Supervision Award for Faculty Members

Important Dates

  • Deadline: Date set locally by graduate unit / faculty
  • Faculty Nomination to SGS: April 3, 2023
  • Results and Presentation of Award: May 2023


The School of Graduate Studies Supervision Awards aim to recognize outstanding performance in the multiple roles associated with graduate student supervision. Each year, two JJ Berry Smith Doctoral Supervision Awards and two SGS Early Career Supervision Awards will be offered to successful nominees: one of each award in the Humanities / Social Sciences and in the Physical / Life Sciences.

Each Award recipient receives an SGS Supervision Award certificate, an SGS Travel or Conference Grant (up to $5000) for a current student to support their research travel or conference presentation. Award winners have their names inscribed on a plaque housed at the School of Graduate Studies

The annual SGS Graduate Student Supervision Awards honour active faculty members who, over a minimum of a 15-year period (JJ Berry Smith Doctoral Supervision Award) or up to 6 years (SGS Early Career Supervision Award), have demonstrated excellence in supervision at the University of Toronto by:

  • inspiring and guiding students to reach excellence in scholarship;
  • providing an environment that is supportive and stimulating;
  • enabling students to learn the essential methodologies, concepts and cultures of their discipline;
  • introducing students to the wider content of the discipline and relevant communities of scholars;
  • positioning students for future careers both within and outside academe;
  • fostering a strong sense of academic integrity.

Eligibility Criteria

JJ Berry Smith Doctoral Supervision Award:
Nominees must be active graduate faculty members at the University of Toronto, having supervised doctoral students (PhD, EdD, DMA, SJD) for a minimum of 15 years

Early Career Supervision Award:
Nominees must be tenure-stream or status-only graduate faculty members at the University of Toronto within the first six years of acquiring a graduate faculty appointment, having engaged in supervision of graduate students (master’s degree or doctoral degree) in committee member, co-supervisor or sole supervisor roles.

Selection Criteria

Nominations will be evaluated based on how well the candidates have demonstrated excellence in supervision at the University of Toronto by meeting and exceeding each selection criteria below:

  1. Inspiring and guiding students to achieve excellence in scholarship, fostering a strong sense of academic integrity;
  2. Providing an environment that is supportive with particular attention to mental health and work life balance, while stimulating and tailored to their individual learning styles, needs, and career/future aspirations;
  3. Enabling students to learn the essential methodologies, concepts and cultures of their discipline;
  4. Introducing students to the wider context of the discipline and relevant communities of scholars; and
  5. Promoting student participation in professional development and activities that position them for future careers within and outside academia;
  6. Leading a research environment that is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

In an effort to assist Faculties in reviewing their nominations, an SGS Scoring Sheet is available for Faculties’ internal selection committee use, and may be shared with nominators/nominees.

Nomination Package

The nomination package provides evidence that the nominee has met the above six criteria as demonstrated through the following:

  • Completed Nomination Form & Table A: List of nominators;
  • A substantial Faculty letter of recommendation from the Dean / Vice-Dean, Graduate (2 pages), which clearly sets out the basis for the nomination. Letter should provide context for the discipline: e.g. clearly address the supervisory norms (including expectations for publishing and presenting with supervised students), types of students (e.g. placement in academia vs. industry), publication norms (especially for early career nominees), and how the nominee stands out among peers in the same discipline;
  • Letters of nomination (letters may be from an individual or group):
    • A letter from the department chair, current or former colleague(s); and
    • Two to five letters from current or former students(s) – group letters are encouraged;
  • A statement written by the candidate (2-3 pages, suitable for public release):
    • Addressing the candidate’s graduate mentoring / supervision philosophy, and
    • Describing the candidate’s personal approach or strategies for mentoring/supervision;
  • A completed Table B: listing all current and former graduate (master’s and doctoral) students including their degree information, current positions, etc. (see attached Table B: List of graduate students); and
  • Abbreviated Curriculum Vitae (max. 8 pages) addressing the following categories, as applicable:
    • Academic Appointment(s)
    • Mentoring or Supervision awards
    • Awards for joint work with graduate students
    • Funded or unfunded grants with graduate students
    • ­All publications within the last 5 years with notations* to indicate those co-published with graduate students:
      • Additionally, list only co-publications with graduate students beyond the last five years and:
        • Within the last 15 years for JJ Berry Smith Award; or
        • Within last 6 years for Early Career Award
    • ­Co-presentations with graduate students
      • Within the last 15 years for JJ Berry Smith Award; or
      • Within the last 6 years for Early Career Award
    • ­Past and current graduate supervision roles (including supervisor and committee memberships)
    • External appraisals of doctoral dissertations, which includes:
      1. Appraisal of a thesis or dissertation completed at a university where the nominee was not a faculty member; and
      2. Appraisal of a thesis or dissertation completed at the same university as the nominee and supervised by a committee that did not include the nominee. 
    • Service related to graduate student support, supervision or mentoring
    • Other activities or accomplishments relevant to graduate student supervision and mentorship.

