Memorial University recognized some of it top educators, researchers and staff members during a special ceremony Nov. 26 at the Fluvarium in St. John’s.
Twelve faculty and staff members were honoured at the reception, hosted by Dr. Christopher Loomis, president and vice-chancellor pro tempore of Memorial. Five employees were honoured for exemplary service, two faculty members for distinguished teaching, four for research and one faculty member was recognized for exceptional community service.
Dr. Loomis said the key to the university’s success is its people.
“Among our faculty and staff are many high achievers and award winners who receive local, national and international recognition for their innovative, exciting work,” he said. “Our 2009 award winners are dedicated teachers, researchers and employees nominated by their peers and their students. They’ve helped their students to discover their own ingenuity; they’ve carried out important and groundbreaking research and inspired their co-workers as a consequence of their dedication to their work and to Memorial.”
Dr. Ali Aksu, Earth Sciences, and Dr. Diane Goldstein, Folklore, were named University Research Professors. University Research Professors have acquired a designation above the rank of professor. The title is the most prestigious award the university gives for research, and goes to faculty who have demonstrated a consistently high level of scholarship and whose research is of a truly international stature. The designation carries with it a $4,000 research grant (each year for five years) and a reduced teaching schedule.
Dr. Jeffrey Pittman, Faculty of Business Administration, and Dr. Terry-Lynn Young, Medicine, received the President’s Award for Outstanding Research.
The President’s Award for Outstanding Research recognizes researchers who have made outstanding contributions to their scholarly disciplines. Each award includes a $5,000 research grant.
Dr. Norm Catto, Geography, and Gerard Curtis, Visual Arts, Grenfell College, were presented President’s Awards for Distinguished Teaching which recognize the teaching excellence in the university community. Each winner of the teaching award receives a $5,000 grant contributed by the Memorial University Alumni Association, Office of the President, and Instructional Development Office/Distance Education and Learning Technologies.
Dr. Jeremy Hall was awarded the President’s Award for Exceptional Community Service, presented each year in recognition of employees (faculty or staff) who have demonstrated outstanding community service. The inaugural award was presented in 2007.
And five Memorial employees received the President’s Awards for Exemplary Service: Jeff Green, Marketing and Communications; David Yetman, Harris Centre; Dennis Flynn, Faculty of Business Administration; Michael Jackson, Department: Social Science, Grenfell College; and Karen Morris, Biology.
The President’s Award for Exemplary Service is presented each year to recognize employees who have demonstrated outstanding service and/or who have made significant contributions to the university community beyond that normally expected for their positions. All non-academic staff of Memorial University and its Separately Incorporated Entities are eligible to be nominated.
The President’s Award for Exceptional Community Service and the President’s Award for Exemplary Service each carry a $1,000 award, respectively.
Memorial began its annual presentation of the University Research Professor designations and the Awards for Outstanding Research in 1984, and the Distinguished Teaching Awards in 1988, as ways of singling out particularly distinguished contributions within its academic community. Exemplary Service Awards were introduced in 1995.
To learn more about the individual award winners, see today.mun.ca
Biographies of the recipients follow below.
University Research Professor
Dr. Ali Aksu, Earth Sciences
Dr. Aksu’s work using acoustic waves to map changes in the ocean floor have made him one of the world’s leaders in marine geology. Dr. Aksu received a B.Sc. from Ege University in Turkey before heading to Dalhousie for his M.Sc. and PhD in Oceanography and Geology. Since coming to teach Earth Sciences at Memorial in 1984 he’s won research funding of almost $6 million, and has supervised more than 50 graduate and undergraduate research projects.
Dr. Diane Goldstein, Folklore
With the publication of her book Once Upon A Virus: AIDS Legends and Vernacular Risk Perception in 2004, folklorist Diane Goldstein became a permanent fixture in the world of community health research. Her study of belief and legend associated with the virus not only expanded the story of AIDS but encouraged new dialogue. Dr. Goldstein received a BA in Religious Studies from Memorial and a MA and PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania. She came to Memorial as a Folklore professor in 1986 and since then has been cross-appointed to the Division of Community Health in our School of Medicine.
President’s Award for Outstanding Research
Dr. Jeffrey Pittman, Faculty of Business Administration
Dr. Pittman has had a long association with Memorial: first as a student and varsity athlete; later as a lecturer in the Faculty of Business Administration and since 2000 as a well-respected faculty member in the same academic unit. He received his B.Comm. and MBA from Memorial. In 2001 he completed his doctorate in accountancy at the University of Waterloo. His research is making waves, showing up in the top 10 accounting journals in North America. He most recently spent some time in China with his wife and three children on sabbatical at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, one of the top 12 accounting departments in the world.
Dr. Terry-Lynn Young, Faculty of Medicine
Since her appointment to the Discipline of Genetics in Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine in 2003, Dr. Terry-Lynn Young has quickly become a dynamic and leading figure in genetics not only in this province but also across the country. Dr. Young has had 15 successful grant applications in six years. These grants total more than $11 million for support of her research, and a further $30 million in infrastructure funding. Dr. Young and her research team made international headlines for identifying the genetic cause of a deadly form of cardiomyopathy. She obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees from Memorial, culminating with a doctorate in Medical Genetics from the Faculty of Medicine in 2000. Dr. Young joined Memorial in 2003 after a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington.
