SFU political science professor Laurel Weldon is one of eight new Distinguished SFU Professors.

Faculty and Staff

Simon Fraser University honours our inaugural Distinguished SFU Professors

September 19, 2019
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Eight of Simon Fraser University’s leading academic scholars have become the first to receive the prestigious title of Distinguished SFU Professor. This new designation recognizes their outstanding performance and achievements, and celebrates their international pre-eminence in their fields.

The Distinguished SFU Professor title comes with a special requirement for members to share their work with the public through events such as lectures, panels and presentations. This recognition not only spotlights the contribution they have made to their fields in the past, but also helps them magnify that impact through public engagement and student and faculty mentorship.

The new Distinguished SFU Professors are:

Lara Aknin, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, psychology

What inspires and sustains human prosociality? Professor Aknin’s research addresses this question by investigating whether positive emotions—such as happiness—offer one explanation for human generosity. Her work draws upon multiple populations (adults, toddlers, ex-offenders, across cultures) and methods (surveys, lab and field experiments, implicit measures, facial coding) to investigate if, when, why and how prosocial behaviour leads to well-being benefits for the helper. Aknin is the director of SFU’s Helping and Happiness Lab and newly appointed co-editor of the United Nation’s World Happiness Report.

Fiona Brinkman, Faculty of Science, molecular biology and biochemistry

With the world paying renewed attention to infectious diseases, professor Brinkman wants to improve our understanding of how outbreaks spread, what makes them more severe and how to prevent them from becoming resistant to antibiotics. Combining laboratory research and data analysis, her work encompasses not only human health, but environmental and animal health research. The goal: bringing disease management into the integrated “One Health” approach embraced by the World Health Organization.

Mike Hayden, Faculty of Science, physics

For several years, professor Hayden has been one of the world’s most prominent investigators into the nature of antimatter. He has played a leading role with the international consortium ALPHA-Canada, working with the CERN laboratory in Geneva to investigate the structure of antihydrogen as a means of helping to confirm the Standard Model of physics. His ongoing research has helped expand our understanding of how to use magnetic resonance to better delve into the building blocks of matter.

Robert Hogg, Faculty of Health Sciences

Professor Hogg’s work on HIV/AIDS in marginalized populations has helped advance treatment approaches across cultures and communities. An expert in population health, he is a Senior Research Fellow at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. His research has received support from the National Institutes of Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

Mark Jaccard, Faculty of Environment, resource and environmental management

As the climate crisis takes on greater urgency, professor Jaccard’s research is more relevant than ever. He designs models for assessing the effectiveness of sustainable energy and climate policies. With more than 100 academic papers to his name, his provincial and international contributions range from leading B.C.’s Utilities Commission to working with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. His 2006 book Sustainable Fossil Fuels won the Donner Prize for top policy book in Canada, and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Dal Yong Jin, Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, School of Communication

Professor Jin’s media and communications studies cover a variety of topics, from globalization and trans-national studies to platform technologies, to video games. He studies them all through the lens of political economy. As the founding editor of the Routledge Research in Digital Media and Culture in Asia book series, he has written more than 140 journal articles and book chapters and 16 books. Jin speaks to international audiences on a wide range of topics, including the new wave of Korean pop culture.

Danièle Moore, Faculty of Education

Professor Moore studies how we learn and use multiple languages. Her research includes code-switching—changes in language and dialect depending on context—as well as government language policies and revitalizing languages. From 2011-2018, she co-edited The Canadian Modern Language Review.

Laurel Weldon, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, political science

Professor Weldon’s work uncovers the factors that lead governments to promote women’s rights, with a particular focus on violence against women. Using statistical analyses of original, global datasets, she explores the role of social movements in prompting policy changes that promote greater equality. Her work has taken her from Norway to India, and she has worked as a consultant to bodies including the United Nations and the World Bank, as well as Indigenous governments. She is the co-editor of the Oxford Handbook on Gender and Politics, founding co-editor of Politics, Groups & Identities and as of next year, an editor of the American Political Science Review.

Learn more about the new Distinguished SFU Professors program