Instructor Award

About the Award

The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information is a community of academic scholars and practitioners who share their knowledge, professional connections, and experience with students. On behalf of the MI student body, MISC is pleased to introduce the MISC Outstanding Instructor Award to recognize the Faculty of Information’s exceptional course instructors, who dedicate themselves to shaping and inspiring the next generation of information professionals. Students are asked to consider the following:

Teaching qualities:

  • To what extent is the instructor’s knowledge/experience valuable to you?
  • Does the instructor create a positive classroom environment?
  • Does the instructor provide mentorship, guidance, and/or professional development support?
  • Does the instructor inspire you to achieve your academic/professional goals?

Instructor Eligibility:

  • Instructors are eligible if they have taught at least one course at the Faculty of Information during the current academic year.

The nomination and voting period takes place in March and April each year. All MI students were contacted via the MI listserv at the beginning of the nomination period.

Past Winners

2017-2018: Leslie Shade

Leslie is loved by all for her kindness, good humour, and teaching chops. She deserves all the awards."

- Anonymous

2016-2017: Olivier St-Cyr

He goes up and beyond for his students by providing detailed feedback. He motivates his students and encourages them to do their best in the course. He is intrinsically motivated by a desire for his students to learn.


Prof. St-Cyr has gone out of his way to make this course understandable for all students, not just those in the ISD concentration. He gives students many chances to increase their grades, he tests students in multiple ways and not just a huge final exam, and he really does teach you skills that you can take with you as you enter your career. He answers emails, provides office hours, and will take the time to explain concepts on breaks or after hours. Not many professors take the time to actually help students understand how to do something and the reasoning behind it, and this professor does. He taught us in a way that if we as students put in the work, we would understand how to use these skills. He is a fantastic professor and a kind person, and I hope he gets the recognition he deserves.

—Mary He

Professor St-Cyr practices what he teaches - student centric learning, a focus on professional excellence, and comittment to improving experiences. He has taken on a new program and built the foundations of a world class educational experience. More than a dedicated teacher, he is funny, warm, and inspires everyone to take risks and dream big. Olivier cares about students and takes an interest in everyone's unique journey. His humility, equal passion for design and teaching, and his unflagging energy make him an outstanding instructor.

—Robyn Cameron

It is only Olivier's first year at the iSchool and he has hit the ground running. There is no denying that he has been instrumental in the development of the User Experience Design concentration at the iSchool and that he has made leaps and bounds at it. From ensuring that students have the practical skills to back up the theoretical knowledge taught in class, to sharing his experiences in the industry to ensure students are well-informed and prepared, and to even helping students find jobs for co-op – he always has the best interests of his students at heart, and his dedication and determination deserves nothing short of immense respect. It is always a joy to see Olivier in class and in the halls and it has been an excellent experience learning from him. Many thanks to Olivier for his care, kindness, and expertise. In Olivier We Trust.


2015-2016: Colin Furness

“Excellent instructor- superb at making difficult material accessible and relevant to students with all kinds of academic backgrounds and future career plans. Also, clearly invested in his students' academic and professional accomplishments, and ready to provide extra assistance as necessary to enable success in his courses.”

"Colin is to-the-point, practical, funny, engaging - classes with him are not a waste of time. Many students have gained connections and the skills they need thanks to Colin and his humble, but credible approach."

“Colin is very approachable, funny and kind, and takes a personal interest in his students' development. I have found Colin's course to be both academically rigorous and have deep real-world applications. He has also served as my advisor since the beginning of the year, and has been instrumental in shaping my professional and academic development. From the first time I walked into his office as a new student, he has been generous with his time, reviewing my portfolio and giving insightful suggestions, helping me select coursework, and directing me to helpful resources. Colin is fantastic!”

“Although I do not plan on getting into user design Colin Furness' INF 2170 course definitely taught me the importance of considering users when implementing web architectural design. His lectures and readings were accessible and intellectually stimulating, as we all know this can be a hard combination to come by anywhere. Colin took complex topics and made them intelligible to students with little experience in the field such as my self and was always willing to offer help to those who needed it in a respectful and non condescending manner. Overall probably the best instructor at the faculty. He clearly demonstrates he cares about the subject matter he is covering and cares about delivering a high quality course to his students.”

2014-2015: Colin Furness

INF2170 was one of the most enjoyable courses I have taken at the Faculty of Information, and I genuinely value the time I spent in Colin's class. It demonstrated very well how a course can achieve a healthy balance between theory and practice, by providing a strong grounding in Information Architecture theory, but at the same time allowing us to grapple with these theories and put them into practice through our assignments. As a result, I feel as though I have a much more rigorous and long-lasting understanding of the material. I have already begun applying several principles and strategies I learned in Colin's class in the workplace, and hope to continue seeking out opportunities to learn more about this subject in the future.

