Congratulations to the 2021 FPA Excellence Award recipients! The winners were announced at the online celebration August 12.

Research Excellence Award

Evelyn Maeder, interim director and professor in the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, is one of the only scholars in Canada who empirically studies jury decision-making. She has made a substantial impact on this field with 46 published articles in peer-reviewed journals and multiple expert reports and testimony. The award will assist Maeder in conducting a simulation study of juror bias involving Black and Indigenous defendants.

Maeder was also recently awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant for the project Examining Race, Culture, and Threat in Jury Decision-Making in Canada. She is currently writing a book for NYU Press investigating the influence of diversity on decision-making in the courtroom. Maeder’s research examines the intersection of psychology and law, specifically regarding what social psychological principles can tell us about the functioning of the legal system.

Public Commentary Excellence Award

Leah West is an associate director and assistant professor in the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. She has made important contributions to the discussion of sexual assault and abuse of power within the Canadian Armed Forces. West has also provided insights and persuasive commentary on the situation of Canadians in camps in Syria and national security oversight.

West has engaged with The New York Times, Slate, The Globe and Mail, the Lawfare blog, the Canadian Bar Association’s National magazine and Policy Options, as well as providing public testimony before Parliamentary committees. She has made a huge impact in a short period of time and has helped to shed light in several important areas.

Staff Excellence Award

There have been many changes in the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice (ICCJ) this year – two new directors, a new acting undergraduate administrator and two new faculty members. Acting Institute administrator Robin Dunbar has kept everything running smoothly by prioritizing tasks and guiding those who have stepped into new roles – all with patience, compassion and understanding.

Dunbar joined the Institute in 2013 as undergraduate administrator. Since then, she has shown leadership and mentoring skills, provided information and guidance, and represented the Institute at recruitment events and maintained the website. During the pandemic, Dunbar developed a series of initiatives to keep the Institute connected while working from home, including a weekly online “coffee break” drop-in and an escape room activity.

Teaching Excellence Award (Faculty)

Brett Popplewell is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Communication. His teaching philosophy is shaped by student life, student activity and student concerns. He collaborated with students and faculty to create an equity checklist for instructors to improve the Journalism program’s efforts to create an anti-racist and equitable learning environment.

Popplewell’s innovative pedagogical approach to journalism education has helped to give students reporting experience on the pandemic. He partnered with J-Schools Canada and Maclean’s magazine to launch a nation-wide student effort to write obituaries for the Canadian victims of COVID-19. For one of his courses, Popplewell created 13 episodes of a podcast to engage a new cohort of students who hadn’t met the faculty in person.

Teaching Excellence Award (Contract Instructor)

“Instructors in FPA have the unique opportunity to shape the future by educating the next generation of global leaders, advocates, public servants, scholars and journalists,” says Noah Schwartz, a recent PhD graduate and contract instructor in the Department of Political Science. “I have found that the key to teaching is cultivating passion. When someone is passionate about a subject, it will drive their success.”

During the pandemic, Schwartz designed and taught the Politics of Human Rights, as well as an online First Year Seminar on Public Policy, focusing on maintaining an active and engaging learning environment. Schwartz also participated in the Brightspace pilot project, working to create an engaging and user friendly page for the course.

To request a viewing of the FPA Excellence Awards, please email Bryan Gagnon, Media Specialist with the Faculty of Public Affairs.

Thursday, August 12, 2021 in , , , ,
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