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Simon Fraser University honours our 2021 Distinguished SFU Professors
Eight Simon Fraser University faculty members have been honoured as the 2021 Distinguished SFU Professors. As a joint initiative of SFU’s Vice-President, Academic and Provost and the Vice-President, Research and International, the Distinguished SFU Professor program recognizes SFU research faculty members of distinction who have achieved exceptional performance and distinguished accomplishments relative to their rank and years of service.
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 contributions they have made to their fields in the past, but also helps them magnify that impact through public engagement and student and faculty mentorship.
“We began accepting nominations for the Distinguished SFU Professors program earlier this year,” says Catherine Dauvergne, SFU’s vice-president, academic and provost. “It is remarkable that in the midst of working remotely during a global pandemic, our academic community was committed to putting together an impressive number of strong nomination packages.”
For SFU faculty, the changes and challenges of life in the pandemic world have continued through 2021. However, this September the university community is looking forward to our full return to campus. It is critical during this time that we recognize and celebrate this group of SFU researchers who will continue to make an impact in their fields through their scholarship, student and faculty mentorship, and public engagement. Although 2020 and 2021 have had huge impacts on our personal and professional lives, the excellent research and work did not stop.
“A special congratulations to all of our 2021 recipients,” says Dugan O’Neil, SFU’s vice-president, research and international. “You deserve this spotlight on the contributions you have made in your fields, and we look forward to seeing more of your research, innovations and achievements in the future.”
The Distinguished SFU Professors for 2021 are:
Henry Daniel, Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology
Henry Daniel is an artist/scholar specializing in dance, performance studies and new technology. His current multi-year research, Contemporary Nomads, investigates the large-scale movement of bodies across international spaces as a kind of chaotic transnational choreography, one that speaks to the deep fragmentation existing between communities across national borders, between nationalized and personalized bodies, and between the social and political institutions that were originally designed to serve their communities. Daniel’s work strives to prepare undergraduate and graduate students to be knowledgeable and well-informed, articulate, as well as expert practitioners in their chosen discipline by exposing them to an arts education seen through the lens of arts practice as research.
Nick Dulvy, Faculty of Science, Marine Biodiversity and Conservation
Nick Dulvy is a marine ecologist whose research focuses on the effects of climate change and overfishing on marine biodiversity, particularly sharks and rays. Recognized by Clarivate Analytics as a Highly Cited Researcher, his papers are in the top one per cent of citations, demonstrating the worldwide influence of his research. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and co-chaired the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Shark Specialist Group for 12 years. He is training the next generation of conservation biologists, equipping them with tools to secure a future for life on earth and in our oceans.
Martin Ester, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Computing Science
Martin Ester is most famous for the proposal of the DBSCAN algorithm for density-based clustering in 1996. Since then, he has become more interested in applying his research to molecular biology and medicine. Ester works closely with cancer researchers on developing data mining and machine learning methods that help them with cancer research, cancer diagnosis and treatment. In 2019, Ester was named a Royal Society of Canada Fellow for this research. In 2020, Ester received a BC Innovation Council Ignite Award for developing machine learning methods for precision agriculture.
Marianne Ignace, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Linguistics and Indigenous Studies
Marianne Ignace’s lifework has been to restore Indigenous languages and culture. She has worked tirelessly with elders to create curricula and resources to enable the transmission of their languages to younger generations.
Since 2013, she has been the director of First Nations Languages in the Twenty-first Century: Looking Back, Looking Forward, a SSHRC Partnership Grant Project that brings together 22 Indigenous grass-roots partner organizations.
With her husband, Chief Ronald Ignace, she received the Governor General’s Award for Innovation in 2019. Their co-authored book, Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws, received the 2018 Basil Stuart-Stubbs Book Prize for outstanding book on British Columbia.
Bojan Mohar, Faculty of Science, Mathematics
A world leader in graph theory and former Canada Research Chair, Bojan Mohar has won many awards for his transformative contributions to discrete mathematics, theoretical computing, and mathematical chemistry. His outstanding publication record includes over 270 journal publications and he actively serves the mathematical and computational scholarly community as editor-in-chief on many international academic journals.
Betty Schellenberg, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, English
Betty Schellenberg is an expert in manuscript and print cultures of the 18th century. She specializes in author professionalization, literary coteries and archival research on authors' correspondence.
Examining letters and other handwritten material in collections held around the world, Schellenberg’s study of 18th century women writers in the context of their day has shown how women were not “mere” authors of domestic novels, but highly professionalized writers contributing to the period’s redefinition of authorship.
Her current, SSHRC-funded research project is the first-ever study of manuscript verse miscellanies. These are unique, personal poetry anthologies created by “ordinary people” out of poetry copied from magazines, the writing of people in their networks, and their own compositions.
Nathalie Sinclair, Faculty of Education
Nathalie Sinclair’s research focuses on the embodied nature of mathematical thinking and learning, as well as the role of aesthetics in shaping mathematical experience. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Tangible Mathematics Learning, was elected to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, and received the Svend Pederson Lecture Award for her major and lasting contribution within the field of Mathematics Education.
Meghan Winters, Faculty of Health Sciences
Meghan Winters is a population health researcher interested in the link between health, transportation, and city design. Her research focuses on ways that cities and their infrastructure can play a role in promoting healthy, and safe transportation, for people of all ages and abilities. She closely collaborates with cities and communities to conduct research and create tools that address real-world challenges.
Winters’ work was recognized in 2020 with the prestigious CIHR Trailblazer Award in Population and Public Health Research. Additionally, she is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar.