Dr. Ana Rita Morais receives the RGD 2021 Design Educator Award for Eastern Canada

The RGD recognizes design faculty who have made outstanding contributions to student development and pedagogical research.


We are thrilled to announce that the RGD 2021 Design Educator Award of Excellence for Eastern Canada is presented to Dr. Ana Rita Morais


Ana Rita is a Portuguese-born, Toronto-based academic, educator and administrator. She is the Chair of the School of Design at George Brown College where she oversees 12 academic programs, partnerships and events. She holds a doctorate from the Communication and Culture Program at Ryerson University and her work is largely focused on the intersections between mobile media and cultural heritage, including her SSHRC-funded research-creation doctoral project, me-dérive: toronto — an augmented reality counter-archive of Toronto's historical urban environments. She has devoted much of her academic career to teaching courses in and around design and media, as well as acting as an advisor, curriculum developer and reviewer in varying capacities. Ana Rita is the Principal Investigator on a multi-year NSERC-funded project entitled ‘SunnyOp’ in partnership with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, a member of the Toronto-based HXOUSE programming team and the Vice-President of The ArQuives — one of the largest LGBTQ2+ archives in the world.
"Dr. Morais has been active in working towards an environment at the school and in the design community that supports diversity, equity and inclusion. She sits on the GBC committee looking at anti-racism initiatives and has developed workshops to discuss these issues within the communication design and student communities. She has ensures full representation at the faculty level so that students see themselves reflected in the people who are teaching them. She has also participated in exhibitions, conferences and written papers on the critical topic of collective memory and the role that design and media can play in enhancing voices and perspectives from all sorts of people within a community." — Luigi Ferrara, Dean of the Centre for Arts, Design and Information Technology, George Brown College
"Ana Rita exudes positivity but is transparent about challenges that the past year has brought us, and has shown kindness and compassion through it all. She is constantly sharing new and innovative designs with the community and promoting talented designers" — Jennifer Reddon Student RGD, Honours Bachelor of Brand Design, George Brown College

Honourable Mentions

John Baljkas

John is a professor of graphic design at Conestoga College, Kitchener. He also has acted as the programs coordinator for two graphic design courses at Conestoga. He organizes year-end graduate shows and work placements for advanced-level students, as well as serves on numerous committees.

"John’s integrity keeps all of the education stakeholders accountable for their part of the learning puzzle, including the students." — Molly Hill RGD, Professor/Program Coordinator, Graphic Design Advanced Diploma, Conestoga College



Dr. Ann Donar RGD (née Szeto)

Ann is a full-time professor in the joint program of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (CCIT) between Sheridan College and the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Her research and creative work are dedicated to promoting holistic design thinking as a creativity model as well as an allegory of progress in humanity. 


"When I was her direct supervisor as her Associate Dean, I knew that I could trust her to develop design courses as thoughtful and effective pedagogical models." — Dr. André Plante, Former VP Academic and Provost at Alberta University of the Arts


Isabel Meirelles

Isabel is an information designer and Professor in the Faculty of Design at OCAD University, Toronto, where she teaches in the Graphic Design Program and in Graduate Studies. In addition to writing and publishing books on the role of data visualization in society, culture and education, she has organized numerous conferences and exhibitions on the topic.


 "It is through Isabel's class structure that I learned of the power of collaboration and perspective on design." — Fiona Barnes-Brisley, Student, OCAD University



Albert Ng RGD

Albert, an award‐winning design professor at York University, has been instrumental in the milieu of Canada’s graphic design professional accreditation and quality assurance of postsecondary design education. Albert is the founding president of the RGD, former VP of ico-D, former director of Toronto DX, and served 10 years as the Advisory Chair, Graphic Design Program at Sheridan College. His accolades include the Order of Ontario, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Chinese Canadian Legend Award

"Albert's professional background and vision for curriculum were instrumental in spearheading the development of a sequence of courses in package design that are very popular amongst our students." — David Gelb Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Design, York University

Diana Varma RGD

Diana is an award-winning lecturer and columnist by day and an avid podcaster by night (Talk Paper Scissors). She teaches within the School of Graphic Communications Management (GCM) and the Master of Digital Media (MDM) Program at Ryerson University, Toronto, where she helps students connect their technical left brains, creative right brains and entrepreneurial hearts for fulfilling careers in creative industries. 


"Experiencing Diana’s courses is one of the most valuable learning opportunities a student can receive as part of their Graphic Communications Management journey." — Sadya Haque, 2021 Graduate, Ryerson University