Holly Catalfamo stands with NC president Dan Patterson after they accepted awards at the CiCan Annual Conference in Victoria, B.C. on April 30. Catalfamo received a Gold Medal for Leadership Excellence, Faculty Award; and Patterson accepted a silver Applied Research and Innovation Excellence Award on behalf of the College.

Niagara College was in the national spotlight on April 30, winning two awards from Colleges and Institutes Canada.

Presented at CiCan’s annual conference in Victoria, B.C. on April 30, the awards recognize and promote excellence within colleges, institutes, cégeps, and polytechnics in Canada, showcasing the extraordinary contribution of individuals to their communities and highlight the role of Canadian institutions in social, cultural and economic development. There are three levels of recognition: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Holly Catalfamo: Gold Medal Leadership Excellence, Award for Faculty

NC professor and Human Resources program coordinator Holly Catalfamo, PhD, received CiCan’s Gold Medal Leadership Excellence, Award for Faculty – the highest level of the award in this category. The award recognizes an individual or a team who has exhibited consistent excellence in teaching and has had a significant impact on the personal and academic growth of students.

Catalfamo has been a professor in the School of Business and Management Studies since 2003 and program coordinator for Human Resources for most of her tenure. Since joining NC faculty 2003, Catalfamo was recognized for launching HR@NC, a student association focused on establishing connections to the HR community. She was applauded for her involvement in several domestic and international research initiatives, including her work as a member of the Caricom EFE CiCan project team where she helped to develop supply chain and logistics academic programming at Excelsior Community College in Jamaica, to meet growing labour market needs in the field. She was also involved with a project to measure the impact of the Mulheres Mil program, a school-to-work transition program in Brazil for marginalized women.

Catalfamo said she was honoured and humbled to be recognized by CiCan and all the dedicated educators within this community. “Every day, I reflect upon how I truly have the greatest job in the world. I interact with students who are curious, excited, and eager to transform their lives through education,” said Catalfamo. “I know I speak for all my peers when I say how very privileged we all are to be a part of our students’ lives.”

Catalfamo praised her colleagues at NC who she considers dedicated, innovative, and creative. “I work with amazing teams throughout the College – the School of Business and Management, Niagara International, the Centre for Academic Excellence, and Niagara Research and Innovation – where everyone works tirelessly to create meaningful student experiences,” she said.

“Holly embodies Niagara College’s mission of providing outstanding applied education to our students for a changing world. She is a gifted teacher who not only engages her students in exceptional learning opportunities, but conducts research to assess the impact of her work so that her ideas can be disseminated among and adapted by others,” said college president Dan Patterson. “I can think of no other individual more richly deserving of this award.”

Applied Research and Innovation Excellence Award

Niagara College was awarded a silver for Applied Research and Innovative Excellence – the highest level of the award granted to any Ontario college in this category – for its impact on industry, students, faculty and the applied research ecosystem of colleges across Canada. College president Dan Patterson accepted the award on behalf of the College and its Research & Innovation Division.

“At Niagara College, we consider our Research & Innovation Division one of our most effective tools for economic development engagement in our community,” noted Patterson. “In its current configuration focusing on three major sectors – through our Agriculture and Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre, our Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, and our Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre –  and two enabling commercialization platforms – Digital Media and Web Solutions, and Business and Commercialization Solutions – it has crystallized into a high-performance group.”

The committee took into account the Research division’s long-standing contributions to the applied research landscape in Canada, as well as its record for holding major grants from the federal government, including being one of only two colleges in Canada managing two Technology Access Centres, one each in advanced manufacturing and food and beverage innovation.

As the research teams work with industry and community partners to develop new products, processes and services, the College contributes to the growth of the economy and employment in Niagara, generating jobs for NC’s graduates. Just in the past six years, NC staff, faculty and students, through Research & Innovation, have engaged in more than 600 projects, with more than 350 paid research assistants (current students) and research associates (recent graduates). When including course-based projects, Research & Innovation has helped make possible more than 10,000 research experiences for NC students during that period.

“I’m proud to see our division receive this honour,” said Marc Nantel, associate vice-president, Research & Innovation. “Through our design of best practices in applied research, our leadership in funding program piloting, and constant efforts at measuring the impact that applied research is having on students and industry partners, our Research & Innovation staff is truly an example to follow.”

Visit NC’s Research & Innovation Division’s website here.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit


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