Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

2017 Merit Awards: Faculty and staff achievements lauded

  Posted on: April 13, 2017

TRU celebrated this year’s eight outstanding award recipients and recognized 173 faculty and staff for long-term service at the President’s Annual Merit and Staff Awards on April 13, 2017. About 200 colleagues and supporters packed the Mountain Room for the 2 p.m. ceremony, while the eight award recipients enjoyed a reception with TRU President Alan Shaver and other administrators (pictured above).

Merit Award recipients are as follows:

TRU Master Scholar Award

TRU annually recognizes a faculty member who represents the highest achievement in scholarship, attained over a career. Nominees must be TRU tenured professors or professors emeriti who have held an academic appointment at TRU for at least 10 years and have not previously received the award.

Dr. George JohnsonFaculty of Arts

George is a professor and the chair of English and Modern Languages. He has taught English and writing at TRU since 1991. Internationally recognized both as a scholar and a creative writer, he has authored Dynamic Psychology in Modernist British Fiction (2006) and Mourning and Mysticism in First World War Literature and Beyond: Grappling with Ghosts (2015), both of which made substantial contributions to our understanding of early modernism. He edited and introduced three volumes of the Dictionary of Literary Biography, has published numerous scholarly articles and has presented at national and international conferences. His creative works include several acclaimed screenplays and stage plays such as Peace Pledge, which received honourable mention in the Euroscript screenplay competition, and Mockus, which premiered Feb. 8, 2017, at the Pavilion Theatre, Kamloops.

TRU Teaching Excellence Award

TRU annually recognizes up to three faculty members who represent the best qualities of teachers, in and out of the classroom. Nominees may be full-time, part-time or sessional faculty and must have taught at TRU for five continuous years.

Dr. Jonathan Van Hamme, Faculty of Science

Jon is an associate professor in Biological Sciences who has shared his passion for microbiology at TRU since 2003. With unwavering enthusiasm and an open-door policy, he makes difficult course material engaging and provides extra help whenever needed, supporting many students to excel in biology and beyond. Jon effectively integrates his research into his teaching, applying concepts to current, real-world applications, and he inspires students to expand their skills in their own research. The recipient of a 2016 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, he has supervised 46 undergraduate students in the past 10 years. He has introduced more than 60 students to the equipment in the state-of-the-art microbiology, proteomics and genomics facility he has developed at TRU.

Dr. Lisa Cooke, Faculty of Arts

Lisa is an associate professor in Sociology and Anthropology who has taught cultural anthropology at TRU since 2009. Students have shown a growing interest in the courses that she has developed about Indigenous studies and colonial settler relations and appreciate the tools and experiences she incorporates to make the content more relatable. She brings her extensive research knowledge to the classroom, shares personal stories as well as media analyses to address contemporary issues, and challenges students to learn in new ways through hands-on experience. Through her teaching, she motivates students to continue their learning and apply it to their own lives. Caring, generous and responsive to diversity, she creates a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere in which her students reach a deeper understanding.

TRU Faculty Award for Excellence in Internationalization

TRU annually recognizes one faculty member who through teaching, scholarly activity and service promotes the internationalization of the student experience in or out of the classroom. Nominees are full-time, part-time or sessional faculty who have taught at TRU for five continuous years and have not previously received the award.

Robin Reid, Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism

Robin is an assistant professor in Tourism Management and has taught at TRU since 1998. Her involvement in TRU’s Pedagogy of Place research group and the Internationalizing the Curriculum program provides a background for re-visioning her teaching and curriculum to engage both international and domestic students in intercultural dialogue and place-based experiences. Her applied research showing how specific interventions can improve students’ experiences of multicultural group work has been shared widely in international and national publications and presentations. Through immense enthusiasm, commitment and creativity Robin stimulates intercultural learning and sparks an appreciation of diverse perspectives in her students that stays with them long after graduation.

TRU Distinguished Service Award

TRU annually recognizes up to five individuals who demonstrate outstanding abilities and contributions, drawn from all employee groups: two support staff, one faculty member, one Open Learning Faculty Member and one administration member. Nominees may be full-time or part-time employees and must have worked at TRU for five continuous years.

Jim Gudjonson (Administration), Environmental Sustainability

Jim is director of Environmental Sustainability and has been at TRU since 2000. His leadership spans many areas of sustainability, from operations to community engagement. He led the development and continues the implementation of TRU’s first Strategic Sustainability Plan, with initiatives that have been recognized nationally and internationally. Through his efforts, TRU achieved gold status in the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating Systems (STARS) in 2015, and is on track to achieve Platinum status in the near future. Last year TRU’s electricity savings reached $500,000, the greatest savings as a percentage of total consumption of all the universities in BC Hydro’s Energy Manager program. Jim’s passion and commitment have contributed to a strong sustainability culture among students, faculty and staff.

