May 9, 2022

Faculty of Arts Awards and Celebration of Excellence 2022

Honouring our best and brightest
Stock image of an award with a star on top

The Faculty of Arts Awards and Celebration of Excellence recognizes outstanding achievements among faculty, staff and alumni in the categories of staff excellence; research; teaching; internationalization; international research; special recognition for respect and compassion; public engagement; equity, diversity, and inclusion; celebrated alumni.

Awards presented virtually on May 10, 2022, starting at 2 p.m.

Here are the 2022 award recipients.

Outstanding Staff Recognition Award (Individual Staff Member)

Sean Lindsay (Calgary Institute for the Humanities)

As Coordinator, Sean Lindsay is the sole administrative support position for the CIH. Since he started in 2018, the CIH has gone through a period of much growth and change, and much of this growth has only been possible because of Lindsay’s wide-ranging skills, his dedication to the job, and the generosity he shows in continually going beyond the tasks that are a part of his job description. His dedication, professionalism and wide-ranging skill set make it possible for the institute to advance the mission of the university in ways that would not be possible or as successful were he not holding this post.

Outstanding Staff Recognition Award (Staff Team)

Kate Innanen, Director, Administrative Operations
Rachel Bruce, Manager, Arts Students’ Centre

Greta Heathcote, Manager, Graduate Students’ Centre
Anisha Karia-Venugopal, Manager, Business Operations Centre
Miranda Dallalba, Manager, Pod Operations (CLARE, History, Philosophy)
Katherine Guevara, Manager, Pod Operations (CMF, English, SLLLC)
Mary Lou Mendyk, Manager, Pod Operations (Art and Art History, SCPA)
Kate Williams, Manager, Pod Operations (Economics, Political Science, Sociology)
Shelley Wind, Manager, Pod Operations (Anthropology and Archaeology, Geography, Psychology)

These nine managers have contributed their expertise and hard work to conceptualize and operationalize the restructuring of the faculty’s administrative services. Working together as a cohesive and effective team, they have worked through the necessary principles, priorities, and practices to support all units and all constituencies in the faculty with a reduced workforce. They have supported each other and their teams and have created efficiencies for standard processes across the faculty and have done so with grace and dedication. All are leaders in their roles.

Award for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Bruce Barton and Adam Bell (School of Creative and Performing Arts)

As co-chairs of the SCPA Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization (EDID) Committee, Bruce Barton and Adam Bell have established school-wide policies and practices that promote the values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization. Under their leadership, the SCPA established a webspace for EDID resources, a peer-support network, a proposal for an alumni-mentoring program, a community advisory board, and an action plan to guide EDID priorities for the next four years. They have created a path that will make the SCPA a more welcoming and diverse school.

Award for Leadership in Internationalization

Akiko Sharp (School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures)

Akiko Sharp has led a multitude of initiatives to internationalize the Japanese language and culture curriculum. This has included advancing cross-cultural competencies among students, establishing connections with Japanese-language programs in the City of Calgary’s and the Province of Alberta’s school systems, creating international collaborations, and promoting overseas mobility for students.

Faculty of Arts International Research and Scholarship Award

Susan Franceschet (Political Science)

Susan Franceschet’s most recent book, Cabinets, Ministers and Gender, was the result of an immense study across multiple countries and continents and her current research program on gender and parental status similarly spans seven countries. Her research endeavors are immense in scale and produce insight, which has made her a highly sought lecturer. Her record of scholarship is consistent, productive, and internationally recognized.

Faculty of Arts Research Award: New Scholar

Brandy Callahan (Psychology)

Brandy Callahan studies how aging and mental illness interact to impact brain health. Her recent research has focused strongly on ADHD and bipolar disorder in later life, and primarily involved clarifying issues related to risks of dementia. Her research has brought to light that 75% of community-dwelling seniors at high risk for dementia are not represented in research cohorts, meaning that the applicability of existing knowledge about age-related changes in health among them is unknown. 

Faculty of Arts Research Award: Established Scholar

Mel Hogan (Communication, Media and Film)

A recognized leader in the field of environmental media, Mel Hogan established the internationally recognized Environmental Media Lab (EML). Under her leadership, the EML launched numerous and new forms of interdisciplinarity and knowledge mobilization. As well, she has engaged a dynamic network of international scholars at all ranks. Hogan’s approach to graduate student mentorship is unique and inclusive, supporting students from diverse backgrounds and creating mentoring opportunities to entire cohorts of graduate students.

Jack Lucas (Political Science)

An internationally recognized expert in urban politics and Canadian municipal governance, Jack Lucas has achieved an exceptional record of research productivity and accomplishment. On top of that, as assistant editor for the Canadian Journal of Political Science, his innovative ideas influenced numerous political science journals and editors to adopt new ways of working and engaging scholars including developing a “COVID 19 Rapid Review Series” which led to a set of timely open-access publications. He is a leader and visionary in the field of political science.

Faculty of Arts Teaching Awards: Emerging Teacher

Victoria Fast (Geography)

Victoria Fast has rapidly established herself as a leader in experiential learning initiatives and continually considers access, equity, diversity, and inclusivity within the student experience. She emphasizes critical thinking and independent learning by elevating students to be topic experts presenting directly to a panel of judges. Her emphasis on collaboration between students, instructors and community partners provides students an extraordinary opportunity to engage with community partners, whose interest has multiplied significantly, demonstrating the value of the student’s work.