*Please indicate publications with current or former graduate student co-authors using the following notations: highlighting the publication in yellow; and underlining the names of graduate students within each publication.

Nomination Process

Faculty nominations are due to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost, Graduate Research and Education through the Faculty Dean or Vice Dean Graduate Office.

Students, faculty members and staff wishing to submit a nomination package for consideration by their Faculty should contact their home graduate unit to inquire about the selection process and local deadlines.

Faculties may nominate one candidate in each of the four SGS divisions (Humanities, Social Sciences, Physical Science, Life Science) to a maximum of four nominees per award, i.e., up to four nominees for the JJ Berry Smith Award and up to four nominees for the Early Career Supervisor Award.  Nominees are eligible in the SGS division of the graduate unit where they hold graduate faculty membership.

Requests for an additional quota may be considered by SGS where a Faculty has two exceptional candidates from within the same division. Each nomination package is to be submitted electronically as a single PDF file via email.

Please retain the original application materials until December 31, 2023. In the event that a candidate is being put forth for other supervision/ mentorship awards, faculty offices will be contacted to provide documents in MS Word format. For example, winners of the JJ Berry Smith Supervision Awards may be invited to be nominated for the annual CAGS and NAGS Mentorship awards.

Previous Winners

Dr. Scott Prudham and Dr. Marla Sokolowski are 2022’s recipients of the JJ Berry Smith Doctoral Supervision Award, which recognizes outstanding performance in the multiple roles associated with doctoral (PhD, EdD, DMA, SJD) supervision.

Prof. Scott Prudham

Professor Scott Prudham honoured for a career of stellar student supervision (Faculty of Arts & Science)

Prof. Scott Prudham, Department of Geography & Planning

A professor in the Faculty of Arts & Science’s Department of Geography & Planning, cross-appointed to the School of the Environment, Prudham’s research is situated at the intersection of environmental politics, environmental change and political economy. He is especially interested in the intersecting dynamics of social justice, environmental change, and the commodification of nature, including in natural resource and extractive industries and in certain branches of agriculture.

Prudham’s course, “Capitalist Nature” has long been a “must take” among geography students. Just as popular is the student-driven and now longstanding working group on political economy and ecology that he created that’s simply known as “PE2.” Since 2001, across the social sciences and specifically geography and environmental studies, Prudham has acted as the sole or co-supervisor of 17 master’s students and a further 15 PhD students.

Scott is also the author of the 2005 Routledge book Knock on Wood: Nature as Commodity in Douglas-fir Country, and co-editor of the 2007 Routledge collection Neoliberal Environments: False Promises and Unnatural Consequences. He is a former editor of the journal Geoforum and a past-president of the University of Toronto Faculty Association. At present, Prudham is a visiting scholar for 2023 in the Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE) at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Montpellier, France.

Learn more about Prof. Prudham

Dr. Marla Sokolowski

University Professor Marla Sokolowski honoured for a career of inspiring and guiding students (Faculty of Arts & Science)

Dr. Marla Sokolowski, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Marla B. Sokolowski is a University Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Genetics and Behavioural Neurology. A pioneer in the field of behaviour genetics, Sokolowski has conducted foundational research into the interaction between genes and the environment, and how genetic tendencies are affected by the environment and experience. Her ground breaking investigations into the genetic and molecular basis of individual differences in behaviour include the discovery of the foraging gene in Drosophila melanogaster, or fruit flies.

