Faculty Profile: Dr. Margaret Linley, English

October 12, 2012

We're delighted to profile the winners of the 2012 Dean's Awards for Excellence in Graduate Studies. Dr. Margaret Linley received an award for Excellence in Graduate Leadership.

As graduate program chair, Dr. Margaret Linley spearheaded changes in SFU's Department of English which have led to a department which is a university leader and model in its support of graduate students and their goals and needs.

Her history of leadership in graduate studies also includes co-founding the English department’s Specialized MA in Print Culture twelve years ago and directing that program for four years. But it was during her three years as graduate chair for English, which involved co-ordinating a review and subsequent major revisions to the department’s graduate program, that she was able to make her most unique and significant contribution to graduate studies.

Thanks to her foresight five years ago, the department now is able to fully fund all admitted doctoral candidates, and has developed processes which have led to increased internal and external funding for graduate students. 

The current graduate program chair says, "initiatives led by Margaret have helped us recruit some very talented students over the past six years, and it is no accident that during that time, our department has won three Dean's Graduate Convocation Medals, one Governor General's Gold Medal, and several SSHRC postdoctoral fellowships. We've also placed a very high number of our recent PhD graduates in tenure-track jobs or other continuing appointments."

Among those initiatives: A process for students to workshop SSHRC applications with faculty every fall, resulting in an excellent award success rate; the establishment of transparent and fair procedures for assigning TAships and graduate fellowships; and streamlining of the MA program so that it now can be completed in one year, ensuring future success for them if they chose to apply to PhD programs.

Dr. Linley’s exemplary leadership wasn’t limited to reconstructing the graduate program. Her research projects have involved many graduate student researchers, and graduate students she has supervised have published in leading scholarly venues and have succeeded in obtaining tenure-track academic and other professional appointments.

Jon Driver, currently SFU's VP Academic, was the Dean of Graduate Studies when she was the GPC. He says, "Even though Margaret was a relatively junior faculty member at the time, she took up these tough challenges, focused the attention of her colleagues on the financial needs of graduate students, and helped to increase our ability to attract good students and make students feel more confident in their ability to complete a graduate program."

The 2013 Dean of Graduate Studies Awards for Excellence are open for nominations. Deadline for nominations is May 15, 2013.

Tags: Achievements; profiles; English, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

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