Faculty and Staff

2016 Staff Achievement Award winners: Pat Frouws, Laurie Wood and Claire de Lisser

March 17, 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

Pat Frouws, executive director, SFU Childcare Society 

The hallmark of a quality leader is someone who leads and guides personnel, develops staff talent, and successfully manages an efficient and effective unit at the highest level.

Pat Frouws, executive director of the SFU Childcare Society, is all this and more. Honoured nationally in 2012 with a Prime Minister's Award for excellence in early childhood education, she was also recognized as a 2016 Exceptional Master Leader by the international magazine, Childcare Exchange.

Now she has a 2016 SFU Staff Achievement Award for leadership to add to her list of honours.

In her role with the Childcare Society, Frouws oversees 15 separate early childhood programs for 300 children aged 0 to 12 years, and manages 65 staff members. Her goal is to develop leadership from within the organization through a shared mission and core values.

She creates peer leadership opportunities for staff to share knowledge and has championed the creation of a professional development fund for educators to undertake further training to develop their skills, knowledge and expertise.

“I am always impressed by Pat’s leadership skills in efficiently managing a complex organization while effectively maintaining relationships with staff, families and other constituencies,” says a nominator.

Says another, “Pat’s collaborative approach to leadership has shown great results in the development of educators and directors in the childcare programs.” 

Lifetime Achievement  

Laurie Wood, manager, community engagement and research initiatives, Faculty of Environment

As the new manager of community engagement and research initiatives in the Faculty of Environment, Laurie Wood translates ideas into plans, and plans into action.

It’s a role that comes easily after 25 years working to support and advance community outreach and research activities in SFU’s Faculties of Environment; Science; and Arts and Social Sciences. During many of those years she worked tirelessly to advance the goals and relevance of SFU’s Centre for Coastal Science and Management, and for the Hakai Network for Coastal People Ecosystems and Management.

Her roles have always involved fostering and managing relationships among a diverse group of partners including students and faculty, and representatives from First Nations, government, industry and community groups. Nominators say her creative problem-solving skills coupled with her enthusiasm and dedication have directly contributed to successful SFU research programs, interdisciplinary centres, as well as communication and outreach initiatives.
“Laurie has played an incomparable role in her contributions to the faculties of Science and Environment’s outreach programs and to the Centre for Coastal Science and Management,” says one nominator.
Colleagues also laud her ability to engage with external communities.
“Laurie brings people together, makes things happen and then steps out of the spotlight,” they say.

“She deserves to have the spotlight shone on her. Her commitment and professional approach has gone well beyond the greatest expectations of any SFU staff member. She is an exceptional ambassador for SFU.”

Student Service Award

Claire de Lisser, coordinator, undergraduate advising, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences recognize Claire de Lisser as the go-to person who can explain their programs and choices and often, act as a ‘beacon of hope amidst calamity.’ 

She is the coordinator of undergraduate advising in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences—the University’s largest and most diverse faculty, which teaches some 12,000 undergraduate students annually in 16 departments and schools, and 12 programs. Working collaboratively with students, staff, and faculty, she helps students, particularly those who are faced with challenging academic and personal situations, to successfully complete their degrees.

A passionate administrator who often works behind the scenes, she takes a keen interest in students’ development and respects their interests, but also meets them with a strong sense of reality, offering constructive and encouraging advice. Often, she is the last resort for student cases that others have been unable to resolve, finding ways to ‘make wonders happen’ while still respecting University regulations.

Not content to find the easiest or first solution for students, she takes time to seek the best solution.

Says one nominator, “Claire goes above and beyond every single day in making the University a better place for students.” 

Says a student nominator, “She has the ability to build an emotional and personal connection with students. She exemplifies the true meaning of what it means to go the extra mile in helping her students succeed.”