Staff and Faculty Awards

Celebrating scholars, teachers, innovators and leaders the world needs

Our university community recognizes the outstanding contributions of our 2022 staff and faculty award recipients – individuals who exemplify USask's commitment to be the university the world needs.

Please note, the Distinguished Researcher Award and Master Teacher Award will be recognized and presented at Convocation.

Provost's College Award for Outstanding Teaching

Alison Oates

Dr. Alison Oates (PhD), Associate Professor, College of Kinesiology

"I am fortunate to have exceptional mentors and supporters in Kinesiology and at the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning. Len Gusthart helped me learn to think about teaching pedagogy and how to use student feedback to improve my teaching. Louise Humbert helped me think more broadly about my teaching and about the importance of compassion with boundaries for students. Susan Bens has helped me develop evaluations and communications with students and has supported course organization and adaptation throughout the pandemic."

Amrinderbir Singh

Dr. Amrinderbir Singh (DDS), Assistant Professor, Dental Public Health and Director, Inclusive Community Care, College of Dentistry

"I am committed to providing an educational environment where learners from eclectic backgrounds have positive and empowering experiences  experiences that enable them to value their cultural identities, be respected by and respectful of others, and see the world from perspectives other than their own. I believe education is a process through which we learn about, with, and from one another as people first, to better understand the world and imagine the possibilities for changing it for the better."

Brian Lane

Brian Lane, Associate Professor, Edwards School of Business

"Student success is a big motivator for me. When I see our students gaining basic knowledge and then digging deeper to broaden their understanding and their learning capacity it is very rewarding. Seeing our students launch careers, start businesses, pursue professional designations, and shape the business world in a positive way are also gratifying. The mission of the Edwards School of Business is ‘We develop business professionals to build nations.’ This is an aggressive goal, and it reminds me of the responsibility that comes with my position. This guides my actions while instructing students, coaching competition teams, preparing scholarly work, and consulting in the community."

Emily McWalter

Dr. Emily McWalter (PhD), Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering

"In engineering, we are not only teaching technical information but also, and sometimes more importantly, the skills of critical thought, decision making, teamwork, creativity, and communication. My fundamental teaching philosophy is to guide students through the material with the goal of providing them with the tools to master the course material during the class and in their future careers."

Fran Walley

Dr. Fran Walley (PhD), Associate Dean (Academic) and Professor, College of Agriculture and Bioresources

"There are so many mentors and supporters it is hard to know where to begin. I am really lucky to work in a department and in a College that really supports and promotes teaching excellence. Professors Terry Tollefson, Dan Pennock and Krista Wilde have shown me what passion for teaching looks like, to name a few truly inspiring mentors. There are so many people across campus who are willing to share their love of teaching and creativity, who care for students and learning, I only have to step out of my office for an inspirational conversation with a colleague."

Hua Li

Dr. Hua Li (PhD), Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

"What motivates and inspires me in my work is a passion to share knowledge and experience, and to interact with students and see them grow... One of the most influential people in my life was my grade 9 teacher Ms. Young. She encouraged her students to pursue their dreams by setting high expectations and at the same time being caring and supportive."   

Joseph Rubin

Dr. Joseph Rubin (PhD, DVM), Associate Professor, Graduate Chair, Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine

"As a microbiologist, I have the privilege of seeing a world that is literally invisible to most people. It's a really exciting time to be working in infectious diseases. As a researcher who studies bacteria that move back and forth between people, food and animals, I have a “big picture” perspective that is so rewarding to share with veterinary students in the classroom and with graduate students in the lab."

Mark Carter

Mark Carter, Professor, College of Law

Terry Damm

Terry Damm, Pharmacy Professional Practice Coordinator, medSask Medication Information Consultant, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition

"I am fortunate that my position as the skills lab coordinator allows me to work closely with a cohort of students for an entire year.  Witnessing a student’s progression week-to-week, especially if they were a weaker student, is immensely inspiring.  This shows me that our efforts in providing feedback, assessing and coaching students is not in vain, which highly motivating."

