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Outstanding work recognized at 2015 Faculty of Arts Awards

Annual event set for May 4 in MacEwan Hall Ballroom  


Susan Graham, a professor with the Department of Psychology, will be awarded the Established Scholar Research Award at the 2015 Faculty of Arts Awards ceremony and celebration on May 4. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

By Heath McCoy
April 23, 2015

With another academic year coming to a close, the annual Faculty of Arts Awards ceremony and celebration is upon us, set for May 4, 2 to 5 p.m. in MacEwan Hall Ballroom.

Honouring faculty who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of research, teaching and internationalization, as well as staff members who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, the ceremony is a chance to celebrate our accomplishments in style. The awards portion of the afternoon will be followed by a cocktail reception featuring music by the University of Calgary Jazz Quartet.

Dean Richard Sigurdson says that for him the Faculty of Arts Awards has become a highlight event marking the end of each academic year.

“I’m very proud of the diversity and scope of the teaching and research that’s being done in this faculty, with areas of scholarly expertise ranging from music and the fine arts to linguistics, geography, economics and political sciences – and that’s only scratching the surface of what we offer here,” comments Sigurdson. “I dare say that no other faculty on campus can touch us in this respect. It’s one of the qualities that sets the Faculty of Arts apart in the University of Calgary.”

“This awards ceremony is the time when we can really showcase that diversity and celebrate it, by honouring some of our outstanding faculty members and employees from a wide range of departments.”

Ten honours will be handed out at the 2015 Faculty of Arts Awards. The recipients include:

Established Scholar Research Award: Susan Graham (Psychology)
Graham has been recognized as a leader in the field of language acquisition in infants and children, reflected by her 12 years as Canada Research Chair in Language and Cognitive Development. In addition she was elected to the status of Fellow in the Association for Psychological Science and she serves as associate editor for the Journal of Cognition and Development.

Established Scholar Research Award: George Colpitts (History)
Since 2014 Colpitts – who studies environmental history and ethnohistory, with a focus on northern and western Canada – has published three books. He is also a founder of the Parks and Protected Spaces Legacy Group, which has forged an important relationship between the university archives and Canadian Parks Council.

New Scholar Research Award: Josh Bourdage (Psychology)
Since receiving his PhD in psychology from this university Bourdage has emerged as one of the leaders of the department’s Industrial/Organizational program, researching psychology in the workplace. Since joining the department in 2014, he has published five peer reviewed publications, including one in the prestigious Journal of Applied Psychology, which is the top journal in his field.

Established Teacher Award: Brian Smith (SCPA – Drama)
A former head of the drama department and former associate dean of fine arts (research), Smith has been inspiring students in acting and directing since the 1980s. He’s known for his famously gentle style, which encourages students to dig deep and take artistic risks. But this approach never lessens the clear-sighted, rigor of his critiques.

Established Teacher Award: Reid Buchanan (Philosophy)
As a philosophy instructor Buchanan has demonstrated remarkable range, teaching courses in epistemology and metaphysics, which are his key research interests, but also taking on classes on the philosophy of religion, bioethics and business ethics. He’s known for fostering an environment of open discussion and debate in his courses while tackling such controversial subjects as the existence of God, abortion and other Epistemic problems.

Established Teacher Award: Rod Squance (SPCA – Music)
As a sessional instructor of music Squance has proven his value to the program on a number of fronts, teaching private lessons for Bachelor of Music percussion students and large enrolment courses in World Music designed for non-music majors, in addition to chamber music coaching and teaching ethnomusicology. He has led the university’s World Music Ensemble to become one of our most successful ensembles with high concert attendance and top-notch performances.

Emerging Teacher Award: Michael Adorjan (Sociology)
Adorjan, who focuses on criminology, came to us this year from the University of Hong Kong. He’s known for his enthusiasm, good humour and the constructive use of multi media and technology in the classroom. In a course that examined such issues as cyber bullying, students were tasked with creating an avatar of themselves and interacting with created beings in an online world as a means of exploring deviant behavior online. This is but one example of Adorjan’s innovative teaching style.

Leadership in Internationalization: Caesar Apentiik (Anthropology and Archaeology)
Apentiik was a driving force in the implementation of Development Studies and African Studies within the faculty and he acts as a coordinator for both programs. He often works with international organizations to provide practicum placements and he coordinated a program wherein University of Calgary students went to developing countries to work on issues of development.

Outstanding Staff Recognition Award: Michelle Vogt (Psychology)
As an undergraduate program advisor in the Department of Psychology, Vogt has a huge job. With over 700 majors psychology has one of the largest undergraduate programs on campus and Vogt is their guide, sitting down with every honours thesis student to provide personalized degree planning. Faculty members rely on her too. Susan Boon will tell you that when she took on the role of Director of Undergraduate Studies last year, Michelle helped ease her into the role thanks to both her efficiency and knowledge of the institution.

Outstanding Staff Recognition Award: Biljana Arnautovic, Sabine Dillenberg, Francesa Pisicoli and Sarah Taekema (Lingusitics, Languages and Cultures)
Our second staff recognition award goes to a team of individuals – Biljana Arnautovic, Sabine Dillenberg, Francesa Pisicoli and Sarah Taekema – who reside in the Department of Linguistics, Languages and Cultures. Sabine Dillenberg is the manager of administrative services, Francey Pisicoli handles web communications, promotions and public relations, Biljana Arnautovic is the graduate programs administrator, and Sarah Taekema is the department services assistant.

They have challenging jobs because this department was only created two years ago when the former Department of Linguistics merged with the Department of Germanic, Slavic and East Asian Studies. In addition, the new department launched the Arabic Language & Muslim Cultures course in the last two years. Needless to say, major transitions like that can be complicated and, in their respective roles, this efficient and dedicated team has helped make the change a great success all around.

RSVP by April 27 for the 2015 Faculty of Arts Awards