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Faculty Fellows

What are Faculty Fellows?

We created the EPICentre Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows Program to encourage inter-disciplinary collaboration around creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. We are focused on the role of entrepreneurial thinking and acting within any discipline or academic area on the University of Windsor campus. Entrepreneurship involves an innovative call to action, and interpretation and execution varies across disciplines. This call to action may or may not include a traditional for-profit venture start-up.  For example, we include social entrepreneurship, public sector entrepreneurship, academic entrepreneurship, and cultural entrepreneurship. We recognize faculty members who are committed to providing their students with skills to pursue their career of choice – faculty who champion change, build bridges and transform the student experience. Faculty Fellows are valued advisors to EPICentre.

EPICentre Faculty Fellows 2016-2017

The EPICentre is pleased to present our current Faculty Fellows:

  • Myra Tawfik. Faculty of Law, Chair of Faculty Fellows
  • Gokul Bhandari, Odette School of Business
  • Tranum Kaur, Faculty of Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • Gerry Kerr, Odette School of Business
  • Ziad Kobti, School of Computer Science
  • Zbigniew Pasek, Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering
  • Erika Kustra, Centre for Teaching and Learning
  • Jill Urbanic, Mechanical Automotive & Materials Engineering
  • Rupp Carriveau, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Jim Marsh, Odette School of Business
  • Jennifer Willet, School of Creative Arts
  • Michelle Freeman, Faculty of Nursing
  • Brent Lee, School of Creative Arts
  • Rod Strickland, School of Creative Arts
  • Kemal Tepe, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Simon Rondeau-Gagne, Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Trevor Pittman, School of Creative Arts

Current Fellows

Gokul Bhandari, Odette School of Business

G BhandariGokul brings a multidisciplinary perspective in his research and teaching of information having background in information systems, economics, and engineering. Prior to joining the academia, he worked as software developer for several years. His research interests include: Human Judgment and Decision Making, Decision Support Systems, Emerging Technologies, and Health Informatics. He has teaching experience in Information Systems, Database Management Systems, Business Process Management.


PROJECT: Visualizing Windsor-Essex in Numbers and Pictures

The primary objective of this initiative is to conduct a preliminary study and develop some prototypical web applications (apps) for visualizing the data pertaining to the Windsor-Essex region. A website called www.visualizewindor.ca (a tentative name) will be launched which will ultimately host all the public data for this region. The interactive application will enable the user to navigate, visualize, and summarize data from different sectors such as business, healthcare, education, society and culture, and transportation. Our goal is to make this a one stop data platform for this region.

Potential revenue sources:

  • Advertisement from local companies
  • Sales of visualization products(digital or printed copies -in paper or clothes such as t-shirts of infographics), and data analysis and entrepreneurship consulting.

Potential for growth: There is no reason why the model cannot be expanded to data from other regions. The company can grow and become highly profitable through outsourcing in case the local market is not sufficient enough. I have access to a pool of highly competent professional from overseas.

Potential for collaboration: This project has a tremendous potential to foster collaboration between business, university and the public by the very nature of open data and open platform.

Tranum Kaur, Faculty of Science

T KaurTranum has been following her passion of teaching as a University Faculty since 2006. She has taught various undergrad and grad level courses such as: Bio-physics, Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Drugs: From Discovery to Market, Physiology and mechanism of disease, Protein Structure and Function, and Bio-informatics to name a few. She successfully applied creative and innovative teaching techniques in her courses such as “Discussion Digest” and “Opinion Papers” in the School of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo, and at the University of Windsor, ON. Tranum’s research interest so far has been on Nano medicine in the field of oncology (Cancer Drug Delivery and Development, and Cancer Treatment).


PROJECT: 2-day Symposium on Biotechnology Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship

MMB Program graduates get credit for both science based and business related courses. Attendees and students will benefit at large by listening to the key speakers from industry to patent agents to technology commercialization officers. This symposium will expose them to intricacies of what it takes to takes your innovation especially if it is coming from life sciences to the market. The thoughts are to open this symposium to include all the disciplines at the campus from our graduate Medical Biotechnology Program (MMB) to Biology to Medical School of Schulich and Odette Business School, if possible, so all health and business related field.

