Jobs well done earn dean's recognition

September 17, 2008

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Academic recognition among their peers, extensive university service and teaching excellence. These are why history professor Jack Little(left), gerontology and sociology/anthropology associate professor Barbara Mitchell (centre) and economics professor Greg Dow (right) are the 2008 winners of the dean’s medal for academic excellence in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Greg Dow, who joined SFU in 1995, previously worked at the University of Alberta and at Yale. He has published extensively, including papers in some of the world’s top economic journals. Considered an outstanding teacher by colleagues and students, he has developed a number of economics courses. He also served as undergraduate chair and then departmental chair from 2001-2006. A 2003 external review during his term as chair placed his department among the top five university economic departments in Canada.

"More than in any other economics department I’ve seen, there is a diversity of interests, imagination and creativity here," he says. "It’s very flattering to be recognized by my colleagues with this award."

History professor Jack Little is recognized as one of Canada’s pre-eminent historians and an expert in 19th century Canadian history, specializing in Quebec. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2003. A devoted teacher, he joined SFU in 1976 and has contributed extensively to his department, including a 10-year stint as grad chair and three years as department chair. He is currently acting chair for one semester. Little, who notes the history department is filled with good scholars, says "out of such a large faculty it’s an honour to be chosen for a dean’s medal."

Barbara Mitchell, associate professor of sociology/anthropology and gerontology, joined SFU in 1993 as a pre-doctoral research associate. She has already made significant contributions to SFU through her research, teaching and service. The principal investigator on two projects funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSRC), she is the author of an award-winning book, The Boomerang Age, which attracted considerable consumer interest and has just published Family Matters, an introduction to family sociology in Canada.

Mitchell receives consistently high teaching evaluations from students and was nominated for an Excellence in Teaching award in 2002. A life-long commitment to make social research relevant outside the walls of academia keeps her busy in the media as she strives to explain Canadian sociological trends. Her media work earned her an SFU President’s Service Award in 2004 for her outstanding contributions through the media.

Mitchell says she’s honoured to receive the dean’s medal: "It was completely unexpected."
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