Quest for Excellence Employee Awards

The Quest for Excellence Employee Awards celebrates and recognizes the outstanding contributions of NorQuest College faculty and staff. All NorQuest employees can nominate or be nominated for the awards.

Customer Service: Luella Massey

Luella is recognized for her more than 18 years of customer service at NorQuest. Her dedication to supporting Indigenous students achieve their post-secondary goals and dreams has helped NorQuest become a leader in Indigenous Education. The collective impact of her customer service is huge. Even at a low estimate of helping 400 Indigenous students a year, Luella has been a difference maker for 7200 learners! This is how we move towards reconciliation.

Impact: Tina Gilkes

Tina created the new Work Integrated Learning Award upon discovering that some students were struggling financially, particularly because they lack access to discounted student services like bus passes, when they complete their program.

Many of you participated in Tina’s fundraising events for this award, but what you may not know is:

  • The money raised funds for three WIL awards!
  • Tina’s efforts created meaningful learning opportunities for students from Montana First Nations in our Foundations of Cooking program, and our Transitions to Employment students.
  • Tina’s efforts culminated in bringing NorQuesters together, with collaboration and fun!

Inclusion: Jamie Medicine Crane

One of Jamie’s most valued characteristics is her mindfulness to treating others with respect. She creates an inclusive environment where everyone is welcome and can thrive. As NorQuesters, we aspire to these traits, as Jamie lives them. Jamie was instrumental in assisting with the College Wide Learning Outcomes review, and the implementation of the Circle of Courage, ensuring that the new CWLOs, our Skills of Distinction, have an Indigenous worldview. Jamie raises awareness and advocates for Indigenous Peoples of Canada and beyond, promoting local and regional events, such as the Sixties Scoop demonstrations, the Legacy of Residential Schools, the importance of retention of Indigenous languages, and by representing the voices of women across north America, as a vice president of the international YWCA.

Innovation: Dr. Lisa Rochman

According to Rachelle Wooten, Microsoft Innovative Educator, seven characteristics of an innovative educator are one who is reflective, a learner, creative, connected, collaborative, inquisitive, and principled. Lisa demonstrates all of these traits! An example of Lisa’s inquisitive nature is when she does not fully understand, she takes the time to ask questions, listen, and learn. She constantly reads and scans professional journals and articles. Lisa advocates for equity, diversity, and inclusion. If she feels something is not working well, she challenges the issue straight on and role models what she advocates for.

Leadership: Corey Mushynsky

In all of his years as Associate Dean, Corey has consistently met budget, enrolment, and engagement stretch goals. He is a mentor, guide, sounding board, and teacher. Corey took on the development of new program areas such as Business, and grew the program by over 900%! with the addition of a new BA program, specializations, and the introduction of international cohorts. Corey was instrumental as the leader of the Work Integrated Learning vision and operations. This impacts over 10,000 learners annually with higher quality work experiences, our first co-op, and over 6000 hours of authentic community service learning for foundational learners. All NorQuesters benefit from Corey’s Leadership.

Research: Medication Calculation Study with Jasmine Guanlao and Allison McFadden-Squire

Allison and Jasmine undertook a research study to identify barriers that practical nurse students face when learning medication calculations. The results of this study will be utilized to create a holistic curriculum that provides learning opportunities and supports to meet individual student needs. The team presented the phase 1 study results to the Canadian Association of Practical Nurse Educators. Plus, their research abstract is accepted for a poster presentation at the International Nurse Education Conference: NETNEP 2020, to be held in Spain! Most significant, is the indirect benefit the health care system and patients will receive. An increase in medication calculation proficiency will result in effective and safe patient care.

Lifelong Learner: Alana Johnson

Alana holds a master's degree and has extensive experience supporting ESL practitioners in rural Alberta, through mentoring, onboarding colleagues, and developing new workshops and materials. At the same time, she never misses an opportunity to improve her professional skills. Her expanded awareness of issues and concerns, with respect to newcomers and language acquisition, help Rural Routes stay on top of new developments. Alana makes our program relevant to stakeholders and clients. Her team at NorQuest, as well as the community teams she supports, benefit from her active participation, on boards, committees, working groups, and at conferences – even in Calgary. Everything she does, is about learning, and sharing her knowledge with others.

Customer Service: Jane Ogbonna

Jane believes that each applicant deserves the time and effort it takes to help them understand and navigate our admissions world. She works with some of the more complex student admissions scenarios. She never complains, she champions student causes, and follows procedure. Jane has chosen to learn about Career Advising, International Students, and Immigration in order to grow with the changing needs of our students and the college.

