Faculty Profile: Dr. Richard Gruneau, Communication

October 12, 2012

We're delighted to profile the winners of the 2012 Dean's Awards for Excellence in Graduate Studies. Dr. Richard Gruneau received an award for Excellence in Supervision.

Dr. Rick Gruneau's goal, when he accepts a graduate student, is to turn that student into a colleague.

Over his 25 years at SFU, he has been a supervisor or committee member for over 80 graduate students — that is more graduate students than any other faculty member in the School of Communication. To top that remarkable statistic off: 16 of his 19 supervised doctoral students have gone on to hold tenured, tenure-track or long term faculty positions around the world. In other words, they have truly become his colleagues.

When the nominating committee asked his former students to send in a few paragraphs about his contributions to their success, it was overwhelmed with letters describing Rick's many strengths as a supervisor, from mentorship to genuine friendship to always finding ways to further the student's career goals.

He also doesn't think that his work ends when they graduate. One student said, "I could not even begin to count the number of reference letters Prof. Gruneau has written for me over the years, nor the number of pep talks he has had to administer, stating simply, 'it's my job.'"

His students also praise his warmth and intellectual curiosity, and note his "near-encyclopedic" knowledge of the many streams of communication research — and his peers comment that he is a sought-after and treasured supervisor because he challenges, teaches and supports his students in the quest for learning.

Shane Gunster, graduate program chair, says, "Rick has mentored a generation of graduate students who seek neither to replicate his research agenda nor reproduce his intellectual personality but, instead, are now trying to emulate the generosity of spirit which they found so empowering and invigorating."

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

Tags: Achievements; profiles; communication, Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

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