Headshot of Thomas Klubi wearing glasses and a blue shirt.

Celebrating Thomas Klubi

Malisa Zhou and Tyler Evans-Tokaryk

Thomas Klubi is retiring at the end of August after a career spanning 25 years with UTM’s Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre (RGASC).

Tom is the learning strategist and program manager at the RGASC. Tom began working at the RGASC in 1996, just after its launch, and has been contributing towards its growth and expansion since then. Much of Tom’s work has been focused on designing and managing support programs that help develop students’ academic skills. These ongoing programs include:

  • The Facilitated Study Group (FSG) program, the RGASC’s peer mentorship and supplemental instruction initiative.
  • The Promoting Academic Skills for Success (PASS) program which supports at-risk students on probation and suspension.
  • Head Start, the RGASC’s annual transition program for first year students.

Tom’s work with the RGASC, which assists thousands of students annually, has been recognized across the University and earned him numerous awards, such as the Staff Service Award in 2014. Furthermore, the 12th International Conference on Supplemental Instruction (SI) held earlier this year elected Tom as the recipient of an Exceptional Veteran SI Supervisor Award. This award is in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the RGASC and the development of Supplemental Instruction (SI).

One Tom’s most important contributions to UTM is EDS325: Supplemental Instruction in Higher Education, a unique course which combines classroom knowledge and practical experience on Supplemental Instruction in higher education. By collaborating closely with the instructor, Dr. Liz Coulson, Tom helped to create a credit-bearing experiential learning opportunity where students are placed in a 100-hour internship within the RGASC’s FSG program. This course introduces students to the theory and history of Supplemental Instruction while providing them with an opportunity to develop and deliver peer-led facilitated study group sessions.  This is just one example of the many academic skills initiatives that Tom helped to develop that have become important sources of pedagogical support for students across our campus.

Perhaps, one of Tom’s most notable characteristics is his love for board games. His innovative initiative to embrace board games as a method of enhancing learning has been well-received by faculty, staff, and students across the campus. Tom regularly brings students together at the Board Game Cafés hosted through the RGASC. These events provide a place where students can unwind, socialize, and make new friends while playing one of the many board games donated to the RGASC by Tom. The Cafés are run by Tom as he believes that playing board games enhances student experiences while simultaneously fostering academic competencies, such as information processing, critical thinking and problem solving, and teamwork. In 2017, Tom collaborated with Associate Professor of Economics, Dr. Lee Bailey, to strengthen students’ understandings of macroeconomics using board games.

The Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP) is hosting a retirement celebration in honour of Tom’s career at UTM. The celebration takes place on August 31st from 1:00-4:00pm in the CCT Courtyard. We invite anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting or working with Tom to stop by and bid him a happy retirement.

We cannot thank Tom enough for his many contributions to UTM. We wish him the happiest and most fulfilling of retirements.