CICan announces its 2020 Award of Excellence recipients

Ottawa, May 19, 2020 – Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) has announced the recipients of its 2020 Awards of Excellence, celebrating the extraordinary contribution of individuals and highlighting the role of these essential institutions for Canada’s social, cultural and economic development. The awards are distributed in partnership with TD Insurance, the exclusive sponsor of CICan’s Awards of Excellence.

Since recipients could not be recognized in person this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the cancelation of CICan’s annual conference, the association has created an online showcase to share and celebrate their achievements.

“As Canadians are mobilizing to face a crisis unlike anything we’ve seen in generations, it is perhaps more important than ever to celebrate excellence in leadership, innovation and education”, said CICan president and CEO, Denise Amyot. “Even though we can’t celebrate together this year, I want to offer my heartfelt congratulations to all recipients. All of them show us, in their way, the talent and resourcefulness available at Canadian colleges and institutes. Their achievements are a source of inspiration for us all.”

Here are the 2020 Awards of excellence recipients in all eight categories: 


Indigenous Education Excellence Award

Gold: Canadore College

In support of its Strategic Plan, Canadore College has developed a Tipi (Transforming Indigenous Peoples’ Inquiry) model as an overarching framework to guide the college when working with Indigenous communities. Having a model through which to associate Indigenous initiatives ensures that each initiative, though valuable on its own, contributes to a sustainable direction for the college. Some ongoing initiatives at the college include culturally-appropriate learning spaces, community based delivery, community partnerships, representation on advisory committees, indigenous evaluation, research grants, Indigenous quality assurance standards, Indigenous STEAM, an Indigenous research protocol and a focus on Indigenous learning outcomes.

Silver: British Columbia Institute of Technology

Bronze: Langara College


Program Excellence Award

Gold: Bioscience Technology program – Holland College

The two-year program at Holland College, in Charlottetown, PEI, was created in 2006, and awards graduates with a Diploma in Bioscience Technology, enabling them to become technologists in national and international research and production facilities. The instructional team is composed of two Learning Managers and two Laboratory Technicians who provide theoretical and practical, hands-on training in various aspects of biotechnology, often via project-based learning. The program’s close association with industry, government agencies, and institutional partners ensures the development of authentic curriculum, with an average employment rate of 92%. Diploma graduates can also complete a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology degree on PEI.

Silver: Shopify Program – St. Lawrence College

Bronze: Honours Bachelor of Game Design – Sheridan College


Applied research and Innovation Excellence Award

Gold: Lethbridge College

Lethbridge College’s Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a catalyst for economic growth, sustainability and social development. It brings together community organizations, researchers and students to collaborate to solve real-world challenges with immediate practical applications. Project outcomes often lead to innovative products and services that benefit our economy and society. The college’s commitment to applied research has grown consistently over the last 30 years and exponentially in the last five, illustrated in the growth of dedicated researchers, projects, student and staff participants, and campus facilities. This team’s innovative, entrepreneurial work will having a lasting and positive impact.

Silver: Lambton College

Bronze: Durham College


Internationalization Excellence Award

Gold: Cégep Édouard Montpetit

Cégep Édouard Montpetit’s Mobility and International Activities Service has one of the most extensive offer of international internships and stays in the Quebec college network. Every year, more than 350 students participate in one of the projects coordinated by the Service with the help of about 50 teachers from a dozen programs of study. In ten years, the number of projects offered has quintupled. In addition to being innovative, the Service ensures the coordination between different key college stakeholders and regularly collaborates with colleagues in other educational institutions. It is responsible for coordinating internationalized training and the welcome of international students as well as developing institutional partnerships and opportunities for international cooperation.

Silver: Algonquin College

Bronze: Seneca College


Leadership Excellence Award for Students

Gold: Matheus Andrade – Centennial College

Matheus Ferreira Andrade, aged 25, is a Centennial biotechnology student. Born in Brazil and raised by his mom, he is the first in his family to go to college. A strong problem solver, he has spent much of his time building bridges for incoming students, aspiring volunteers and emerging leaders at Centennial and beyond. With an acute understanding of what it’s like to be new and seeking connection, he has had an outsized impact in the roles he has played. Matheus has served as International Student Ambassador, Student Advocate, conference organizer and community volunteer. This year, he was orientation Student Co-Chair and CCSAI Board Development Officer. In all roles, he dedicated himself to making everyone feel welcome, connected and included.

Silver: Brendan Woo – Humber College

Bronze: LEO Club Executive Team – Lethbridge College


Leadership Excellence Award for Faculty

Gold: Viola Manokore – Norquest College

Viola is an instructor in NorQuest’s Practical Nursing department. She holds a PhD in curriculum, instruction, and teacher education, with over 15 years of post-secondary teaching experience in biological science, human anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and science education. She is committed to evidence-based, reflective, instructional practice, and is especially interested in helping students activate prior knowledge and refine critical thinking skills to overcome learning challenges. Viola is an outstanding educator, dedicated scholar, and exemplary researcher who has mentored many of her peers and students. In recognition of all her initiatives at the college, Viola received its 2019 “Quest for Excellence” research award.

Silver: Mohamed Benhaddadi – Cégep du Vieux Montréal

Bronze: Cynthia O’Donnell – Keyano College


Leadership Excellence Award for Non-Managerial Staff

Gold: Peggy Pitawanakwat – Seneca College

Peggy Pitawanakwat is dedicated to providing social and emotional supports for students as they navigate their educational pathways. A former Wikwemikong chief and a trained native counsellor, Peggy co-ordinated the Restorative Justice Program in her community before joining Seneca in 2011. She has since steered countless students towards better career opportunities through her tireless mentoring and network of external stakeholders. A child of the Sixties Scoop, Peggy is the heart of Odeyto, home of Seneca’s First Peoples@Seneca. Her artwork enhances many of Seneca’s projects, including the logos for Seneca Sting Honey, the Seneca Urban Farm and the Indigenous version of the varsity team mascot, Sammy Sting.

Silver: Juan Manuel Toro Lara – Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick

Bronze: Carole Bourget – Cégep de Matane


Leadership Excellence Award for Managerial Staff

Gold: Romana Pasca – College of New Caledonia

Romana Pasca is the Associate Director, International Projects and Partnerships at the College of New Caledonia (CNC). She joined CNC in 2014 as a Project Planner and moved into an administrative position in 2018. She has proven to be an excellent leader and a wonderful asset to the team by contributing to a variety of initiatives on and off campus by increasing CNC’s exposure at the regional, national, and international level, creatively expanding the study abroad program, securing international projects, and motivating faculty and staff to pursue academic and professional opportunities at the national and international level. During this time, she completed her doctoral studies at UNBC and published over 9 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Silver: Don Forster – Seneca College

Bronze: Hyeyoung Kang – Coast Mountain College


About Colleges and Institutes Canada:
Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is the voice of Canada’s publicly-supported colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment with ongoing programs in over 25 countries. CICan’s members add over $190B to Canada’s economy each year and contribute to inclusive economic growth by working with industry and community partners to offer more than 10,000 programs to learners in urban, rural, remote, and northern communities.



For more information:  

Julien Abord-Babin
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
Colleges and Institutes Canada
Tel. : 613-746-2222 ext. 3131
Twitter : @CollegeCan