FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SEPTEMBER 12, 2007
CAFA DISTINGUISHED ACADEMIC AWARDS, 2007
EDMONTON – The Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA), the provincial organization representing academic staff associations at the University of Alberta, the University of Lethbridge, and Athabasca University, is pleased to announce that Professor Alvin Finkel, of Athabasca University, and Professor Lisa Doolittle, of the University of Lethbridge, have been chosen to receive the CAFA Distinguished Academic Awards for 2007. Professor Emily Luce, of the University of Lethbridge, is the recipient of this year’s CAFA Distinguished Academic Early Career Award.
The Awards will be presented at a dinner in Edmonton, on Friday, September 14, 2007.
The CAFA Distinguished Academic Awards recognize academic staff members who through their research and/or other scholarly, creative or professional activities have made an outstanding contribution to the wider community beyond the university.
The CAFA Distinguished Academic Early Career Award recognizes academic staff members, at an early stage of their careers, who through their research and/or other scholarly, creative or professional activity have made an outstanding contribution to the wider community beyond the university.
The annual Awards are specifically designed to honour excellence and raise awareness of the many ways in which the work of university academic staff serves the wider community.
“The CAFA Distinguished Academic Awards are being offered for the first time this year,” said Professor Peter McCormick, President of CAFA. “I’m delighted that we are able to recognize in this way the extraordinary contributions university academic staff members make, through their academic work, to the wider community beyond the academy. The work of Alvin Finkel, Lisa Doolittle, and Emily Luce, our Award recipients for 2007, is exemplary in this respect.”
John Nicholls, Executive Director, CAFA
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Professor Alvin Finkel
Professor Alvin Finkel, of Athabasca University, is being recognized for his exceptional contributions to the community during a long and distinguished career as a scholar and teacher in the field of Canadian history. As one of his colleagues has commented, “Alvin exemplifies those intellectuals who do not work for the sake of their career alone but who communicate on issues of social and political importance to a wider audience, in this instance in the area of labour and social history.” Dr. Finkel has worked tirelessly to give back to ordinary Canadians their own history. He was a founder of the Alberta Labour History Institute, which has a mandate “to collect, preserve and publicize the stories of Alberta’s working people and their organizations,” he consulted on the CBC’s highly-regarded production Canada: A People’s History, and he co-authored the popular Canada: A National History (2003, 2006), which re- examines the history of ordinary Canadians within the political context of Canada. Dr. Finkel is a frequent commentator in the popular media and has edited multi-disciplinary journals like Labour/Le Travail and Prairie Forum, directed at both academic and non-academic readerships. Above all, as a long-time teacher at Athabasca University, he has been instrumental in its development as a world-class provider of distance education, dedicated to removing barriers to access to, and success in, university-level studies for a community of adult learners worldwide.
Professor Lisa Doolittle
Professor Lisa Doolittle, of the University of Lethbridge is being recognized for her innovative contributions to the wider community through her academic research and creative work with dance and theatre. An influential anthology, Dancing Bodies, Living Histories: New Writings on Dance and Culture (2000), which she co-edited, broke new ground in dance scholarship by examining the experience of dance in the contexts of social relations, identity, politics and history. As co-founder and contributing editor of Dance Connection Magazine, in her wide-ranging academic research, and in her award-winning video productions, Lisa Doolittle has helped broaden public understanding of dance to include the work of traditional, regional groups such as the Japanese-Canadian Momiji Dancers of Lethbridge, the subject of one of her ongoing research projects. As one of her colleagues has noted, “The forms of dance and performance activity that have occupied Ms. Doolittle as a researcher and participant/scholar have been those commonly tarnished by the link with community groups, religion, ethnic folk traditions, multiculturalism and non-Caucasian practitioners, or mainstream and popular dance habits.” Professor Doolittle has been instrumental in presenting interdisciplinary collaborations and workshops in dance, theatre and film in the Now Showing Live Arts Series, which offers a unique cultural experience to local audiences in Lethbridge. She is deeply involved in community outreach projects, and is currently working on an “interactive” theatrical collaboration between students and clients of Lethbridge’s Family and Immigrant Services, entitled “Something to Declare,” which is based on a script developed from the real- life stories of the participants.
Professor Emily Luce
Professor Emily Luce, who took up her appointment in the Department of New Media in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Lethbridge in July 2006, is being recognized for her remarkable contribution to the community outside the university through her work as a member of the Hupacasath First Nation language preservation team. With the goal of documenting and revitalizing the Nuu Chah Nulth Barclay dialect, the Hupacasath Language Project, with the assistance of Professor Luce, has been involved in transferring what was a wholly oral language to a computer-based written form, while maintaining the strong visual tradition that is a part of the culture from which it comes. Among much else, this process has involved Professor Luce in the design of an alphabet “to accommodate the non-Latin characters required by the Nuu Chah Nulth language for the keyboard.” To date, eight books and a website have been produced using this font, and work is ongoing on projects including a book about family relationships, the incor- poration of sound and video components into the Hupacasath web site, and a history project entitled “Oral to Typographic,” dealing with the design and typographic treatments of the Nuu Chah Nulth language from the time it was first recorded. As the Chief Councillor of the Hupacasath Nation writes, “With Emily’s help, the vision of the Hupacasath language project expanded on the central idea of simple revitalization into illustrating and preserving our culture through our language.” A colleague comments: “The project is now more than just a solution, it has become a model for others – that is, other people and teams and languages and cultures. It is a designed system that encompasses resources and methodologies and truly epitomizes how applied research can move beyond educational institutions and into everyday society.”