April 25, 2019

Faculty of Arts Awards and Celebration of Excellence 2019

Annual event set for Thursday, May 2 in EEEL Building
Faculty of Arts Awards 2019
Faculty of Arts Awards 2019

Once a year the Faculty of Arts honours a few of its best and brightest teachers, researchers, staff members, and champions of internationalization, along with outstanding alumni, at the Faculty of Arts Awards and Celebration of Excellence.

It’s become a staple of the academic year – a chance to observe the diversity and scope of learning and innovation in this faculty, while also reflecting back on another year of remarkable achievements.

Here is a list of this year’s winners:

Established Scholar Research Award – Dr. Michael Adorjan (Sociology)

With a research focus on youth crime and deviance, societal response to crime and cyber-crime Dr. Adorjan has established himself as a respected international authority. His work has been published in Canada, the U.S., Asia, Britain, Australia and New Zealand and in

the past two years alone he’s had 23 publications, 14 as first author. Among the many grants he’s been awarded is one for research funding from the RCMP to investigate best practices in policing youth among rural RCMP officers.

Established Scholar Research Award – Dr. Elizabeth Ritter (School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures)

Dr. Ritter’s work in syntax has earned her respect around the world and she is regarded as one of North America’s leading theoretical syntacticians, her renown based on her investigations of nouns and noun phrases. In the last two years she’s focused on the syntactic structure of speech acts, imperative sentences and Blackfoot phrases and sentences.

New Scholar Research Award – Dr. Daniel Voth (Political Science)

Since joining the Department of Political Science in 2015 Dr. Voth has established a national reputation for research excellence and innovation in the area of Indigenous politics, with a focus on Metis politics. Among his many academic achievements he has won two SSHRC Connection grants and a SSHRC Insight Development Grant and he was awarded a coveted Calgary Institute for the Humanities Fellowship in 2018-2019.

Community Engaged Research Award – Dr. Cora Voyageur (Sociology)

As one of the leading Indigenous social scientists in Canada Dr. Voyageur’s work is built on a lifetime of community engagement. As far back as the early 1990s she worked on curriculum development in First Nations schools. She has worked for the past two decades with the Assembly of First Nations, conducting research on chiefs in Canada and she has presented the findings of her Indigenous research at the United Nations. Her tremendous grant winning success has seen her awarded with just under two million dollars in CIHR grants in the last two years alone. These are for projects, conducted with community partners, focused on aboriginal women’s health.

Established Teacher Award – Dr. Aamir Hashmi (Economics)

As an expert instructor of macroenomics, Dr. Hashmi emphasizes that economics is fundamentally about understanding human behaviour. By showing the effects of policy and macroeconomic variables such as interest rates, inflation and minimum wage on the lives of individuals he fosters a sense of compassion and caring in his undergraduates. Further, he teaches some of the most mathematically challenging courses economics undergraduates can take with great success demonstrated by above average USRI scores.

Emerging Teacher Award – Dr. Rachel Friedman (School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures)

As an instructor of Arabic Languages and Muslim Cultures Dr. Friedman has been truly innovative. By establishing valuable contacts abroad she has created new opportunities for exchange programs with students in the Middle East, in particular in Morocco. On campus, meanwhile, she’s created a wonderful sense of community as her students can participate in a bi-weekly Arabic coffee hour.

Emerging Teacher Award – Dr. Ben Whaley (School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures)

As an assistant professor of Japanese culture and literature Dr. Whaley has greatly enhanced the Japanese program, both in content and enrollment. His courses on Japanese popular culture, video games, and critical approaches to Manga and Anime have been hugely popular with students and he brings tremendous insight to every course he teaches examining issues of race, ethnicity and Japanese national identity.

Leadership in Internationalization – Dr. Wei Cai (School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures)

Since joining the University of Calgary in 2006 Dr. Cai has been a true champion of internationalization, both globally and locally. Among her many achievements she established a group study program for UCalgary students in China. She also fostered an important research collaboration between the University of Calgary and the Beijing Language and Culture University which is expected to create opportunities for students and faculty on both campuses. All the while she’s been a prominently published international researcher in the field of Chinese applied linguistics.

Special Recognition for Respect and Compassion – Nicole Wyatt (Philosophy)

As head of the Department of Philosophy Dr. Wyatt was instrumental in creating the department’s Climate and Diversity Committee. This has led to greater diversity in the courses offered within philosophy, reflected in classes on the philosophy of sex and gender and the philosophy of disability, as well as initiating more diverse reading lists in all classes. Further, Dr. Wyatt has created an environment in which all individuals feel supported and valued, from research superstars and talented teachers to those who quietly but consistently support their colleagues.

Outstanding Staff Member or Team – Rick Calkins

Senior technician in the Department of Art, Calkins has been with the department since the early 1990s and in many ways he is its living memory. He contributes to the department’s safety record, helps adapt spaces for art exhibitions and supports both students and faculty on an extremely wide array of fronts. Says Brian Rusted, head of the department: “If you want to make a body cast with plaster or silicon, talk to Rick. If you want to weld an armature for sculpture, talk to Rick. If you want to hang art in the Dean’s office, talk to Rick.” His contribution and connection to the department is simply invaluable.

Celebrated Alumni Award – Farah Kammourieh

Since graduating at the top of her class in 2015 with a BA in International Relations and minors in economics and political science Kammourieh has applied her degrees with deep compassion and regard, working with peoples in developing nations through Global Affairs Canada. Through her work in Ghana she has developed small business internship programs, recruiting young men and women into local manufacturing and service companies. Prior to this she was a valued volunteer with Immigrations Services Canada where she worked with Syrian refugees. She is precisely the type of alumni that the Faculty of Arts is proud to recognize as our own.

Celebrated Alumni Award – Mercedes Stephenson

Having earned her master degree from the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies – as well as studying political journalism at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and interning at the Pentagon – Stephenson has distinguished herself in the world of broadcast journalism. She is currently Global News’s Ottawa Bureau Chief and host of the network’s flagship national political affairs program, The West Block. She’s reported from Afghanistan, Niger, France and Washington, among other countries and she was invited to travel with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his inaugural visit to the White House. One can’t help but feel that these huge achievements are only the start of what promises to be a truly remarkable career.


The 2019 Faculty of Arts Awards and Celebration of Excellence will be held on Thursday, May 2 in the EEEL Lobby, 750 Campus Drive NW. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. and the awards presentation will begin at 3.

RSVP by May 1 »