Impact: Conor Kerr

Conor brought educators and stakeholders, many of them indigenous, to the college to attend a Land Based Learning Symposium. 300 people participated, including our students. He ensured all voices and interests were represented throughout the planning process, and during the implementation of the symposium. In collaboration with the Government of Alberta, Conor ensured students would benefit long-term from the symposium. Not only were they part of planning and participating, he had government representatives commit unspent funds to provide bursaries and grants for NorQuest College students.

Inclusion: Lorne Webber

Lorne is a champion of inclusion at NorQuest College and is instrumental in expanding the college’s definition of inclusion beyond language, nationality, ethnicity, religion, and gender. Lorne ensures accessibility is maintained and improved at the college. He is a model of success for all students, staff, and faculty with disabilities. Lorne is technologically savvy, he has a great sense of humour, and is a regular participant in our annual road hockey tournament.

Innovation: Cindy Boucher

Cindy is a Senior Research advisor whose innovations have made significant improvements to our operations and engagement across the college. I will highlight just one of the innovations for which Cindy received this nomination. She engaged with instructors, administrators, chairs, deans, and Executive to create a course evaluation process which works on an instructor level with the agility to roll-up to provide program, faculty, and college-wide understanding. Cindy’s approach has been deemed so innovative and successful, that it has been adopted by NAIT.

Leadership: Terri Kezema

Terri provides exemplary leadership in several different areas. She is fair, trustworthy, open, approachable, and is able relate the work we do on a daily basis to the college’s strategic initiatives and goals. She supports her staff through training, coaching, course work, conferences and on the job training opportunities. Her encouragement is so motivating that we find ourselves eagerly pursuing process improvement ideas to add to the successful operation of our department. Her demeanor, words and actions, create safe, healthy, and constructive conversations to take place.

Lifelong Learner: Ruby Littlechild

Ruby is the manager of our Alberta Indigenous Construction Career Centre. In 2018 Ruby completed an MBA with a focus on Community Economic Development. She also holds a BA and an M.Ed degree. Ruby strongly believes that “education is our new buffalo”. This expresses the importance that being a lifelong learner has on one’s individual journey to better themselves, their communities, and those whom they serve, personally and professionally. Ruby is a strong, healthy, and highly educated Indigenous leader. She walks in both worlds, and is also a bridge between both worlds, harnessing education and knowledge in a respectful and empowering way to better individuals and communities.

Research: Viola Manokore

Viola is an instructor with our Practical Nurse program and has an extensive research background. She has conducted research nationally and internationally and has published in multiple countries. Her research covers many fields including educational design and curriculum, biochemistry, and health. In this academic year, Viola is leading three research projects, one of which has the potential to revolutionize the way nursing education is structured. Her passion and skill for research are well known at the college, and this award is certainly well deserved.

Leadership Award: Erika Goble

Erika GobleAs manager of Research, Erika has expanded the research team at NorQuest from just three people in 2014 to more than 25 today. The scope of growth speaks to her ability to lead and develop projects, bringing diverse people on board to make big changes. This year, Erika’s leadership has impacted almost every area of the college, including publishing a book and two major academic articles. Erika motivates others to pursue their interests, become deeply engaged, and take accountability for their work.

Lifelong Learner Award: Joan Wall

Joan WallJoan Wall is the consummate lifelong learner. She started with a bachelor's degree in psychology, then completed a bachelor's degree in education, and then moved on to complete a master's degree in educational foundations. Joan has been an Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) instructor for many years. In 2017 she became certified to not just teach ISW, but certify others to teach it too. And really, that just sums up Joan. Anything she learns, she wants to teach to others.

Innovation Award: Fred Shultz

Fred ShultzFred has been an integral part in many process improvements in the Office of the Registrar. He has led both the Admissions and Transfer Credit team and the Enrolment team through significant enrolment growth. His list of accomplishments is impressive including streamlining the English language proficiency procedure and spearheading the first-ever online registration for credit courses. Thanks to his tireless work on innovation, NorQuest can more effectively and efficiently serve a greater number of students.

Customer Service Award: Jackie Smailes

For more than 20 years, Jackie has been the first person anyone talks to when they come into the Whitecourt campus. brings a personal touch to her work, calling students when they've missed classes and following up on their attendance to make sure they have what they need to succeed. Jackie takes the time to truly listen and get to know each and every student that studies at the Whitecourt Campus – she knows their names, she knows their aspirations in education and life, and she works with each and every one of them to ensure that they have the tools that they need in order to succeed.

