Faculty and staff recognized for outstanding achievement

Dec 12th, 2014

Marketing & Communications

Faculty and staff recognized for outstanding achievement

President Gary Kachanoski has announced the Memorial University’s outstanding educators, researchers and staff members for 2014.

The president’s awards recognize excellence in teaching, research, service and community service. The awards are announced annually and will be formally presented at a ceremony Dec. 11.

“I extend a special congratulations to our award recipients,” said Dr. Kachanoski. “While they are called the President’s Awards, they are truly a reflection of the high esteem in which our Memorial University community holds the recipients, because all of them have been nominated for these honours by their peers or their students.”

Dr. Seán Brosnan, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, has been awarded the 2014 John Lewis Paton Distinguished University Professorship, Memorial’s newest and most prestigious award for faculty. Named for the founding president of Memorial University College, the award recognizes those who distinguish themselves across the continuum of teaching and learning, research and public engagement. Dr. Brosnan is an accomplished educator and one of Memorial’s premier scientists and researchers in the Department of Biochemistry.

Dr. Trevor Bell, Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, and Dr. Christopher Kovacs, Faculty of Medicine, have been named University Research Professors. The title University Research Professor is a designation above the rank of professor and goes to a faculty member who has demonstrated a consistently high level of scholarship and whose research is of a truly international stature.

The President’s Award for Exceptional Community Service has been awarded to Dr. Leonard Lye, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. This award is presented in recognition of employees (faculty or staff) who have demonstrated outstanding community service.

The President’s Award for Outstanding Research has been awarded to Dr. Andrew Staniland, School of Music. The President's Award for Outstanding Research recognizes young researchers who have made significant contributions to their scholarly disciplines.

Dr. Faisal Khan, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, has been 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.

The President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, recognizing teaching excellence in the university community, was presented to Dr. Karen Parsons, School of Nursing, and to Prof. Lyle Wetsch, Faculty of Business Administration.

Other teaching awards – for outstanding teaching − recognize remarkable efforts in the classroom by a faculty members with 5-10 years of service to the university, and lecturers and instructional staff with a minimum of five course sections taught.

The President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching (Faculty) has been awarded to Dr. Geoff Rideout, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

The President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching (Lecturers and Instructional Staff) has been awarded to Prof. Terry Hussey, Faculty of Business Administration.

The President’s Awards for Exemplary Service have been awarded to six remarkable Memorial community members. They are Mary Dray, co-ordinator, Office of Student Affairs, Faculty of Medicine; Lisa Fleet, manager, research programs, Professional Development and Conference Services, Faculty of Medicine; Arlene McDonald, enrolment clerk, Office of the Registrar, Marine Institute; Wendy Murphy, officer, Campus Enforcement and Patrol, and Lynette Wells, officer, Campus Enforcement and Patrol (shared); and Darlene Spracklin, senior instructional designer, Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support and Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

The President's Award for Exemplary Service is presented to employees who have demonstrated outstanding service and/or who have made significant contributions to the university community beyond that normally expected for their positions. 

The president’s awards ceremony will take place in the Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation on the St. John’s campus.

A short biography of all 16 award recipients follows below.

John Lewis Paton Distinguished University Professorship

Dr. Sean Brosnan 
Dr. Brosnan is an accomplished educator and one of Memorial’s premier scientists and researchers in the Department of Biochemistry.

His expertise in metabolism and the biochemistry of vitamins has led his research to being continuously funded by national funding bodies for 41 years, he has published over 150 papers and he happily brings that know-how to the classroom.

Dr. Brosnan holds a University Research Professorship from Memorial and is one of the first Memorial professors to be elected into fellowship at the Royal Society of Canada.

He also has an exemplary record of engagement and service, being active, for example, with the provincial branch of the Canadian Diabetes Association for almost 40 years.


University Research Professor

Dr. Trevor Bell 
Dr. Bell is a professor from the Department of Geography, in the Faculty of Arts, and cross-appointed with the Department of Archaeology.