Over her career, Sokolowski has supervised 22 postdoctoral fellows, 23 PhD students and 15 master’s students. Of the 168 refereed papers published by her research laboratory, 112 have included graduate student co-authors. Six of her former PhD students have gone on to faculty positions at the University of Toronto, Washington University of St Louis and Brown University. As a testament to her role in their careers, her students organized a special issue of the Journal of Neurogenetics in her honour.

Marla is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a recipient of the Society’s Flavelle Medal for her contributions to biological science. She is also a fellow and former co-director of the Child & Brain Development Program of CIFAR, as well as the recipient of the Genetics Society of Canada’s Award of Excellence, the International Behaviour and Neurogenetics Society’s Distinguished Investigator Award, and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Learn more about Prof. Sokolowski

Ecologist by training; Marie-Josée has four main research areas: (1) spatial ecology,(2) disturbance ecology,(3) conservation and (4) spatial statistics.

Professor Marie-Josée Fortin recognized with U of T’s JJ Berry Smith Doctoral Supervision Award (Faculty of Arts & Science)

Dr. Marie-Josée Fortin, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Marie-Josée Fortin is a University Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Throughout her career, Professor Fortin has supervised doctoral students, master’s students, and postdoctoral fellows who now have positions as professors or researchers at governmental agencies, NGOs and industries. Her training is not limited to the acquisition of academic knowledge but also involves enhancing the professional aspects of her trainees’ scientific careers.

Dr. Fortin earned her B.Sc and M.Sc. in Biology from the University of Montréal and her Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolution from SUNY Stony Brook. She also holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Spatial Ecology, and is recognized internationally as a leader in her field, having devoted her career to the development of novel spatial statistics, quantitative methods, and spatially explicit simulation models in quantitative ecology to predict species dispersal. Dr. Fortin has also authored an acclaimed book (first and second edition) on spatial analysis in ecology (Fortin & Dale 2005, Dale & Fortin 2014) and co-authored a textbook on spatial ecology and conservation (Fletcher & Fortin 2019) as well as a monograph on the quantitative analysis of ecological networks (Dale & Fortin 2021).

Learn more about Dr. Fortin

Dr. Grace Skogstad

Professor Grace Skogstad receives 2021 JJ Berry Smith Award for Doctoral Supervision (SGS Celebrates)

Dr. Grace Skogstad, Department of Political Science

For Dr. Grace Skogstad, working with graduate students is a privileged relationship: an opportunity to work with the best minds of future generations. Since joining the University of Toronto in 1986, Dr. Skogstad has worked closely with over 60 graduate students as their supervisor or dissertation committee member, a contribution that was recognized when she was described, on winning the Mildred A. Schwartz Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Political Science Association in 2019, as having “trained a generation of Canadian political scientists.” Dr. Skogstad sees her role as a graduate supervisor as not only providing timely and constructive intellectual advice but also personal support, research collaborations, and professional mentorship.

Dr. Skogstad has authored or edited eleven books and over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on Canadian politics and comparative public policy. She served as Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough from 2012 to 2020, and, in 2020-21 as Interim, Associate Vice-Principal Research, Strategic Initiatives, UTSC. A former President of the Canadian Political Science Association, she is the current President of the International Public Policy Association, where she has been involved since 2013 in the international training of PhD students in public policy.

Learn more about Dr. Skogstad

Dr. Nada Moumtaz and Dr. Sophie Rousseaux are the 2022 recipients of the Early Career Supervision Award, which recognizes pre-tenure faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in the various roles associated with graduate supervision.

Dr. Nada Moumtaz

Nada Moumtaz receives Early Career Supervision Award (Faculty of Arts & Science)

Dr. Nada Moumtaz, Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations and Department for the Study of Religion

Nada Moumtaz received her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her research, which stands at the intersection of anthropology, history, and Islamic legal studies, looks at how Islamic tradition has transformed since the nineteenth century while continuing to challenge and provide alternatives to dominant sensibilities, conceptions, and institutions of the modern world. She is the author of the 2021 book, God’s Property: Islam, Charity, and the Modern State, which examines the contemporary Islamic revival of the charitable practice of pious endowment in Beirut to shed new light on the secularization of religion through the lens of its separation from “the economy.”

