York names three new distinguished research professors

Three York professors, whose scholarship is in education, antimatter and law, will be recognized by the University as distinguished research professors during convocation ceremonies this year.

Professor Deborah Britzman, past director, Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought and a professor in York’s School of Women’s Studies and the Faculty of Education, and Professor Allan Hutchinson, associate dean at Osgoode Hall Law School, will be awarded the title of Distinguished Research Professor at the University’s Spring 2006 Convocation ceremonies. 

Professor Eric Hessels, York’s Canada Research Chair in Atomic Physics, will be awarded the  Distinguished Research Professor designation during the University’s Fall 2006 Convocation.

The three professors were nominated by their colleagues and were selected to receive the title because of their dedication to excellence in their particular fields.

The title of Distinguished Research Professor is awarded for life and evolves into a Distinguished Research Professorship Emeritus on retirement. All of York’s distinguished research professors are encouraged to continue their involvement in the intellectual life of the University following retirement. York currently has 15 active distinguished research professors, and there are 22 individuals who hold the title of Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus.

The major criterion for this honour is sustained and outstanding scholarly, professional or artistic achievement where a significant portion of the candidate’s work has been accomplished at York. This award is inclusive of all full-time faculty members in all disciplinary areas at York.

Deborah Britzman (left) is a professor in the Faculty of Education and holds cross appointments in the Graduate Programs in Social and Political Thought, Women’s Studies, and Psychology. From 2001 to 2005, she served as director for the Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought at York University. Britzman writes in the areas of psychoanalysis and education, studies in contemporary theory and difficult knowledge in education, and in teacher education.

Britzman is the recipient of numerous awards including the James and Helen Meritt Distinguished Service Award to the Philosophy of Education from Northern Illinois University (2003); the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations Teaching Award (1999); and the Faculty of Graduate Studies Teaching Award, York University (1999).

She is the author of four books, Practice Makes Practice: A Critical Study of Learning to Teach (1991); Lost Subjects, Contested Objects: Toward a Psychoanalytic Inquiry of Learning (1998); After-Education: Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, and Psychoanalytic Histories of Learning (2003); and Novel Education: Psychoanalytic Studies of Learning and Not Learning (Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education (2006).

Known as the “master of antimatter”, Eric Hessels (right) is one of the top experimentalists in the world making high-precision studies of one, two and three electron systems (atomic hydrogen, helium, lithium) to 200 parts per billion. The results enable quantum electrodynamics to be tested with a new precision. Hessels has been a pioneer in the project to make antihydrogen (antiproton and a positron), to be used by the ATRAP (Antihydrogen Trap) group at CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which is headquartered in Geneva and possesses the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.

His international research excellence has been recognized by many awards, including the Polanyi Prize, the Herzberg Medal of the Canadian Association of Physicists, the Francis Pipkin Award of the American Physical Society, a Canadian Research Chair (Tier I), and an NSERC Steacie Memorial Fellowship.

A member of Osgoode Hall Law School’s faculty since 1982, Allan Hutchinson (right) served as associate dean at Osgoode Hall Law School from 1994 to 1996. In 2004, he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada as a Fellow. He is currently the associate dean (research, graduate studies and external relations) and was appointed to the York University Board of Governors on July 1, 2005.

Hutchinson is a legal theorist with an international reputation for his original and provocative writings. As well as publishing in most all of the common-law world’s leading law journals, he has written or edited many books. Much of his work has been devoted to examining the failure of law to live up to its democratic promise. His most recent books include Evolution and the Common Law (2004) and The Companies We Keep: Corporate Governance and Democracy (2005).

Hutchinson played a pivotal role in establishing Osgoode Hall Law School’s Joint Program with the New York University School of Law. (For the full story, see the Jan. 27, 2005 issue of YFile.)