Faculty and Staff

2016 Staff Achievement Award winners: Sarah Bennett, Colleen Wood and Micaela Roughton

March 24, 2017
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SFU's annual Staff Achievement Awards honour staffers' exceptional personal and work-related accomplishments. Every Friday until Apr. 7, SFU News will post short profiles of the 2016 winners, all of whom were acknowledged at an awards dinner on March 8, 2017.   

Leadership Award

Sarah Bennett, manager, Office of Research Ethics

Whether Sarah Bennett is training members of the Research Ethics Board, supervising staff in the Office of Research Ethics (ORE), or educating students about research ethics, she brings passion and commitment to the task.

At SFU, Bennett is well-known for her ability to humanize the ethics review process, and has transformed the University’s research ethics board into an efficient, effective and engaged group. Faculty and staff praise her leadership, guidance and support.

Beyond her work in the ORE, Bennett has assumed leadership roles provincially and nationally. She is a member of the BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative Advisory Committee, and also sits on the board of directors for the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards. In her role with these agencies she is helping to review and refine the provincial and national research ethics application process.

Says one nominator, “The leadership displayed by Sarah extends far beyond the walls of our office and permeates into the larger research ethics community, benefitting all who conduct research involving human participants.”

Lifetime Achievement  

Colleen Wood, director, Lifelong Learning, English Language and Culture Program

Colleen Wood first arrived at SFU 38 years ago as a transfer student. She has since taken on roles as a teaching assistant, instructor, program coordinator, instructional coordinator, and director.

Wood began working in the English Language and Culture (ELC) program in 1995 as one of its first teachers, and became the ELC director in 2004. She now leads more than 30 staffers and instructors, and oversees a thriving program of seven to 15 full-time cohorts of students each eight-week term. Every year, the ELC instruct hundreds of international students in English as an additional language (EAL), and in Canadian culture.

“Colleen strives to meet the changing needs of our students, instructors and times by continually adapting the program’s structure and policies while maintaining an attitude of willingness, dedication and focus,” says one nominator. “Term after term, our students graduate from the ELC Program feeling a sense of accomplishment, community and enrichment.”

Says another nominator, “I have watched Colleen grow and flourish in her position as director, move deftly through the process of unionizing instructors, and mold and shape ELC so it continues to flourish in the changing and challenging international market place.”

Community Contribution

Micaela Roughton, manager, Residence Life

Caring, uplifting, educated, compassionate, hardworking and selfless are words often used to describe Micaela Roughton, who continuously considers how she can better serve those in need.

As a member of the Residence Life team at SFU since 2010, and the current manager of the department, she is not only concerned about SFU students’ home life on campus. She also supports the Nyumba Yanga Orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia, which cares for girls orphaned by HIV/AIDS, conflict and poverty. In 2008 she established and continues to chair a registered Canadian charity called Homes of Joy to raise funds and sustainable support for the orphanage. To date the charity has raised more than $200,000.

Roughton’s goal is to ensure the orphaned girls receive a quality education that will help open doors for their futures. In 2014 she extended that goal to include SFU students, organizing an international service-learning trip to Lusaka, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, that introduced them to the value of international engagement and service learning. 

In 2013, Roughton’s international work was recognized when she was asked to contribute to a project called “Thanks for all the Colour: A tribute to Nelson Mandela.” A painted portrait of Roughton, and her written tribute to Mandela were published in the project’s final book, Thanks for All the Colour. It was presented to Mandela’s wife, Graca, at the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

As one nominator said, “I can think of no one more deserving of the community contribution Award than Micaela Roughton.”