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U of T honours six OISE staff for excellence and innovation


Staff Excellence 2013

A team of five OISE staff members and another OISE staff member who was part of cross-divisional team have been accorded one of the University of Toronto’s highest honours for administrative staff, the Excellence Through Innovation Award. From left to right: Wendy Mauzeroll, Doug Ullrich, Susan Hall, Ai-ri Brown, Carol Oblak, and Joseph Cautadella were among 104 administrative staff members across the University who were feted at a special reception, along with their nominators and U of T’s senior leadership team at the President’s home on October 28.

“It has been such a great honour to be given the opportunity to be part of the OISE project team and to receive this distinction from U of T,” said Carol Oblak. “Working collaboratively together as a team has enabled us to achieve our goal of automating the entire OISE Teaching Assistant (TA) Database System online to enhance our students’ experience.”

The OISE Teaching Assistant (TA) Database System project was developed to manage the hiring, tracking, and reporting of Teaching Assistants. The database replaced an onerous and largely paper based process with an efficient on-line system. In addition to enhancing the student experience by allowing students to view and respond to job opportunities on-line, it increases staff productivity because the entire process is managed on-line within the system. Moreover, it allows access to real time data for analysis and informed decision making. Many central and divisional offices have seen the value of the OISE Teaching Assistant Database System and have approached OISE to adopt the system for their operations.

“The beauty of this system is that it is designed to be highly transferable across all three campuses,” said Jeanne Watson, Associate Dean, Programs. “The database was presented at U of T’s TechKnowFile 2013 conference where it was received with great interest.”

“The project is a great example of how innovative business improvement can benefit students, generate operating efficiencies and increase staff job satisfaction,” added Helen Huang, OISE’s Chief Administrative Officer.

Doug Ullrich, Business Officer in the OISE Registrar’s Office, was part of a cross-divisional team project, Registrarial Professional Development Day which also received an Excellence Through Innovation Award. Doug’s team members included registrarial staff across several divisions: Elizabeth Bruno of Arts & Science, Tammy Chan of Nursing, Victoria Hurlihey of SGS, Agniezka Mroz of Vice-President & Provost and Thomas Nault of Applied Science & Engineering.

Building on a previous smaller event for registrarial staff at the professional faculties on the St. George campus, Doug’s group coordinated a larger event for registrarial staff across the three campuses last year. The day was structured like a mini conference, including a keynote speaker, a series of morning and afternoon talks and round tables, and a closing presentation. The event proved so successful that it is being repeated this year on November 11th.

"Getting invited to the President's house to receive this award was great. There was a genuine sense of appreciation for staff and for the things that staff do. It felt good to be part of such an amazing team being recognized in such a nice way," said Doug.

“I am very pleased that our OISE colleagues have received this recognition from the University,” said OISE Dean Julia O’Sullivan. “Great work and sincere congratulations!"

The Excellence Through Innovation Award recognizes the exemplary work done by administrative colleagues across the University of Toronto. Each year, the awards celebrate the significant efforts of individuals and teams to advance the University’s strategic objectives through innovative projects and initiatives.