The University of Windsor Thursday recognized the accomplishments of its faculty, staff, and students at the annual Celebration of Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity.
“At the University of Windsor, research permeates everything we do,” said K.W. Michael Siu, vice-president, research and innovation.
“On my calendar of events, the research celebration is always a highlight,” he said. “It’s the event in which we acknowledge and celebrate the success of our colleagues, students, and staff and I am delighted to share with you that the fields of study being recognized this year exemplify a very broad array of the excellent work being done on our campus.”
The awards ceremony, held at Alumni Auditorium in the CAW Student Centre, recognized scholars and researchers in all stages of their careers.
“Today’s celebration is the sign of a thriving academic community, where people are flourishing in their research, scholarship and creativity, and receiving recognition and support for the extraordinary work they do,” said interim president Douglas Kneale.
“What is so impressive is our collective bench strength in research and scholarship. We have outstanding students, emerging scholars, and established researchers, singular efforts and large collaborative projects, local, provincial, national, and international honours, and success across all disciplines.”
In the category of Established Scholar/Researcher, awards went to law professor Reem Bahdi, sociology professor Tanya Basok, English professor Thomas Dilworth, and biology professor Dan Mennill.
Dr. Mennill enjoys an international reputation as an expert in the fields of animal behaviour and communication, Bill Anderson, UWindsor’s assistant vice-president Innovation in Cross-Border Strategies, said in conferring the award. Mennill’s pioneering research in bioacoustics has helped ecologists and conservation biologists around the globe, Dr. Anderson said.
Dr. Dilworth is the world’s foremost scholar on British poet and painter David Jones.
“Through eloquent scholarship, he has remedied the marginal status of one of Britain’s greatest artists,” Anderson said.
Dr. Basok is recognized globally for her research on international migration and migrant worker and refugee experiences. Her research informs the work of policy-makers in Canada, Mexico, and Europe, said Anderson.
Prof. Bahdi, an internationally renowned human rights scholar, is a foremost authority on Palestinian-Canadian law and is often called on to give expert opinion on legal issues related to Arab and Muslim rights and national security.
“I find inspiration in the work and dedication of my colleagues in law and across the University of Windsor. I have learned much from them,” said Prof. Bahdi.
“This recognition motivates me to continue to work on access to justice in Canada and abroad.”
In the category of Mid-Career Scholars/Researchers, awards went to kinesiology professor Sean Horton, engineering professor Jill Urbanic, and mathematics professor Dilian Yang.
Dr. Horton, who has been a professor at the University of Windsor since 2008, researches the need for under-represented groups to participate in physical activity and sport. His students get hands-on research opportunities working in the community with older adults, children and people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
“I need to give a lot of the credit to my graduate students and my colleagues here at the University of Windsor,” Horton said.
“This is definitely not an individual award. I’ve been really fortunate to work with some amazingly talented people.”
Dr. Urbanic has made seminal contributions to the field of advanced process design and manufacturing technologies. Her work guides industrial research and development activities, giving Canada a leg up in manufacturing technology, Anderson said.
Dr. Yang is Canada’s leading female mathematician specializing in operator algebra and functional equations, Anderson said. Yang’s research bridges gaps between operator algebras and statistical mechanics, algebra, and dynamics.
Ecologist Christina Semeniuk and biologist Phillip Karpowicz were recognized in the category of Emerging Scholars/Researchers.
Dr. Semeniuk, from the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, is a pioneer in the field of predictive and behavioural ecology, said Anderson. Semeniuk’s research is proving critical to preserving Canadian ecosystems during this time of global climate change, he said.
Dr. Karpowicz is “quickly becoming a leading scholar in the study of circadian rhythms,” Anderson said. “Though still in the early stage of his career, Phil is already a very accomplished author whose work is featured in high-impact journals, and who has had tremendous success in attracting funding.”
Karpowicz said he was “thrilled” to win the award.
“I’m happy to be part of the diverse and exciting research happening on campus. A big thank-you to the students in our lab for helping with these projects!”
Kinesiologist Sara Santarossa and engineer Eshaan Ghosh won in the category of Outstanding Graduate Student.
Dr. Ghosh’s work in the field of electric motors, drives, and control and fault diagnosis for electric vehicles has been published in a patent and has been implemented in industry. He is the engineering research and development manager in professor Narayan Kar’s Centre for Hybrid Automotive Research and Green Energy.
Santarossa, whose research is in the field of psychosocial and physical well-being, works under kinesiology professor Sarah Woodruff. Anderson described Santarossa as “an extremely promising community-focused researcher” who is “driven to create positive change in the lives of others.”
The Outstanding Undergraduate Student award went to Emily Stadder, who has begun graduate school in Australia. During her tenure in UWindsor’s Department of Kinesiology, Stadder was an integral member of Jess Dixon’s research team.
To roaring applause, nursing professor Mary Louis Drake won the award for Outstanding Community Engagement, Knowledge Transfer and Knowledge Mobilization. Dr. Drake is the leader behind the Building Blocks for Better Babies program in Windsor and Essex County. The program offers free weekly classes on nutrition, wellness and health for pregnant women and new mothers. The classes are led by registered dieticians and public health nurses.
The awards ceremony also recognized Canada Research Chairs and members of the campus community who have received patents, special grants, and awards by Canadian government agencies, significant philanthropic funders, and other external agencies.
The full list of honourees is available on the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation webpage.
─ Sarah Sacheli