Impact Award: Derek McCurdy

Derek McCurdySince joining NorQuest College, Derek’s focus on relationship building, collaboration, and leveraging technology to achieve strategic outcomes has changed the culture of the Education and Information Technology department. His work has changed how the institution invests in, supports and uses technology to support workforce-relevant learning, manage risks, achieve operational efficiencies, and expand its reach locally, provincially, and internationally. The college is sought out by other institutions, government, and industry partners to participate in or lead innovative projects.

Inclusion Award: Amy Abe

Amy is well-known for her incredible dedication to inclusion at NorQuest. For example, she brings her learners into the Edmonton community to engage with real-life issues and events, and actively engages them in using language skills to solve problems and help those around them. Her research with the University of Alberta has resulted in an in-depth understanding of what instructors may need as they move towards reconciliation practices in education.

Research Award: Dana Wight

Dana WightIn 2017, Dana participated in two unique areas of research. She was the primary investigator for a research project on student satisfaction with the college’s guide to citation styles. This research provided students with an opportunity to provide feedback which will help the college improve this tool. Dana also engaged in scholarly discussions about feminist thought in English literature. She contributed a chapter to a book called Building a New World in which she discusses the ways that women are often portrayed as passive subjects in literature. In addition to winning the Research Award, Dana was also chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Anna De Luca travel bursary for research.

Leadership Award: Derek McCurdy

Derek McCurdyDerek is a natural leader. His enthusiasm and concern for the well-being of others affects everyone in the E&IT department in a positive way. Derek motivates others to excel by supporting the ambitions and initiatives of all staff while keeping the departmental budget and operations in mind. In expecting the best in others (as he does in himself), his staff are all inspired to rise to meet these expectations. His contribution to numerous committees, as well as developing the NorQuest Technology Strategy, have allowed him to bring together the needs of others at the college to form a successful outcome to benefit everyone.

Lifelong Learner Award: Elena Sprikina

Elena SprikinaElena works in collaboration with the International Office and provides support for admissions and recruitment of international students. In January 2017, Elena began completing a statistical analysis of the correlation between academic preparedness and academic performance in International Students. She has also successfully completed the International Students and Immigration Education program; completed NorQuest’s intercultural training and similar training with the Butterfly Moon Project; and has both a Lean White Belt and Lean Yellow Belt.

Innovation Award: Angie Tarasoff

Angie TarasoffAngie researched, planned, and conducted “Hackathons” to improve the user experience of NorQuest students, employees, and executive as it relates to technology initiatives. What is a hackathon? It is a design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development collaborate intensively on software projects. They are between one day and one week in duration. Since these events were held, many college areas have shown interest and asked about how hackathons are run. The Hackathons were highly collaborative and involved E&IT, faculty and staff from across the entire college, and most importantly, NorQuest College students.

Customer Service Award: Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centre (AACCC) team

Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centre (AACCC) teamTeam members: Ruby Littlechild, Sara Cardinal, Ronald McHugh, Lee Machona, Maple Liu

One of the best aligned values of the AACCC with the college’s vision and brand attributes is its inclusive nature—services are open to all people. In its short history, the centre has served a greater proportion of women and new immigrants than anticipated. In fact, along with Indigenous Peoples, the centre has served all age ranges; those who are multi-barriered; those who have social and cognitive disabilities; and many highly skilled workers recently out of work.

Impact Award: The Online Course Development team

The Online Course Development teamTeam members: Leslie Sayer, Sunita D’souza, Robert Lawson, Damian Finlay, Andrew Jevne, Sarah Bailey, Bonnie Nicholas, Rozita Amini, Jing Cui

The Prep for Online Learning course helps learners build digital literacy skills, online learning strategies, and online learning vocabulary that are crucial to using Moodle. The course develops learner skills required to access the online courses for which they are enrolled. In addition, Prep for Online Learning provides learners with opportunities to practice and complete tasks or assignments using skills that will be required to participate in online courses. Since its launch in October 2016, three programs in the college have directly benefitted from the course.

Inclusion Award: Sarah Apedaile

Sarah ApedaileSarah (pictured at far right of photo) promotes inclusion to all levels of the college. She has developed and leads the Inclusive Culture Series for NorQuest employees and is the lead organizer of Inclusion Fusion. Sarah has also developed and leads the Inclusive Culture Workshop for Leaders Series where participants develop intercultural knowledge, skills, and awareness. She is also leading the development of an Inclusion Strategy for NorQuest College. Sarah proposed and led NorQuest's first Community Dialogue on Inclusion - Holding Space for New Understanding. This unique one-day event held in November 2015 gave students, employees, and others the chance to engage in a dialogue to increase our individual and collective capacity for inclusion at the college and beyond.

