haines: Early Career Teaching Award
  • Alan McClenaghan: Quality of Student Experience Award for Behind the Scenes
  • Student Services staff Mark Dennis, Colleen Kelly, Pauline Martini, Alison Morley and Phill Snel:
    Barbara McCann Quality of Student Experience Award for Front Line Staff.

Excerpts by Carolyn Farrell

A full list of award winners is posted by Engineering News

Bryan Karney

Bryan Karney (CivMin) 

Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award 

Recognizing a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching over the course of at least 15 years.  

Since joining the faculty more than 35 years ago, Bryan Karney has been an outstanding teacher, a thoughtful mentor and a leader in engineering education. As chair of the Division of Environmental Engineering and Energy Systems, Karney oversaw the conversion of the environmental engineering collaborative program into two new minors: environmental engineering and sustainable energy. He also chaired the creation of the energy systems major in the Division of Engineering Science and the minor and certificate in sustainable energy.   

Karney served as associate dean of cross-disciplinary programs from 2009 to 2021, overseeing the creation of eight minors and nine new certificates. Over that period, growth in student completion of minors exploded, from 8% of the graduating class in 2009 to 48% in 2021, with over 70% of the 2021 class completing at least one minor or certificate program. Karney was also part of the team that created the Prospective Professors in Training program, providing, for the first time, teaching training to PhD students.   

Karney has received CivMin’s Professor of the Year Award twice, as well as U of T Engineering’s Faculty Teaching Award and the University of Toronto’s Northrop Frye Award, for excellence in the integration of teaching and research. 

Sarah Haines

Sarah Haines (CivMin) 

Early Career Teaching Award  

Recognizing an early career educator who has demonstrated exceptional classroom instruction and teaching methods.  

Since joining the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering in 2021, Sarah Haines has developed a graduate course on indoor air quality, redesigned two undergraduate courses, served as a capstone supervisor and contributed to the civil engineering two-day camp experience.  

Haines’ redesign of CIV440H1: Environmental Impact and Risk Assessment has led to it becoming a favourite among students, with enrollment doubling in the past three years. In this course, Haines uses active learning and real-world examples, inviting students to think critically not just about the presented problems but about their proposed solutions. Additionally, her graduate courses provide a much-needed emphasis on building science to explore the implications of indoor air quality on human health, emphasizing its impact on our most vulnerable communities.   

Haines is a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment’s Climate Change and Sustainability Teaching & Learning Subcommittee and the Engineering Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Group. As director of the From Harvest to House program, she has incorporated teaching techniques such as storytelling and rich pictures into workshops, engaging community members in knowledge translation to co-develop equitable housing solutions in First Nations communities 

Alan McClenaghan (photo by Elise McClenaghan)

Alan McClenaghan
Quality of Student Experience Award for Behind-the-Scenes Staff 

Recognizing staff members who have made significant contributions to the quality of student experience in the faculty through the creation or improvement of programs or services. 

As a senior machinist in the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering’s machine shop, Alan McClenaghan has been supporting undergraduate and graduate students since joining the department in 1990. He has been instrumental in setting up and refurbishing both teaching and research labs and played a key role in overhauling the department’s geotechnical labs. He also teaches, mentors and guides students through the process of understanding and using the equipment, while continuously improving and refining the labs to better meet their needs.   

McClenaghan has a deep understanding of the design process and imparts that knowledge to the students he supports, whether they’re an undergraduate student working on a class project or a graduate student creating a custom device for their research. He works closely with students throughout the design process, from ideation to completion, taking the time to understand their unique challenges and providing constructive advice to optimize their designs. 

McClenaghan knows that the students are here to learn, so he ensures that their involvement is hands-on, training them to use basic machine shop tools so they can do as much as possible independently. In this way, he not only helps the students with their designs, but he also helps them to become better future engineers.  

Left to right: Mark Dennis, Colleen Kelly, Pauline Martini, Alison Morley and Phill Snel

Mark Dennis, Colleen Kelly, Pauline Martini, Alison Morley and Phill Snel   

Barbara McCann Quality of Student Experience Award for Frontline Staff 

Recognizing a staff member or team of staff who has made significant contributions to the quality of student experience in the faculty through their outstanding frontline service.  

The CivMin student services team works together seamlessly, each member going beyond their individual portfolio to ensure that students are consistently supported across all dimensions, from recruitment to graduation and beyond.   

The team has worked together to streamline processes, create new communication platforms and events, and continually improve the student experience. From routine progress tracking to navigating crises, staff in the student services office work together to ensure that every student gets the support they require. All team members have developed insight into the work of the others, allowing them to fill in for each other to ensure that there are no gaps in services.   

Since the pandemic, the team has seen a surge in demand for student counselling and referrals to various support services, and they have ably taken on this additional demand, working together to ensure that day-to-day processes aren’t affected when other team members are focused on helping a student in need. The team creates a friendly, fun atmosphere, and they go out of their way to ensure that students feel welcomed and supported, and that they have everything they need to succeed throughout their time at U of T.