Dr. Hasnat Dewan began teaching at TRU 18 years ago, when it was known as University College of the Cariboo. For the past three years, he also took on “the most difficult job on campus.”
Now he’s being recognized for his exemplary leadership with the TRU Chair Leadership Award for 2017/18.
Dr. Dewan has watched TRU undergo many changes and he is hopeful more transformation is coming.
“I’m hoping to witness more growth in the Economics department. We have a very strong faculty, who are dedicated to research. Hopefully, one day in the future, we will offer PhD programs,” said Dr. Dewan, who served as chair of the Economics department from 2014 to 2017. He was nominated by members of his department and supported by the dean’s office.
The peacekeeping role that chairs take on is diverse, challenging and deserving of support and recognition, according to TRU Provost and Vice-President Academic Dr. Christine Bovis-Cnossen.
“The chairs are an integral part of the university and our academic governance structure. The work they do is absolutely critical to student successes. They act as the liaison between academic administration, leadership, faculty and students,” Dr. Bovis-Cnossen said.
“It is the most difficult job on campus. Having been a chair myself, you are often caught between pillar and post. Being able to do the delicate dance of maintaining peace and harmony within a program is difficult.”
Dr. Dewan has a chance to hone his leadership skills even more with up to $1,500 provided by the provost’s office for a leadership workshop or conference. He recently gave his perspective on winning the award and his role at TRU.
What does receiving this recognition mean to you?
“It’s very gratifying to know my colleagues appreciate the work I’ve done for the department. The chair is an administrator and faculty member at the same time, which sometimes makes the chair tasks very difficult. Chairs have to be managers and leaders. This recognition makes me believe that I’ve performed well in both of my roles.”
What are two or three personal highlights among the many reasons why you are receiving this award?
“The biggest thing that happened during my tenure as chair was the approval of the two masters programs, the Master in Environmental Economics and Management and Master of Science in Environmental Economics and Management. I must acknowledge that all of this was achieved through collective efforts of the Economics faculty and the School of Business and Economics dean. Without that, it would not have been possible. Additionally, I took the initiative to develop two post-baccalaureate programs. The post-baccalaureate in economics will be available this fall and the proposal for the post-baccalaureate in mathematics and economics is in the final stages of institutional approval process. I met with several foreign delegates and visited a university to discuss collaboration and joint programs in economics. We hope to get benefits from those discussions in the future. Another highlight was successfully working with three different deans over three years and protecting department interests.”
How do you describe your leadership style?
“I always get the work done and attempt to achieve my goals either by my own effort or as a team effort as appropriate. I believe in teamwork and collegial decision making. However, I don’t delegate my responsibilities to others to free up my time. Transparency and communication are also integral parts of my leadership style.”
What do you enjoy most about your role?
“The opportunity to make positive contributions to student and faculty life is always satisfying. Being able to voice my opinion in the school leadership meetings is quite fulfilling. Because of my chair role, I got to know my faculty better and got the opportunity to share their career achievements and successes with them. I also love the opportunity to interact with other chairs and members of the wider TRU community.”
What are you looking forward to as you continue your work in the future?
“I’m back teaching now and that’s my passion, so I really enjoy it. When I was chair, I had to teach fewer courses. I look forward to teaching introductory courses for next year. I believe at that level I can make a real difference in someone’s life. I can help them get interested in the subject and help shape their career. I will have more time for research now that I’m not doing the chair job.”
Previous Chair Leadership Award winners:
• 2016/17 Faheem Ahmed, Department of Computing Science
• 2015/16 Krista Lussier, School of Nursing
• 2014/15 Rob Hood, Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism
• 2013/14 Peter Tsigaris, School of Business and Economics and Wendy Kipnis, Faculty of Education and Social Work
• 2012/13 Rob Anderson, School of Business and Economics
• 2011/12 David Sheets, Faculty of Science
• 2010/11 Jeanette Murray, School of Nursing