Vicki Squires

Dr. Vicki Squires (PhD), Interim Associate Dean (Research, Graduate Support and International Initiatives) Associate Professor, Department of Educational Administration

"The possibility of impacting students' futures inspires me. Knowing that you have made a positive difference on their personal or professional goals is key to my work. I never would have gone into doctoral work until one faculty member gave me strong encouragement to do so... Explore your questions and your passion. What wonders do you have? Following your questions will help you uncover new paths and areas of exploration. Always look to expanding your horizons."

Provost's Outstanding Teacher Award

Elemir Simko

Dr. Elemir Simko (DVM, DVSc), Professor, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine

"[I am inspired by] a sparkle in a student’s eyes when they learn something new, make a first discovery or publish a first paper. There is no greater professional satisfaction than helping students to achieve their goals." 

"Docendo discimus” (Seneca, 4 BC-AD 65). “By teaching, we learn.”

Provost's New Teacher Award

Jennifer Loewen

Dr. Jennifer Loewen (DVM), Assistant Professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine

"I love working with veterinary students and watching their knowledge and understanding of veterinary medicine change throughout their degree program. I especially enjoy watching as they apply the knowledge gained in the classroom to simulations or to cases in the clinic — it’s exciting to see the light bulbs turn on when the pieces start to all come together."

Lisa Birke

Lisa Birke, Assistant Professor, Digital and Extended Media, Department of Art and Art History, College of Arts and Science

"Artists are very much the barometer of our times in the present while simultaneously reflecting on the past and thus keeping the world in check. With this considered reflection of ourselves and the world around us, arts education makes an impact on how we might envision our future.  When students simultaneously find their voice and confidence in sincere expression, it is a truly humbling and exciting experience."

Provost's Graduate Student Teacher Award

Steve Yang

Steve Yang, Graduate Student, Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine

"When it comes to teaching, it’s important to listen to feedback from the students as well as looking around to see what other colleagues are doing. Each student has their own unique way of learning, and it’s important that given the chance, you can adapt your teaching style to better help the students. Your colleagues may also introduce you to new teaching techniques and you can learn from them to become a better mentor." 

Provost's Support of Teaching and Learning Award

John Ching

Dr. John Ching (PhD), Physiology and Histology Lab Coordinator, Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine

"There is a sense of achievement when I’m able to get students to understand a concept that they couldn’t understand from the lectures. It’s exciting to see the “aha moment” from the students. It’s very satisfying to convey a difficult concept and help them understand it. In a way, it’s making everyone’s life easier."

Sylvia Wallace Sessional Lecturer Award

Carly Priebe

Dr. Carly Priebe (PhD), Sessional Lecturer, College of Kinesiology

"I have always loved encouraging and helping others. I started coaching from a very young age and I see a lot of cross over between coaching and teaching. I feel so encouraged when I get to work with students and they tell me that they now understand a concept that they didn't before. Over these past few years, I put a lot of effort into making the transition to remote learning as smooth as possible for students. Whenever I receive an email or a note from a student to say thanks it really inspires me to know that what we're doing as instructors can be very influential in students' lives."

Nat Banting

Nat Banting, Sessional Lecturer, College of Education

"It was not too long ago that I was an undergraduate in the USask teacher preparation program pondering the potential of my future mathematics classroom. My work as a sessional is inspired by the innovative possibility of current pre-service mathematics teachers; however, just like all good teaching, it is ultimately motivated by how that possibility eventually impacts their future students... A piece of advice that I keep close is one that was given to me: Enjoy thinking sideways."

Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award

Colleen Dell

Dr. Colleen Dell (PhD), Research Chair in One Health and Wellness and Professor, Sociology, College of Arts and Science

"Be bold. Together with students from my office, we have undertaken a controlled clinical trial with therapy dogs at the RUH, and we initiated therapy dogs visits at a mass vaccination clinic in Saskatoon during the pandemic. When I first started in this field, we had a hard time even getting permission for therapy dogs to visit on campus! Whenever you can, take initiative. What may seem like small steps, are actually together forging a path forward with potential for larger impact on individual lives and society. Which is what it is all about."

New Researcher Award

Markus Brinkmann

Dr. Markus Brinkmann (PhD), Assistant Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability; Faculty Member, Global Water Futures (GWF); Member, Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS); Member, Toxicology Centre

"My research in exposure and risk assessment modelling focuses on uptake and effects of contaminants in aquatic organisms under realistic exposure scenarios... These results provide important insights, as stresses on our freshwater resources are expected to increase due to various factors driven largely by climate change. The need to protect these increasingly sensitive freshwater ecosystems will only become more apparent.” 

Xiaodong Liang

Dr. Xiaodong Liang (PhD), Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering and Canada Research Chair in Technology Solutions for Energy Security in Remote, Northern, and Indigenous Communities.

"At Power and Energy Conversion Laboratory, we conduct research mainly focusing on power systems and renewable energy integration, particularly on renewable energy-based microgrids in remote communities... Renewable energy paves its way into the modern mixed energy landscape, creating a sustainable and green future for tomorrow's energy and power industry."

Publicly Engaged Scholarship Team Award

John Giesy, Kerry McPhedran, Markus Brinkmann

Dr. John Giesy (PhD), Professor, Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, and Professor and Former Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology

Dr. Kerry McPhedran (PhD), Associate Professor, Civil Geological and Environmental, College of Engineering, and Saskatchewan Centennial Enhancement Chair

Dr. Markus Brinkmann (PhD), Assistant Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability; Faculty Member, Global Water Futures (GWF); Member, Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS); Member, Toxicology Centre

"We like to work in teams on socially relevant issues and solve problems. Our role is to develop technologies that can be transferred to the private and public sectors and train the next generation of water quality experts... We have openly shared our team’s standard operating procedures for other scientists in Canada and around the world to follow, describing in detail how to sample the wastewater for COVID-19, how to do the analyses and how to ensure quality control. We’ve also described how to perform the requisite calculations that provide a picture of what’s happening with the pandemic in their own communities."

International Engagement Service Award for Staff

Aditi Garg

Aditi Garg, Educational Development Specialist, Teaching Learning and Student Experience

"I’m inspired by the stories I hear from faculty and students. Particularly regarding internationalization at home experiences such as collaborative online international learning. It is motivating when a student describes the joy of making a connection with a student abroad for the first time or an educator describes successful student learning because of implementing effective internationalization teaching strategies."

Megan Fillatre

Megan Fillatre, International Research Specialist, International Office

"Knowing that my contributions have tangible impact in a university that supports global opportunities gives me a deep sense of purpose, determination and passion to provide the highest quality supports to students and faculty. I’m grateful that my role allows me to support global projects and give back to the international education community, which furthered my own university student endeavors as a global learner years ago."

Global Research Leadership Award for Faculty

Volker Gerdts

Dr. Volker Gerdts (DVM, PhD), Director and CEO, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization and Professor, Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine

"[What motivates and inspires me about my work is] the work itself. Making an impact on people’s lives and those of their animals, here in Canada and abroad. Follow your passion. Much can be accomplished through vision, passion and hard work."

J.W. George Ivany Internationalization Award for Faculty

Claire Card

Dr. Claire Card (DVM, PhD), Professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine

"I’m inspired by the progress that can be made through women and girls’ empowerment in Uganda: families lifted out of deep poverty, food security improved, women elected into public office and girls completing their education. This type of work will change you. It is deeply impactful. There is no right time to start. Progress relies heavily on developing equal partnerships."

