Atkinson community celebrates excellence

Over 70 faculty members from the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies gathered to celebrate at the annual Dean’s Reception for Excellence in Research & Teaching on March 7. More than 50 books and 60 articles were on display, highlighting the impressive volume and variety of research projects and initiatives undertaken by faculty.

Above: Associate Dean Michael Michie (left) with award recipients Andrea O’Reilly and Jimmy Huang, and Atkinson Dean Rhonda Lenton

Included in the display were studies on a wide variety of topics including: social reproduction; race, racism and empire; the Muslim diaspora; tsunami and disaster management; gender equality in Iranian history; farming in Canada; transsexuality and the 2004 Olympics; economics; hypertext technology; biblical studies; and mothering.

"The Dean’s Reception for Excellence in Research & Teaching recognizes and celebrates the Faculty’s research and teaching accomplishments during the past year," said Atkinson Dean Rhonda Lenton (right). "Atkinson boasts a particularly broad range of research and teaching interests, spanning areas like administrative studies, social sciences, public policy, social services, information technology and the humanities. Over the past three years, both the number of grants held and the total research funding held by Atkinson researchers has doubled. I’d like to congratulate all of our faculty members on their accomplishments and wish them continued success."

One of the highlights of the reception was the announcement of this year’s Atkinson Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research. The award was established to recognize researchers for work published within the preceding three years, the academic significance of the work and its impact on the field. The Committee on Research chose two tenured faculty members and one junior faculty member from what the dean called "a strong and impressive nomination pool."

Jimmy Huang (left), a professor in the School of Information Technology, was awarded for his expertise in the area of data mining and information retrieval. Over the past three years Huang has published 32 refereed papers and two book chapters, and has given 22 conference presentations. His research team consistently excels at the annual global Text Retrieval Competition (TREC), ranking first in the High Accuracy Retrieval and Document Competition in 2004, and taking both first and second place in the Genomics Track Competition in 2005.

"I am very happy to receive the award; it is an honour to see my work recognized," said Huang. "I consider it an appreciation of my hard work on research, but also encouragement for the School of Information Technology. This award is something that all of our ITEC faculty members can be proud of."

Professor Andrea O’Reilly (left), from the School of Arts & Letters, was honoured for her research on mothering. O’Reilly is widely recognized as an international expert and pioneer in research on the field. She founded the Association for Research on Mothering (ARM) in 1998 and created the Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, which is the only scholarly journal on the topic. Over the past three years, O’Reilly has published two books, three edited collections, nearly 20 book chapters and several refereed articles. She is an inspirational mentor to researchers both nationally and internationally who study diverse perspectives on mothering.

"I am very honoured to be a recipient," said O’Reilly. "I think it is also important to acknowledge the work of others who have made a contribution to my research but go unrecognized. I’d like to particularly thank Renée Knapp, director of marketing and my assistant at ARM. This award belongs as much to her as it does me. It has been an uphill battle to have research on mothering and motherhood acknowledged as legitimate scholarship and validated in the academic community. Receiving this award affirms and confirms that motherhood research is now recognized as important scholarship. I am delighted that ARM has helped to build and sustain this community of motherhood scholars. I would like to thank Atkinson for honouring ARM and my scholarship by way of this prestigious award."

Mark Schwartz, a professor in the School of Administrative Studies, was the recipient in the Junior Faculty category, honoured for his exceptional research in the area of business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Schwartz was unable to attend the reception because he was at a conference. The dean, however, expressed gratitude on Schwartz’s behalf and thanked his colleagues for their ongoing support.

Right: Associate Dean Michael Michie examines the display of published work produced by Atkinson faculty members

Over the past three years, Schwartz has published 29 articles in journal or conference proceedings, book chapters and cases. He has also presented 10 papers at refereed conferences and has another five articles in progress. Schwartz’s research includes groundbreaking work on codes of conduct and an alternative model for corporate responsibility. His work is widely cited and included in course syllabi around the world and in leading textbooks in the field.

The celebration also provided an opportunity to re-honour 2005 recipients of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research, who were given a plaque commemorating their achievements. Sung Kwon was recognized for his innovative work on comparing accounting practices of high and low technology firms; and Parbudyal Singh was acknowledged for publishing a phenomenal amount of high quality work in the fields of industrial relations, sports management and human resources.

Recipients of the 2005-2006 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching received a plaque as well. They included Sue Coffey from the School of Nursing; Frances Latchford from the School of Arts & Letters; and Julia Richardson from the School of Administrative Studies. The award, established in 2005, highlights contributions to learning and success, while recognizing the individual impact an instructor can have on Atkinson’s rich and diverse teaching and learning culture. Recipients for 2006-2007 will be announced in May.

For more information on research at Atkinson visit or contact Steven Hermans, research officer, at