Conestoga news

June 17, 2002 2:22 PM

Technology Professor Earns Conestoga College Teaching Honour

Tony Kattenhorn of the Mechanical Engineering Technician/Technology faculty has been named the 15th
recipient of the Aubrey Hagar Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest faculty honour at Conestoga College.

The award recognizes achievement in a combination of teaching, curriculum development, concern for student learning, and service to the academic program and the College. Kattenhorn will receive his award on Wednesday, June 19, at the first of four ceremonies of the 34th Convocation of Conestoga College. The award consists of an inscribed and framed College Coat of Arms, a specially designed liripipe -- a ceremonial shoulder sash -- and a professional development bursary of $800.

Presenting the award will be Pamela Healey, daughter of Aubrey Hagar. She is Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Wilfrid Laurier University. During his long career at Conestoga, Aubrey Hagar enjoyed locally and provincially a reputation for achievement and quality with respect to academic design and development. A member of Conestoga’s founding Board of Governors, he went on to distinguish himself in many capacities at the College, most notably as Director of Academic Planning and Director of Strategic Planning.

Tony Kattenhorn has been a teacher at Conestoga since 1981. He began with the General Machinist program at the Waterloo campus, then went on to teach in the Numerical Control Programming program at Doon. He began his current work in the Mechanical Engineering Technician/Technology group of programs in 1986. He teaches a number of courses across these programs, in areas such as engineering drawing, design of machines, design of tooling, strength of materials, and computer-aided design and modelling.

To him, sharing knowledge with students and helping students gain insight into and confidence with the demanding, sophisticated world of mechanical engineering is his greatest reward.

“The most enjoyable aspect of my work is and always has been the interaction with students,” he says. “It is deeply rewarding to see their success after graduation -- to see them grow and progress to the point where they overtake you as a teacher in terms of their professional skills and accomplishments, and advance to do well in their profession.”

That is not to say that he has stood still as a teacher and a professional.

Educated in his native England as a machinist apprentice, he has constantly pursued new knowledge. In 1998, he earned a Bachelor of Education in Adult Education degree from Brock University. The following year, he added a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Waterloo. In addition, he regularly adds to his technical knowledge through evening and weekend courses offered by Conestoga.

“This is what I need to do to serve our students better,” he says. “The size and scope of the technology world changes so radically that it is essential to keep adding to your skills and knowledge, whether that has to do with integrating skills from a number of technical fields, understanding and using more complex machinery, or learning and applying specialized computer programs.”

He and his colleagues are continually developing new courses to reflect and take advantage of new tools and knowledge.

“For example,” he says, “Our students by the time they graduate have mastered about ten different major computer programs related to the profession -- not just what each program does individually, but how they interrelate and how they are integrated into the realties of manufacturing.”

He adds that today’s technical students need a wide array of skills to be effective in their future careers -- math ability, problem solving, adaptability, communications and teamwork.

In addition to his teaching, he was a member of the development team that put together the successful project proposal for one of the two applied degree programs recently approved for Conestoga College -- a Bachelor of Applied Technology in Integrated Advanced Manufacturing Technologies. That program admits its first students in the fall of 2003.

He has also been a champion of Skills Canada, a voluntary organization designed to promote among young Canadians the opportunities and benefits of technical education and careers. In the Skills Canada organization, he has been active regionally, provincially and nationally in setting standards in his field for Skills Canada competitions. In 1999, he was National Chair for the mechanical computer-aided design drafting competition, a role he will repeat in 2003 when Waterloo Region hosts the Skills Canada national event.

In other ways, he has contributed to the College. Each year, he is a canvasser for Conestoga’s United Way campaign, he is faculty representative on the alumni association Board of Directors and he is a member of the Convocation Committee.

Tony Kattenhorn resides in Kitchener. His wife, Rita, is self- employed as a human resources consultant. His son, Ross, is a graduate of Conestoga’s Business Administration - Materials Management program who is currently a materials planner with Rockwell Automation in Cambridge.

CONTACT: Tony Kattenhorn, 519-748-5220, ext. 3213