Since joining the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor in 2016, Moumtaz has worked in a close and ongoing way with at least 20 students, in addition to serving as a member of nine PhD committees (twice as internal examiner) and as examiner for six separate sets of comprehensive exams. Though it is extremely unusual for pre-tenure faculty in her field to take on sole supervision, Moumtaz has already supervised two Master’s students and one PhD student while also serving as co-supervisor for another doctoral student.

Nada is also well known for her efforts to promote EDI initiatives in her department. She has served on the Indigenous Pedagogy Working Group, the Anti-racism, Diversity and Equity committee and provided volunteer faculty support to students’ efforts to advance racial equity.

Learn more about Prof. Moumtaz

Dr. Sophie Rousseaux

Sophie Rousseaux recognized with Early Career Supervision Award (Faculty of Arts & Science)

Dr. Sophie Rousseaux, Department of Chemistry

Sophie Rousseaux is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Organic Chemistry. Her research group’s interests include organic synthesis, catalysis, organometallic chemistry and supramolecular chemistry.

Professor Rousseaux has an impressive number and range of supervisory experiences: 12 PhD students (three of whom have completed), six Master’s students (all completed), one post-doctoral fellow, 14 undergraduates, and even a high school co-op student. She has also co-authored and published 18 articles with her students.

Sophie’s approach to mentorship is highly personalized, with special attention to her trainees’ long-term goals. Her students often commend her for her commitment to their mental health, overall wellbeing, and work-life balance. She also actively encourages her students to develop a commitment to equity and inclusion by leading an EDI-based Journal Club. The initiative, which Rousseaux convened in 2020, continues to meet regularly to discuss the latest literature on making science equitable.

Learn more about Prof. Rousseaux

“I want to see my students thriving in the path and after they graduate, in whatever path they are choosing.” – Dr. Keith Pardee

Prof. Keith Pardee and Prof. T.L. Cowan awarded Early Career Supervision Award (SGS Celebrates)

Prof. Keith Pardee, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Keith Pardee is the Canada Research Chair in Synthetic Biology in Human Health (Tier II) and is based at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. The Pardee Lab offers an environment where students can harness their passion for research to build technologies dedicated to improving access to health care.While still in its early days, the lab’s entrepreneurial spirit has created three trainee-led start-ups, amongst other commercialization efforts, that are dedicating to bringing their technologies to real world applications.

Since starting the Pardee lab in 2016, Keith and his group have focused on pioneering in vitro devices to host cell-free synthetic gene networks for broad applications in sensing and human health. To do this, genetically encoded tools and the freeze-dried enzymes of transcription and translation are embedded into porous materials, such as paper. Using this approach, they have created biosafe platforms for low-cost diagnostics (e.g. Zika, COVID-19), the portable production of protein-based therapeutics (e.g. vaccines, antibodies), and classroom education. The lab’s ongoing work is dedicated to continued integration of molecular and hardware tools to produce small, programmable sensors and devices to de-centralize access to health care.

Learn more about Dr. Pardee

“My philosophy comes from approaching graduate degrees as though nothing is self evident” – Dr. T.L. Cowan

Prof. Keith Pardee and Prof. T.L. Cowan awarded Early Career Supervision Award (SGS Celebrates)

T.L. Cowan, Department of Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC) & Faculty of Information

T.L. Cowan is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC) and the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. Dr. Cowan’s research in trans- feminist and queer arts and activism leads her to value rigour, creativity, accountability and improvisation in scholarship and mentorship. With Prof. Jas Rault, Dr. Cowan is co-director of the Cabaret Commons and the Digital Research Ethics Collaboratory (DREC). She is also a co-director of the Critical Digital Methods Institute (CDMI) at the University of Toronto Scarborough and a co-author of the Feminist Data Manifest-NO. Through these initiatives, Dr. Cowan works with many graduate students whose research and creative practices connect with, inform, and extend beyond these projects.

Dr. Cowan joined the University of Toronto in 2017 after holding positions at Yale University, The New School, and the University of Saskatchewan. From 2013-2016, she was the Chair of Pedagogy for the Feminist Technology Network (FemTechNet) where she collaboratively designed the first Distributed Open Collaborative Course (DOCC), an online course with dozens of faculty and hundreds of students, taught across universities, colleges and community centres around the world, using principles of engaged pedagogy and feminist technology studies.

Learn more about Dr. Cowan