His research is multi-faceted, interdisciplinary, and visionary. Dr. Bell’s contribution to research has enhanced our understanding of how the environment has changed and what those changes have on natural and human systems.

For the past 20 years, Dr. Bell has supported and trained 47 graduate students through his research programs, including field supervision in remote Arctic locations. He was a co-founder for many successful research networks and was a co-investigator for five International Polar Year projects; he has received more than $15 million to support ongoing research programs.

Dr. Christopher Kovacs 
Dr. Kovacs is an endocrinologist and researcher in the area of calcium and bone metabolism with the Faculty of Medicine. His translational research focuses on adaptations in calcium and bone metabolism that occur during reproduction and fetal development.

Dr. Kovacs’s independent research career has been funded for 20 consecutive years by the Medical Research Council / Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).

He has received over a dozen national and international awards for excellence in research, including the 2003 Gold Medal in Medicine from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the 2003 Young Investigator Award from the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Since 2000, his graduate students have won 47 national and international awards for excellence in research.


President’s Award for Exceptional Community Service

Dr. Leonard Lye 
Dr. Lye is associate dean of graduate studies and a professor of civil engineering.

Dr. Lye has a history of exceptional voluntary contributions, from establishing a local branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Canada, to enriching the lives of high school students as director of the Shad Valley program at Memorial, he has made a huge impact.

As founder and coordinator of the Tetra Society’s St. John’s chapter for almost 20 years – a non-profit organization which recruits skilled volunteers to create customized assistive devices for people with physical disabilities – he has taken on numerous projects and solved many problems for persons with disabilities. His strong desire to help people has meant independence, equal opportunities and improved quality of life for many people in the province with disabilities.


President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching

Dr. Karen Parsons
Dr. Parsons is associate professor in the School of Nursing and has been teaching undergraduate and graduate students in clinical, classroom and distance settings at Memorial for 20 years.

She is widely known for her ability to have a positive and lasting influence on her students’ university experience.

Dr. Parson’s exploration of new teaching and learning methods, her involvement in curriculum and program development and her attention to feedback from students and peers does not go unnoticed.

She is highly committed to helping her students gain insight and knowledge, and she engages them in a learning process that is meaningful to them.

Lyle Wetsch
Prof. Wetsch is a renowned digital and social media expert who has quickly established a solid reputation for leadership and innovation in classrooms at Memorial and across North America.

He has been professor of marketing in the Faculty of Business Administration for 11 years.

Always seeking new and innovative ways to present information, Prof. Wetsch believes the most effective learning occurs when there is a high level of engagement from students and teachers alike.

Prof. Wetsch is the recipient of the Faculty of Business Administration’s Dean’s Teaching Innovation Award and the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence as well as a number of educational research grants from the business faculty and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, not to mention the recipient of many industry and teaching awards from organizations across Canada and beyond.


President's Award for Outstanding Teaching (Faculty)

Dr. Geoff Rideout
Dr. Rideout is professor of mechanical engineering at Memorial. He has been with the university since 2006 and has become well-known for his passion for teaching, his focus on the success of his students and his keen ability to connect with them.

Earlier this year, he received the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s first Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence, and was appointed as the faculty’s first director of first-year engineering.


President's Award for Outstanding Teaching (Lecturer)

Terry Hussey
Mr. Hussey has been teaching in Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration for just two years, but already he has developed a reputation for being a talented, dedicated and enthusiastic teacher. He holds two degrees from Memorial – an undergraduate degree in engineering and a graduate degree in business administration.

What does Mr. Hussey enjoy the most about teaching? In his own words, he “thrives on helping people become better versions of themselves” and works under the philosophy that “all students are worthy of encouragement, are capable of excellence and can become excited about learning.”


President's Award for Outstanding Graduate Supervision

Dr. Faisal Khan
Dr. Khan is head of the Department of Process Engineering, and Vale research chair of Safety and Risk Management at Memorial University.

