Lisa Rankin, an associate professor in Memorial University’s Department of Archaeology, has won the Geoffrey Marshall Mentoring Award from the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools.
The prestigious award, given in memory of the association’s former president, recognizes outstanding mentoring support of graduate students, from course completion through research and placement.
Dr. Rankin received the award, which included a certificate and cash prize of $1,000, on Friday, April 15, in Waterloo, On. at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools. The association, one of four regional affiliates of the Council of Graduate Schools, has members from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and New Brunswick and U.S. states Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, D.C.
This is the first time a Memorial faculty member has been honoured with the award.
“Lisa has the amazing ability to guide you through your studies and all the expectations that come with graduate school, while providing space for you to grow confidently in your independent scholarship.”
During her distinguished 16-year career at Memorial University, Dr. Rankin has supervised 7 PhD students and 26 MA students of which 21 graduates remain in archaeology, either as faculty members, in the cultural resource management industry or as upper-level government archaeologists.
The current president of the Canadian Archaeological Association, Dr. Rankin is also the director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Memorial. In 2013 Dr. Rankin received both the President’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Supervision and the Dean’s Award for Graduate Supervision.
“I have such great students, not only do they make me look good, but many of them have become my closest friends,” said Dr. Rankin, who adds that she is not sure exactly what the x-factor is that she offers students.
“I think my biggest skill is understanding when my students need help and when they should be left alone to make their own discoveries … of course celebrating those discoveries over a beer helps too. My biggest advantage as a supervisor is that I spend summers in isolated field camps with my students. In a situation like that everyone gets to know each other very well, and that kind of comfort makes it easier to ask questions about the discipline or their research that might not take place in a more formal campus setting.”
The award committee cited the enduring impact Dr. Rankin has on her graduate students, her department and on Memorial University. The criteria include: provision of sound advice with respect to course of study; encouraging the best performance from students; generosity of time or other measures of effort at mentoring; assisting students through to successful completion and placement; advice and other assistance regarding quality and quantity of student papers or other forms of publication and performance; extraordinary efforts or success with placement.
In nominating Dr. Rankin for the award, Dr. Faye Murrin, dean pro tempore, School of Graduate Studies, recognized this outstanding scholar for her dedication to her graduate students from first encounters, throughout their programs and as they enter their careers.
“We cannot be prouder that Lisa and Memorial University are being honoured for her exemplary work with students working on the archaeology of interactions among Aboriginal cultures of coastal Labrador with this highly distinguished award.”
Michelle Davies is an assistant archaeologist with the Nunatsiavut Government who completed her MA in Memorial’s Department of Archaeology in May 2014. She is beginning a PhD program with Dr. Rankin in September 2016.
“Lisa is the kind of supervisor who pays close attention to your potential, and links you in to the broad network of the discipline. Even after I graduated, we maintained a strong connection as she provided me with career advice and let me know of exciting opportunities,” said Ms. Davies.
“When I was first considering a PhD, she was the first person I reached out to, as her expert advice and encouragement continues to provide so much motivation in my studies. Lisa has the amazing ability to guide you through your studies and all the expectations that come with graduate school, while providing space for you to grow confidently in your independent scholarship.”