Safwat Zaky

Safwat Zaky

Award of Excellence 2010 recipient

Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award

Safwat Zaky has served the University of Toronto with great distinction for more than two decades, making transformative contributions to his profession and forging lasting ties with industry, government and other universities.

In his administrative roles as chair of the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and U of T's vice-provost, planning and budget, Professor Zaky created and implemented systems that will benefit the University for years to come and serve as models for other institutions.

Professor Zaky joined the U of T teaching staff in 1973 and became associate chair of ECE in 1985 and chair of the department in 1993. During his tenure he implemented a major expansion of ECE, doubling undergraduate enrolment, increasing the number of graduate students by 80 per cent and hiring more than 30 new faculty members. He also launched a highly successful fundraising campaign that raised $80 million in support of 11 endowed chairs, numerous scholarships and a new building to house the Bahen Centre for Information Technology. The campaign also led to the naming of the department for Edward S. Rogers Sr. in recognition of a generous gift from the late Ted Rogers in honour of his father.

Professor Zaky advanced engineering education nationally as the founding president of the Canadian Heads of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He was also a founding member of the board of Communications and Information Technology Ontario, a member of the CIHR University Industry Peer Review Committee and a member of the board of the Information Technology Research Centre.

As the University's vice-provost, planning and budget, Professor Zaky led the redesign of the U of T budget model, working with a small group of deans and senior administrative staff to develop a new process for annual planning and budget review. He is credited with creating consensus based on clear logic and fairness. “Safwat steered us through with an always appreciable sense of calm,” one of the participants has noted. Thanks to his wise leadership, the University now enjoys a budget process that is both transparent and more closely aligned with academic priorities.

In the course of his career, Professor Zaky has made many other major contributions to the University and to engineering education in Canada. Through it all, as his nominators attest, he has demonstrated the values of outstanding faculty citizenship—creativity, integrity and collegiality.