The Faculty of Public Affairs celebrated its first virtual FPA Excellence Awards ceremonies on June 22nd and 23rd. The two ceremonies gave the FPA Associate Deans an opportunity to present the awards, while the winners shared their appreciation for their colleagues and the Faculty as a whole.

“The FPA Excellence Award winners represent the best of our Faculty. We are proud and fortunate to work alongside them,” said Dean André Plourde. “While I wish we could have been together in person, it was heart-warming to see the virtual support for our colleagues.”

While one of the online ceremonies was dedicated to FPA’s teaching awards, including Teaching Excellence Awards and the Teaching Fellowship, the other focused on Research Excellence, Staff Excellence and Public Commentary.

2020 FPA Excellence Awards Winners

FPA Research Excellence Award

Professor Bill Cross (Political Science) received this award for his research on the different strata of political parties: “members, activists, donors, candidates, political operatives and Parliamentarians.” His forthcoming book, Who is the Political Party? “considers where power lies within the parties and who, in terms of socio/demographics, participates and is represented in the different levels of the parties.”

Cross thanked the Office of the Dean (past and present), his colleagues in the Department of Political Science, and his students.

“Many of the questions I have pursued in my research agenda have had their beginnings in the classroom when students ask a question that I realize collectively as a discipline we don’t have the answer to but that we should,” he said in his remarks. “These classroom discussions spawn many a research project.  Accordingly, I have never bought into the proposition that teaching and research are separate endeavours.”

FPA Public Commentary Excellence Award

Professor Josh Greenberg (Journalism and Communication) was the winner of this year’s Public Commentary award.

“The committee was impressed by not only the quantity of commentary demonstrated in his CV, but also the breadth and leadership in building a range of opportunities for stimulating dialogue, and enhancing public understanding of issues of the day,” said Mary Francoli, Director of Arthur Kroeger College, in presenting the award.

Greenberg is one of Canada’s foremost academics and public commentators on crisis communication and risk management, particularly in the domain of public health. His expertise has been particularly in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has done interviews with The New York Times, The Toronto Star, the CBC, and Global News just to name a few.

In addition to media interviews and academic publications, Francoli noted that Greenberg has also spearheaded a number of different opportunities for other faculty and students to engage and hone their skills in public commentary.

FPA Teaching Excellence Awards

The Faculty offers two Teaching Excellence Awards—one for full-time faculty members and the other for contract instructors.

This year’s faculty award winner is Professor Megan Gaucher (Law and Legal Studies).

“The committee was impressed with Megan’s consistently excellent teaching record, her innovation, her sensitivity to diversity and the importance of inclusion in the classroom, and – what clearly came through – her genuine passion for teaching,” said Christina Gabriel, Associate Dean (Students and Enrolment) in her introduction.

Gaucher has taught a wide range of courses at a variety of levels—from introductory courses to advanced graduate courses—all with glowing teaching evaluations. She has also supervised or is in the process of supervising nearly a dozen honours and MA research essays, and sits on four PhD committees.

Meanwhile the Teaching Excellence Award for a contract instructor went to Kelly Lauzon (Law and Legal Studies). Kelly was nominated by Hayley Rutland, a student in two of Kelly’s classes. Hayley described Kelly’s skill in the classroom, her ability to convey her passion for the subjects she was teaching, and particularly how deeply she cares about the student experience in her classes. She has been a full-time contract instructor since 2017.

FPA Teaching Fellowship

This fellowship provides full–time faculty and instructors with an opportunity to innovate and to demonstrate leadership in teaching, as well as to reward teaching excellence.

This year’s winner was Social Work Professor Kenta Asakura, who was recognized for his innovative teaching pedagogies that “help enhance the clinical training of social work students, particularly through the use of live and AI-based simulations”

The committee also noted “Kenta’s willingness to experiment in the classroom with different pedagogical approaches, something that obviously entails some risk.”

FPA Staff Excellence Award

This year’s Staff Excellence Award winner was Holly Klein-Swormink (Arthur Kroeger College). Klein-Swormink was praised by a number of her colleagues in Kroeger College, including Stephen Azzi, Director of the Master of Political Management program.

“I came to rely on her as a sounding board when facing difficult decisions involving students, curriculum and regulations,” said Azzi. “She reads others well and is endowed with both abundant good sense and a strong belief in fairness.”

These observations were shared by Lisa Mills, Director of the Public Affairs and Policy Management program. She pointed out that Klein-Swormink is an “excellent promoter of the PAPM program throughout the year and at recruitment events” and has worked to train students for these occasions.  She also described Klein-Swormink as “friendly, enthusiastic and well-informed.”

To request a viewing of the FPA Excellence Awards, please email Bryan at

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 in , , , , ,
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