Congratulations to our faculty and students who recently received the following awards.

College of Arts & Science Teaching Excellence Award

dr-osgoodDr. Nathaniel Osgood is a winner of the 2015-16 College of Arts & Science Teaching Excellence Awards for the science category. Osgood's research is focused on enhancing decision making in health and health care by using cross-linked simulation, mobile technology and machine learning tools to inform understanding of population health trends and health policy tradeoffs.

In teaching, Dr. Osgood uses an adaptive style that draws heavily on learning from close interactions with individual students and teams with provision of brief take-home exercises and videos to help surface student confusions and challenges. In teaching software engineering, he heavily emphasizes to students the importance of pairing a high standard of quality and circumspection in their work with a willingness to experiment and a vigilence in quickly recognizing, correcting and working to learn from mistakes.

“My teaching practice is heavily shaped by the desire to better understand and speak to students’ current understanding and challenges by confronting them with concrete challenges, seeking to help alert them to both opportunities but risks that they need to navigate, and to encourage honest reflection on mistakes as part of a commitment to ongoing improvement.”

ACM Distinguished Scientist

carl-gutwinComputer science professor Carl Gutwin was selected as a Distinguished Scientist by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. The award celebrates the exceptional contributions of leading members in the computing fields. He was one of only three Canadians to make the list in 2015.

In addition to teaching in the department, Gutwin is also the director of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) laboratory, which studies and innovates the way in which humans and computers interact. With computing technology now permeating everyday life, the group’s diverse interests range from physical interactions—such as creating novel gestural and tangible interfaces, to emotional interactions—such as studying the effects that personal traits have on how people interact with technology.

Outstanding Young Computer Science Researcher 

regan-mandrykDr. Regan Mandryk received the Outstanding Young Computer Science Researcher Prize (2015) from the Canadian Association of Computer Science (CACS)

Dr. Regan Mandryk is one of Canada’s top researchers in Human-Computer Interaction, particularly in the areas of game research and affective computing. She is an extremely productive scholar with more than 100 publications, and both she and her work have received numerous awards. Dr. Mandryk and her students have made several important contributions to knowledge, all of which have had substantial impact on the research community.

For example, Dr. Mandryk developed the first models of emotional response in computer games, which enable games to adapt themselves to the player’s emotional state; she invented new techniques for player balancing that allow people of widely different skill levels to play together in competitive games; and she developed new techniques for persuasive computing that have been applied in a range of systems – from helping people make healthy food choices, to helping children with FASD improve their ability to concentrate. Dr. Mandryk’s research program is innovative and highly collaborative, provides expert training for a large number of students and other highly qualified personnel, and has attracted substantial interest from several industrial partners.

New Researcher Award

Dr. Regan Mandryk received the New Researcher Award, one of the University of Saskatchewan’s top faculty awards at the 2015 Fall Convocation ceremony. In less than 10 years, Regan Mandryk has built a soaring reputation as a groundbreaking computer science researcher. Mandryk is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of human-computer interaction, and particularly in the area known as affective computing: developing systems that can read and interpret human emotions.

A breakthrough affective computing model built by Mandryk laid the foundation for tools and research now in use at major software companies such as Electronic Arts and Valve. These companies use the model to test video game and software prototypes, observing directly how much fun or frustration their users are experiencing. Future video games based on this approach might adapt in real-time to the user’s emotional responses.

Mandryk is also a leader in the “serious games movement,” which applies video games to address real-world issues. She has built methods to help children with neurological disorders regulate their emotions or perform therapeutic exercise through games, and has pioneered the design of exercise games that help elderly people and people in wheelchairs become active.

YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Research & Technology


Dr. Julita Vassileva was awarded the prestigious YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Research and Technology on Thursday, May 28, 2015. Vassileva is an internationally recognized researcher in user modeling. Her passion lies in promoting the advancement of women and minorities in the field of computer science. She was the NSERC Cameco Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the prairies from 2005-2011, and developed an innovative outreach program, Science Ambassadors, promoting enriched learning in remote Aboriginal communities. Vassileva is a string mentor who secures essential grant funding, and many of her students have gone on to achievements such as the NSERC Vanier Scholarship, careers with technology giants, and papers published in numerous research journals. She is deeply committed to diversity and respect.

USSU Teaching Excellence Award

scott johnston
Congratulations to Scott Johnston, a Computer Science Ph.D. student, who was awarded one of the 2015 USSU Teaching Excellence Awards at the University of Saskatchewan. Scott was recognized for his phenomenal instructional support within Computer Science. Selected by students, the Teaching Excellence Award recognizes those who have demonstrated enthusiasm, organization and fairness in evaluation, providing exceptional commitment and support to their classrooms. This annual award shows the Students' Unions' appreciation for those individuals who strive to enhance the student experience at the University of Saskatchewan.

Provost’s College Award for Outstanding Teaching 

The Provost’s College Award for Outstanding Teaching is awarded to an exceptional teacher in each College of the University of Saskatchewan. In 2014, Michael Horsch received the Provost’s College Awards for Outstanding Teaching on behalf of the Division of Science for the College of Arts and Science. 


Recipients demonstrate evidence of outstanding teaching and educational leadership. Outstanding teaching critieria includes an excellent demonstration of quality in teaching courses, sustained commitment to teaching and learning over a number of years, and student supervision and mentorship. Educational leadership qualities include the production of high quality peer-reviewed scholarly contributions related to university teaching, contributions to the mentorship and development of teaching skills in their peers and junior colleagues, activity related to the design or development of an innovative strategy, course, or program of study, and evidence of ongoing professional development in teaching

Convocation Awards


2015 AwardsRecipient

University of Saskatchewan Graduate Thesis Award (Ph.D.)
Physical and Engineering Sciences recipient

Thesis: Design and data analysis of kinome microarrays

Brett Trost

University of Saskatchewan Graduate Thesis Awards (M.Sc.)
Physical and Engineering Sciences recipient

Thesis: The Design and Use of a Smartphone Data Collection Tool and Accompanying Configuration Language

Dylan Knowles

Governor General’s Gold Medal 

(awarded to the student who achieves the highest academic standing at the graduate level)

Brett Trost
Most Outstanding Graduate in Mathematics  Omar Khisraw Zarifi
Most Outstanding Graduate in Computer Science  Omar Khisraw Zarifi

Most Outstanding Graduate in Interactive Systems Design  Cheralyn Dawn Atkins

Saskatchewan Innovation & Opportunity Scholarship  Ahmed Abdel Moamen
Kimberly MacKay

Geddes Graduate Scholarship in Computer Science  Max Birk

SaskCanola: Dr. Roger Rimmer Award for Excellence in Graduate Research Miles Buchwaldt

2014 Awards
Earl of Bessborough Prize in Science Ivan Vendrov
Most Outstanding Graduate in Computer Science Ivan Vendrov

The Governor General's Gold Medal

(awarded to the student who achieves the highest academic standing at the graduate level)

Matthew Links

The Governor General's Silver Medal

(awarded to undergraduate student with highest academic standings at the undergraduate level)

Ivan Vendrov
Master's Graduate Thesis Award for Physical and Engineering Sciences Adam Preuss
Most Outstanding Graduate in Bioinformatics Matthew Shannon