REACH Awards

Social Sciences, Engineering, Science, Humanities, Fine Arts

- University of Victoria

The REACH Awards honour the extraordinary teachers and researchers who lead the way in dynamic learning and make a vital impact at UVic, in the classroom and beyond.

Our REACH Awards celebrate teaching and research excellence at the University of Victoria. This year’s honourees are all exceptional faculty and graduate students, who are dedicated to the highest standards of teaching, research and creative activity.
President Jamie Cassels

2020 REACH Awards

Excellence in teaching awards
  • Harry Hickman Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Leadership: Victoria Wyatt
  • Gilian Sherwin Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching: Stephanie Calce
  • Award for Excellence in Teaching for Experiential Learning: Daniela Damian
  • Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research-Enriched Teaching: Rishi Gupta
  • Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision and Mentorship: Stephen Ross
Excellence in research awards
Andy Farquharson Teaching Excellence Awards for Graduate Students

Excellence in teaching awards

Harry Hickman Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Leadership

Victoria Wyatt
Victoria Wyatt, Art History and Visual Studies

Victoria Wyatt’s teaching and research focuses on the creativity and resilience of North American Indigenous artists in response to colonization. She is recognized with UVic’s highest teaching award because of her commitment to foster inclusive and culturally aware teaching practices, emphasizing non-linear thinking and Indigenous ways of knowing. Her courses include adapted lesson plans, flexible due dates and meets a wide range of learning needs. Her commitment to teaching is also reflected in her leadership roles within the faculty, the university and the Canadian Association of University Teachers. A passionate advocate for innovative pedagogy locally and nationally, Wyatt provides invaluable mentorship to colleagues at all career stages.

Gilian Sherwin Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching

Stephanie Calce
Calce. Photo: UVic Photo Services
Stephanie Calce, Anthropology

Stephanie Calce combines research and community-driven expertise across her work at UVic. In addition to her nine years teaching biological anthropology, she completed the Forensic Anthropology Visiting Scientist Internship at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manhattan, New York City. Having worked as an intern and consultant for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police and Saanich Police Department, Calce brings a real-world immediacy to her teaching. She created an annual “Forensic Anthropology Day,” where high school students and young aspiring anthropologists survey UVic’s campus for evidence in a simulated missing-persons case, and develops field schools that provide students hands-on experience of forensic excavation and field recovery techniques. 

Award for Excellence in Teaching for Experiential Learning

Saniela Damian
Damian. Photo: UVic Photo Services
Daniela Damian, Computer Science

Daniela Damian is a critically reflective educator and leader in software engineering, who has created innovative cross-cultural experiential learning practices in her 18 years at UVic. With a newly established Software Engineering Global interAction Laboratory (SEGAL), Damian pairs students in collaborative and globally distributed teams to design solutions for local and international companies. She prepares students for the workforce by creating an authentic environment that students find “challenging, intense, memorable and rewarding.” She mentors students and models professionalism, and uses active feedback in her evaluations to mirror industry reality on the ground to prepare students for lifelong success.

Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research-Enriched Teaching

Rishi Gupta
Gupta. Photo: UVic Photo Services
Rishi Gupta, Civil Engineering

Rishi Gupta is a cutting-edge researcher and associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering. Gupta is known for his effectiveness in integrating his robust research and teaching portfolios. Within his first two years at UVic, he designed several courses, integrating real-world research from his professional experiences. Gupta is a Fellow of Engineers Canada, actively involved in the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering, and has won numerous awards including UVic’s Faculty of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award and the province-wide President’s Teaching Award of Excellence from Engineers and Geoscientists BC. His thoughtful curriculum design includes active learning, object-based learning, and living labs.

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision and Mentorship

Stephen Ross
Ross. Photo: UVic Photo Services
Stephen Ross, English

An internationally recognized leader in the field of modernist studies, Stephen Ross has mentored over 50 graduate and postdoctoral students. He has the ability to engage with students in all facets and stages of their careers. As shown through his weekly “Write Club,” Ross finds every opportunity to engage students, including conferences and publishing opportunities. “Nobody has contributed more time, energy and generosity of spirit to my intellectual and professional development,” shares a student. He enacts his role as a supervisor and mentor by supporting the whole person, creating meaningful paths to achievement and a community for his students.

Excellence in research awards

David H. Turpin Gold Medal for Career Achievement in Research

Ben Koop
Koop. Photo: UVic Photo Services
Ben Koop, Biology

Ben Koop has shown the world how genes and genomes work, adapt and evolve. He began by developing technologies for sequencing genes, and applied them to mammals so he could learn more about human disease. He then made the leap to fish, where he is internationally known for his work in fish genomics as a major contributor in the sequencing of Atlantic and multiple Pacific salmon genomes. His discoveries and collaborative style have affected scientific careers, aquaculture, conservation and economies in BC and around the world. Whether with sea lice or bats, fruit flies or humans, Koop’s revolutionary work elegantly translates his own fundamental discovery-based research to real-world applications in clinical medicine, aquaculture and conservation biology.