He is well known for going above and beyond to provide timely, constructive, thoughtful feedback on his students’ research progression. His students appreciate his ability to listen and laud his clear interest in their success.

He has been described by many as caring, connected and highly supportive supervisor with the students’ best interests more at heart.

Dr. Khan strongly believes that a graduate student’s education is greatly enhanced by the quality of supervision and the quality of communication between graduate students and their supervisors, and strives for excellence his leadership role.


President’s Award for Outstanding Research

Dr. Andrew Staniland
Dr. Staniland is an assistant professor of composition at Memorial’s School of Music and an accomplished musician and composer.

His compositions have received more than 72 national and international performances from top tier artists and ensembles.

His work, which carries great depth and social significance, has received much national and international acclaim.

He has contributed tremendously to research in digital music, creating a state of the art Electro Acoustic Music Research Lab at Memorial. He collaborated with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science to develop a tool called Arc, an innovative haptic digital musical instrument for real-time performance.

He is the recipient of many awards, including the 2011 International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition from the National Academy of Music; and the national grand prize from the CBC’s Composer Competition.


President’s Award for Exemplary Service

Mary Dray
Ms. Dray has supported and advised medical students about finances and other matters for more than 30 years. As student affairs co-ordinator, Faculty of Medicine, she always puts students first and finds ways to help. She is heavily involved in the MedQuest program for high school students interested in pursuing careers in health and she is a member of several societies as well as national and international associations. She also makes a point to help ensure the annual Monte Carlo fundraising event runs smoothly and professionally. Due to her numerous initiatives, she is one of the first people alumni ask about when they return.

Lisa Fleet 
As manager of research programs with Professional Development and Conference Services in the Faculty of Medicine, Ms. Fleet provides leadership and research expertise in medical education and continuing professional development both provincially and nationally to advance the reputation of the Faculty of Medicine and Memorial University. She is an exceptional employee who is highly regarded for her outstanding research skills, professionalism and commitment. A team player with a keen attention to detail and project management, she has initiated and led more than 40 scholarly studies over the past 12 years. This year alone, she was an integral member of two teams that won national awards for their work.

Arlene McDonald 
Ms. McDonald has an incredible work ethic and loyalty to the Marine Institute.

In the Office of the Registrar, she is helpful to all and pays particular attention to students working on receiving Transport Canada certification – often she calls these “her” students. She has built strong relationships with both students and employers and the support she has provided has enhanced the reputation of the Marine Institute and Memorial University as a world-class education provider for the marine transportation sector. Arlene leads or is directly involved with a number of committees. With 87 audits completed over the past decade, she is one of the most dedicated internal auditors for Marine Institute’s ISO Quality Management System.

Darlene Spracklin-Reid
In her role as senior instructional designer with Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS), Ms. Spracklin-Reid works jointly with DELTS and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. She has helped improve the student experience and has demonstrated a unique ability to connect with educators. She is committed to service learning and volunteerism and has founded the charitable organization Together by Design. She participates on a number of boards and volunteers with organizations including the St. John’s Northeast Rotary Club. Through her numerous efforts, Darlene represents Memorial with integrity and promotes the new and innovative work being conducted here.

Lynette Wells and Wendy Murphy
Campus Enforcement and Patrol officers Ms. Wells and Ms. Murphy were jointly nominated for this award. This is fitting as many of their initiatives have been undertaken together. This dynamic duo have worked, volunteered and fundraised together for numerous causes with many of their efforts supporting the Special Olympics, the Janeway Children’s Hospital, and Campus Enforcement and Patrol’s annual Toys for Kids holiday toy drive. Both are committed to the community and dedicated to their roles in CEP. They represent Memorial with the Atlantic Women in Law Enforcement and, as such, are the only representatives from Atlantic Canadian universities. They take every opportunity to promote CEP and Memorial in a positive fashion and have been inspiring to others.




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