Early-career professorships accelerate innovation in engineering education and research

Six CivMin assistant professors have been appointed, among 27 in the Faculty, to early-career professorships across three new programs for tenure- and teaching-stream faculty members. The professorships, created by Dean Cristina Amon, will enhance research in emerging areas and practices in engineering education across the Faculty.

The new programs are the Dean’s Spark Professorships, Catalyst Professorships and Emerging Innovation in Teaching Professorships. These build on the success of the Percy Edward Hart and the Erwin Edward Hart Professorships and the Hart Teaching Innovation Professorships established in 2016. The appointed professors were selected for their demonstrated commitment to several of the priorities outlined in the Faculty’s 2017-2022 Academic Plan.

“Our professors are pioneering emerging research and designing new engineering education pedagogies that are a model for other universities around the world,” says Amon. “These professorships will further accelerate their innovative research and teaching, and enhance their ability to deliver outstanding educational experiences for our students.”

Dean’s Spark Professorships (DSP)

Recipients of the DSP are within the first four years of their appointment. They are awarded an annual grant of $75,000 per year for three years. Erin Bobicki (MSE, ChemE), an investigator with the Lassonde Institute of Mining, earned the Dean’s Spark Professorship to accelerate her research in improving the sustainability of mineral processing operations and increasing Indigenous youth’s access to engineering education.

“The DSP provides a valuable boost to both my research and outreach efforts,” says Bobicki. “This support will enable me to drive forward my work to develop novel bioseparation techniques for mineral processing, and to continue to build relationships with Indigenous communities in the North.”

In addition to Bobicki, CivMin DSP recipients include:

Fae Azhari (CivMin, MIE) — Assessing the performance of structures using Structural Health Monitoring techniques to amplify global efforts for resilient and sustainable structures including pulp and paper plants and wind farms.

Mason Ghafghazi (CivMin) — Creating a framework for assessing the probability of occurrence of soil strength loss on mine sites, its consequences on our built and natural environment and improved remediation methods.

Daniel Posen (CivMin) — Improving city-wide greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) accounting and mitigation by enabling cities to evaluate the most effective GHG strategies.

Shoshanna Saxe (CivMin) — Implementing new, bottom-up city-scale assessment to develop a detailed understanding of the material flows and associated greenhouse gas emissions of urban infrastructure.

Marianne Touchie (CivMin, MIE) — Designing new metrics to evaluate health outcomes of retrofits designed to improve building energy and performance.

Dean’s Catalyst Professorships (DCP)

Recipients of the DCP have served at least four years in their appointment. They are awarded an annual grant of $75,000 per year over three years.

Jennifer Drake (CivMin) is receiving the DCP for her research on storm water management in the agricultural sector to pilot low-impact development to reduce phosphorus loadings in greenhouse storm water.

Excerpts from a story that originally appeared on U of T Engineering News.