Michel Racine, winner of the Frank Giacobbi Award, makes student life easier

Posted on Friday, November 18, 2016

Michel Racine is looking to the future after being recognized for 26 years of work excellence.

Michel Racine

In 1993, the University’s very first website was launched at the Department of Computer Science where Michel Racine had been working for the previous three years. Fast-forward to today, and Mr. Racine, Systems Manager at the Faculty of Engineering, continues to ensure that the Faculty is at the leading edge of innovation.

As of last September, engineering students are able to break out of the computer labs and use the engineering software that is required for their courses from their own computers. All students at the Faculty now have free access to a remote server, which gives them the use of various software—such as MATLAB, GeoStudio and AutoCAD, to name a few. This interface is compatible with all PC and Mac platforms and is accessible from any location, including off campus. Mr. Racine and his team worked toward this project after getting feedback from students about their experience on campus and the changes that could be made. This is only the latest example of the work that Mr. Racine and his team have completed over the years in the hope of improving engineering students’ experience at the University of Ottawa.

To recognize his many contributions to the Faculty and its students, the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Engineering chose to honour him with the 2016 Frank Giacobbi Award for Outstanding Service.

I’m flattered and honoured. I’ve been at the University for 26 years and it’s great to receive such recognition from my colleagues and the professors” said Mr. Racine. “The goal that has always motivated me is the improvement of our IT infrastructure for our professors, researchers and, of course, the students. […] Each year, we determine what we can do to improve, then get to work all through the summer so that when the students come back in September, they’ll find the space better than it was before. This year, the goal was to allow our students to use our software, from anywhere, starting in September.

Mr. Racine holds a degree in Computer Science from the University of Ottawa and joined the Department of Computer Science in 1990. Following the establishment of the School of Information Technology and Engineering—now the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science—in 1998, Mr. Racine was entrusted with the responsibility of integrating and optimizing the new school’s computing infrastructure in order to meet the needs of its students, employees and professors. In 2010, he took on the challenge of putting in place an IT support team for the Faculty of Engineering. Now, as Systems Manager, Mr. Racine leads a team of professionals who constantly work to develop, implement and improve the infrastructure and tools that over 5,500 students, employees and professors in engineering and computer science depend on.

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