Miao Li (School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures)

Students speak of Miao Li as a great instructor who is engaging, organized, and enthusiastic, and who provides students with a variety of activities to activate their language learning. Teaching a new language to beginners online is not an easy task. During the pandemic, Li initiated a Faculty of Arts Teaching Activities Project where she developed a series of short videos of dialogues and mini-lectures on vocabulary and grammar for students. Continually seeking excellence in her approach to teaching, she incorporates digital tools to support an inclusive learning environment and has mentored many others in their teaching journey.

Morgan Vanek (English)

One of the reasons Morgan Vanek is such a remarkable teacher is because she is so thoroughly committed to recognizing the humanity of her students. Her teaching is community-engaged and inclusive. She invites students to question the Eurocentric and colonial foundations of the discipline of literary studies. This has included radically reimagining a required core course in a way that gave students historical knowledge of the discipline of English and also honed their ability to critique the English cannon and colonial traditions that enabled its formation. She is one of the most dedicated, thoughtful, innovating, and inspiring educators on campus.

Faculty of Arts Teaching Award: Established Teacher

Victoria Guglietti (Communication, Media and Film)

Victoria Guglietti teaches a wide breadth of courses with a range of enrolments. Guglietti utilizes critical reflection, experiential learning assignments, and small group problem-solving to encourage students to become curious, ask questions and identify and challenge internal bias. She is highly skilled in using deliberate listening as a method for discovering students’ unique needs, backgrounds, interests and in leveraging those insights to make the course material more accessible and impactful for them. She also is a leading voice in how EDI principles and Indigenization can be advanced in classrooms in meaningful ways.

Aamir Hashmi (Economics)

Aamir Hashmi teaches some of the most difficult techniques in macroeconomics and rigorous mathematical methods in the study of economics. He has developed an innovative course design and employed engagement strategies to motivate students including incorporating real data into his classes to demonstrate the relevance of the topic to their lives. This, combined with his extraordinary ability to synthesize the theory and practice of economics in ways that excite and support students to excel in their learning, has resulted in in him being one of the most popular, effective, and sought-after instructors.

Kim-Lee Tuxhorn (Political Science)

Kim-Lee Tuxhorn’s teaching performance is held in high esteem by colleagues and students alike. He is kind, thoughtful, and committed to bringing out the best in students. He does so by unselfishly and without hesitation sharing his time and many skills with colleagues and students across the department, despite often heavy-supervisory loads. He guides students with great compassion and intelligence; calming their feelings of despair while encouraging their sense of competence. His teaching dossier is a testament to his deep engagement with liberal arts education.

Award for Public Engagement

Melanee Thomas (Political Science)

On top of being a superb researcher, Melanee Thomas is also one of the most sought-after commentators on Alberta politics, Canadian politics, and women in political leadership. She unfailingly volunteers her time and energy by sharing her expertise and translating her research findings to a large public audience. During election years, her public engagement virtually explodes. She works hard to make complex issues accessible to audiences across the country. Her work has raised the profile of the University of Calgary. Her role as a public intellectual is a powerful illustration of the value and importance of the Faculty of Arts and the research conducted by its professors.

Special Recognition for Respect and Compassion

Christine Brubaker (School of Creative and Performing Arts)

In March 2021, then MFA graduate student Pat Chan Lai Ngo was on the cusp of directing her thesis production in the School of Creative and Performing Arts when she received the devastating news that her husband of 30 years had passed away suddenly in Malaysia, their home country. Christine Brubaker came to her aid, helping to navigate through the complex pandemic-era travel arrangements and requirements. Then, Brubaker came up with an unconventional, yet revolutionary way of supporting Pat Chan Lai Ngo to complete her thesis production. She became a trans-national connection point between Pat Chan Lai Ngo in Malaysia; the cast, crew, and production team at UCalgary; and the playwright in Vancouver. Brubaker not only went beyond her duties, but acted with extraordinary compassion and made personal sacrifices in order to support her graduate student.

Celebrated Alumni Award

Robert Gordon Currie, BA ’76, BA ’78, BA ‘15

Gordon Currie has been an active and dedicated volunteer of the University of Calgary for many years including mentoring students by sharing his experiences in business and in life as well as serving on the UCalgary Senate. After serving with the senate, he created and led an alumni group and co-founded the UCalgary Senate Alumni Network. Engaging more than 60 former members of the UCalgary Senate, the Senate Alumni Network connects former senators to one another and to the university. This group of dedicated and passionate individuals aims to uphold a spirit of collegiality and to continue to promote the university’s reputation and priorities by providing ongoing networking, fundraising and community outreach.

Gurjaiveer Singh Dhillon, BA ‘18

Concerned about poor mental health and suicide within the Canadian Sikh Diaspora, while still an undergraduate, Gurjaiveer Singh Dhillon co-founded Punjabi Resilience and Empowerment in Mental Health (PREM), which has partnered with Bell Let’s Talk on engagement on mental health issues. After leaving UCalgary and entering Thompson Rivers University’s Law School, Dhillon helped set up local branches of Khalsa Aid – a prominent global humanitarian relief and aid foundation – in Kelowna and Kamloops. He deftly anticipated the need for such an organization and Khalsa Aid was subsequently able to provide relief services during the recent floods and fires of 2021 in interior British Columbia. In Kamloops, Dhillon volunteers to provide legal-aid for high-needs immigrants and refugees. For the University of Calgary, Dhillon volunteers as the Strategic Community and Alumni Coordinator for the expansion of the Sikh Studies program and he has created the first ever Sikh alumni group. Dhillon is a strong leader who has built an extraordinary record of volunteerism in just a few years since graduating from UCalgary.