Professor Dominic Pjontek honoured for Excellence in Teaching


Western Engineering News | April 29, 2019

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering (CBE) professor Dominic Pjontek is this year’s recipient of the R. Mohan Mathur Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is presented annually to an outstanding Western Engineering faculty member to recognize their exceptional contributions to University teaching and the promotion of academic excellence amongst our students.

Since joining the CBE Department in 2014, undergraduate students have selected Pjontek as their best professor amongst those teaching third-year courses and for his efforts with the fourth-year Capstone Design Project. 

“I am honoured that my teaching has been recognized by the Faculty of Engineering,” said Pjontek. “I was fortunate to receive such kind and thoughtful letters of support from past students. It is incredibly rewarding to interact with future engineers in their various design projects as they develop into responsible, innovative, and effective engineers.” 

Pjontek delivers two core subjects in the CBE undergraduate curriculum: CBE 3322 “Heat Transfer Operations” and CBE/GPE 4497 “Chemical and Green Process Design.” Students often find heat transfer and its mathematical complexity very challenging. However, Pjontek has gone above and beyond with the course over the last few years, introducing an open-ended design project during his first year of teaching CBE 3322. The project addition is embraced by students and has led to the inclusion of more design elements throughout the CBE curriculum.

The following are just a couple examples of the positive feedback Pjontek has received from his students:

“Not only are his lectures interesting and engaging, but Dominic also works very hard to incorporate practical engineering in his course. With relevant projects and examples, a student's heat transfer experience goes much deeper than just the classroom.”

“Everything about how this course is presented is fantastic! Notes are clear, and example problems are helpful and useful. I like how in the tutorials we get marks for simply attempting the question. This motivates me to actually try and figure out how to solve the problem, because I'm not stressed about getting the wrong answer. (…) You have taken a course that could have easily been dry and boring, and presented it in such a way that is engaging and exciting. Good job!”

Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Ajay Ray, noted that the level of support for Pjontek is unlike any he’s seen for a professor’s nomination by students. Ray received an overwhelming response, with comments from over 80 individuals, among them the entire third-year class Pjontek currently teaches.

“Dr. Pjontek is clearly dedicated to the education mission,” said Ray. “It is clear that he is a committed university citizen and a passionate teacher who has made enormous contribution to students’ education. His innovative and engaging approaches in teaching and cooperative nature have made him one of the best instructors in our department.”

Pjontek will receive the Engineering Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Western Engineering Faculty and Staff Awards Luncheon on May 22, 2019.