Faculty of Applied Sciences award winners from left-right: Dr. Farid Golnaraghi; Dr. John Jones; Chao Cheng; award presenters Jon Driver, Vice-President of Academic, and Nimal Rajapakse, Dean; Dr. Pavol Hell; Dr. Ze-Nian Li; Dr. Jian Pei.

Dean awards Medals of Excellence

November 16, 2010

In 2010, the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences (FAS) established the FAS Medals of Excellence to recognize faculty members who have shown outstanding performance in teaching, research and service, and a staff member who has provided superior service. Winners are nominated by faculty, staff and students. The Excellence Awards will become an annual event to recognize high performance within the Faculty of Applied Sciences.

The 2010 Medals of Excellence Award winners:

  • Superior Performance in Teaching:  Dr. John Jones, Associate Professor of Engineering Science

Whether it’s a large undergraduate class or an intimate grad course, Dr. Jones consistently receives high praise for his coursework and lectures. As cited in one student evaluation, “He’s very passionate, a good speaker, organized and has interesting lectures.”

Dr. Jones explores relevant links between engineering and society. He dramatizes controversial issues by staging in-class debates with invited speakers and other faculty members on topics ranging from engineering’s military applications to its impact on the environment. Based on the material in his course Engineering Technology and Society, Dr. Jones has written a textbook entitled The Betterment of the Human Condition. In addition, he has developed and taught courses on the social impact of engineering for the SFU Seniors program and for SFU’s Graduate Liberal Studies program. Shortly after receiving this award, Dr. Jones also won an SFU 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award.

  • Superior Performance in Research by a Senior Faculty Member:  Dr. Pavol Hell, Professor of Computing Science

“Pavol brings a great deal of recognition to our School and Faculty.” Dr. Hell is an international leader in the research area of algorithmic graph theory and has made fundamental contributions to this area. He is a highly sought-after conference speaker and since 2007, he has been managing editor of the prestigious Journal of Graph Theory. Dr. Hell holds the largest NSERC Discovery grant in the School of Computing Science ($60,000 per year from 2008-2013) and one of the largest computing science Discovery grants in Western Canada. He served for three years as a member of the NSERC Grant Selection Committee 331.

  • Superior Performance in Research by a Senior Faculty Member:  Dr. Farid Golnaraghi, Professor of Engineering Science

Dr. Golnaraghi is building new research links between the relatively new Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) program based on the SFU Surrey campus and the external community. Dr. Golnaraghi joined SFU in 2006 as the Director of the MSE program and a Burnaby Mountain Chair, and he has been a key player in the MSE program since its official launch in 2007.

Prior to leading the MSE program, Dr. Golnaraghi was a Tier I Canada Research Chair at the University of Waterloo where he supervised a large number of graduate students, researchers and engineers. At SFU, in addition to administrative work associated with the MSE program, he continues to be active in research. Currently he supervises five PhD students, two Master students, two research engineers and two Postdoctoral fellows. Since 1988, over the course of his career, he has supervised a total of 20 PhD, 32 Masters and 92 undergraduate theses. In addition, Dr. Golnaraghi has been the Principal Investigator or co-applicant on a number of successful grant applications.

  • Superior Performance in Research by an Early Career Faculty Member:  Dr. Jian Pei, Associate Professor of Computing Science

Ever since he earned his PhD from SFU in 2002, Dr. Pei has become one of the world’s most cited authors in the areas of data mining and knowledge discovery. In 2004, he returned to SFU, originally hired as an Assistant Professor. “Dr. Pei is a phenomenal researcher and valued member of our School.”

Early on in his career he received many awards and honours, including the 2005 B.C. Innovation Council Young Innovator Award, a Best Application Paper Award at the 2008 ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, and the Most Influential Paper Award at the Pacific-Asia Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in 2009. He was awarded an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement for three years (2008-2011), one that recognizes a small group of outstanding Canadian researchers showing international leadership potential. Dr. Pei also has an excellent record of industry and research grant funding from organizations such as IBM, SAP BusinessObjects, National Science Foundation (US) and the Vancouver Foundation, among many others.

  • Superior Performance in Service (faculty):  Dr. Ze-Nian Li, Professor of Computing Science

In his 23 years as a faculty member in the School of Computing Science, Dr. Li has never been one to sit idle. “He is, without a doubt, always ready and willing to contribute his years of experience and wisdom to ensure the best possible outcome.”

This includes serving as School Director from 2001-2004, an unusually busy period. Dr. Li was responsible for launching the new Technology and Science Complex-1 building on campus and hiring 24 new faculty members under the provincial government’s Double the Opportunity (DTO) initiative to attract more students to computing science and other key areas. He was also a pivotal architect of the new Computing Science program at the SFU Surrey campus.

In 2005, he became Director of the SFU/Zhejiang University Dual Degree Program, and was immersed in recruiting, curriculum design and administration. He continued this role until 2008, when he took up an appointment as Special Advisor to the Vice-President, Academic and later became the Dean Pro Tem for the new Faculty of Applied Sciences. During the formation of the new Faculty, he worked closely with the Schools of Computing Science and Engineering Science and advised the VP Academic on Faculty restructuring. Throughout all this time, Dr. Li continued to be involved in numerous committees and to serve his academic community actively through editorial works and conference organizations.

  • Superior Performance in Service (staff):  Mr. Chao Cheng, Manager, Instructional, Research and Administrative Computing, School of Engineering Science

Mr. Cheng has served in both the school of Computing Science and     Engineering Science for 25 years. “Faculty and students have a great deal of praise for him, and his friendly and helpful attitude.”  Today, Mr. Cheng manages the network in the School of Engineering Science at SFU Burnaby and in the Mechatronic Systems Engineering program at SFU Surrey, which brings a large number of users. Juggling his time and resources extremely well, Mr. Cheng consistently receives praise for his ingenuity, dedication and hard-working attitude.