Dean's medal winners dedicated to scholarship

October 20, 2005, vol. 34, no. 4
By Howard Fluxgold

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The winners of the dean's medal come from diverse fields in the faculty of arts and social sciences, but the one thing they have in common says faculty dean John Pierce, is “a dedication to scholarship and the university.”

This year's winners are Anil Hira, associate professor of political science and Latin American studies; associate professor of anthropology Stacy Pigg; Betty Schellenberg, associate professor of English; and Jacqueline Viswanathan-Delord, professor of French.

The award recognizes members of the faculty of arts and sciences who have demonstrated excellence in research, teaching and service to the university community. It is divided into three categories, junior, mid-career and senior.

Winners receive a medal and $500 toward professional development.

Anil Hira
Hira's research focuses on the political economy of developing countries, especially those in Latin America and East Asia. A medal winner in the junior category, Hira has written three books and numerous journal articles since coming to SFU in 2000. His nominator praised his “concern for his students as reflected in the excellent course he designs and in the high teaching evaluation scores he receives from his students.”
Hira notes that the award “is tremendously encouraging to me because I work in the interdisciplinary field which doesn't normally get the standard kind of recognition. So it has really given me a boost of confidence.”

Stacy Pigg
Pigg says, “Being an academic researcher can be pretty lonely work, so it is nice to get recognition,” in the form of the deans medal. Her research focuses on the anthropology of medicine and especially international public health as a force for cultural and social change. For the past 10 years she has been studying international AIDS awareness programs in Nepal. “I have been looking at what are considered best practices in the west, how they are imported into Nepal and how Nepalis respond to them,” she relates.
Pigg is also the editor of the academic journal Medical Anthropology and is currently preparing a book about her research in Nepal, which her nominator called “sophisticated and timely.” She is lead author on the recently published Sex in Development: Science, Sexuality and Morality in Global Perspective.

Betty Schellenberg
Schellenberg, who has won in the mid-career category, has just published a book called The Professionalization of Women Writers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, the result of research over the past eight years. Her nominator says the book “ promises to solidify her growing international reputation as one of the very best scholars in the field of 18th century British print culture.”
She says the medal “really is a humbling recognition of one's contribution across the field.”

Jacqueline Viswanathan-Delord
Viswanathan-Delord, who retired at the end of August, has won in the senior category. A charter faculty member, Viswanathan-Delord “has maintained an unbroken record of excellence in all three categories of research, teaching and service,” says Phyllis Wrenn, chair of the French department. Viswanathan-Delord's research focuses on literary criticism, the dramatic genre and the Roman scenario. In 2000 she published an award-winning book on the Roman scenario. As well, she has been instrumental in pioneering efforts in research into francophone culture in B.C. Wrenn notes that Viswanathan-Delord “has taught virtually every language or literature course offered by the department and done it with unfailing commitment.”

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