2010/11 Trent University Staff Award of Excellence Presented to Mary-Jane Pilgrim


Instructional technology specialist recognized for exceptional commitment to the University

Thursday, May 19, 2011, Peterborough

Trent University is pleased to announce Mary-Jane Pilgrim as the recipient of the Nancy Simmons Smith Staff Award of Excellence for 2010/2011, which will be presented to her at the Board of Governors meeting in June.

In response to receiving the award, Ms. Pilgrim said, “I feel honoured and privileged to have been chosen as the recipient for this year's award. Nancy Simmons Smith is an amazing person and was very dedicated to Trent. To receive the award in her honour is a true accomplishment for me as it would be for any staff member!”

Ms. Pilgrim started working at Trent on a four-month contract in 1992, as a lab administrator to help students with computer-related challenges. After she became a permanent employee, she began teaching workshops on basic computer functionality and exploring the internet. Her role has expanded to that of an instructional technology specialist in the Information Technology Department.

In her current role, Ms. Pilgrim provides ongoing support to faculty, staff, and students at Trent for instructional technology-related systems.  She advises about "best practices" and teaches workshops on emerging technology in the classroom -- such as utilizing online quizzing & communication, webcasting, clicker response-systems and SMARTboards.

In a nominator letter, Ms. Pilgrim is described as “one of the most creative, hardworking and dedicated people at Trent …Mary-Jane has shown through her service and professionalism an unparalleled degree of loyalty and determination to make Trent and the IT Department as effective, efficient and outstanding as possible.”

Ms. Pilgrim was also recognized with a Distinguished Teaching Award for Educational Leadership and Excellence in Teaching in 2006/07. In her 18 years at Trent, Ms. Pilgrim is proudest of the moments “when a faculty member steps out of their comfort zone for the first time to try something new … when students report back that something I've implemented has made a big difference in their learning ... when my colleagues ask for my input and involvement on a new project ...  and when people report back that I've been a help to them in their sometimes steep instructional technology learning curves!”

The Nancy E. Simmons Smith Staff Award of Excellence is named in recognition of Nancy E. Simmons Smith, Trent University’s former University Secretary and Secretary of the Board of Governors from 1987 to 2008. It recognizes non-academic staff members whose work demonstrates excellence and exceptional commitment to the University. The award comprises of a cash gift of $500 and a framed citation.

For more information about the Nancy E. Simmons Smith Award of Excellence, please visit

For more information, please contact: Mary-Jane Pilgrim, 705-748-1011 ext. 7653,