Dr. Jan Duerden (Faculty), Faculty of Arts

Jan is an English faculty member and has been at TRU since 1998. Her record of service in the Faculty of Arts, through her participation in promotion, marketing and recruitment events, documents her exceptional commitment to increasing the profile of TRU and supporting student success. Jan has been instrumental in establishing two of Arts’ most successful promotional events: the Day of Arts and Science—which celebrates its tenth year in May—and First-year Orientation. Through her involvement in introductory programs like TRU Start, she is often part of students’ first experience with TRU. An effective and dependable leader, she has made her mark on and off campus, benefiting hundreds of students every year.

Rose Gountas (Support Staff), Facilities Services

Rose is the utilities coordinator for the TRU campus and has been with Facilities Services since 2001. In arguably one of the busiest and most demanding positions on campus, she demonstrates outstanding perseverance, organization and leadership. Rose has proven her ability to effectively handle an extensive range of operational tasks, from logistics for many campus-wide events (including IDays, convocations and orientation), to major staff relocations, to snow and refuse removal. In the summer of 2016 alone she coordinated the moves involved for more than 20 renovation projects in eight buildings. She provides friendly and professional customer service, no matter the emergency, and works closely with her Facilities colleagues to ensure the campus is safe and well-maintained for the TRU community, inside and out.

Karie Russell (Support Staff), TRU World

Karie is the mobility officer at TRU World and has worked with Study Abroad and international students at TRU since 2004. Her tireless efforts have made TRU’s Study Abroad program a model of excellence. With passion and dedicated mentorship, Karie led the development, launch and management of the Study Abroad Ambassadors program, which has gained national and international praise. Recognizing the opportunity to increase the safety of TRU students abroad, she championed and implemented the new Symplicity Horizons software to manage, monitor and support student travellers. Her research on best practices and collaboration with Advising has streamlined course planning for inbound exchange students to give them peace of mind. To every initiative she brings enthusiasm, energy and professionalism.

President’s Annual Service Awards for Long-Term Service

TRU recognizes employees with 10 through 35 years of long-term service with a series of service award pins.

35 Years of Service (since 1982)

  • Will Garrett-Petts, Research and Graduate Studies
  • Allan Hneeda, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Robert Lindsay, Open Learning
  • Scott Mann, Faculty of Science
  • Laurain MillsOpen Learning

30 Years of Service (since 1987)

  • Linda Brunt, Ancillary Services
  • Heather Noyes, Faculty of Science
  • Larry Peatt, TRU World
  • Randolph (Randy) Porter, Finance Department
  • Robert Verner, Open Learning
  • Troy Welch, Open Learning

25 Years of Service (since 1992)

  • Bruce Baugh, Faculty of Arts
  • Devon Boucher, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • John Bryson, Lillooet Regional Center
  • Kenneth Cloutier, Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism
  • Ila Crawford, Faculty of Arts
  • Margarete Hanna, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Adrian Higgins, Facilities Services
  • Jacqueline Kampman, Faculty of Arts
  • John Karakatsoulis, Faculty of Science
  • Bernie Kirkey, School of Business and Economics
  • Lolina Koopmans, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Dawn Lamore, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • Penny MacCourt, Open Learning
  • Susan McKay, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Charlene Munro, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • Cindy Piwowar, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Lois Rugg, Open Learning
  • Mark Salopek, Open Learning
  • David Sheets, Faculty of Science
  • Michael Shields, Williams Lake
  • Donald Sinclair, Open Learning
  • Iain Stewart-Patterson, Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism
  • Arlee Strachan, President and Vice-Chancellor
  • Donna Taylor, Faculty of Student Development
  • Patrick Walton, Faculty of Education and Social Work

20 Years of Service (since 1997)

  • Hank Bangma, School of Trades and Technology
  • Denise Comtois, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • Dorys Crespin-Mueller, Integrated Planning and Effectiveness
  • Julie-Anne Dekowny, School of Trades and Technology
  • Jan Duerden, Faculty of Arts
  • Louis Gosselin, Faculty of Science
  • Linda Huntington, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • Lawrence Iles, Faculty of Student Development
  • Cindy James, Faculty of Student Development
  • Nina Johnson, Faculty of Arts
  • Rhonda Johnson, Williams Lake
  • Victoria Martin, School of Business and Economics
  • Vera Mazzei, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • Sharon Munk, Faculty of Student Development
  • Lanette Nordick, School of Nursing
  • Linda Oliver, School of Nursing
  • Evangelitsa Pappas, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Nicholas Pawliuk, Faculty of Arts
  • Marie-Christine Rey-Bilbey, Faculty of Arts
  • Pina Russo, Athletics and Recreation
  • Jonathon Shephard, Athletics and Recreation
  • Lisa Smillie, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • Robin Tapley, Faculty of Arts
  • Joanna Urban, Faculty of Science
  • Gilles Viaud, Faculty of Arts
  • Sheri Watson, Faculty of Science

