Robert Delatolla is recognized for outstanding contributions to university teaching

Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Robert Delatolla, an associate professor with the Department of Civil Engineering, has received recognition from the Faculty for his outstanding contributions. He is the recipient of the 2017 John V. Marsh Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Professor Delatolla joined the Faculty’s Department of Civil Engineering teaching staff in 2009. During the last eight years, he has taught a number of undergraduate and graduate courses in the field of environmental engineering in both English and French. He has been a strong promoter of innovative learning methods and has also been a dedicated user of the pedagogical services provided by the University’s Teaching and Learning Support Services to continuously improve the quality of his teaching and of the materials available to the students enrolled in his courses. He has also created a program with the Ottawa Riverkeeper Organization, wherein undergraduate students are hired during the summer to test the quality of the river’s water.

His students have systematically provided assessments of his stellar performance as a teacher during the yearly teaching evaluations.  A number of these students, Faculty alumni, and colleagues have provided eloquent testimonials with regards to his performance as a teacher. He has also helped and mentored high-school students, including students with learning disabilities from the Ottawa Technical Secondary School.

Professor Delatolla has also implemented a dynamic research program and received a number of grants and external contracts, particularly with several companies working in the field of environmental technologies. Fifteen graduate students, including three post-doctorate students, one PhD, seven MASc and four MEng students, have completed their degrees under his direction. Currently, his research group is comprised of fourteen graduate students, nine of which are completing doctorates. Given his extensive contributions to the service of his Department, our Faculty, our University, professional associations, and learned societies; there is no doubt that he is an excellent teacher and researcher.

“On behalf of our Faculty, I wholeheartedly congratulate Dr. Robert Delatolla for this well-deserved recognition and I warmly thank him for his dedication and commitment to our students and to our University,” recognized Interim Dean Ioan Nistor.

Professor Delatolla is currently working on characterising biofilms in water, stormwater and wastewater treatment systems; optimization advanced biofilm treatment systems; ammonia removal at cold temperatures by moving bed biofilm reactors; biological treatment of industrial wastewaters. During his tenure at the University of Ottawa he has worked on collaborative research ventures with various industrial partners, including Bishop Water, Veolia Water and Veolia Water Technologies Canada. Professor Delatolla’s current research is focused on critical water and wastewater treatment issues.  His expertise lies in biological treatment with a focus on the characterisation and optimization of biofilm treatment systems. He has particular interest in developing understanding at the meso, micro and moclecular-scale to improve design and operation at the macro-scale.

Professor Delatolla received his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemical Engineering at McGill University. During his Ph.D. work, he modified and used molecular and microscopic techniques to investigate the microbial populations responsible for removing ammonia from Canadian wastewater treatment plants.  Professor Delatolla worked as an Environmental Engineer and Project Manager at Gartner Lee Ltd. and Biogenie S.R.D.C. Inc., where he conducted soil and groundwater remediation projects.

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