In the spirit of promoting Biotech + Entrepreneurship culture among students, we are also planning to have a BIS ” Biotechnology Innovative Solution ” Pitch competition as well, and teams will be selected by judges on the symposium day itself.

STUDENT: Kathyani Parasram, MMB

Gerry Kerr, Odette School of Business

Gerry KerrDr. Gerry Kerr received a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, Canada. Gerry has taught full-time since 2001, when he joined the Odette School of Business, and his specialties include Strategy and Entrepreneurship. Since then, Dr. Kerr has gratefully received multiple teaching awards from undergraduate, graduate, and executive students. Dr. Kerr’s research in entrepreneurship includes examination of resource development and performance in small firms, as well as projects focused on aspects of ethnic/immigrant and older entrepreneurs. Gerry has also served as M.B.A. Program Director and as Area Chair, Strategy & Entrepreneurship at the Odette School of Business.

Research Interests:
Dr. Kerr’s research interests cover both Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship.  Major work includes examination of the contemporary multi-industry firm, as well as resource development and performance in small firms.  Gerry has undertaken projects for an extended period that have focused on aspects of ethnic/immigrant and older entrepreneurs.  Recent research also explores major contributors to management thought.  Publications include articles in Business Horizons, Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, Journal of Entrepreneurship, Journal of Management History, Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Personnel Psychology, among others.

PROJECT: Historical entrepreneurship course

Part of the Module 5 of the MBA program, this elective course grounds the students in appropriate methods in developing either cases or historical overviews of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial facilitators (government officials/policies, financiers, etc.), entrepreneurial clusters across the full range of the development cycle, from establishment conditions to growth and decline/rebirth. The student participating in the project would develop the course by identifying and accumulating supporting data/sources, generating possible project/case focuses etc. The goal of the project would be to develop a number of publishable manuscripts (cases or papers) to which the student and Dr. Kerr would eventually make authorial contributions.

Ziad Kobti, School of Computer Science

KobtiDr. Kobti’s teaching experience took off as a continuing education instructor and part-time faculty at St. Clair College of Applied Arts & Technology since 1998, teaching a variety of computer courses such as programming, networking and operating systems, and other software engineering courses.

In addition, Dr. Kobti developed and taught new custom courses such as Java, C/C++, and Object Oriented Programming, and trained IT departments as a self-employed consultant as well as an industry trainer and educator at Epcom Corporation in Michigan.

Dr. Kobti received his early tenure in July 2009 and promoted to Associate Professor in July 2011. Dr. Kobti was then appointed as the Director to the School of Computer Science to begin July 2012 for a 5 year term.

Dr.Kobti established the Centre of Applied Social Intelligent Systems (CenAppSIS) as a necessity to meet the growing demands of interdisciplinary research work. Intrigued by simulating artificial social systems, Dr. Kobti’s research areas encapsulated software engineering of complex systems, multi-agent systems, distributed AI, evolutionary computing and affective computing to name a few.

Dr. Kobti trains his students to become avid researchers and encourage them to publish their findings in refereed venues. He has successfully supervised to completion 15 graduate students since he debuted as a graduate faculty in January 2005 including 1 Ph.D. He also supervises numerous undergraduate projects, outstanding scholars, and coop students on a regular basis.

PROJECT: Computer Science professional masters program internship

As part of their program of study the students in the program will spend 4 to 6 months in an internship course.

There are two objectives: first, to allow the opportunity of employment of such students as interns for start up or companies affiliated on site. This is a pool of technical and avid computer programmers that should be promoted to employers and particularly filling the niche for computer experts. The second objective is to introduce and encourage some of the students in the program to learn about and possibly take on entrepreneurship opportunities by starting their own businesses.

The funding is used for hiring a person assigned to assist in accomplishing these two objectives especially as we expect the pool of students to grow given the initial success of the program.