15 Years of Service (since 2002)

  • Anne Beveridge, Open Learning
  • Jason Brown, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Stephanie Chaput, Faculty of Science
  • Naowarat (Ann) Cheeptham, Faculty of Science
  • Bruno Cinel, Faculty of Science
  • Rachelle Cornwell, Open Learning
  • Reyna Denison, TRU World
  • Anton du Toit, Open Learning
  • Florriann Fehr, School of Nursing
  • Heather Forrester, Auxiliary
  • Karen Gamracy, Advancement
  • Thomas Haag, School of Trades and Technology
  • Jonathan Heshka, Faculty of Law
  • Hung-Chi Hsu, TRU World
  • Valerie Jacobs, Faculty of Student Development
  • Warveni Jap, School of Business and Economics
  • Jenine Johnson, Finance Department
  • Douglas Knowles, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Darlene Koss, Auxiliary
  • Ehsan Latif, School of Business and Economics
  • Michael Lemphers, Faculty of Science
  • Peggy McKimmon, School of Business and Economics
  • Elizabeth Rennie, University Library
  • Cliff Robinson, Faculty of Student Development
  • Aditya Sharma, Open Learning
  • Brenda Smith, University Library
  • Adriana Stefan, Faculty of Science
  • Mohamed Tawhid, Faculty of Science
  • Sonia Walczak, Faculty of Science
  • Ed Walker, Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism
  • Marnie Wright, Open Learning

10 Years of Service (since 2007)

  • Charles Anaere, School of Business and Economics
  • Christine Anderson, Marketing and Communications
  • Sheryl Aselstyne, Open Learning
  • Bradley Bates, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Jolanta Belliveau, Finance Department
  • Tina Block, Faculty of Arts
  • Joan Bolton, Williams Lake
  • Nicole Borhaven, Open Learning
  • Gary Bunney, Provost and Vice-President Academic
  • Tracy Christianson, School of Nursing
  • Naomi Cloutier, Open Learning
  • Lisa Cooke, Faculty of Arts
  • Jennifer Crall, Open Learning
  • Colleen Crossley, Williams Lake
  • Jean Crowe, Open Learning
  • Tod Denham, Open Learning
  • Marcia Desrosiers, Faculty of Science
  • Sandra Devick, Faculty of Student Development
  • Karen Devlin, Faculty of Science
  • Donna Easton, Faculty of Student Development
  • Toni Faulkner, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • Lyn Ferec, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • Andrew Fergus, School of Business and Economics
  • Jonathon Fulton, Open Learning
  • Linda Giddens, Faculty of Student Development
  • Kathy Gilroy, Williams Lake
  • Jarita Heer, Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism
  • Thomas Hewett, Williams Lake
  • Jason Hogue, Open Learning
  • Scott Jameson, Open Learning
  • Sydney Johnsen, Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism
  • Janice Karpluk, Faculty of Science
  • Roxane Kolle, Auxiliary
  • Gurjit Lalli, Information Technology Services
  • Sarah Langlois, Open Learning
  • Christine Lee, TRU World
  • Xuelin Liu, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Roy Lochhead, School of Trades & Technology
  • Barbara Loucks, Open Learning
  • Terence Macdonald, Faculty of Arts
  • Anne Magdalenich, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • Diana Major, Advancement
  • Razuvtindar Mann, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • Shannon Martin, Auxiliary
  • Barbara Mayer, University Library
  • Alicia Mazari-Andersen, Open Learning
  • Erin McGarvey, School of Nursing
  • Sean McGuinness, Faculty of Science
  • Doug Medley, Open Learning
  • Arthur Meger, Open Learning
  • Joanne Moores, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • Cindy Nadeau, Williams Lake
  • Kimberley Naqvi, Faculty of Arts
  • Vicki Nygaard, Faculty of Arts
  • Mark Paetkau, Faculty of Science
  • Hilary Parsons, Strategic Enrolment and University Registrar
  • John Patton, Open Learning
  • Corinne Petersen, Finance Department
  • Donald Poirier, Open Learning
  • Sharan Rai, Auxiliary – Williams Lake
  • Glenn Read, Ancillary Services
  • Larry Read, Athletics and Recreation
  • Susan Reedy, Ancillary Services
  • Robert Rippin, Open Learning
  • David Rittenhouse, Open Learning
  • Lora Sartori, Faculty of Student Development
  • Ann Scott, Open Learning
  • Christopher Seguin, Advancement
  • Michelle Seibel, School of Nursing
  • Heather Shannon, Faculty of Science
  • Debra Sloat, School of Business and Economics
  • Charmaine Tener, School of Business and Economics
  • David Verhoeff, University Library
  • Debbie Wasylyshyn, Open Learning
  • Julia Wells, University Library
  • Caroline Whitelaw, Research and Graduate Studies
  • Christine Wihak, Open Learning
  • Corey Wisla, Information Technology Services
  • Shelley Woodrow, Ancillary Services
  • Cameron Reid (posthumous) Open Learning


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