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2015 Award for Excellence in Leadership: Yuezhi Zhao
We're delighted to profile the winners of the 2015 Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Awards for Excellence in Graduate Studies. Yuezhi Zhao receives an award for Excellence in Leadership.
Students in this two-year master's program receive two separate degrees, one from Simon Fraser University and a second from the Communication University of China (CUC), one of the top public universities in China — and first-ranked in the country for both media and language education. Students spend their first year in Canada at SFU, and their second year in China at CUC. In addition to working hard with colleagues at both SFU and CUC to deliver an innovative and enriching curriculum, Dr. Zhao also went beyond and above to seek funding for students and support student research projects.
The young program is already receiving recognitions: In 2014, the program received a gold prize in the Educational Excellence Award category at the Canada-China Business Council’s 4th Canada-China Business Excellence Awards.
More important than gold prizes, however, are the reactions of the students in the program. They were instrumental in nominating Dr. Zhao for this Graduate Studies Award of Excellence in Leadership, and very vocal in their acclaim for her leadership.
Since becoming a professor at SFU, Dr. Zhao has supervised more than 15 graduate students, but her mentorship extends far beyond those she has had a formal relationship with.
Even with her busy schedule, Dr. Zhao frequently makes time to spend hours meeting with students outside of scheduled hours, and does everything in her power to encourage her students both personally and academically.
Lyne Lin, who is completing the second year of the Double Degree Program in China , reports, "Dr. Zhao will frequently respond to her late night emails within minutes, despite studying at a different institution in a different time zone."
Besides personifying support and commitment to her students, Dr. Zhao has a number of significant professional accomplishments. In addition to her position as a Tier I Canada Research Chair at SFU, she holds a Senior Fellow position at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, as well as a visiting Changjiang Chair Professorship at the Communication University of China.