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REF NO.: 104
SUBJECT: Outstanding faculty and staff recognized at Memorial
DATE: Nov. 15
Memorial University honoured the efforts of its best educators, researchers and staff members at a special ceremony today at the Fluvarium in St. John’s.
Eleven Memorial employees were honoured at the reception – three for outstanding research; two for distinguished teaching and five for exemplary service. Dr. Georg Gunther of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook was also recognized for receiving the 3M Teaching Fellowship, a national honour awarded by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
Dr. Stephanie Curnoe was the recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Research, while Dr. William Montevecchi and Dr. Peter Pickup received the designation of University Research Professor.
The President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching went to Dr. T. A. Loeffler, Human Kinetics and Recreation; and Dr. Geoff Rayner-Canham, Chemistry, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.
The five staff members who received the President’s Award for Exemplary Service were: Rosalyn Blackwood, Housing, Food & Conference Services, Student Affairs and Services; Kelly Brown, Psychology, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College; David Miller, CREAIT Network; Janet McHugh, Faculty of Medicine; and Ruth North, Glenn Roy Blundon Centre for Students with Disabilities, Student Affairs and Services.
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. President’s Awards for Distinguished Teaching 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. 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. 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.
Biographical notes on award recipients:
President’s Award for Outstanding Research
Dr. Stephanie Curnoe
Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science
A graduate of the University of Toronto as well as the University of British Columbia, Dr. Stephanie Curnoe's research has resulted in a series of important contributions to the understanding of the structural and electronic properties of advanced materials. After being awarded her PhD in 1997, Dr. Curnoe held prestigious postdoctoral fellowships in Israeland Japan. She also served as a research associate at the University of Toronto. In 2001, she joined Memorial University as an assistant professor. That same year, she was awarded the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's University Faculty Award. Dr. Curnoe's papers have been published in some of the leading physics journals. In addition, she has presented her work at numerous national and international conferences.
University Research Professor
Dr. William Montevecchi
Psychology, Faculty of Science
A leading seabird ecologist, Dr. Bill Montevecchi's research focuses on animal responses to changing environmental conditions and the study of animals as bio‑indicators in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. He has collaborated with oceanographers, fisheries research scientists and seabird biologists from across Canada, the U.S., Europe, Australia and Africa. Dr. Montevecchi is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston; Tulane University in New Orleansand RutgersUniversity in Newark, New Jersey. He came to Memorial Universityin 1975. Today he is a professor of psychology with cross‑appointments to biology and ocean sciences. As one of North America's top seabird ecologists, Dr. Montevecchi has written more than 200 articles which have appeared in international, multi‑disciplinary scientific journals. He has also given countless public lectures and media presentations. He is past president of the Newfoundlandand Labrador Natural History Society and former chair of the Canadian Recovery Team for the Endangered Harlequin Duck in eastern North America. Today, he is co‑chair of the Newfoundlandand Labrador Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Advisory Council and a director of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Atlantic region.
Chemistry, Faculty of Science
Dr. PeterPickup's research spans a broad range of topics in materials chemistry and electrochemistry. The scope of his research is aimed at developing new concepts and materials for use in electrochemical devices such as fuel cells, batteries, super capacitors and molecular computers. Dr. Pickup's most influential work has been on the study of electron and ion conduction in conducting polymers. His scholarly achievements have made him a world expert in his field. Educated at Oxford University, Dr. Pickup has worked as a research associate at the University of North Carolina and State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1986, came to Memorial Universityas an assistant professor and today he holds the position of professor and is deputy head of the Department of Chemistry. A regular guest speaker at major international conferences, Dr. Pickup has also acted as an advisor and consultant for several fuel cell companies. He and his research group have published more than 100 research papers.
Distinguished Teaching Award
Dr. Geoff Rayner‑Canham
Dr. Geoff Rayner‑Canham has been a faculty member of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College since 1975 and from early in his career demonstrated excellence in his teaching. In 1980, the Chemical Institute of Canada awarded him the Polysar Award for outstanding contribution to chemistry teaching in a two‑year college. In 1985, the Manufacturing Chemists Association awarded him the Catalyst Award for excellence in chemistry teaching. In 2003 he won the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Award for excellence in teaching. He has also offered leadership in teaching development at the local level, offering workshops and seminars, mentoring new faculty, and serving on the Teaching Committee at Sir Wilfred GrenfellCollege for several years. On the national level he has served on the executive of several societies which are concerned with chemistry education. Dr. Rayner‑Canham has also had considerable influence on secondary education, co‑authoring three high school chemistry textbooks, offering workshops, and publishing extensively in journals aimed at secondary science teachers. He has a passionate interest in motivating high school students to become excited about chemistry. He has organized chemistry essay competitions and has developed a travelling Chemistry Show which he brings to the west coast of the province as well as Labrador.
