York to honour three of its own during Spring Convocation

York will honour the contributions of three of its own during the upcoming Spring Convocation ceremonies. Political science Professor Robert Drummond, dean of the Faculty of Arts, will be awarded the title of University Professor, while Sheila Embleton, vice-president academic & provost, and biology Professor Bridget Stutchbury will be awarded the title of Distinguished Research Professor.

The University Professorship is awarded to a member of the faculty whom the University recognizes for his or her scholarship, teaching and particularly for participation in University life or contribution to the University as a community. A Distinguished Research Professorship is awarded to a member of the faculty who has made outstanding contributions to the University through research. The Distinguished Research Professor will have demonstrated scholarly achievement by sustained publication or other recognized and accepted demonstrations of sustained authoritative contributions to scholarship.

Robert Drummond (left) is a recognized expert in the government and politics of Ontario and public policy in an aging society. His principal areas of research and teaching also include political parties and elections, and Canadian public policy including pensions and retirement, labour and health. He has published numerous chapters in books and articles on Ontario politics, including the Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs and Canadian Forum. Drummond also served as the assistant English-language editor of the Canadian Journal of Political Science from 1971 to 1974.

Drummond has a long history of service to the University and has played an integral role in developing the Faculty of Arts as acting dean from 1993 to 1994 and then as dean from 2001 to the present. He has also served as vice-chair and chair of the Senate of York University. Come July 1, Drummond will be taking administrative leave and will continue his research.

A linguistics professor, Sheila Embleton’s (right) areas of scholarly interest include historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, dialectology, mathematical/statistical methods in linguistics, onomastics, Peircean semiotics, and women and language. She has published in all these areas. Her areas of language specialization include English, German, Germanic, French, Romance, Slavic and Finno-Ugric.

She is the author of Statistics in Historical Linguistics (Brockmeyer, 1986), the editor of the Fourteenth Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States Forum (1988) and Twenty-Fourth LACUS Forum (1998), and co-editor of Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans (1992) and The Emergence of the Modern Language Sciences: Studies on the Transition from Historical-Comparative to Structural Linguistics Vol. 1 Historiographical Perspectives and Vol. 2 Methodological Perspectives and Applications (John Benjamins Publishing Co., 1999). She is also associate editor of Diachronica and The Journal of Quantitative Linguistics, and review editor of Word and Journal of Finnish Studies.

In her capacity as vice-president academic & provost, Embleton served as chair of the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents (OCAV) from 2004 to 2008, has been on OCAV’s executive since 2001. She chairs its standing committee on international issues and represents it on several Council of Ontario Universities committees and task forces. In 2006-2007, she was chair of the National Association of Vice-Presidents Academic Council.

At the Stutchbury Lab, Bridget Stutchbury (left), Canada Research Chair in Ecology & Conservation Biology, does research on the conservation biology, ecology and behaviour of songbirds in North America and the New World tropics. Most recently, she has been researching the migration of songbirds.

Using light level geolocators on purple martins and wood thrush, she has been able to track individual songbirds to their wintering grounds and back. These small devices have a stalk with a light sensor at the end, and are mounted on the birds’ backs, like radio-transmitters. When the bird returns in spring, the geolocators are retrieved and downloaded. What she found was the spring migration rate was remarkably rapid. Purple martins returned from Brazil in as little as 13 days and most wood thrush returned from Honduras/Nicaragua in 13 to 15 days.

Stutchbury also examines the effects of forest fragmentation on the mating system, movements and breeding behaviour of forest songbirds. Her lab uses paternity testing and radiotelemetry to study female choice and the male traits that enhance male mating success, such as coloration and song. What she has found is that several forest songbirds routinely cross open gaps and do not need corridors. In addition, the lab has used radiotelemetry to determine the survival of young birds after they leave nest and is testing how forest fragmentation and logging affects this fledgling survival.

To be nominated for University Professor, the candidate needs to be a long-serving tenured faculty member, who has made an extraordinary contribution to the University as a colleague, teacher and scholar. That includes a significant long-term contribution to the development or growth of the University or of its parts; significant participation in the collegium through mentorship, service and/or governance; sustained impact over time on the University’s teaching mission; and recognition as a scholar.

For the title of Distinguished Research Professor, the faculty member must have made a sustained and continuing contribution to the field or fields of scholarship involved and have an international reputation in the field of study involved. In addition, the member’s work must be of excellent quality, have made a major impact on the discipline or field of study involved and be recognized within and appreciated beyond the University. The title is awarded for life and evolves into a Distinguished Research Professorship Emeritus upon retirement.