Celebration of Excellence

Jeffrey Atkinson

During his career at Brock, Jeffrey has earned a reputation for being one our most gifted teachers. His teaching evaluations are outstanding and he routinely receives comments such as “Excellent professor,” “Best professor I’ve ever had” and more, equally enthusiastic and complimentary in their praise.

He has a long and successful record of supervising students, having graduated a total of 59 graduate and fourth year honours undergraduate students during his time at Brock, with six thesis supervisions currently underway.

Jeffrey brings the same dedication and professionalism to all of his teaching. He has mentored a host of undergraduate summer students, many funded by the NSERC USRA program and is a long-running mentor for high school students enrolled in our Science Mentorship Program. All of these students have gone on to successful careers in research, teaching or industry.

Jeffrey was also heavily involved in the design and implementation of Brock’s first PhD program in Biotechnology and has been a mainstay of Biotechnology teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Special mention should be made of Jeffrey’s involvement in outreach teaching activities. For a number of years, he offered a course entitled “Introduction to the Science of Biotechnology for Non-Scientists” through BioTalent Canada, a non-profit organization whose mandate is to provide human resources information and skills development tools to the biotechnology industry in Canada.

Paul Zelisko

Paul is one of the Department of Chemistry’s full-time instructors and has been untiring in his dedication to education and graduate student recruitment. Every year at the McMaster University graduate fair, he organizes Brock representation. He is also known for organizing undergraduate recruitment trips to the east coast.

Along with another faculty member in the department, Paul has also organized a Graduate Studies Open House for undergraduate students at Brock who are thinking about the transition to graduate research. The event is not only a great way to further connect with students and assist in their decision-making, it is also a fantastic way to recruit from within.

Paul is not only recognized for his work in the classroom and with students, but also by colleagues. He has diligently collected and organized other faculty members’ biographies and research interests, keeping them up-to-date and easy to read for rapid appreciation by both current and potential students.

Jon Radue

Jon cares very deeply about teaching and pedagogy. He is genuinely interested in the process of learning and has been a true innovator when it comes to incorporating technology in the classroom to further student engagement. For example, long before it was commonplace, Jon introduced the technology of clickers to help monitor students’ understanding.

He has been actively involved with the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation – formerly the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Educational Technology – as a faculty associate and member of the Teaching Council.

In the Department of Computer Science, Jon spearheaded the development of the Applied Computing minor along with many of its courses. His knowledge and dedication made him an easy choice for teaching large, first-year context courses taken by a wide variety of students from all disciplines.

Jon has also worked very hard over many years on academic integrity. He helped develop a suite of learning objectives to teach about plagiarism and his work on this important issue extends beyond the department and throughout the University.

Jon’s passion for education also extended to Brock’s e-learning courses. When the University was first considering e-learning, it was Jon who helped facilitate an e-learning symposium.

Jon’s passion for teaching, combined with his knowledge and dedication have been part of his legacy here at Brock.

Henryk Fuks

Henryk has an excellent record of accomplishment in research which is interdisciplinary in its scope. His main area of research lies in spatially-extended discrete complex systems, which encompasses both mathematics and applications.

He also works in areas of mathematical modeling, complex networks, as well as the history of mathematics and numismatics – the study of currency, including coins, tokens and paper money. This is a truly diverse range of topics which exemplifies the vision of both our Faculty and of Brock University.

Over the past year, Henryk published seven refereed papers and two editor-reviewed articles. His work receives regular international recognition. For example, Henryk was recently invited to contribute a chapter on orbits of Bernoulli measures to the Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science. He was also invited to present at the International Workshop on Cellular Automata and Discrete Complex Systems.

Henryk has also received high recognition for his work in the history of mathematics. In August 2017, the Royal Canadian Numismatic Society honored him with the Guy Potter Literary Award. This award recognized two of Henryk’s articles, popularizing the history of mathematics in the area of numismatics.

In addition to his research achievements, Henryk is a member of the Working Group on Cellular Automata and Discrete Complex Systems of the International Federation of Information Processing. He also served on the editorial boards of several prestigious journals as well as on scientific program committees of several international conferences.

