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Meet our 2022 recipients of the OISE Staff Excellence Awards 

April 7, 2022 

This photograph features Vesna Bajic, a past winner of the OISE Staff Excellence Award.


“Every staff member at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education deeply supports our academic mission in many ways – whether it be through their leadership, their caring, their administrative abilities and technical expertise, or their boisterous support of faculty and students,” says Normand Labrie, Professor and Interim Dean of OISE. "They accomplish so much, and honouring some of them with Staff Excellence awards is only a small token of our appreciation.

“Congratulations to all of this year’s award-winning staffers. You help our community thrive."

Learn more about our 2021 Winners

Interim Dean Labrie is a member of the 2021-2021 Staff Awards Selection Committee, and is acknowledging the hard work of all staff committee award members – Helen Huang, the committee chair, Nina Bascia, Marianthi Kontelli, Madelaine Panoulias, Elisabeth Rees-Johnstone, and Said Sidani. Learn more about each individual award, and each winner, below.

The Dr. Claire Alleyne Staff Excellence Award

Winner: Madeleine Taylor
Strategic Research Development Officer
Office of the Associate Dean, Research, International and Innovation

This award, established in 2008, celebrates contributions of a staff member who has continually demonstrated deep commitment to excellence and outstanding service, and whose actions have created a positive and lasting impact on our community. It is named in recognition of OISE’s former Registrar, Dr. Claire Alleyne, and her retirement after more than 35 years of exemplary service, as well as her dedication to, and respect for OISE administrative staff.

This year’s winner, Madeleine Taylor, is being recognized for her brilliant skills and exceptional work ethic to support OISE’s mission of excellence in research and scholarship. 

Working “behind-the-scenes,” Taylor coordinated research-related professional development for faculty, securing significant research funding, supporting OISE’s research related honours and awards strategy, while solidifying OISE’s reputation as the number 1 research institution in Canada.

At the heart of her work is Madeleine’s professionalism and deep knowledge of OISE faculty members’ research, her competence, dedication, professionalism, and service engagement. She brings genuine enthusiasm, a positive demeanor, and a strong sense of collegiality in her work with colleagues at OISE and across the university.

The Leadership Award

Winner: Jeananne Robertson
Student Success Counsellor in the Registrar’s Office and Student Experience (ROSE)

This award celebrates the achievements of a staff member who has demonstrated exceptional leadership through inspiring a high level of commitment from others, and motivating them to achieve outstanding results; setting and maintaining high professional standards.

This year’s winner, Jeananne Robertson, showed unwavering commitment and service to students, helping students navigate institutional policies demonstrating patience and compassion to student, helping them feel safe and secure while supporting their emotional and professional growth.

Robertson showed particular leadership when she created the OISE Academic Social Club, the establishment of OISE/ROSE Online Office Hours, and her leadership in securing the International Student Experience Fund (ISEF) grant of $120,000 for the “On-board @ OISE” project aimed at improving international student experience.

Cultivating Community Award 

Winner (Individual): Perry King
Development Communications Officer
Office of Advancement and External Relations

Winner (Team): OISE Education Commons Team

  • Todd Vernon, Data Architect
  • Gurpreet Sandhar, Systems Administrator
  • Raman Saini, Systems Administrator
  • Vince To, Intermediate Systems Administrator

OISE staff, faculty and students continue to inspire us with their commitment to cultivating and enhancing our sense of community, especially during these challenging times. The Cultivating Community Award celebrates the achievements of staff, students or faculty members — individually or as a group — who have undertaken positive actions to influence and improve a sense of belonging, inclusivity and community within OISE or our external environment.

The winner of the Individual Award, Perry King, is recognized for his remarkable storytelling and advancement of initiatives related to OISE’s Black and Indigenous communities, as well as his support of OISE’s Sustainability and Climate Action Network’s workshops and news stories.

Multimedia storytelling is at the core of his work and he has an aptitude for communicating complex ideas, finding the big picture, tactfully addressing issues, and inspiring enthusiasm, which are key elements of a strong emerging community leader. 

He is also actively engaged in community building and maintaining important relationships with colleagues at OISE and across U of T. He is a member of several functional teams and committees, and with his masterful public speaking skills, keenly supports community events such as OISE’s Graduation Celebration, public talks and seminars.

The winner of the Team Award, OISE Education Commons Team – Todd Vernon, Gurpreet Sandhar, Raman Saini, and Vince To – are hard working and dedicated colleagues being recognized their work on mitigating the effects of the emergency power shutdown for the entire OISE building in April 2021. Working together, and around the clock, they came to OISE’s rescue with their remarkably expedient teamwork on restoration of online services for the OISE Community, which was critically important during the pandemic. Their efforts included ensuring that, in case of a future similar event, we have established protocols on how to prepare our systems for a power outage so that critical systems can continue to function. 

This remarkable undertaking exemplifies an extraordinary care to the needs of our community at a critical time.

Innovation Award

Winner (Team): OISE CPL Portfolio Solutions Officers Team

  • Zoya Babar, Portfolio Solutions Officer
  • Tionie-Marie (McLean) Jones, Portfolio Solutions Officer
  • Céleste Patenaude, Portfolio Solutions Officer
  • Samantha Presutto, Special Initiatives Coordinator

Winner (Group): The Slate Working Group

  • From the Registrar’s Office & Student Experience: Valene Cardoso, Fiona Gardiner, Kim Holman, Teresa Lau, Gladys Lim, Jessica Lovett, Anna Mozharova, Olivia Penney, and Lucy Stellato
  • From the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development: Kerri Bailey, Jennifer Cho, Vanessa Dane Kirkham, Gela Hemmat Bolandpour, Zirka Pyndiura, and Todd Will
  • From the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning: Cheryl Clarke, Andrea Cuellar, and Michelle Pon
  • From the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education: Sazna Aliyar, Lisha Guo, and Karolina Szymanska
  • From the Department of Social Justice Education: Sezen Atacan

The Innovation Award celebrates the achievements of staff, individually or as a team, who have developed and implemented a creative solution that increases the productivity and enhances the value added to research, teaching and the administrative processes at OISE.

The team award winners, part of the Continued and Professional Learning Portfolio Solutions Team, is being recognized for their creative and innovative work in supporting CPL’s sessional facilitators, particularly through their efforts in establishing the Professional Learning Community of facilitators, which enabled better team engagement, flexibility, and efficient delivery of CPL programming.

The Group award names a large number of staff from across OISE. The Slate Working Group is being recognized for their work on implementing and championing the University-wide Slate system at OISE for the 2022-2023 admissions cycle, while safeguarding the unique needs of our departmental faculty, administrators, and prospective applicants, and ensuring the usability of the new system for all stakeholders.

Long Service Awards

Long Service Awards recognize our faculty and staff members who have reached a milestone of thirty years of outstanding service. The Long Service Awards represent our modest way of recognizing their loyalty and many contributions to OISE and to the University of Toronto. 

This year’s Long Service Awards Honourees are:  

  • Professor Nina Bascia, Professor and Chair, Leadership, Higher & Adult Education
  • Professor George Dei, Professor, Social Justice Education
  • Professor Jennifer Jenkins, Professor, Applied Psychology & Human Development
  • Professor Normand Labrie, Interim Dean, OISE
  • Bill Rankovic, Associate Registrar, Registrar’s Office & Student Experience
  • Diana Robinson, Program Assistant, Applied Psychology & Human Development


More OISE News

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‘Preparing students to tackle world crises’: Here are the 2022 OISE Teaching Excellence Award winners