STUDENT: Rupinder Hans

Zbignew Pasek, Faculty of Engineering

PasekZbigniew J. Pasek is a professor in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at the University of Windsor. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. His research interests include manufacturing systems automation, risk management, health care engineering, and entrepreneurial and informal engineering education. He is a member of IEEE, ASME, SME, and ASEE. He also currently holds a Teaching Leadership Chair and is a Faculty Fellow at the EPICEntre.

PROJECT: Creative and Entrepreneurial Capacity Building in Constrained Environment

The long-term aim of this effort is to collaborate with Teachers for Tanzania project, run by Faculty of Education, and develop complementary program that encourages and trains people to develop technologies that improve health and safety, save labor and time, and eventually generate income. The concept intertwines the ideas of frugal innovation, essentials of design process and combines them with principles of participatory co-creation and community-sourcing. These elements will be the foundations of hands-on curriculum accessible at any educational level, intended to increase local creative capacity and support local innovation in Tanzania.

STUDENT: Evelyn Ntake, IMSE student (Faculty of Engineering)

Brent Lee, School of Music

Brent LeeBrent Lee is a composer, media artist, and musician whose work explores the relationships between sound, image, and technology, especially through multimedia performance. He has created more than one hundred works, ranging from orchestral music to interactive media pieces to film soundtracks. He holds degrees from McGill University and the University of British Columbia, where he completed his doctoral studies in 1999. In addition to performances and broadcasts in many countries, several of his works have been commercially recorded. He is a co-founder of the Noiseborder Ensemble, and has been awarded significant funding for research/creation through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council. He is a Professor of Integrated Media in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Windsor.


PROJECT: Producing third-party tools for popular commercial music software such as Garageband and FL Studio.

Apple includes the music software Garageband as part of its iLife package bundled with every new computer they sell. Garageband is used for producing music, and includes a number of sound samples and short loops that can be imported into a project. Thesesamples and loops make creating music possible for amateurs, even with little musical background. A market has developed in the creation of third-party packages of loops. Garageband users interested in expanding their toolkit beyond the set of loops available to everyone can purchase such packages for a relatively small price.

The questions that will be addressed with this project are several:
• How many loops are typically included in a third-party package, and what is the average price of such a package?
• How long does it take a to develop a small set of loops and properly format them?
• How are these loop packages advertised and distributed?

The value of training students to develop third-party tools will also be assessed, and if such skills should be a part of the sonic arts curriculum.

Jim Marsh, Odette School of Business

James Marsh Jim Marsh is a lawyer, the Special Assistant to the Dean and an Instructor at the Odette School of Business, the Director of Cross-Border Activities at EPICentre, and has an investment corporation primarily focused on real estate development. In addition to a law degree, he holds a Masters in Business Administration and Masters in Research Methodologies. He has held leadership positions in food service corporations and the industrial gas containment business which included global responsibilities for plants in Canada, the US and Europe. Currently his main focus is on developing businesses with University of Windsor MBA and undergraduate student teams in the Windsor-Detroit area including the TechTown in Detroit.


Jennifer Willet, School of Creative Arts

Dr. Jennifer Willet is an internationally successful artist in the emerging field of BioArt. Her work resides at the intersection of art and science, and explores notions of representation, the body, ecologies, and interspecies interrelations in the biotechnological field. She engages in performance, installation, photography and sculpture based artistic practices, mixed with protocols and life forms from the biological sciences. In 2009 she opened the first biological art lab in Canada, called INCUBATOR: Hybrid Laboratory at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Ecology. In July 2011 she completed BioARTCAMP, a project that involved hosting 20 artists, scientists and students at The Banff Centre, where they built a portable bioart laboratory and conducted experiments in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Starting in 2015, Willet and INCUBATOR Lab are joined by Visiting Scholars Amanda White and Alana Bartol in a five year research/creation project called “BioART: Collaborating with Life.” In 2017 Willet will open a new BSL2 Bioart theatre/laboratory as part of the UWindsor downtown arts corridor.


