Two York professors will be awarded 2013 University Professorships for their scholarship, teaching and participation in University life or contribution to the University as a community.
Stan Shapson of the Faculty of Education and Paul Wilkinson of the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) were selected by York University’s Senate Committee on Awards to be given the honorific title – University Professor.
A University Professor is a long-serving, tenured faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to the University as a colleague, teacher and scholar, including significant long-term contribution to the development or growth of the University or 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.
In his years at York, Professor Stan Shapson has been dean of the Faculty of Education, associate vice-president of strategic academic initiatives and vice-president of research & innovation (VPRI). In all these roles, his goal has been to increase York’s reputation as a comprehensive, research-intensive University built on international standards of excellence.
His contribution to the teaching mission of the University was not in the classroom, but through the transformation of the Faculty of Education into a research Faculty with innovative programs for the diverse GTA population. Among his accomplishments as dean was the establishment of a PhD program that ended OISE’s long monopoly on doctoral programs in education in Ontario.
During Shapson’s tenure as VPRI, York’s research performance increased dramatically on almost every metric and York’s visibility in Canada and internationally was considerably enhanced. He built on relations developed while dean of education with York’s community– particularly York Region and Markham–establishing links with industrial and health organizations. He produced organizations that were useful for both the business and civic communities and for York students and faculty.
As a member of the Governing Council of the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada from 2001 to 2007, and as interim president in 2005 to 2006, he provided leadership to universities across Canada in key areas such as knowledge mobilization, community engagement and social innovation. In addition to internal support for research, as VPRI he also developed York’s Knowledge Mobilization unit– the first at a Canadian University– to better connect the impacts of social science and humanities research to policy makers and practitioners. In all his work, Shapson has demonstrated commitment to the University and to all its members.
Wilkinson (BA ’70) joined the FES in 1973 as an instructor. In his almost 40 years as a faculty member, he has been an outstanding citizen and champion of the University. It is noted that he “lives and breathes York University”, wrote the Senate Committee on Awards.
His colleagues appreciate his integrity, dedication, enthusiasm and wisdom, and the persistent sense of humour he brings to all he does. His administrative and collegial service is exemplary in every respect. He has chaired every important committee and been associate dean, undergraduate and graduate program director, and PhD program coordinator, playing a pivotal role in expanding the Faculty’s academic programs. He has also been active in Senate, as a member for most of his time at York, with terms as vice-chair and chair, and on numerous Senate committees and sub-committees. He spent two terms representing Senate on the University Board of Governors.
Wilkinson is well-known and frequently sought out as a superb teacher and mentor. He has supervised almost 100 graduate students and has a network of former students around the world, many of whom he keeps in touch with. A highly productive and award-winning scholar, his research over the past two decades into the impacts of recreation and tourism on the carrying capacity and ecological integrity of natural areas, and environmental systems more broadly, is highly regarded.
He is a core member of a group in FES that has developed and implemented a string of highly successful linkages funded by Canadian International Development Agency beginning in the 1970s. For his extraordinary contributions to the University as a colleague, teacher and scholar, Wilkinson is truly worthy of the title of University Professor.