IMI Faculty and Staff Saluted at Inaugural Awards Reception

Sarah Jane Silva

Lislehurst; Exterior and Interior with IMI banner

U of T Mississauga Principal Deep Saini welcomed IMI faculty and staff to the first annual IMI Awards Reception at Lislehurst, where outgoing IMI Director Hugh Gunz and MMPA Director Len Brooks were also recognized.

Earlier this month, the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Institute for Management and Innovation (IMI) community celebrated the service and accomplishments of its exemplary faculty and staff.

Professor Deep Saini, vice-president of U of T and principal of U of T Mississauga, hosted the event at Lislehurst, the residence of UTM principals and their families.

Within the walls of this historic stone house IMI’s inaugural Director, Professor Hugh Gunz, and MMPA Director, Professor Len Brooks, were among those feted.

“In my view Hugh was the most fitting inaugural director for IMI because his fingerprints on IMI go back a long time,” said Principal Saini. “You have brought it to the stage where now you can hand it to the next person with total confidence that it will go nowhere but forward.”

Professor Len Brooks was acknowledged for guiding the Master of Management & Professional Accounting (MMPA) program throughout its 23-year long metamorphosis (in 1996 the program moved from St. George to UTM where it was renamed).

“He is a visionary and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty and getting into the trenches and doing things himself,” said Principal Saini. “He is also a person who is a pathological connection-maker. He has made tremendous contributions to the accounting profession.”

Faculty and staff members recognized for their achievements include:

IMI Faculty Award – Recipient: Irene Wiecek

This is for the faculty member who introduced and implemented a new program, course or initiative that’s significantly enhanced the overall support, learning and/or engagement of students and or faculty within IMI. This may be at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Irene Wiecek, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream and Director of the Master of Management and Professional Accounting (MMPA) program in the Department of Management at UTM, was responsible for the redesign and accreditation of the MMPA program. Graduates can now receive advanced standing and be exempt from most of the 2 year CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP).  MMPA graduates will be able to move straight into the final module (Capstone 2) of the CPA PEP and then on to the CPA Common Final Exam (CFE).

IMI Staff Award – Recipient: Natasha Walli

This is for a staff member who will have introduced and implemented a new program, product or initiative that significantly enhanced the overall support, learning and/or engagement of students, staff and or faculty within IMI.

Careers Officer Natasha Walli established the Professional Development & Learning Centre (PDLC) for the Undergraduate Management programs. She was able to successfully use many tools including guest speakers, mock interviews and social media to educate students on career development, engage internal and external stakeholders, and effectively promote and brand the PDLC.

IMI Team Collaboration Award – Recipients: Shashi Kant, Rose Mary Craig and Claire Westgate

This team of two or more members can include any balance of faculty and staff and up to four members. They would have collaboratively introduced and implemented a new program, product or initiative that has significantly enhanced the overall support, learning and/or engagement of students, staff and/or faculty within IMI.

Master of Science in Sustainability Management (MScSM) Program Director Professor Shashi Kant’s approach to engaging the class is very open, honest, warm and unlike any other professional master’s program, said Professor Gunz. There’s a strong sense of belonging by the students in the MScSM program. The MScSM program was a new launch for IMI and UTM and it has since exceeded expectations, meeting enrollment targets, attracting international students and immediate uptake by the business community.

Program Coordinator Rose Mary Craig has worked hard to ensure a high-quality student experience in the classroom while also heading the recruitment effort on the road to attract a high number of domestic applications to the program. She’s made excellent contributions to the MScSM Program’s marketing and admission process.

Placement & Employer Relations Officer Claire Westgate has achieved back-to-back full placements for all MScSM students – an extraordinary feat for a new program. She also developed a network of 300 sustainability-related organizations, organized a guest lecture series, career days, and provided one-on-one training to writing cover letters and resumes for each student.

* Photos by Ryan Cerrudo for the Institute of Management & Innovation.