Gaynor Spencer

Gaynor has had a particularly strong research year. She was promoted to Full Professor in July and is supervising three graduate students and two undergraduate thesis students in her lab. She also sits on a number of supervisory committees.

She had nine conference presentations, published two papers, has two under review, and another three underway.

Gaynor has maintained high quality research productivity while providing great service to the University and research community. Her long-standing history of research excellence is evidenced, in part, by her strong record of NSERC Discovery Grant and RTI funding, an Ontario Premier’s Research Excellence Award as well as quality, peer-reviewed publications – 38 papers, five invited reviews and four book chapters.

Her publications further attest to her training of research students at both the graduate and undergraduate level as over 90% of her publications involve student co-authors.

Along with her term as Directorship of the Neuroscience Program, Gaynor has held terms on several internal committees and participated in the Science Mentorship Program.

Outside of the University, Gaynor is a member of the NSERC Canada: Genes, Cells and Molecules Discovery Grants Committee and was previously a member of the NSERC Research Tools and Instruments Evaluation Committee.

Mei-Ling Huang

This award recognizes a Faculty member’s significant contributions to research, teaching and service.

Mei-Ling’s research is in the field of statistics. In the past year, she had three conference proceedings, two refereed journal publications and over ten other research papers submitted or in progress. She has given invited presentations in conferences as well as served on two organizing committees. She also currently holds a five-year NSERC research grant and has various supervisory research projects for both Masters and undergraduate students.

Winner of Brock’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004, Mei-Ling continues to be a favourite among students, as evidenced by her exceptional teaching evaluations.

She has also helped to develop existing and new Statistics programs at the undergraduate, graduate, co-op and minor level – all of which are successful. It is worth noting that 100% of past graduates of the Master’s program have PhDs or professional statistics positions. Mei-Ling has also designed a new Data Sciences Program with colleagues and organized and chaired several Colloquium Lectures in Statistics at Brock University.

Community service is another area in which Mei-Ling shines. She is a life-time member of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the International Chinese Statistical Association. She has also been actively involved with the Statistical Society of Canada and serves on a number of committees at the departmental level.

Fereidoon (Feri) Razavi

Brock University has a reputation for scientific research in superconductivity and neuron scattering, in part thanks to the work of Feri.

In 1986, he – along with Brock professors Frans Koffyberg and Bozidar Mitrovic – were the first researchers in Canada and the second in the world to confirm the existence of a new ceramic material that became a superconductor at a record-high temperature. This discovery launched an entire new field of condensed-matter research and confirmed the high caliber of our Faculty working in this area and others.

Today, Feri is recognized for his more recent contributions to research, teaching and service. He has maintained a stellar research program and publication record while planning, coordinating and delivering new courses for the first Masters in Materials Physics class.

This 13-month long course-based program is designed to provide intensive hands-on graduate training in advanced experimental, theoretical and computational techniques of modern materials science. The goal is to prepare highly knowledgeable and skilled graduates, who will be well-trained as materials scientists to fill jobs in industry, government agencies, research institutes and universities worldwide.

Feri has also played a significant role as Graduate Program Director – a role he has capably done since 2013, until passing the mantle this year.

While ushering through his third PhD student in 2016, two Masters students in 2017, he still found time to publish seven articles with collaborators in Germany, India and Iran.

Feri’s lab continues to be productive with four Masters and one PhD student still hard at work.

Jacinta Dano

In the Department of Biological Sciences, Jacinta has a long history of working for the betterment of our students.

As a Senior Laboratory Demonstrator, Jacinta is in the perfect position to see first-hand how our students fair within our laboratory courses. Over the years, she has used this vantage point to update, refine and improve the lab experience for our students.

Jacinta’s passion and dedication for increasing our students’ chances of success led to the creation of LabSkills plus – a program designed to document and credit our students with the laboratory skills required in industry.

Over the past two years, Jacinta has built this program in its entirety. She has written the testing paradigms, hired past graduate students, applied for funding and helped acquire the equipment and supplies needed for each testing event.

This program, at its core, focuses on recognizing the importance of experiential learning and helps to both engage and retain students by providing them with the skills they need to market themselves in an increasingly competitive industry.