In addition to his broad and deep knowledge of the subject matter, Colin's experience as a practitioner contributed to his engaging lectures, and provided us with invaluable insight into the field. It is also evident that Colin thought carefully about his instructional approach, and continued to develop and refine your pedagogical strategies throughout the semester. The methods of evaluation used were challenging, but fair. Colin also treated his students with respect, which his students returned in kind. I am nominating Colin for MISC’s Outstanding Instructor Award because these various qualities clearly reflect Colin's strong affinity for teaching, and are an undeniable asset to the faculty which should be recognized.

—Mari Vihuri

I would like to nominate Colin Furness for the Instructor award. He took a widely-reviled course - one that I was dreading since I already knew a lot of it - and with extensive research and feedback changed it into a valuable overview course that taught me something new at each turn. It was one of the few classes where I *wanted* to do the suggested readings after each class. Moreover, I found myself applying principles learned in his courses to others: change management concepts when considering process innovation in INF1341, or bottom-up requirements considerations in INF1342. He brought in guest lecturers to provide alternative perspectives, and was always encouraging of questions and participation.

Outside of INF1003, he was kind enough to allow incoming students to audit a lecture in his Information Architecture (IA) course. I found this tremendously useful for getting a sense of what a graduate-level course feels like. He was at every incoming iSchool event I attended and offered excellent advice. He has given a guest lecture on IA to INF2176, and contributed his insight to the iSchool website hackathon. His IA knowledge is unique in the iSchool and tremendously valuable – as evidenced by how many students I know (including myself) who want to take his IA course.

He not only inspires me to achieve my professional goals, he has been actively helpful from providing a reference to assisting with ntworking opportunities. He is a real asset to the iSchool, and I believe he deserves this award.


2013-2014: Alan Galey

Alan is probably the most conscientious professor I've ever had. He is knowledgable and enthusiastic about his courses, often bringing bits of his own work and research into class discussions and assignments. He is always willing to offer generous feedback, advice and encouragement to his students. Professor Galey does a fantastic job of representing the Book History and Print Culture Collaborative Program, and I'm so glad to have been able to take courses with him during my time at the iSchool!

—Alexandra Kordoski

Alan Galey is not only a great instructor, but also an exceptionally helpful colleague. He makes his lectures fun and exciting, and encourages students to challenge the material in engaging ways. He always manages to come up with fun anecdotes that make lecture topics more relatable, and lets his students steer the material towards new and relevant topics. Even his course blog topics were insightful and fun to write about. Furthermore, Alan is always available to help out his students with their work, and more than willing to champion student events. I am so pleased I was able to take a course with Alan, but I would also encourage students to talk to him outside of class - he is 100% welcoming and enthusiastic and one of the best instructors at the iSchool.

—Hannah Loshak

2012-2013: Keren Dali

Keren is a very kind, caring, and professional instructor. She is extremely knowledgeable in her field (I call her the walking database, since it seems she's familiar with every book and article ever published in LIS). She genuinely cares about her students and will check in with us when she is concerned (if we miss some classes, for example). Keren is not only a professor, she is a mentor. She has helped guide students and given us some gentle nudging to go outside our comfort zones and publish, present, etc. She has provided me with some amazing contacts in the library world, which have lead to some fantastic projects in the "real world". Those opportunities has made me much more employable and provided me with a perfect combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

More importantly than all that, Keren is just an amazing person who genuinely enjoys and cares about other people. Those of us who were fortunate enough to have her as our professor and mentor are so fortunate, and I feel bad for the future students who will miss out on such an amazing instructor/person.

—Darrell Joyce

Keren Dali is clearly an expert in the traditional skills and services of librarianship. Her lectures are filled with practical information about the topic at hand and suggestions for further development. Her commitment to student learning and professional success is evident in her willingness to provide advice about a range of issues. I have found her to be a great foundation of knowledge about the profession of librarianship at the iSchool.


Keren Dali is one of the most caring and knowledgeable professors I have ever taken a class with. She accepts student feedback readily, and even if she doesn't agree, she takes the time to explain why and still opens the question up to a larger discussion. Prof. Dali cares individually as well - if you reach out to her about a personal problem or issue, you'll be met with understanding and flexibility. Students are treated as professionals and future colleagues which can sometimes be intimidating, especially as a first year, but is refreshing and confidence-building.

