LA&PS professors earn awards in teaching and research

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The Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) celebrated excellence in teaching and research at the annual award ceremony during the first 2017-18 meeting of the Faculty Council. The 2017 winners represent the fields of history, economics, philosophy, humanities, administrative studies and sociology.

The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recognized two faculty members and one teaching assistant for their commitment and dedication to students.

The LA&PS Awards for Distinction in Research, Creativity or Scholarship honoured two emerging researchers, two established researchers and one social justice researcher.

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Professor Gordana Colby, PhD student Vedrana Cetina and Professor Sean Kheraj were this year’s recipients of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

“Our legacy lies with our exceptional students,” said Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, dean of LA&PS. “They serve as testament to the strengths of our faculty members as educators.”

Professor Sean Kheraj from the Department of History received the Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Tenured Faculty category. A highly-respected professor who teaches Canadian, environmental and digital histories, Kheraj brings innovative and technologically savvy strategies to the classroom.

“Universities are exciting because they are one of the very few institutions in Canadian society devoted to the exploration of ideas and the production of knowledge,” said Kheraj. “Students should walk away with both new knowledge and new skills.”

Professor Gordana Colby from the Department of Economics received the teaching excellence award in the Contract Faculty category. A passionate and committed educator, she champions new and fruitful ways to foster student success and improve the quality of the first-year experience.

“I am most passionate about inspiring each student to engage and connect with the material,” said Colby. “In order to do this, it is really important that the classroom, be it a physical room or a virtual space, is an inclusive, comfortable, respectful and engaging place to be.”

PhD student Vedrana Cetina, in the Department of Philosophy, was recognized in the Teaching Assistant category. Whether she’s teaching in a large lecture hall or speaking one-on-one, she is known for motivating students and making philosophy both compelling and comprehensible.

“What I enjoy most is to foster student’s growth,” said Cetina. “I see teaching as a unique opportunity not only to explore different philosophical theories, but also to witness and attend to my student’s growth both as critical thinkers and human beings.”

LA&PS Award for Distinction in Research, Creativity or Scholarship

Professor Joan Judge, Professor Luin Goldring and Professor Alice MacLachlan were some of the recipients of the LA&PS Award for Distinction in Research, Creativity or Scholarship

“Research in LA&PS is diverse, progressive and global in scope. It spans the full breadth of the humanities, social sciences and professional fields,” said Mukherjee-Reed. “I am so delighted to learn about the work of my distinguished colleagues.”

Professor Sylwia Chrostowska from the Department of Humanities received the Award for Distinction in Research in the Emerging Researcher Category. She is widely recognized by her peers for successfully straddling the divide between academic writing and literature.

“Scholarly research can be written up as a standard article or book, but it can also feed into more creative forms of writing, as in my case,” said Chrostowska. “Creative or literary writing, which privileges the imagination but isn’t simply ‘fiction’, has led me to insights I might not have had otherwise.”

Professor Alice MacLachlan from the Department of Philosophy was also recognized in the Emerging Researcher Category. Described by her peers as a brilliant research leader, she is also well known as a thought leader in ethics, feminist philosophy and the role of apology in establishing trust.

“I’m most passionate about the relationship between philosophy and practices of social change, specifically local and broader efforts to confront the effects of wrongdoing and to reconcile after longstanding conflict and injustice,” said MacLachlan. “I’ve thought about the role that practices of forgiveness and apologies play in these efforts; my current research focuses on the role of civility.”

Professor Joan Judge from the Department of History received the Award for Distinction in Research in the Established Researcher category. One of the most respected scholars of modern Chinese history and culture, she has influenced an entire generation of historians.

“The world is becoming smaller and the presence of China looms ever larger in so many spheres of our lives: Chinese medicine is becoming mainstream, for example, and China’s economic power is shaping global commercial and political relations,” said Judge. “In order to understand China today, it’s critical to understand not just the broad outlines of this history and culture, but the ways history and culture are being used, understood and politicized in China today.”


Hassan Qudrat-Ullah

from the School of Administrative Studies was honoured in the Established Researcher category. A highly prolific researcher in the field of decision sciences and system dynamics approach, he is skilled at mobilizing resources to establish his own innovative research niche.

“What I enjoy most about my research is the privilege it grants me to pursue ideas, create new knowledge, convince stakeholders, and see the implementation of my ideas about sustainable development  through better decision making in the use of resources, especially energy,” said Qudrat-Ullah. “Research, by all means is our future; it is the most promising and time-tested way of pursuit of new knowledge, often for the sake of finding solutions for issues we face on a daily basis.”

Professor Luin Goldring, in the Department of Sociology, was the winner of the biennial LA&PS Award in Social Justice Research. Known for her ground-breaking work on the experiences of migrant workers in Canada, she exemplifies the spirit of social justice.

“Over the last 15 to 20 years there has been a dramatic change in Canadian policies around immigration, refugees and citizenship. After about 35 years of being a country with most newcomers arriving as permanent residents, Canada began to see a dramatic increase in temporary migration,” said Goldring. “Our work on non-citizen precarious immigration and legal status trajectories offers empirical evidence about an understudied population and a process not captured in official statistics. Our work contributes qualitative and quantitative data on the systemic and long-term challenges faced by people with precarious status. Our work also supports efforts to expand access to education for precarious status youth living in Canada.”