Research Award: Robert (Bob) Marvin

Robert (Bob) MarvinWorking with Alberta Mental Health and The Students' Association, Bob brought the Loneliness Survey to NorQuest College. This project gives students research experience that prepares them for future studies and employment. Students begin to understand the issues and presentation of loneliness. The research also provided the needed data to garner $90,000 in funding for mental health initiatives at the Student Association.

Anna De Luca travel bursary for research

In addition to winning the Q award for Research, Bob was also chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Anna De Luca travel bursary for research.

Leadership Award: Ewa Dufrat

Ewa DufratAs program manager for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC), Ewa Dufrat motivates others to excel and leads by example. She supported activities that led to the significant growth of the LINC program, the enrolment of which has been growing steadily over the years. As of 2015, it nearly tripled! This is the second time Ewa is receiving the Leadership Award.

Lifelong Learner Award: Brenda Mein

Brenda MeinFaculty development advisor Brenda Mein (centre) works continuously to improve her knowledge, certification, and understanding. In 2015 Brenda completed a master's degree in intercultural and international communications with Royal Roads University. For the last 11 years, Brenda has directly interacted with students to share her knowledge, and she loves to help others develop their own potential.

Innovation Award: Business Development Unit

Business Development UnitFire safety development team Mike Mason (fourth from left), Colin Critch (fourth from right), and Ed Kohel (third from right) developed a proposal that delivers the required programming via online modules and lessons with a remote instructor and tutorial support with practical skills training. Through this initiative, NorQuest is the first to offer Government of Alberta and National Fire Protection Association certifications for forestry firefighters in Alberta.

Customer Service Award: Jody Wadsworth

Jody WadsworthCustomer service representative Jody Wadsworth creates an atmosphere of positivity, collaboration, and teamwork. Her upbeat, patient, and challenge positive approach to onboarding new faculty makes them feel welcome from day one. She always has a friendly ear to lend to students who are feeling overwhelmed, needing to reach an instructor, looking for forms online or struggling to navigate a course in Moodle.

Impact Award: Day Home Provider Program

Day home provider programDay home provider instructors Darrell Giraldeau and Gwen Morraz work hard to develop a culture of learning that supports students to excel and apply their learning to all aspects of their lives. Program graduates have repeatedly indicated they leave with a deeper understanding of Canadian culture and their own culture upon exiting the program.

Leadership Award: Nicole Patrie

Leadership Award: Nicole PatrieThe Leadership Award acknowledges individual employees who model, exemplify, and promote outstanding leadership qualities and behaviours.

Nicole Patrie (far right), associate chair of Correctional Education has successfully helped mediate and/or resolve many diverse issues. She assisted in establishing and developing a seminal education facility within Canada’s newest and largest correctional centre.

Lifelong Learner Award: Tracy Sheloff

Lifelong Learner Award: Tracy SheloffThe Lifelong Learner Award acknowledges individual employees who enhance their skills or education to stay relevant and take on new challenges which result in benefits to NorQuest College.

Instructor Tracy Sheloff (far right) has shown a passion and dedication second to none in English as a Second Language, particularly in low level literacy. She has consistently taken courses, attended webinars, seminars, and workshops to stay current with the demands of teaching at this level.

Innovation Award: NorQuest Virtual Open House Implementation Team

This award acknowledges individual employees or teams who develop and implement an innovative idea demonstrating an increase in efficiency, productivity, financial benefit or student access to the college.Innovation Award: NorQuest Virtual Open House Implementation Team

NorQuest’s first-ever virtual open house, held October 30, 2014, was developed to address the potential time constraints of many applicants. Prospective students could access information and chat live with NorQuest staff during the evening from anywhere and on any device. As a result, the college saw immediate benefits with 727 visitors to the website, resulting in 28 live chat sessions with NorQuest staff.

Customer Service Award: Canadian Association of Practical Nurse Educators Conference Team

This award acknowledges individual employees or teams who demonstrate outstanding customer service, flexibility, professionalism, and the ability to establish and maintain effective relationships with customers.Customer Service Award: Canadian Association of Practical Nurse Educators Conference Team

With limited preparation time, NorQuest College came to the rescue and agreed to host the 2014 Canadian Association of Practical Nurse Educators Conference. The team displayed a challenge positive spirit, was respectful, encouraged each other to strive for excellence, and valued the knowledge and skills of the other team members.

