FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SEPTEMBER 13, 2011
CAFA DISTINGUISHED ACADEMIC AWARDS, 2011
(EDMONTON) – The Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA), the provincial organization representing academic staff associations at the University of Alberta, the University of Lethbridge, the University of Calgary, and Athabasca University, is pleased to announce the recipients of the CAFA Distinguished Academic Awards for 2011.
Dr. Jeffrey Bisanz, Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta has been chosen to receive this year’s CAFA Distinguished Academic Award.
Dr. Glynnis Hood, Associate Professor in the Department of Science at the Augustana Campus, University of Alberta, is the recipient of the 2011 CAFA Distinguished Academic Early Career Award.
The CAFA Distinguished Academic Award recognizes 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 who, at an early stage of their careers, through their research and/or other scholarly, creative or professional activities have made an outstanding contribution to the wider community beyond the university.
“Through the annual CAFA Awards, the academic staff associations of the four research universities in Alberta celebrate the exceptional contributions made by our members, through their research, scholarly and creative activities, to the community beyond the academy,” said Dr. Walter Dixon, the President of CAFA. “This year we are proud to highlight the achievements of Dr. Jeff Bisanz and Dr. Glynnis Hood, whose research, in their respective fields, is having a remarkable impact on the wider community.”
The 2011 CAFA Distinguished Academic Awards will be presented at a banquet at the Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, on Thursday, September 15, 2011. For further information on this year’s CAFA Award recipients, please see the attached backgrounders.
John Nicholls, Executive Director, CAFA
Tel (780) 492-5630 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
CAFA DISTINGUISHED ACADEMIC EARLY CAREER AWARD, 2011 DR. GLYNNIS HOOD
Dr. Glynnis Hood, an Associate Professor in the Department of Science at the Augustana Campus, University of Alberta, has been chosen to receive this year’s CAFA Distinguished Academic Early Career Award. The Award recognizes Dr. Hood’s outstanding contribution to the wider community beyond the academy through her wide-ranging research on wetland ecology, particularly the influence of the beaver on wetland systems.
Glynnis Hood’s career as an academic began as recently as 2007, when received her doctorate from the University of Alberta and joined the Augustana Science Department as an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Science and Studies Program. Previously, she worked for Parks Canada for 19 years as a park interpreter and warden in the national parks in Alberta, and that experience laid the foundation for the collaborations with government and community agencies that are a distinctive feature of her ongoing academic research program.
Since she joined Augustana, a colleague notes, Dr. Hood’s research program “has extended her Ph.D. work on the influences of beaver on wetland ecology, to examine the interactions between land use (including protected areas management) and beaver (as a keystone wetland species) on wetlands and the biodiversity and water resources they support. The results of this work will advance understanding of wetland function, and provide practical management strategies that will help to sustain aquatic ecosystems, while minimizing the potential conflict between wildlife and humans. These studies may also inform approaches to wetland sustainability, creation and restoration, critical components of the provincial Wetland Policy currently under renewal.”
Fieldwork involving undergraduate and graduate students is at the heart of Dr. Hood’s research, much of which has been conducted in protected areas and adjacent private and public lands. In 2010, she was instrumental in creating a groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Alberta and Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation, to facilitate joint research activities in protected areas. Together with two of her colleagues, she has also submitted a grant proposal to the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for major funding to develop a research station at Miquelon Provincial Park, just north of the Augustana Campus.
Dr. Hood’s research is already generating considerable interest, and not only among academics. Not surprisingly, her finding that, where beaver are present, wetlands can retain nine times more open water area during a period of severe drought, has caught the imagination of the general public, just as awareness of water resource and environmental management issues is growing.
The author of a number of peer-reviewed scholarly articles, and a book, The Beaver Manifesto (Rocky Mountain Books), which has just been released, Dr. Hood’s work has received extensive media coverage, and she has given a number of well-received presentations on her work to natural history, conservation, and other community groups. In June 2011, she was an invited presenter at Moses Znaimer’s ideaCity Conference in Toronto.
According to the chair of her Department, in the four years since she joined Augustana, “Dr. Hood’s contributions to teaching, research, and service have been nothing short of stellar.” An inspiring and innovative teacher, in 2010 Dr. Hood was honoured with an Augustana Faculty Teaching Award, and the Betty Ostenrud Award presented by the Augustana Students Association. In October 2010, Dr. Hood was granted early tenure, a rare distinction at Augustana. She was promoted to Associate Professor in June 2011.
CAFA DISTINGUISHED ACADEMIC AWARD, 2011 – DR. JEFFREY BISANZ
Dr. Jeffrey Bisanz, Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Alberta, is the recipient of the 2011 CAFA Distinguished Academic Award. The Award recognizes the outstanding contributions Dr. Bisanz has made to the community beyond the academy, not only through his influential scholarly research on cognitive development in children, but also through his groundbreaking work as founding Director (2000-2011) of the Community-University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth, and Families (CUP).
Jeff Bisanz joined the University of Alberta in 1979, after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, and has gone on to establish an exceptional record as an academic, earning the highest accolades for his teaching, research and service. His mentoring skills are well-attested, and many of Dr. Bisanz’s students have gone on to successful academic or professional careers. Throughout his career, he has published widely in leading peer-reviewed journals in the field of developmental psychology, and has received funding for his research from national, provincial, and local agencies.
Dr. Bisanz’s work on cognitive development focuses on mathematical thinking in children, and in particular on the development of mathematical concepts and procedures, with the practical aim of improving assessment methods and instructional design. As a colleague notes, this research is valuable ‘not only to the academic community of developmental psychologists, but also to educators, clinicians and policy makers.’ When, in 2010, Jeff Bisanz was chosen to receive the Pickering Award for Contributions to Developmental Psychology in Canada, it was in recognition of his extensive influence in the areas of mentorship, leadership, and scholarship, ‘and through those, his influence on Canadian children.’
Beyond the university, moreover, Dr. Bisanz has demonstrated a tireless commitment to the integration of academic and community-based research with community practice and policy. Serving as Director of the Community-University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth and Families from its establishment in 2000 until his retirement from the position earlier this year, Dr. Bisanz played a crucial role in shaping its development. Under his leadership, CUP, a collaboration between the University of Alberta and a number of community agencies and organizations in the Edmonton area and beyond, has attracted more than $20 million in grant funding and now has a staff of more than 30 working on a range of research, lifelong learning, and knowledge mobilization projects.
A number of CUP projects, including the ongoing Early Child Development Mapping Project, have pioneered new approaches to community-based research and knowledge-sharing. In 2007, CUP was awarded the inaugural University of Alberta President’s Achievement Award (Dare to Discover, Overall Category); the following year, it ‘came of age’ when it was accepted as a unit within the U of A Faculty of Extension. The strong community partnerships on which CUP is now building owe much to the vision, leadership and hard work of Jeff Bisanz. As well as helping to create sustainable linkages between academic and community-based research, as a colleague observes, he ‘has also established a culture that recognizes the value of sharing knowledge between university research and the community, and that works to mentor the next generation of researchers.’ His long-term legacy thus will be to ensure that university research will continue to ‘directly address and respond to the needs and aspirations of the community.’
In 2010, Jeff Bisanz received the Westbury Legacy Award of the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research.