Faculty recognition awards special to Algonquin College staff

The Faculty Recognition Awards last Tuesday night pulled at the heartstrings of professors and staff. “It seems a bit inappropriate to be receiving an award like this in recognition of what we do because this is the easiest job I’ve ever done. It’s not a job at all, is it?” said James Stinson, professor of […]
Photo: Kerry Slack
Rebeca Feria, Caren Olmedo and Kerry Surman travelled from Pembroke to celebrate their professor Craig Flinn (second from left).

The Faculty Recognition Awards last Tuesday night pulled at the heartstrings of professors and staff.

“It seems a bit inappropriate to be receiving an award like this in recognition of what we do because this is the easiest job I’ve ever done. It’s not a job at all, is it?” said James Stinson, professor of heritage carpentry and joinery at the Perth campus.

“I’m surprised, deeply humbled, deeply honoured. I think we are so lucky to work with people like this every day. Receiving an award like this is so incredibly touching and meaningful, knowing who it comes from,” said Stinson.

An emotional second-time win for James Stinson, technician, heritage carpentry, Perth campus
An emotional second-time win for James Stinson of the heritage carpentry program at the Perth campus. Photo credit: Kerry Slack

Michaela Hickman-Pearce was emotional as she explained why her professor deserved this recognition.

“He’s so thoughtful in a way I don’t even have the right words for. His teaching style is riddled with evidence of how much thought and care he puts into his students’ learning,” said Hickman-Pearce.

Students were sent an email in February to nominate staff who have made a difference in their educational journeys. This was not a nomination that simply wanted boxes checked. It was a detailed inquiry as to how the staff stood out.

“A committee reads all the nominations and carefully weighs the winners. The Students’ Association gives their input, and we decide together,” said Lauren Shepherd, marketing manager for the SA.

“This year was tough. We usually have seven or eight nominees,” said SA manager of board communications and process Matt Regnier. “This year we had 80.”

Awarded excellence in teaching awards were:

  • James Stinson, heritage carpentry and joinery
  • Karl Soopalu, applied nuclear science and radiation safety
  • Craig Flinn, business marketing
  • Stephane Lacroix, motive power technician
  • Nastia Touhlova, office administration
  • Timothy Tosh, occupational therapy

The Chris Warburton Award of Excellence was awarded to Mary Baxter from food services.

The SA Board of Directors Award was given to Jamie Bramburger from the Pembroke campus.

“When it comes from the students it’s always more special. That’s who we work for. The partnership the SA has with student services is paramount to student success. We put students first. For the students to recognize that, again, it’s very special,” said Bramburger.

From Pembroke campus, Jamie Bramburger and Karl Soopalu happy to accept their awards.
From Pembroke campus, Jamie Bramburger and Karl Soopalu happy to accept their awards. Photo credit: Kerry Slack

Caren Olmedo, a business marketing student, presented Flinn’s award.

“He goes above and beyond to ensure that we have a classroom experience that is inspiring and motivates us to achieve our goals,” Olmedo said. “We feel comfortable asking for help when needed and that is crucial to our success.”

“It means a lot when it comes from my students. I’m blushing on the inside. Winning an award like this, wow,” said Craig Flinn, professor of business marketing,

During the pandemic, food services was one of the industries that suffered greatly. Mary Baxter, general manager of food and conference services, has played a pivotal role in getting food services running again.

“Who isn’t passionate about food?” said Baxter. “Quality means doing what is right, even when no one is looking.”

"Who isn&squot;t passionate about food?" said Baxter.
The Chris Warburton Award of Excellence was awarded to Mary Baxter in food services. Photo credit: Kerry Slack

The nuclear science and radiation safety program at the Pembroke campus rarely gets any fanfare but it had the spotlight when professor and coordinator Karl Soopalu accepted his award.

“I’m one member of a large team,” said Soopalu.

“The fact that is a student award makes it very, very special. It means a lot to me, and I’ll be humbled for quite some time.”

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