Simon Rondeau-Gagné, Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Simon Rondeau-Gagné Simon Rondeau-Gagné was born in Chicoutimi, Québec where he started his research career as a B.Sc student working on novel anti-cancerous carbohydrates. In 2014, Simon received his PhD degree under the supervision of Prof. Jean-François Morin from the Department of Chemistry at Université Laval, Québec. During his Ph.D, he focused his research on the synthesis and characterization of novel organic nanomaterials. He joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of Windsor in July 2016 where he is currently assistant professor. His current research program includes the preparation of conjugated materials for stretchable electronics and bioimaging.

Michelle Freeman, Faculty of Nursing

Dr. Freeman is a registered nurse with diverse experience in health care settings in Canada and the United States. She is currently a tenured associate professor in the Faculty of Nursing. She is involved in research (health services and health outcomes) and teaching leadership, improvement science and patient safety to graduate and undergraduate nursing students. She is certified in patient safety and in just culture implementation. She leads many innovative initiatives such as the IHI Open School and Interdisciplinary Medication Safety Committee and has been appointed as Knowledge Translation and Implementation Science Faculty for the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. She values building partnerships, fostering innovation, and redesigning healthcare policies, procedures and practices to be patient/family centred, safe, efficient, equitable, and evidence based.


Rod Strickland, School of Creative Arts

Rod StricklandRod Strickland, Professor in the School of Creative Arts teaches 3-dimensional art processes in a public interdisciplinary context. Themes address the tenuous balances in our ever-changing connections with technological development and natural environment. Most recently, projects have been two pronged focusing on 3D printing and its creative applications in art making and product development. Also on the remote community of Pelee Island Ontario, working with local arts and culture organizations to develop creative activities and community events aimed at building a stronger creative culture and community economic growth.


Rupp Carriveau, Faculty of Engineering, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering

cariveauRupp is a University of Windsor professor teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In addition to his teaching responsibilities he is also responsible for industrial collaborations such as EnerSmart for Business is a Partnership in Research and Education between the University of Windsor and Union Gas Inc., and for the University of Windsor Advanced Professional Certificate in Energy Management developed through a collaboration between University of Windsor and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).

Jill Urbanic, Faculty of Engineering, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Research Interests:

  • Process Planning & Manufacturing Systems Design
  • Product Design for Manufacturing Complexity Modelling
  • Rapid Manufacturing/Rapid Prototyping
  • Reverse Engineering

PROJECT: Providing FORTUS 400 Additive Manufacturing Services to the Campus Community and Beyond

Today’s engineering students , future entrepreneurs, and interested community members need to be exposed to new and advanced tools. In the realm of manufacturing, on e of the most exciting developments has been in the area of additive manufacturing (AM) or rapid prototyping (RP).

As the prototyping is a service provided by the University, it is reasonable for the IT services group to develop a website to facilitate the ordering, processing, and payment. This system would similar to a print shop, with customer generated quotes, and special services having a fee structure over and above a self – generated quote. A review of other institution ‘ s methods would be required to understand the potential issues, and address them upfront. T he general activity flow that a potential customer would perform, the process for the generation of a quote, and efficient methods of payment, etc. is something that needs to be worked out, and a general set of specifications created. A quotation structure needs to be developed for students, researchers, and the general publication.

STUDENT: Liza DiCecco, Mechanical Engineering

Myra Tawfik; Professor; Faculty of Law

MYRA SHOTS_22_FEB_2015-17Professor Tawfik is a professor at the Faculty of Law with expertise in intellectual property law including comparative and international aspects of IP as well as IP strategy. She has founded and led a number of intellectual property clinical initiatives at the University of Windsor, starting with the Intellectual Property Legal Information Network (IPLIN) in 2004. Professor Tawfik is also a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

PROJECT: From IP Lawyer to IP Strategist: Towards a Multidisciplinary and Integrated IP Practice.

During the Fall term,  Professor Tawfik will employ an MBA student (ideally an MBA/JD student) to assist in determining whether and how the MOOC on IP Strategy can be tailored to suit the pedagogical needs of business students, especially those interested in entrepreneurship in IP intensive ventures.  This piece is an important part of her overarching research on capacity-building in IP knowledge as the ultimate goal is to develop sound pedagogical models for offering the IP Strategy course as a multidisciplinary course at the University of Windsor.

