Faculty Profile: Allan MacKinnon

October 15, 2018

By Nicole Strutt

Dr. Allan MacKinnon joined the Faculty of Education as Assistant Professor at SFU in 1990 becoming an Associate Professor in 1996. In addition to teaching, today he is the Director of Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Education. This year he receives the Graduate Studies Award for Excellence in Leadership for his undeniable dedication to his students and colleagues and his ability to lead by example.

Time and again, MacKinnon goes above and beyond for his students. For example, part of his role is finding graduate Education students new supervisors after unforeseen circumstances occur. However, despite having a full supervisory load, in six instances he graciously took the students on as his own.  Associate Dean, Graduate Studies in Education, Peter Liljedahl emphasizes, “This is even more generous given that Allan regularly carries a supervisory load of 15-20 students.”

His generosity and dedication to his students has left impressive results. To date, he has supervised 80 graduate students to completion (26 doctoral, 38 master’s theses and 16 master’s projects) in addition to serving on the committee of 48 further students.

Additionally, MacKinnon is an advocate in developing graduate leaders through his support of student-led events like Learning Together Research Conference. This annual event allows for graduate students to coordinate, organize and present their research to vast audiences. He also worked on an on-going project to improve the social and academic life of graduate Education students in the Faculty of Education. The project has since been well-received by the Graduate Programs Committee.

Moreover, MacKinnon inspires those he works with by leading by example. “We are inspired by his ability to turn a student's life around with his positivity and problem-solving skills,” say, graduate program assistants, Bridget Fox, Lisa Fox and Esther Dignos. “Each of us can recount stories of students arriving in the office in tears, frustrated or upset only to be met with is ability to build amenable solutions together with respect to student, faculty member and governance structures.”

Thanks to MacKinnon’s support for his students and colleagues and continually leading by example, he is receiving the Excellence in Graduate Studies leadership award. 

The 2019 Dean of Graduate Studies Awards for Excellence are open for nominations. Deadline for nominations is March 15, 2019.

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