Distinguished Teaching Awards
Dr. Norm Catto, Geography
For 20 years students at Memorial have sought out Norm Catto. Since 1989 he’s taught 35 different courses to undergraduate and graduate students alike. Dr. Catto has supervised 30 graduate students and has served as a visiting instructor at three international schools – the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Bergen in Norway and Iceland’s University Centre of the Westfjords. Students credit his natural knack for breaking down complex ideas into clear examples as one of the reasons he excels as an educator. After a B.Sc. at Queen's University and a M.Sc. and PhD at the University of Alberta, Dr. Catto did postdoctoral research at the University of Stockholm and came to Memorial in 1989.
Dr. Gerard Curtis, Visual Arts, Grenfell College
Gerard Curtis has spent 16 years as an art historian at Grenfell College. His years in the Division of Fine Arts have led him to develop over 20 courses in visual culture, art history and historical studies, and every second summer he heads to the campus in Harlow, England, to teach three courses to the students who go for a semester abroad. Before students depart he’s active in fundraising and when they reach England he’s teacher, museum and gallery guide. After training as a studio artist, Dr. Curtis completed his doctorate at the University of Essex and came to Memorial as an associate professor in 1992.
President’s Award for Exceptional Community Service
Dr. Jeremy Hall, Earth Sciences
For more than 12 years, Dr. Hall has led more than 1,000 people along the Manuels River telling its tale of volcanoes and fossils. Not content to just write a self-guided tour brochure, he volunteers his time as a tour leader. When the idea of the Johnson Geo Centre was born, Dr. Hall was one of five scientists asked to work on the project. He built the storylines for the main displays in the Centre, as well as worked on a special exhibit for the ExxonMobil Oil and Gas Gallery. By day, Dr. Hall is a geophysicist and professor of Earth Sciences at Memorial. In 1966 he became a faculty member at the University of Glasgow. Twenty years later he came to Memorial as a Research Chair in Crustal Seismology, served as director of the Centre for Earth Resources Research in the 1990s and since 2003 has served as University Research Professor.
President’s Awards for Exemplary Service
Jeff Green, Marketing and Communications
As the communications co-ordinator for the Division of Marketing and Communications, it’s Mr. Green’s job to tell the stories that make Memorial stand out. But it’s his passion for telling stories about the people at this university that make the difference. As editor of The Communicator, the university’s newsletter for employees past and present, he turned the publication into a glossy, must-read people showcase. Mr. Green also looks for stories to send to local and national media, came up with the idea and co-hosts our podcast Studio 1024, and contributes to the Gazette and today.mun.ca. In 2009 he was named Rising Star by the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education. He came to Memorial in 2005 with a BA from Memorial and a Journalism degree from the University of King’s College. He currently is acting as communications
co-ordinator for the Office of Research.
Dennis Flynn, Faculty of Business Administration
It’s not just his skill as the manager of information technology in the Faculty of Business Administration that makes Dennis Flynn stand out. It’s the way he goes beyond his job every day to make everyone’s day a little better. Whether he’s helping develop new programs within the Faculty or collecting eyeglasses and cell phones to send around the world, he takes on everything with a smile and sense of purpose. Mr. Flynn came to work at Memorial in 1992,
a year after graduating with a B.Comm. In his 17 years here he’s worked to receive a bachelor of education post-secondary (2000), master of education (2004) and bachelor of arts (2008).
Michael Jackson, Department of Social Science, Grenfell College
As program co-ordinator for Gateway West at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Mr. Jackson is busy welcoming people with business ideas and showing them how to make their ideas come to life. It’s just one of the ways he’s building better business on the west coast. As a per-course instructor he gets students working with the community, and on their own ideas. He’s also advising the newly formed SIFE Grenfell team. Born and raised in Corner Brook, Mr. Jackson received a B.Comm. from Memorial in 1995 and a MBA from Simon Fraser University in 1997. He has over seven years experience in the fields of Venture Capital and Commercial Barter. He and his family returned to Corner Brook when he came to work at Grenfell in 2006.
Whether it’s her daily work as a laboratory instructor with the Department of Biology or her volunteer work with MUNFA and the Academic Freedom and Grievance Committee, Ms. Morris is a true leader, asking the difficult questions in search of thoughtful answers. Since 2004 she’s also served as the undergraduate officer for the Department of Biology, on-call for more than 1,700 students every term. For 33 years she’s thought about her place at Memorial and how she can work to make this a better place for everyone.
David Yetman, Harris Centre
The creation of Yaffle is just one of the creative tasks this manager of Knowledge Mobilization has completed since coming to Memorial four years ago. It’s his job to find ways to link academics with the community. Mr. Yetman has also helped create international conferences like Knowledge in Motion and has
organized workshops throughout the province to get communities involved in research. He ensures Memorial keeps its commitments to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. Yetman has a BA from Carleton University, a B.Sc. from Memorial and a master’s degree in science. He’s currently a doctoral candidate in Community Health, focusing on ethics, knowledge mobilization and public engagement.