Past Fellows

Ryan Snelgrove, Department of Kinesiology

SnelgroveDr. Snelgrove joined the faculty in 2012 and teaches courses on organizational theory, ethics in sport, and entrepreneurship and innovation. As a way of bringing the course concepts to life he employs innovative teaching approaches and draws on his past management experience in consulting, entrepreneurship, and finance. Dr. Snelgrove conducts research in the area of sport management, with a focus on (a) managing sport events to enhance sport spectatorship and (b) the development of capacity in the community sport system through entrepreneurial activities and community partnerships.

PROJECT: Increase students’ awareness of and interest in entrepreneurship

Background:  As a faculty member who teaches a course on Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Kinesiology, Dr. Snelgrove would especially like to increase the number of movement science majors enrolled in the course to add to the already strong interest among sport management majors. Increasing enrolment in this course is a beneficial first step in generating interest in pursuing entrepreneurial activities (e.g., future careers, involvement in competitions) while providing students with foundational knowledge.

Proposal: One of the ways to generate interest among all kinesiology students, and particularly the movement science majors, would be to use profiles and case studies of entrepreneurs in the kinesiology field to show students that entrepreneurship is a viable option for them and to tailor course examples to their interests. In fact, there are a number of kinesiology graduates who are entrepreneurs in the Windsor-Essex area and could easily be accessed. Dr. Snelgrove would like to use these profiles and case studies as a form of advertisement and as an educational tool in the classroom. Funds obtained from the EPICentre Fellowship will be used to hire a graduate student or senior undergraduate student to conduct interviews and prepare written profiles or cases.

STUDENT: Adam Goodwin

Anne Forrest, Director, Women’s and Gender Studies; Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Bulent Mutus, Chemistry and Biochemistry

MutusDr. Mutus received his BSc (1975) and MSc (1977) from the University of Waterloo, his PhD (1981) from the University of Manitoba. After postdoctoral training in the lab of Jerry H Wang Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Manitoba, the co-discoverer of calmodulin, he joined the Department of Chemistry, U. Windsor as an independent researcher in 1982.

His research interests are centered on redox signaling in vascular cells including platelets, endothelial and red blood cells. His group also develops analytical methods for the detection of thiols, oxides of nitrogen, S-nitrosothiols and proteomic analysis, in support of his cell biology research.

His cancer research is centered on the plasma membrane enzyme neutral sphingomyelinase (NSMase), where his group has recently observed that the inhibition by S-nitrosyllation (SNO) of this enzyme protects breast cancer cells from apoptosis. His group is currently engaged in the proteomic identification of SNO-sensitive residues of NSMase as well as testing small molecules for the prevention of SNO-inhibition of the enzyme.

Dr. Mutus’ research has been continuously supported (since ’83) by grants from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). In addition, he has received funding from Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), CIHR, NIH, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Seeds4Hope.

PROJECT: Student Entrepreneurship in Physical and Life Sciences (SELS)

The SELS program will include the following activities:

  • SELS roundtable discussions/seminars (held monthly at noon at the EPICentre) content: i) Invited speakers with experience in developing Entrepreneurship in Physical and Life Sciences ; ii) participant-led discussions on how their current research projects or future new projects or STEM related teaching learning methods can be spun off as businesses; AND the benefits of entrepreneurial thinking in learning, research, teaching, training and career development; iii) presentation of mock start-up ideas;
  • one-on-one meetings at anytime with SELS faculty fellow or SELS assistant to discuss ideas or help in initiating contacts with the EPICentre;

Role of SELS Assistant (student): i) advertising of the SELS program to students via social media and notices to the Science Society (under graduate students) ChemBiochem Professional Network (graduate students); leading discussions during SELS roundtables; being available for informal meetings with students on idea development or help with making contacts with the EPICentre staff. Meeting with SELS fellow to assess the effectiveness of the program and help initiate improvements.

STUDENT: Evgeni Gentchev, MBA Candidate