Dr. T.A. Loeffler
Schoolof HumanKinetics and Recreation
Dr. Loeffler has been a faculty member of Memorial University since 1995 and has recently achieved full professorship. She has already won two international awards for teaching excellence. She received the Outstanding Experiential Educator of the Year Award from the Association of Experiential Education in 1999. In 2001 she received a Teaching Innovation Award from the Society of Parks and Recreation Educators for her innovative use of digital video and other technologies in her classroom. At Memorial, she was honored in 1998 as a recipient of the Student Union Instructor of the Year Award. She is a prolific teacher, having taught 14 different courses, ranging from outdoor education to tourism to women and sport. Her course load is always full and she frequently agrees to take on extra courses on top of a full load, especially if a student needs a particular course in order to graduate. Dr. Loeffler was instrumental in the development of the Bachelor of Recreation program, developing many of the new courses. She has served on countless committees within Memorial and has been most generous in her service to faculty development through offering regular workshops on experiential education and reflective learning; she is also a regular contributor to the Graduate Program in Teaching.
President’s Award for Exemplary Service
Housing, Food and Conference Services
Student Affairs and Services
Making Paton Collegea home away from home is what Rosalyn Blackwood strives for each day. As manager of accommodations with Housing, Food and Conference Services, she helps ease the transition to university life for hundreds of students every year. A respected employee of Memorial for the past 24 years, Ms Blackwood goes above and beyond her day job and often works well into the evening hours to ensure that students achieve success at the university. What sets her apart is her never ending commitment to Memorial's local, national and international students.
In recognition of her excellent service and commitment to students with disabilities Rosalyn was previously awarded the prestigious Glenn Roy Blundon Award.
Psychology, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College
Kelly Brown was born and raised in Corner Brook and attended Sir Wilfred Grenfell College where she was taught by many of the professors she now calls her co‑workers. She graduated from Memorial with a bachelor of science (honours) degree as well as a master of science in applied social psychology. In September 1995, she began working in the Psychology Department at Grenfell as an instructional assistant. Four years later she became a laboratory instructor. In addition to teaching psychology statistics labs, Ms Brown also teaches a sexual behavior course, assists with high school interviews during the University's Spring recruitment.
David Miller's roots at Memorial University stretch back to when he was student. He graduated with a bachelor of science (honours) degree in chemistry in 1985 and completed his master of science in 1989 specializing in organic chemistry. In 1995, after spending some time as an instructional assistant and laboratory instructor he became a research assistant in the X‑ray crystallography laboratory, which led to a managerial position running the NMR and crystallographic labs. The expanding analytical chemistry facilities were co‑ordinated through C‑CART (Centre for Chemical Analysis Research and Training) in 2002, and Mr. Miller took on the role of director. In 2003, he was seconded to the Office of the Vice‑President (Research) to spearhead the development of a university wide research equipment network known as Core Research Equipment And Instrument Training Network or CREAIT which he now heads.
Faculty of Medicine
A valued employee on Memorial's St. John's campus since 1981, Janet McHugh's career has been marked by a number of promotions and outstanding achievements. She was instrumental in the development of an extremely fair admissions process for the Faculty of Medicine ‑ a process which has been since been recognized nationally for being on the cutting edge with respect to its policies, processes and fair treatment of its applicants. As admissions officer, Ms McHugh assists hundreds of students who wish to pursue a career in medicine. She has also helped create the admissions Web site and online admission process. In 1987, she received the Killick Award which is presented to a member of the Faculty of Medicine who has made an outstanding contribution to a graduating class. Ms McHugh is a respected member of the Memorial community and is an enthusiastic co‑worker.
Glenn Roy Blundon Centre for Students with Disabilities
Student Affairs and Services
During her 25‑year tenure at Memorial University, Ruth North has worked in the Department of Human Resources and the Division of Labour Relations and has been the assistant to the special advisor to the president on labour relations. But her most lasting impression on the university community has been as the founding co‑ordinator of the Glenn Roy Blundon Centre for Students with Disabilities, a position she has held since 1991.
Ms North is responsible for ensuring students with short‑ and long‑term disabilities associated with learning, vision, hearing, mobility, chronic illnesses and psychiatric conditions have the services they need in order to succeed at Memorial.
Ms North has a bachelor of vocational education degree and a master of education (post‑secondary education, student services/development) from Memorial and a diploma of applied arts from the College of the North Atlantic. She has received the award of accomplishment from the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services and the award of excellence from the Atlantic Association of College and University Student Services.
3M Teaching Fellowship
Dr. Georg Gunther
Educated at the Universityof Toronto, where he received his bachelor of science, master's of science and his PhD, Dr. Georg Gunther has been a valued member of MemorialUniversity's Sir Wilfred Grenfell College since 1977. Prior to coming to Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. Gunther was a research assistant at the Technical University of Munich and an assistant professor at Scarborough College.
Dr. Gunther is heralded by his students and colleagues as a brilliant educator. For him, mathematics education is a personal and professional passion because it is a pathway to student empowerment. His gift lies in the creation of engaging campus‑wide learning environments which extend beyond his classroom.
In 1994, he won Memorial's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching and has been honoured with the Atlantic Association of Universities Award for Distinguished Teaching. Dr. Gunther was named head of the college's Division of Science in 1996, a position he held until 2002. Today, he is program chair of the General Science Program at Grenfell and a prolific member of the Division of Science (Mathematics).
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