Skyrocketing enrolment requests speak to the program’s popularity with students. LabSkills plus is also being looked at as a model by other programs, both within and outside of our Faculty.

Jacinta’s vision, coupled with her commitment and tireless work – she routinely devotes her free time to this program – has resulted in a program that highlights and further promotes the experiential benefits of a Brock degree in Biological Sciences. Students walk away with the skills they need to succeed.

Frank Fueten

Experiential learning refers to “learning by doing” or “hands-on learning” and it is an expression of constructivism, a philosophical approach to describe the creation of knowledge through experience and/or specific actions.

In science, we have used experiential learning for many decades in the form of the laboratory components of our courses. While it’s not new to many people in science, it has quickly become a much-desired practice by other faculties in the University. Indeed, today Brock brands itself as a leader in experiential learning.

Frank has been particularly active in experiential learning both in the classroom and in the field. In the classroom, his students learn by experience working with maps and structural models; they learn how to read or interpret geological maps so that they can develop a three-dimensional vision of geological phenomena.

His Earth Sciences 3P99 Field Camp course is at the pinnacle of experiential learning. Held in the vicinity of Whitefish Falls – between Espanola and Manitoulin Island – Frank and a group of third-year Earth Sciences students live in cabins for two weeks spanning April and May where long days are spent mapping the complex geology of the area.

Through this experience, they collect geological data which is then used to construct geological maps. They learn how to collect factual geological information or data and analyze that data in order to understand the spatial distribution of geological material and to interpret events that took place over the course of billions of years to produce the geology that we see exposed at the Earth’s surface today.

For many years of applying experiential learning to hundreds of geology students, Frank is certainly deserving of this recognition.

Daniel Lonergan

Born and raised in Niagara, Dan has been connected to Brock since 2008. A graduate of our Faculty, he holds a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics, a Bachelors of Education and has gone on to pursue his MBA.

Having had experiential opportunities as part of each of his degrees, Dan has first-hand knowledge of the many benefits these opportunities can bring.

His affinity for Brock, coupled with his knowledge and passion for experiential education, made him a natural fit for the Faculty’s Experiential Education Coordinator.

During his time in this role, he enabled students to see the many doorways their degrees can open up and encouraged them to be open to new ideas. Dan played a significant role in further enhancing the student experience through experiential education and our Science Mentorship Program.

He also represented the Faculty at the Ontario University Fair in September and both the Open House and Fall Preview Day.

Dan’s knowledge, work ethic and leaderships skills have not gone unnoticed. He has accepted a new position with the Goodman School of Business and is currently their Senior Experiential Education Coordinator.

Uwe Brand

Last year, Uwe received the Distinguished Research Award. This year, we recognize his contributions to experiential education.

For nearly thirty years, Uwe has provided students with unique learning opportunities. The courses he offers to undergraduate students have developed a reputation for being unlike any other and he consistently demonstrates his commitment to delivering high-quality, hands-on learning experiences to Brock students.

From constructing real-world fieldwork scenarios in his Chemical and Carbonate Sedimentology course to the introduction of a new Advanced Environmental Site Assessment course focused entirely on the practical applications of his lecture material, Uwe ensures that students are armed with knowledge and skills required in the field of geology.

A long-standing proponent of first-hand experience as an effective educational tool, Uwe does not shy away from opportunities he knows will benefit his students. To this day, he joins his class on hikes up and down the escarpment, teaching proper methodology of measuring an outcrop along the way. His dedication to providing his students with the best education possible is well-known.

In Watershed Study and Assessment, his second-longest running course which began in 1998, his approach bridges the gap between lecture, lab work and field work, providing students with the hands-on skills required by practicing professional geoscientists.

Uwe is also known for encouraging students to take the lead on course material. Discussions at the onset of his courses allow senior students to take initiative, suggesting projects and research they wish to conduct. With his guidance and support, students not only tackle material that is of interest to them, but gain confidence and pride in their work, seeing it through from planning stages to execution.

His approach to experiential education links in-class learning with practical applications that help prepare our students for the real world.