Staff Excellence Award

Adam Harrison

Adam Harrison, Manager, Controlled Environment Facility, College of Agriculture and Bioresources

"No matter what role you have in your field never count yourself out.  All our contributions are important and essential in the achievement of the end goal in improving our way of life and sustaining our planet.  Never stop seeking knowledge.  Always accept a challenge head-on and be confident that by doing your best, you are achieving something important."

Charles Lytle

Charles Lytle, Maintenance Planner, Facilities

Throughout his 25-year career with Facilities, Chuck has built his skillset and knowledge of the water and wastewater systems on campus becoming the most senior expert we have on these systems in support of the ongoing teaching and research mission at USask.

Danielle Larocque

Danielle Larocque, Associate Director, Continuing Professional Development for Pharmacy Professionals and medSask, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition

"I am inspired by the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who have stepped up to provide a phenomenal level of access and care to our Saskatchewan residents. They persevered through rapidly changing information and difficult service situations to provide hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines in the past year. Their dedication and commitment to their patients and communities is incredibly motivating and drives us to help in any way we can."

Deborah Briere

Deborah Briere, Manager, Clinical Learning Resource Centre (CLRC), Health Sciences

"I look forward to coming to work each day because of the great team of people that I get to work with at the Clinical Learning Resource Centre, as well as the faculty and staff from the Health Sciences programs that we support.  I love the planning and problem-solving that goes into each event at the CLRC, whether it’s a simulated patient encounter or manikin-based simulation, a skills lab or an OSCE.  It is so gratifying to see the learners come into the Centre and hear them say that this is one of the best experiences they have had in their program."

Donna van de Velde

Donna van de Velde, Program Assistant, Peer Assisted Learning (PAL), University Library

"Since 2007, I’ve had the pleasure of working with over 700 peer mentors. Watching their confidence and facilitation skills grow from the time they are interviewed to the time they leave our mentorship program is my favourite part of my job. One piece of advice I would give students and colleagues is to volunteer at USask. Whether as part of a campus club, a conference, or the annual Powwow, you will meet so many people and build relationships. Such experiences will give you a sense of community and you will likely benefit from these relationships in the future."

Katharine Fahlman-Smith

Katharine Fahlman-Smith, Director, Academic Recruitment and Immigration, Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty Relations

"I am a strong believer in the saying “do what you love, love what you do.”  If you would have asked me 15 years ago where I would be in my career path, I would have never imagined a career in global mobility. I truly love what I do and that is what makes my job so fulfilling and rewarding"

Mackenzie Malo

Mackenzie Malo, Manager, Dadachova Lab, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition

"The development of radiopharmaceuticals and radioprotectors is both exciting and motivating. It is easy to understand the real-world application of our work, and it provides an opportunity to be involved in a broad array of fields including cancer research, infectious disease research, and radiation protection... If I were giving advice to others I would tell them to remember that our time is an important investment. Be sure to invest it wisely in endeavors that you find meaningful, and to fill it with as many opportunities as you are presented with. It will pay off!"

Mary Freeman

Mary Freeman, Director, Clinical Learning Services, Health Sciences

"I have had many people throughout my career that have influenced my personal nursing practice and my leadership philosophy and practice.  The most valuable take a ways I have learned is to be intentional about what you do.  Be diligent and persistent. Do it with purpose and goals.  Be kind, humble and encouraging.  Be as one-we are all the same no matter what level of the organization we are at-we all contribute to the whole and make a big difference."

Nancy Turner

Dr. Nancy Turner (PhD), Director, Teaching and Learning Enhancement, Teaching Learning and Student Experience

"In the last two decades of my career, I have been motivated by creating institutions and communities that are better places for all to learn. The role I have now provides meaningful opportunities for me to accomplish this in collaboration with many others. I am filled up daily by colleagues who I learn from and with and am excited by the opportunities we have to enable innovation in teaching, improve student services, and advance strategic change in the structures and systems that shape teaching, learning and student experiences."