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Extraordinary employees

President Vianne Timmons honours outstanding employees

Campus and Community


After many delays due to COVID-19 restrictions, Dr. Vianne Timmons enthusiastically handed out the 2021 President’s Awards to outstanding employees during a luncheon March 9 at the Signal Hill Campus.

The words "Celebrating excellence: President's Awards 2021" are in gold on a black background.

John Lewis Paton award

Drs. Nancy Dahn and Timothy Steeves, School of Music, received the John Lewis Paton Distinguished University Professorship.

Named for the first president of Memorial University College, the award recognizes faculty who embody the university’s mission by demonstrating exceptional teaching, undertaking world-class research and sharing their knowledge and expertise widely.

Outstanding Research

President’s Awards for Outstanding Research were awarded to Dr. Eric Vander Wal, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science; Dr. Jennifer Selby, Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Dr. Matthew Parsons, Division of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine. This award recognizes young researchers who have made significant contributions to their scholarly disciplines.

Dr. Heather Carnahan, School of Maritime Studies, Marine Institute; Dr. Brent Snook, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science; and Dr. Bren A. LeFrançois, School of Social Work, were honoured with the title University Research Professor, a designation above the rank of professor that goes to faculty members who demonstrate a consistently high level of scholarship and whose research is of a truly international stature.

Exceptional Community Service

The President’s Award for Exceptional Community Service was awarded to Pamela Gill, communications manager, research, graduate studies and engagement, at Grenfell Campus.

This award is presented in recognition of employees (faculty or staff) who have demonstrated outstanding community service.

Outstanding Graduate and Postgraduate Supervision

Dr. Michelle Ploughman, Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, was awarded the President’s Award for Outstanding Graduate and Postgraduate Supervision.

This award recognizes exemplary efforts to foster success in the research and scholarship of their graduate or postgraduate students and to advance their students’ success in their profession.

Distinguished Teaching

The President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, recognizing teaching excellence in the university community, was awarded to Dr. Caroline Schiller, School of Music; and Dr. Christina Thorpe, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science.

Outstanding Teaching

The President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching (Faculty) will be awarded to Dr. Erin Fraser, School of Science and the Environment, Grenfell Campus.

The President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching (Lecturers and Instructional Staff) was awarded to Edward Whelan, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science.

Exemplary Employees

Following the launch of Memorial’s strategic plan, the President’s Awards for staff employees were updated to align with Memorial’s aspirations and recognize individuals and teams who make transformational impacts. This is the first year the revamped awards were awarded.

Among those receiving President’s Awards for Exemplary Employees were Missy Power, Student Wellness and Counselling Centre, named a Champion of Service; Heather Fifield, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, a Champion of Service; Fred Anstey, School of Maritime Studies, Marine Institute, a Champion of Service; the Faculty of Nursing Learning Resource Centre Team, a Champion of Innovation (Team Category); and the Student Experience Team, Student Life, recipients of the Team Memorial award.

Public Engagement Partnerships

This year, the President’s Award for Public Engagement Partnerships was awarded to Fishing for Success and Dr. John Schouten, Faculty of Business Administration, and Canada Research Chair in Social Enterprise.

Fishing for Success is a social enterprise based in Petty Harbour that teaches traditional fisheries skills while helping participants develop purpose, confidence and a sense of belonging. The partnership between Fishing for Success and Dr. Schouten has focused on understanding the myriad impacts of the program on various stakeholders, including program participants, employees, tourists and the community itself.

As the province looks to new opportunities to sustain its communities in the future, partnerships like the one between Fishing for Success’s Kimberly Orren and Leo Hearn and Dr. Schouten emphasize that the skills and knowledge of the past are still relevant today.

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