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Faculty Awards

YSGPS Outstanding Contribution to Graduate Education Awards

The Yeates School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (YSGPS) Outstanding Contribution to Graduate Education Award recognizes faculty excellence in the complex process of mentoring graduate students to prepare them for productive careers. There are a total of seven awards: one to be allocated to a faculty member in each of TMU's Faculties and one for a faculty member associated with an interdisciplinary program. Note: a faculty member that works with an interdisciplinary program or another graduate program outside of their Faculty may be considered for both their home Faculty YSGPS award and any other appropriate award within the YSGPS Outstanding Contribution to Graduate Education Awards.

The award consists of a certificate and $2,000, which are presented to recipients at the annual Awards Night, typically hosted in April.


Please visit TMU's Award and Recognition website for detailed information about the award, nomination and selection process.

2021 Recipients

Nina-Marie Lister 

School of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Community Services

An interdisciplinary and experiential learning leader, Prof. Nina-Marie Lister’s research, teaching and practice are impactful, collaborative and often community-based. Her work is uniquely positioned at the intersection of science and design, in the interstitial space between planning, landscape, ecology and urbanism. Prof. Lister founded and directs the Ecological Design Lab, whose mission is to connect people to nature in cities, and through learning by doing. Her students’ work is profiled in the lab as research assistants and co-authors in publications, impactful studio projects, and graduate research.

Ali Miri

Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science

Dr. Ali Miri is a dedicated and compassionate mentor who works to create personalized study and research plans for his students that build on their interests, strengths and goals. A firm believer in equity, diversity and inclusion, his students come from different ethnicities, cultures, and genders from around the world. Dr. Miri leverages his extensive network of collaborators, professional engagements and projects to provide his students with opportunities to improve their research and networking skills. To date, he has supervised close to 90 students, has served on over 100 additional advisory committees and has co-authored over 230 manuscripts with his students.

Donna Smith

School of Retail Management, Ted Rogers School of Management

As graduate program director of the Ted Rogers MBA program, Dr. Donna Smith brought the new curriculum to life by advocating for the incorporation of mental health and well-being prior to COVID-19. Her genuine belief in this theme throughout the MBA culture, course design and content empowered students during COVID-19. Through her teaching and supervision, Dr. Smith combines the best of sound research and inspiring professional mentorship.

Mehrunnisa Ali

School of Early Childhood Education, YSGPS Interdisciplinary 

Dr. Mehrunnisa Ali’s contribution to interdisciplinary education is best reflected in her philosophy towards graduate teaching and education: “like holding [students’] hands as they leap from being consumers of knowledge to producers of knowledge.” Dr. Ali was a key faculty member involved in the launch of the Immigration and Settlement Studies MA program, in which she regularly teaches and has supervised 12 major research papers to date. In addition, Dr. Ali supervised four doctoral dissertations in Policy Studies and regularly co-publishes with her graduate students.

Katy McCormick

School of Image Arts, Faculty of Communication and Design

Prof. Katy McCormick’s contributions, active engagement and collegial leadership have significantly impacted the development of graduate programming and students’ learning experiences. Her teaching supports the whole student, mentoring each person where they are. As a supervisor, mentor, professor and former graduate program director, Prof. McCormick demonstrates outstanding contributions to graduate education by combining professional experience with empathy, generosity, advocacy, passion and an abiding commitment to providing students with critical tools and constructive dialogue in the pursuit of learning and excellence. She ceaselessly advocates for graduate students, expanding their access to resources, equipment,  graduate assistantships and funding, while nurturing students’ participation in the learning journey.

Past recipients