Impact Award: Michele Deis

Impact Award: Michele DeisThe Impact Award acknowledges individual employees or teams who provide extra effort beyond their regular duties and responsibilities, promote learning and creativity, shine in their role, and inspire others to do the same.

Michele Deis (far right), Learning Consultant, is the smiling face when coming to a meeting, walking into a room, or joining a project. She brings this energy and kindness all the time. Her commitment to community truly brings people together and makes the college a nicer place to work and to be.

Impact Award: Faculty of Health and Community Studies Clinical Placement Team

Impact Award: Faculty of Health and Community Studies Clinical Placement TeamThe clinical placement team brings expertise to building community internally among programs in health and community studies; they coordinate the clinical and field placements for the majority of students in the faculty. The team coordinates and oversees the numerous experiential field learning placements for every health care aide, pharmacy technician, physical therapy assistant, therapeutic recreation, and hospital unit clerk, as well as significantly large number of practical nurse students.

The team consists of June Parham (centre), Myrna Ross (far right), and Annette Brokenshire (missing in photo).

Leadership Award: Ewa Dufrat

Leadership Award: Ewa DufratEwa has been instrumental in introducing technology to the classrooms allowing for new and creative approaches to learning. Ewa’s calm professionalism helps LINC employees meet the language and settlement skills of students.

Lifelong Learner Award: Lisa Rochman

Lifelong Learner Award: Lisa RochmanLisa has used her many learnings and strong educational background for proposal and new course development which has positively impacted partnerships, support from industry, and overall enhancement of community.

Innovation Award: Literacy and Essential Skills Pathways Development Team

Innovation Award: Literacy and Essential Skills Pathways Development TeamThe new LES pathways program transforms lives by moving from a deficit-based model to a strengths-based model which helps support the learner’s goals using their existing strengths.

Impact Award: Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada Team

Impact Award: Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada TeamThe LINC team works with students to increase their language skills, settle into the Edmonton culture, and become integrated into Canadian society. LINC employees are highly respected within the community and nationally recognized as experts in the field.

Customer Service Award: Marg Bonertz

Customer Service Award: Marg BonertzMarg has an incredible gift of being kind. She consistently supports, encourages, and uplifts both tutors and students, and she painstakingly ensures all communications to partners are clear and concise.

Impact Award

Impact AwardThe Nursing Foundation 2003 Team is the winner of NorQuest College’s 2013 Impact Award.

The award acknowledges those who provide extra effort beyond their regular duties and responsibilities. They promote learning and creativity, shine in their role, and inspire others to do the same.

The team received the award at the Employee Recognition Ceremony on April 24, 2013. Joining the team in the photo is NorQuest College President and CEO Dr. Jodi L. Abbott (back right) and Chair of NorQuest College’s Board of Governors Lynn Faulder (back left).

Leadership Award

Leadership AwardThe winner of the 2013 Leadership Award is Sharleen Ravnsborg, chair, health care aide.

This NorQuest College award acknowledges individual employees who model and promote outstanding leadership qualities and behaviours.

Ravnsborg received the Leadership Award at the Employee Recognition Ceremony on April 24, 2013. 

Innovation Award

Innovation AwardNorQuest College’s 2013 Innovation Award recipient is the NorQuest Interdisciplinary Simulation Centre (NISC) Team.

The Innovation Award reflects those who foster innovative ideas to increase efficiency, financial benefit or increased student access to NorQuest College. Their innovation results in long-term benefit for the College.

The award was received by two members of the NISC team, Dawn Ansell (left in photo) and Lynne Neis (right) at the College’s Employee Recognition Ceremony on April 24, 2013.

Lifelong Learner Award

Lifelong Learner Award - Bruce FauntBruce Faunt, faculty developer, was awarded the Lifelong Learner Award at NorQuest College’s Employee Recognition Ceremony on April 24, 2013.

The Lifelong Learner Award reflects an employee who continues to enhance their skills or education. They have taken on new challenges to stay relevant at work and benefit the College. They demonstrate curiosity and passion for continuous learning, and inspire others to do the same.

Customer Service Award

Customer Service Award - Mark GlassMark Glass, continuing education administrator, is the winner of NorQuest College’s 2013 Customer Service Award.

This award demonstrates outstanding customer service, flexibility, professionalism, and the ability to establish and maintain effective relationships with customers.