news, alumni

Education alumunus recognized for professional achievement

March 02, 2015
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On Wednesday, February 25, 2015 Dr. Kanwal Neel, a Faculty of Education alumnus and colleague, was honoured for his professional achievement at Simon Fraser University’s 2014 Outstanding Alumni Awards.

Kanwal has had a long and distinguished career in educational service as a mathematics educator. He was recognized as an exemplary teacher during his 30 years of service to the Richmond School District, and in 1996, he was the recipient of the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Kanwal obtained his PhD in Mathematics Education in 2008 from Simon Fraser University's Faculty of Education. His work served the basis for the development of mathematics resources for First Nation Communities. He made the transition from the K–12 school system to the preparation of new teachers when he joined the Faculty of Education in 1989 as a Faculty Associate.

Since then, he has held various roles within the Faculty, culminating with his appointment as Associate Director of Professional Programs. Despite “retiring”, Kanwal continues to provide exceptional service to the educational community through his work with the Friends of Simon Tutoring Project, which trains university students as tutors for immigrant children.

As president and executive member, Kanwal has also led the B.C. Association of Mathematics Teachers (BCAMT) through its most influential years, helping to transform math curriculum and numeracy education.

In recognition of his significant contributions to Canada and his community, in 1993 he received the Governor General’s 125th Anniversary Commemorative Medal and in 2012 he was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Kanwal embodies the true spirit of an “engaged” university and is an inspiring role model for what engaging students and engaging communities is all about.

Since 1983, SFU and the Alumni Association have honoured the most accomplished graduates with Outstanding Alumni Awards. Nominations are received from alumni, faculty, staff, students and SFU's many friends in the community. In addition to Kanwal, this year’s recipients included: Darrell Burnham, a champion for mental health in BC; Diane Cockle, one of Canada’s leading forensic archaeologists and a pioneer in forensic taphonomy; and Ming-Sound Tsao, a world-leading lung cancer pathologist and cancer researcher. Read their profiles here.