Silver Medal for Excellence in Research

Sara Ellison
Ellison.Photo: UVic Photo Services
Sara Ellison, Physics and Astronomy

For 20 years, Sara Ellison’s discoveries have recalibrated scientific knowledge, making her a global leader in defining galaxies. She began her stellar career by using unique combinations of technologies to identify the elements that lie within and between galaxies, later studying how galaxies merge and evolve. Ellison’s peers recognize her “tremendous diversity” in observational work and her exemplary publication record, while her outstanding research contributions have garnered substantial grants, awards and fellowships. In both astronomy and astrophysics, she pioneered the techniques that provide new insights and answers to the ancient question that we ask when we gaze into the sky: what’s out there?

Award for Excellence in Knowledge Mobilization

Ann Stahl
Stahl. Photo: UVic Photo Services
Ann Stahl, Anthropology

Ann Stahl is an archaeologist who doesn’t live in the past. Instead, she uses a vast collection of historic and cultural resources amassed through a decades-long research project to help communities and individuals in Ghana move into the future. Working together with Ghanaians to record, preserve and build upon their local heritage, Stahl and colleagues have embraced digital technologies to develop the research and training project Improving African Futures Using Lessons from the Past. This ambitious project, writes one supporter, is “an irreplaceable treasure trove” of culture, language and tradition that she shares, animates and preserves. It is now embedded in cultural activities and the Ghanaian school curriculum, connecting modern students with traditional knowledge.

Award for Excellence in Research Partnerships

Stephanie Willerth and Tamer Mohamed
(L-R) Willerth, Mohamed. 
Stephanie Willerth, Mechanical Engineering, and Tamer Mohamed, Aspect Biosystems

UVic biomedical engineer Stephanie Willerth, described by colleagues as a “star researcher” who pushes boundaries, and Tamer Mohamed, CEO of Aspect Biosystems, met four years ago and immediately saw the potential for a collaboration. Together, they formed the first group in the world to combine Aspect’s microfluidic 3D bioprinting platform with Willerth’s biomedical expertise in innovative bioinks. Since then, they’ve engineered human stem cells to create healthy and diseased nerve cells that already are proving uniquely useful for testing drugs against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and brain cancer. By speeding up the process of identifying and testing medications, Willerth’s innovative partnership with Aspect ensures that patients will be able to receive effective health care much sooner than they do now. This collaborative work is exemplary of a partnership that combines and advances university research with engineering applications to benefit health care, families and individuals.

Andy Farquharson Teaching Excellence Awards for Graduate Students

Pamela Fraser
Fraser. Photo: UVic Photo Services
Pamela Fraser, French

Pamela Fraser is passionate and committed to keeping the French language alive in Canada. As expressed in her students’ evaluations, the learning environment that Fraser creates in her classroom goes beyond grammar or vocabulary. The immersion begins when students enter the classroom greeted by Francophone music videos, and continues through multiple interactive activities. Her energy is infectious and her approach to teaching is inclusive and non-judgemental.

Joseph Horan
Horan. Photo: UVic Photo Services
Joseph Horan, Mathematics and Statistics

Joseph Horan “combines an absolute command of the course material with an unwavering dedication to self improvement as an educator,” explain his colleagues. Students describe Horan as incredibly approachable—an important quality both in a bustling mathematics assistance centre and in classroom settings. What sets Horan apart is how he can skillfully meet students where they are in order to encourage their confidence and autonomy solving problems in mathematics and statistics.

Osman Uluocak
Uluocak. Photo: UVic Photo Services
Osman Uluocak, Mechanical Engineering

Osman Uluocak has an extraordinary ability to help students create strong and meaningful connections to understanding how thermodynamics, energy conversion, heat transfer and design is applicable to their everyday lives. His highly rated student evaluations are a direct result of the responsiveness, encouragement and passion he shares with his students. His goal is to make sure students are curious and excited by the lessons he teaches by sharing his research experiences in his tutorials to enrich course content.


In this story

Keywords: teaching, award, research, arts, physics, astronomy, computers, community, administrative, student life

People: Jamie Cassels, Victoria Wyatt, Stephanie Calce, Daniela Damian, Rishi Gupta, Stephen Ross, Ben Koop, Sara Ellison, Ann Stahl, Stephanie Willerth, Tamer Mohamed, Pamela Fraser, Joseph Horan, Osman Uluocak

Publication: The Ring

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