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Eminent faculty

Memorial University recognizes six professores emeriti

Campus and Community

By Memorial University

Six Memorial University professors have been accorded the designation professor emeritus/emerita, an honour reserved for highly distinguished faculty members.

Dr. Olaf Janzen, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Grenfell Campus; Dr. Eric Gill, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; Dr. Gerard Martin, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science; Dr. Paul Smith, Department of Folklore, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; Dr. Anne Storey, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science; and Dr. Toby Rivers, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science; will be recognized at a session of convocation this fall.

Sustained and superlative

A professor emeritus or emerita is a retired member of the faculty who has served at least 10 years as a regular full-time faculty member and held the rank of professor upon retirement. The prime criterion for nomination is a sustained and superlative record as a scholar, as a teacher or as an academic administrator or any combination of these.

Candidates for the rank of professor emeritus/emerita are nominated by their academic units and, as with candidates for honorary degrees, the nominations are then reviewed by the Senate’s Committee on Honorary Degrees and Ceremonial. The candidates must then be approved by the university’s Senate and Board of Regents.

Biographies of all six professores emeriti follow below.

Olaf Janzen, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Grenfell Campus

Dr. Olaf Janzen was professor of historical studies at Grenfell Campus for 37 years. He began in 1980 at what was then Sir Wilfred Grenfell College as lecturer, followed by steady promotions until his retirement from Grenfell Campus with the rank of professor in 2017.

Dr. Janzen earned his BA from McMaster University (summa cum laude) and his MA and PhD from Queen’s University. During his career he became a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and was a member of numerous scholarly organizations. He remains active in the maritime historical community at the provincial, national and international level.

His research interests have focused on 18th-century Newfoundland, with particular attention to French and Mi’kmaq settlement on the West Coast, the defence of Newfoundland in war and in peace and the role of cartography in exercising British sovereignty in Newfoundland throughout the 18th century.

He served two maritime journals as a book review editor for more than 20 years, presented frequently at regional and international scholarly conferences and published in numerous academic journals.

Thousands of students, scholars and genealogists the world over have consulted his online reader’s guide to the history of early modern Newfoundland, as well as his finding aids to 18th-century Newfoundland manuscript collections.

Eric Gill, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

A professor of electrical and computer engineering at Memorial from 2000 until his retirement in 2017, Dr. Eric Gill has earned the respect and admiration of students, colleagues and the radar remote sensing research community worldwide.

Dr. Gill is a highly accomplished educator, researcher and graduate student supervisor. He holds post-secondary teaching certifications from the province. Prior to joining Memorial, he taught for 23 years at the College of the North Atlantic. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and served for many years on the IEEE Newfoundland Section executive.

Dr. Gill is an internationally renowned researcher in the area of high frequency surface wave radar and remote sensing in marine environments. He has made outstanding contributions to ocean remote sensing, including more than 200 publications in journals, books and conference proceedings. Many of these discoveries have been applied in industry.

He has received numerous awards, including the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching; the inaugural Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence; and the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador Teaching Award.

Dr. Gill received a B.Sc. (in physics), B.Ed., M.Eng. and PhD degrees in electrical engineering, all from Memorial.

Gerard Martin, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science

Dr. Gerard Martin is an exemplary scholar, academic administrator and teacher.

He began his career in the Department of Psychology at Memorial, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He went on to earn his doctorate degree at Australian National University. He spent 38 years at Memorial, with 20 of those as professor.

His innovative research program in comparative cognition and learning enabled him to identify important behavioural and brain processes in spatial problem-solving across many mammalian species. More recently, his research has extended to the development of a potential rat model of human Alzheimer’s disease.

It is evident from his authorship of more than 100 publications and conference presentations that many colleagues and students have been a recognized part of his research program.

Dr. Martin has also been very committed to teaching, leading a full range of courses from introductory to graduate. His service record is superlative, serving as associate dean of the Faculty of Science (research and graduate), interim associate dean (administration and undergraduate) and provided departmental leadership as head at three different times.

As an Honorary Research Professor, Dr. Martin continues his research and is involved in collaborative work and student supervision.

Dr. Paul Smith, Department of Folklore, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dr. Paul Smith was professor of folklore at Memorial for 37 years, before retiring in 2017.

He received his BA and PhD from the University of Sheffield, England, and is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of contemporary legend and traditional folk drama.

Dr. Smith has published prolifically and has consistently presented academic papers at national and international conferences. Dr. Smith continues to be an active scholar with many projects in progress.

He served as president and acting president of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research and is currently the organization’s treasurer. He continues to serve on the editorial boards of Tradition Today, Traditional Drama Forum and Contemporary Legend.

Dr. Smith has contributed much to Memorial as an administrator. In addition to serving as head of the Department of Folklore, he assumed a leadership role with the Folklore and Language Archive over much of his time at the university. He was chair of the editorial board of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Publications and co-director of the Institute for Folklore Studies in Britain and Canada.

In 2015 Dr. Smith was the inaugural recipient of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research’s Linda Degh Lifetime Achievement Award.

Anne Storey, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science

Dr. Anne Storey earned her B.Sc.(Hons.) and MA degrees at the University of Manitoba and a PhD from the Institute of Animal Behaviour, Rutgers University.

She joined the Department of Psychology as a post-doctoral researcher and was appointed assistant professor, working for 38 years at Memorial with nearly 20 of those at the rank of professor. Dr. Storey’s career includes significant scholarly contributions, dedication and commitment to her students and extensive service to the department, the university, and to her profession.

Among the most notable of Dr. Storey’s accomplishments has been her innovative, interdisciplinary research program on parenting, particularly in males, that cross-cut a variety of species from humans to meadow voles. Her work in the hormonal basis of paternal behaviour in human males brought accolades and wide media coverage.

Dr. Storey served on many departmental and university committees. In particular, she was instrumental in developing and growing the very successful interdisciplinary graduate program in cognitive and behavioural ecology and served as chair for many years. Outside Memorial, she has served on several NSERC evaluation committees.

Dr. Storey also holds the special designation of Honorary Research Professor at Memorial.

Toby Rivers, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science

Dr. Toby Rivers is known as an enthusiastic voice of wisdom and reason, and as a community builder, combining his scientific career with an equally successful career as a teacher and mentor.

He joined the Department of Earth Sciences in 1980 and quickly rose to a position of eminence. Today he is recognized nationally and internationally in his field of study, metamorphic rocks.

His research focuses on understanding the growth and evolution of the mountain belts that arise from the interaction of Earth’s tectonic plates. One of Dr. Rivers’ greatest strengths is his ability to integrate a wide range of data from a variety of sources to elucidate very complex processes.

As well as holding a number of administrative roles in his department, he has served on NSERC grant evaluation committees and has been an active and lifelong member of professional associations, including the Geological Association of Canada and the Mineralogical Association of Canada. He has also worked extensively for several local organizations dedicated to bringing awareness to ecological degradation of natural enclaves within the St. John’s region and lobbying for and promoting their protection, remediation and conservation.

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