Faculty of Arts celebrates its outstanding members

Each year York’s Faculty of Arts presents the Dean’s Awards to recognize and celebrate outstanding research, teaching and service to students. On Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Faculty of Arts Council meeting, Dean Robert Drummond presented the 2004-2005 awards to seven faculty members.

Right: Two of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research recipients, W. Craig Heron (left) and Maria Legerstee, with Dean Robert Drummond 

The Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research recognizes up to four faculty members for research published within the past three years, taking into account the academic significance of the work and its impact on the field. Awards were presented to:

Professor W. Craig Heron, Department of History
In addition to his other significant accomplishments, Heron published the acclaimed Booze: A Distilled History and has another book in press. As one of his referees noted, “it is also remarkable that he has consistently supported community-based endeavours, such as the workers’ museum in Hamilton, as well as speaking to broad popular audiences and publishing in non-scholarly outlets. Many university professors think it is impossible to maintain high standards and reach the general educated public, but Professor Heron’s activities in this regard show that there is no need to compromise one’s standards.”

Professor Maria Legerstee, Department of Psychology
Legerstee is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading investigators in infancy research, a field of emerging importance. Her referees point out that “she has designed clever and original experimental procedures that serve to illuminate important dimensions of non-verbal cognition”. Her forthcoming book, “Infants’ Sense of People: Precursors to Theory of Mind” (Oxford University Press, December, 2005), is set to make yet another significant contribution.

Professor Carolyn Podruchny, Department of History
Porduchny, who received her PhD in 1999, has published a monograph, a collection of essays, a book chapter, four refereed journal papers, two papers in refereed conference proceedings, five encyclopedia entries, seven published book and exhibition reviews, and six non-refereed scholarly articles and reports. She has presented 34 papers to conferences in the UK, the US and Canada, and her 2002 article “Baptizing novices: ritual moments among French Canadian voyageurs in the Montreal fur trade, 1780-1821” received the prestigious award for the best article appearing in the Canadian Historical Review.

Left: Associate Dean, Research & Faculty Relations Irmgard Steinisch (left) with two Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching recipients, Michele Johnson (centre) and Myriam Mongrain 

The Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching recognizes up to three faculty members for excellence in the classroom, including contributions to departmental teaching culture. Awards were presented to:

Professor Michele Johnson, Department of History
Johnson is known as a caring professor who brings out the absolute best in her students. A colleague who has taught with her in a variety of settings says she is “one of the most gifted teachers [he] has ever seen.” Students emphasize her approachability and humour and enthusiastically participate in her intellectually engaging classes. Through encouraging senior students to publish journal articles and participate in the scholarly community, Johnson creates a collegial and supportive atmosphere that convinces students of their own potential.

Professor Myriam Mongrain, Department of Psychology
Colleagues marvel at Mongrain’s ability to create a warm and enthusiastic atmosphere in an introductory class of 500. A talented instructor with “spectacular” teaching evaluation scores, students rave about her classes and appreciate how she views them as individuals with personal as well as academic lives. In addition to inspiring and motivating her students, Mongrain models outstanding teaching for her colleagues and teaching assistants. A former TA explains that he tries to instill in his teaching “the same compassion, dedication, fairness, and professionalism that Professor Mongrain does.”

Professor Alexandra Rutherford, Department of Psychology
Rutherford is one of those instructors you hear “nothing but glowing and positive things about”, suggested her referees. She is renowned by colleagues and students alike for her supportive and sensitive attitude, her engaging and interactive classroom style and her great passion for teaching and mentoring students. Rutherford’s commitment to excellence in teaching is also illustrated by her consistently high scores on course evaluations and her enthusiastic participation in a broad range of teaching-related activities.

Right: Dean Robert Drummond (left) with Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service to Students recipient Larry Lam

The Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service to Students, which recognizes significant contributions to supporting students outside of the classroom, was presented to:

Professor Larry Lam, Department of Sociology
Lam’s dedication to student service is legendary. He has contributed to a long list of student-focused projects and committees, including serving two terms as undergraduate program director for the Department of Sociology. Not only is Lam referred to as approachable and enthusiastic by all who know him, he is also known for his comprehensive understanding of the University and for going out of his way to help students with problems. A colleague describes him as “one of the greatest assets of York University”.