Professors honoured for outstanding achievements

Eight Concordia faculty members inducted into Provost's Circle of Distinction
June 12, 2012
By Lesley De Marinis

Eight Concordia professors have been inducted into the Provost’s Circle of Distinction, created to recognize faculty members for external recognition of their work.

“The circle grew out of a suggestion by Rama Bhat when he was vice-provost, academic relations,” explains Provost David Graham. “We noticed that we have many outstanding faculty members at Concordia who have been externally recognized through major awards, fellowships, and other distinctions, but whose accomplishments may not be as well known within Concordia as they should be, and who may not have been officially recognized internally.”

To be eligible for induction, faculty members must have received a major external honour, such as the 3M Teaching Fellowship, or elected membership in the Royal Society, the Order of Quebec or the Order of Canada, among others.

“This year's inductees were nominated on the basis of their outstanding accomplishments and the external recognition they have received for those accomplishments,” says Provost Graham. “They demonstrate the extraordinary combination of talents and abilities that we are fortunate to have at Concordia.”

This year’s fourth annual Provost’s Circle of Distinction ceremony took place June 5 during the Concordia Celebration of Excellence — Concordia Research, Academic Distinction and Leadership Awards event.

The ceremony also featured the presentation of University Research Awards and the 2012 Petro-Canada Young Innovators Award, as well as the new Academic Leadership Awards created by Concordia’s Centre for Academic Leadership.

“I hope that with time, the Provost's Circle will become a group of colleagues who can mentor and promote other deserving faculty members who can then be nominated for external recognition,” says Provost Graham.

Below is a list of this year’s eight inductees.

Steven Appelbaum
John Molson School of Business

Steven Appelbaum has been a professor at Concordia since 1979 and served as dean of the John Molson School of Business from 1983 to 1990. He held a Concordia University Research Chair from 2002 to 2009.

Among his external achievements, Appelbaum was the winner of the First Graduating Class Award in 1986 for his outstanding contribution to university life. He was awarded the 1987 Life Membership as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by the Society for Human Resource Management.

In 1990, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1998, Appelbaum was awarded the Leaders in Management Educations Award. He is also the two-time winner of the Outstanding Teaching Award presented by the John Molson School of Business in 1994 and 1999. 

“When you put this all together, recognitions for research and teaching, it’s nice to be acknowledged as a senior professor,” Appelbaum says. “I still produce a lot, I write a lot, I teach and I haven’t slowed down.”

Four of this year's eight Circle of Distinction inductees, from left: Ahmed A. Kishk and Pragasen Pillay (both in electrical and computer engineering), Steven Appelbaum (management), and Andreas Athienitis (building, civil and environmental engineering). | Photo by Concordia University
Four of this year's eight Circle of Distinction inductees, from left: Ahmed A. Kishk and Pragasen Pillay (both in electrical and computer engineering), Steven Appelbaum (management), and Andreas Athienitis (building, civil and environmental engineering). Missing: Oscar Pekau and Rama Bhat. | Photo by Concordia University

Andreas Athienitis
Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science

Andreas Athienitis is a professor of building engineering at Concordia. He is the scientific director of the NSERC Smart Net-Zero Energy Buildings Strategic Research Network and the founding director of the NSERC Solar Buildings Research Network, and holds a Tier I Concordia University Research Chair in Integration of Solar Energy Systems into Buildings.

Among his achievements, Athienitis was named Concordia University Research Fellow (Senior) in 2010 and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He was associate editor of the ISES Solar Energy and profiled as one of the top 25 innovators in Quebec by Actualité magazine in 2009.

He currently leads the main Canadian research network working on cutting-edge research in net-zero energy solar buildings. He has written more than 200 refereed papers and has received more than $18 million in research grants.

“This distinction is an important recognition, which helps to build a culture of excellence at Concordia,” Athienitis says of being inducted into the Provost’s Circle of Achievement.

Rama Bhat
Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science

Rama Bhat has been a professor at Concordia University for 33 years. Among his duties at the university, he was the graduate program director of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1988 to 1990, and from 1992 to 1994. He was the undergraduate program director from 1991 to 1992, and department chair from 2000 to 2003. Between 1998 to 2000 and from 2004 to 2008, Bhat served as associate dean, graduate studies and research in the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science and was appointed vice-provost, academic relations from 2008 to 2011.

He has been appointed a fellow at no less than five institutions, including the Canadian and American Societies for Mechanical Engineering and the Engineering Institute of Canada.

Bhat’s research interests include acoustics and vibrations, and he has published 90 refereed journal publications, 91 refereed conference publications and three books.

Ahmed Kishk
Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science

Ahmed Kishk joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Concordia in 2011 as a Tier I Canada Research Chair (Senior) in Advanced Antenna Systems.

He is an international expert in electromagnetics and has published more than 230 refereed journals and more than 240 conference papers, as well as contributed to 13 books. Among his acknowledgements, Kishk was named Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers in 1998.

Kishk is delighted to receive the Provost's Circle of Distinction Award in recognition of his distinguished career achievements.

Shannon McSheffrey
Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Shannon McSheffrey | Photo by Concordia University
Shannon McSheffrey | Photo by Concordia University

Shannon McSheffrey was chair of the Department of History from 2007 to 2010. Her research interests include, among others, gender roles, heresy and popular religion in late medieval England, and she has published multiple scholarly articles, four books, and is currently writing two more. 

She has received four major research grants, including those from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She has won several awards for her research and teaching and was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2002.

Viviane Namaste
Simone de Beauvoir Institute

Viviane Namaste has been with the Concordia Simone de Beauvoir Institute since 2002.

She holds a Concordia University Tier 3 Research Chair in HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health, and her primary area of research is HIV/AIDS prevention. 

Viviane Namaste | Photo by Concordia University
Viviane Namaste | Photo by Concordia University

She has been honoured with several awards, including the 2009 Awards for Action in HIV/AIDS from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch, and the 2005 Plaque honorifique Christine Jorgensen from the Association des Transsexuels et transexuelles du Québec.

In 2011, she received the Outstanding Book Award for her book Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America.

Oscar Pekau
Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science

Oscar Pekau joined Concordia University in 1971. He served as chair of the civil engineering department from 1989 to 1994, and  is now a professor in the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering.

His areas of research include structural dynamics and earthquake engineering, and he has published more than 100 research papers. Pekau received an award from Tsinghua University in Bejiing in 2001 for outstanding contributions to modeling the behaviour of dam foundation reservoir systems. He has given several lectures in China in universities and research centres.

In 2011, he was named a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

Pragasen Pillay
Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science

Pragasen Pillay is a professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Concordia. In 2009 he became the NSERC Hydro-Québec Senior Industrial Research Chair.

He is an international expert on power engineering, and has published 94 refereed journal papers and 181 conference papers. He has supervised and co-supervised 62 graduate students and is currently supervising 14 graduate students.

Among his accomplishments, Pillay became a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in 2005.

Pillay has won many prizes, including the Order of Mapungubwe, Silver Level by the President of South Africa, an award that was once won by Nelson Mandela.

Related Links:
•  Office of the Provost
•  "Researchers recognized for excellence" - NOW, June 6, 2012
•  Steven Appelbaum
•  Andreas Athienitis
•  Rama Bhat
•  Ahmed Kishk
•  Shannon McSheffrey
•  Viviane Namaste
•  Oscar Pekau
•  Pragasen Pillay



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