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By Karen Herland
For the third year in a row, the Faculty of Arts and Science recognized its best and brightest at a ceremony to applaud recipients of the Dean’s Awards.
Interim Dean Joanne Locke presided over the ceremony honouring 11 of the Faculty’s professors and staff for their outstanding contributions to the university and their respective fields.
In his opening speech at the Oct. 30 ceremony, Provost David Graham joked that he inaugurated the awards while Dean of Arts and Science because “nobody ever complained about being recognized.” Locke explained three of the awards recognize exceptional scholarship and teaching, along with two service awards.
Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies Graham Carr honoured the recipients of the Distinguished Scholarship Award. Psychology professor Anna-Beth Doyle has received continuous funding for her research since 1972. The member of the Centre for Research in Human Development has focused on young teens, a notoriously difficult area of study.
Meanwhile, Chemistry and Biochemistry professor Ray-mond Le Van Mao was described as “a pioneer in the increasingly important field of renewable resources.” His career has included 38 inventions and over 200 scholarly papers. He currently holds $1.1 million in government and industry grants and contracts.
Associate Dean Facilities, Justin Powlowski introduced the four professors recognized in the New Scholar category. The first, Sean Gurd of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics, has one book published and two more in process, and is working on a collaborative volume. His groundbreaking work on textual multiplicity both expands and redefines conventional notions of philology.
Meanwhile, Steven High has been “nothing short of spectacular,” according to Shannon McSheffrey and Ronald Rudin. The CFI funding he received to establish a state-of-the-art oral and digital history lab and the community-university research alliance he successfully coordinated with 40 different academic and community researchers all attest to his dynamism and achievement. In total, he holds over $1 million in funding, as well as three books published.
Mebs Kanji of Political Science has distinguished himself in his research on urban and social policy, in particular to the impact of changes in the socio-economic mix in advanced industrial societies. His career combines academic research with journalism and work as a consultant for the Canadian and Albertan governments.
Michael Sacher left the pharmaceutical industry for academia where he pursues his groundbreaking biological cell research which has important implications for understanding human disease. He has attracted $1.37 million in research funding, including the top-rated CIHR application of the 42 submitted in his field.
Cathy Bolton honoured Ian Ferguson (Biology), Paul Joyce (Chemistry and Biochemistry) and J.A. Miller (English) for their contributions to teaching. All three had numerous attestations from their students on their ability to successfully share material. As one student wrote of Joyce’s ability to understand his students, “he's an undergrad stuck in a biochemist’s body.” One of Ferguson’s nominators said that his science class was the only possible thing that would get him out of bed on a Friday morning.
Meanwhile, Miller (who joined the faculty in 1975) now works alongside some of his former students. Jason Camlot wrote in his support letter that he still refers back to his notes from Miller’s lectures and uses them as a model for his own teaching practice.
Psychology professor June Chaikelson was rewarded for Outstanding Academic Service, combining a distinguished academic career with exceptional university and community service, both on numerous internal bodies, boards and task forces, but also in the Canadian Association of University Teachers as well as in the local community.
Finally, Miriam Posner was honoured for her exceptional service to the faculty. The Technical Supervisor to the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department has proven a supportive and capable employee who distinguishes herself by her “willingness to go the extra mile,” according to one of the fourteen letters of support her nomination received.