Deena Coburn, recipient of the 2015 Staff Achievement Award for Leadership.

People Profiles

People Profile: Deena Coburn, Director of Administrative Services, DGS

February 22, 2016

If you ask what best exemplifies leadership, some people might point to great communication, while others might identify the ability to lead, mentor and delegate.

But staffers in SFU’s Office of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Fellows (DGS) would say that Deena Coburn, the winner of a 2015 Staff Achievement Award for Leadership, epitomizes all of those qualities while inspiring others to strive to achieve them as well.

In the last few years, DGS has spearheaded a number of significant projects to benefit graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. These include a new Graduate Awards, Application and Adjudication System (GA3) and a new Community and Professional Engagement (CAPE) office that houses a professional development program.

Coburn, who has been with SFU for the last nine years, has played a critical role in managing all of these significant institutional changes.

Last year, she also managed SFU’s Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship application process. Her work enticed a record-setting number of highly prestigious Banting Fellows to pursue their research at SFU—five in all, up from just two in the past 50 years.

Her dedication to students has not gone unnoticed.

“Deena’s hard work has paid dividends for our office and for the University,” says Wade Parkhouse, Dean of Graduate Studies. “She is the first to anticipate change, to predict student needs, and to solve the inevitable issues that new systems create. She is definitely a role model for everyone in the office.”

Coburn, who is grateful and deeply honoured to receive this award, says the success of the new programs, including GA3, is thanks to the collaborative efforts of her colleagues.

“I consider myself very fortunate to work with amazing people dedicated to the graduate student enterprise,” she says.

 “It is through their effort and enthusiasm that we are able to keep enhancing our services and tackle new opportunities.”

Original source: SFU News. Reprinted with permission.

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