Two York profs to be named Distinguished Research Professors

Two York professors, whose scholarship in Aboriginal law and vision research has broken new ground, will be recognized by the University as distinguished research professors during convocation ceremonies this year.

Aboriginal law scholar Brian Slattery, a professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and John Tsotsos, professor in the Department. of Computer Science & Engineering, Faculty of Science & Engineering and past director of York’s Centre for Vision Research, will be awarded the title of Distinguished Research Professor at the University’s Spring 2008 Convocation ceremonies.

The 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 18 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.

Professor Brian Slattery (left) joined Osgoode Hall Law School in 1981, having previously held positions at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Montreal’s McGill University. Widely regarded as the leading Aboriginal rights scholar in Canada over the past two decades, Slattery’s work has been relied upon by the Supreme Court of Canada in more than a dozen cases, including all of the major Aboriginal rights decisions of the past decade. He is also one of the most frequently cited members of the Osgoode faculty in Canadian law reviews over the past 15 years. In addition, he has made major, influential contributions in a variety of related fields, including constitutional law, legal history and legal theory.

Since joining the Osgoode faculty, he has published four books, 21 book chapters and 25 journal articles and they have been recognized for their seminal and original character, both in Canada and in such Commonwealth countries as Australia and New Zealand. The influential nature of his work in the area of Aboriginal rights led to his induction into the Royal Society of Canada in 1995, an elite group of this country’s top scholars and scientists.

As Canada Research Chair in Computational Vision, Professor John Tsotsos (right) is looking for ways to model human mechanisms of visual motion in machines. Integrating the fields of visual psychology, computer vision, robotics and visual neuroscience, he is developing robotic wheelchairs for the disabled that can be controlled by vision. His research in active vision (computer vision systems equipped with cameras that move and attend to items of interest), motion recognition, and mobile robotics will benefit Canadian industry and the health sciences by advancing software and hardware design, and application, as well as by developing better medical diagnostic tools and biomedical visual and motor devices for use by disabled children and adults. Tsotsos developed the Selective Tuning Model (STM) for visual attention, which is widely considered the leading model for consolidating current understanding of the process of visual attention.

Tsotsos has led many experimental efforts in active vision. As well, he designed and implemented the first computerized motion recognition system, showing that visual motion converted into digital image sequences can be automatically detected, quantified and interpreted by a computer. This work was applied to cardiology, providing the first example of an automated system to assess the performance of the left ventricle from X-ray image sequences.