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A Fine Crowd

Faculty member achievements honoured at annual HSS dean's awards

Campus and Community

By Chad Pelley

A group of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) staff and faculty members were presented with dean’s awards recently in recognition of their superior performance and outstanding accomplishments in the last academic year.

Dean Ailsa Craig and 4 Dean's Award winners sitting on grey stairs
From left, at front, Allison Carr and Dr. Diane Tye. From left, at back, Dr. Sonja Boon, Dr. Ailsa Craig and Dr. Maria Mayr.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

The dean’s awards were handed out as part of the faculty’s annual A Fine Crowd event, which recognizes faculty success in the previous academic year, in four broad categories: awards, publications, creative endeavours and grants.

During that time frame, faculty members earned more than a dozen awards and distinctions, published more than two dozen books and volumes and were awarded more than $4 million in grants and agreements.

“The breadth of this faculty’s research illustrates the diversity of subject area expertise we have in Memorial’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,” said Dr. Margaret Steele, interim provost and vice-president (academic). “From research on gender and voting, to climate change adaptations in the North and policy influencing work on intimate partner violence.”

The achievements celebrated at A Fine Crowd included a President’s Award, two inductions into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists, and over four million dollars in research grants and agreements.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Dean’s Award for Graduate Supervision: Dr. Diane Tye (Folklore)

This award recognizes excellence in graduate student supervision.

From her nomination letter: “Dr. Tye has expertly guided 12 PhD and 27 MA thesis students to completion, and … served on 13 PhD thesis committees. Although the awards her supervisees have earned over the years are too numerous to list … they include SSHRC doctoral fellowships, ISER doctoral fellowships, SSHRC MA fellowships and a panoply of departmental and university awards.”

Dean’s Award For Distinguished Scholarship: Dr. Sonja Boon (Gender Studies)

This award recognizes  a body of published scholarly work of excellent national or international standing.

From her nomination letter: “Dr. Boon is internationally recognized as a top scholar in gender studies and is a talented and celebrated creative writer. At Memorial, she has made critical, groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of corporeal feminisms, life-writing, autoethnography and women’s history. Her CV documents three key features of her career to date: the quality and creativity of her research achievements; her deep commitment to student mentorship; and the effective dissemination of her work in both academic and non-academic venues.”

Dean’s Award for Exceptional Service (Tenured and Tenure Track Faculty): Dr. Maria Mayr (Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures)

Dr. Maria Mayr receiving her Dean's Award for Exceptional Service to the faculty
From left, Dr. Ailsa Craig presents Dr. Maria Mayr with the Dean’s Award for Exceptional Service to the faculty.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

This award recognizes a record of academic service, within or outside HSS, whose extent and quality significantly surpass accepted norms.

From her nomination letter: “At the departmental level, Dr. Mayr has been a constant presence on multiple committees every year [and] has held several positions continually … As deputy head since 2019, Dr. Mayr assists the head in all academic and administrative matters, steps in as acting head … and chairs the Undergraduate Studies Committee. Since 2019, Dr. Mayr has assumed this role in a laudable way … and has taken the lead on several ad hoc committees.”

Dean’s Award for Exceptional Services to the Faculty (Staff): Allison Carr (managing editor, Memorial University Press)

This award recognizes a record of service to HSS that is demonstrably superior to that normally expected of staff members.

From her nomination letter: “Allison has radically expanded how our books are distributed, marketed and sold. She was at the forefront of ensuring that ISER Books was able to transition into a university press in 2020-21 … [and] under her management, the number of books produced annually has more than doubled and net sales have increased even more dramatically with some works becoming bestselling books in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence Non-tenure: Dr. Linda Cohen (Sociology)

This award recognizes superior performance in one or more areas of teaching: classroom teaching, curriculum or program development or the advancement of teaching practice in HSS.

From her nomination: “Dr. Cohen has taught hundreds of courses to thousands of Memorial students [and] while this sheer quantity of teaching is impressive, it is the evolution of that teaching over time and its high quality that is truly indicative of her high level of teaching excellence. Dr. Cohen has routinely updated her courses to adapt to new modes of teaching, and has been a role model for others in the department. [Her] dedication to constant learning and development as a teacher is indicative of the high priority Dr. Cohen has accorded to her teaching and pedagogy.”

Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence Tenure Track Faculty: Dr. Luke Ashworth (Political Science)

This award recognizes superior performance in one or more areas of teaching: classroom teaching, curriculum or program development or the advancement of teaching practice in HSS.

From his nomination letter: “As the 12 letters of nomination from students attest, Dr. Ashworth is a caring and encouraging professor, whose creativity and passion keep students coming back for more … Among the many positive qualities that students cite when they reflect on Dr. Ashworth’s teaching, three themes emerge loud and clear: contagious enthusiasm, high-quality teaching materials and student growth.”

Those student endorsements included comments like “[he] launched my academic career and, without exaggeration, transformed my life.”

Dean’s Research Partner Award: Raglan Mine Closure Plan Subcommittee

This award recognizes individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution to an HSS research project.

From the letter of nomination: “The Raglan Mine Closure Plan Sub-committee has significantly supported research, training and engagement activities of Memorial-based faculty and graduate students. [Its work] advances novel approaches to mine closure and reclamation planning that integrates the perspectives and experiences of mine-affected communities, particularly Inuit communities whose lands host mining operations. Working with the sub-committee has resulted in a truly reciprocal and generative partnership with Memorial faculty.”

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