Her classes are the perfect mix of theory and practicality for LIS students. While her assignments may require a lot of work, I have always learned a lot and developed many portfolio-worthy projects in her classes. Prof. Dali also provides students with numerous resources both related to the class and to librarianship in general through supplementary readings lecture slides, and emails. I’ve already found these to be very helpful in other classes, and in preparing for job interviews and my own professional development.

Prof. Dali pushes students to build their portfolios and get involved in projects outside of classes for professional development. She is an amazing resource when I am looking for advice about my own academic affairs, research, and career, and I believe she will continue to be after I have graduated.

—Kate Restivo

Keren Dali is an expert in her field. She genuinely cares about her students’ personal and professional developments. As a non-LIS student, I found her teaching to be concise, relevant, and refreshing. Keren reminds me that learning can be fun!

Many of her teachings (with a great mixture of theoretical and practical components) can be applied to the "real world". Keren is a very hard working and intelligent person. She ensures assignments are returned promptly with very detailed and constructive feedback. Dr. Dali is always available for consultations, even outside of her office hours.

Thus far I have taken eleven (11) courses at the iSchool and I can say without any reservations that Dr. Dali is definitely the best professor by a large margin. The Faculty of Information needs more outstanding professionals like Keren who is a great researcher and instructor."

—Lucas Thung

Prof. Keren Dali is LIS; need I say more? A perfect blend of the intellectual and the informal. She has conducted an incredible amount of research and has a wide range of contacts with the greater LIS community. Her passion for teaching and concern for students is distinct and unambiguous. Lastly, why is it that whenever I speak with her I come away thinking that she is more modern and hip than me (I don't know if this is a plus or a minus)?

—Sanjin Kuduzovic

I would be hard-pressed to find another professor who has so strongly re-affirmed my decisions to pursue a master’s degree in Information, as well as a career in public libraries. Professor Dali’s lectures are always relevant, knowledgeable, and helpful. She always has an eye to her students’ professional needs and interests. Each assignment that Professor Dali crafted had the specific purpose of deepening the real-world, practical connection to the work we were doing in the classroom, from introducing students to useful resources, to practicing professional skills and providing opportunities to have our work published.

I was most struck with the deep care and interest Professor Dali took in each of her students. I am sure that each of my fellow students has their own personal story. The most important to me was when she noticed my nerves during a presentation in January of 2012. She sent a follow up email with a suggestion that I talk to her about tips for public speaking. Seven months later, in a different course, she remembered this and reached out to me more than once with tips and to check in. Professor Dali provided me with two invaluable professional experiences; to do one of my projects in an actual public library, and to have another assignment published for public use. In short, Professor Dali encouraged me to conquer my weaknesses and showcase my strengths. I have never had a more valuable experience with a professor.


Keren proves time and time again that she genuinely cares for her students, regardless of whether they are on a career path that relates to her area of expertise and research interests. Her impressive breadth of knowledge and experience make her not just an excellent professor, but the kind of individual I aspire to be.

—Sarah Farrukh

Past Nominees

  • Periklis Andritsos
  • Chun Wei Choo
  • Juris Dilevko
  • Colin Furness
  • Alan Galey
  • Jenna Hartel
  • Matt Ratto
  • Seamus Ross
  • Leslie Shade
  • Sarah Sharma
  • Olivier St-Cyr
  • Chun Wei Choo (2)
  • Colin Furness (3)
  • Alan Galey (1)
  • Greta Golick (1)
  • Jenna Hartel (1)
  • Lynne Howarth (1)
  • Heather MacNeil (1)
  • Leslie Shade (1)
  • Olivier St-Cyr (4)
  • Colin Furness (4)
  • Alan Galey (1)
  • Greta Golick (3)
  • Jenna Hartel (1)
  • Mike McCaffrey (3)
  • Eric Yu (2)
  • Max Dionisio (1)
  • Colin Furness (2)
  • Greta Golick (2)
  • Lynne Howarth (1)
  • Mike McCaffrey (1)
  • Eric Yu (1)
  • Periklis Andritsos
  • Chun Wei Choo
  • Alan Galey
  • Jenna Hartel
  • Lynne Howarth
  • Leslie Shade
  • Periklis Andritsos
  • Chun Wei Choo
  • Keren Dali
  • Fiorella Foscarini
  • Sara Grimes
  • Jenna Hartel
  • Patrick Keilty
  • Kelly Lyons
  • Heather MacNeil
  • Mike McCaffrey
  • Wendy Newman
  • Mike Ridley
  • Kim Silk