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Provost welcomes 10 scholars to Concordia’s Circle of Distinction

Honour highlights external achievements and awards
June 4, 2014
By Tom Peacock

At a special ceremony in the Loyola Refectory on May 28, Benoit-Antoine Bacon, provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs, introduced 10 new inductees to the Provost’s Circle of Distinction.

Created in 2009 by Rama Bhat, former vice-provost of Academic Relations, the Circle of Distinction recognizes faculty members and librarians who have recently received professional recognition from external groups and organizations.

During his opening remarks, Bacon expressed pride in the accomplishments of the Circle’s members.

“It’s so important that distinction recognized externally also be recognized internally,” he said.

Ann English

Ann English

Ann English, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was recently named a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada, an honour recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of chemistry.

An international leader in the field of modern bioinorganic chemistry, English was among the first Canadian scientists to see the potential of mass spectrometry in chemical biology research. In 1993, she established Concordia’s Centre for Biological Applications for Mass Spectrometry, which flourishes today.

Micheline Lanctôt

Distinguished actress and filmmaker Micheline Lanctôt has been teaching courses on directing and acting at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema since 1982. The part-time instructor recently won Quebec’s most important lifetime achievement award in cinema, the Prix Jutra-Hommage.

Lanctôt has appeared in dozens of films, and is currently directing her 10th. She has received several major honours for her work, including the 2003 Governor General’s Award for the Arts and a Genie Award for Best Achievement in Direction for her 1984 film Sonatine, which she wrote and directed.

Malcolm Whiteway

Malcolm Whiteway

Prior to joining Concordia’s Department of Biology in 2012, Malcolm Whiteway was named a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, a distinction recognizing his scientific achievements and contributions to the field.

Whiteway was awarded the Tier I Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics in 2013. He and his team are using the tools of genomics to examine the cellular properties of the human pathogenic fungus Candida albicans.

He has published more than 125 peer-reviewed articles, and his work has been cited in numerous scientific forums. His research has contributed to the way cellular signalling is presented in undergraduate textbooks.

Marguerite Mendell

A professor in Concordia’s School of Community and Public Affairs since 1986, and now its vice-principal and graduate program director, Marguerite Mendell has contributed significantly to the field of social economy.

Last year, Mendell, co-founder and director of the Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy, was awarded the Prix du Québec, the Government of Quebec’s highest distinction. The honour recognizes individuals whose innovative spirit and work has contributed to the development of Quebec society.

Since joining the university in 1984 as a postdoctoral fellow in the PhD Humanities program, Mendell has collaborated tirelessly with practitioners in community economic development, social economy and the social finance sector. Her work has resulted in important innovations in public policy and generated international interest.

Photo by Concordia University

Philippe Caignon

Earlier this year, Philippe Caignon, associate professor and chair of the Département d'études françaises, earned Canada’s highest honour for university instructors: a 3M National Teaching Fellowship. The award recognizes exceptional contributions to teaching and learning.

Renowned for his dedication to pedagogy and his innovative instructional techniques, Caignon was one of four Concordia professors to earn a President’s Excellence in Teaching Award this year. In 2007, he also won the Arts and Science Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.

Caignon came to Concordia as a part-time professor in 1999. He has since developed an approach to teaching translation and terminology based on the principle of pedagogical empowerment, which encourages students to contribute to their own educational experience.

Amir Aghdam Photo by David Ward

Amir Aghdam

Amir Aghdam, professor in Concordia’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was named a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada this year. The distinction recognizes members with an extraordinary record of accomplishment.

Since coming to Concordia in 2002, Aghdam has been an active member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and was named president of the Canadian branch this year. 

For his work on multi-agent networks, distributed control, optimization and sampled-data systems, Aghdam received the Young Research Achievement Award (Tier II) in 2008 from the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science (ENCS).

He has also been recognized for his instruction and mentorship, earning a Teaching Excellence Award from ENCS in 2013 and the ENCS Masters Guidance Award in 2008.

Abdel Sebak Photo by David Ward

Abdel Sebak

Abdel Sebak, graduate program director in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recently named a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada.

Prior to joining Concordia, Sebak was a professor at the University of Manitoba, where he twice earned the Merit Award for Outstanding Teaching and Research. Sebak has a national and international reputation in the field of applied electromagnetics, specifically in antenna design and modeling.  

He has published more than 300 refereed technical papers and 100 journal papers. In 2009, he was named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Robin Drew Photo by David Ward

Robin Drew

Robin Drew, former dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science (ENCS), was named a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada in 2013 for his contributions to materials and engineering and engineering education.

Drew’s research focuses on advanced materials, with a specialty in ceramics, metal-ceramic interactions, composites and joining. He has published 120 journal articles and 80 conference papers.

Under Drew’s leadership, ENCS implemented a strategic action plan aimed at strengthening research and teaching in the areas of energy, environment, aerospace, nanotechnology and telecommunications, as well as cyber security and forensics. 

During his tenure as dean, the faculty was awarded four new Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Chairs and received support for two new teaching and research institutes.

Waizuddin Ahmed Photo by David Ward

Waizuddin Ahmed

In recognition of his contributions as an engineering educator and researcher, Waizuddin Ahmed, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, was named a Fellow of the American Society of Engineers in 2013.

A member and former director of the Concordia Centre for Advanced Vehicle Engineering, Ahmed has developed a comprehensive curriculum in vehicle systems at Concordia. His work on road and railway vehicles has been widely recognized, and he holds a United States patent on independently controlled steering.

Over the course of his career, Ahmed has authored more than 100 articles in journals and conference papers.

Ted McCormick Photo by David Ward

Ted McCormick

In 2010, Ted McCormick, associate professor and graduate program director in the Department of History, was named a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, one of the world’s foremost societies for historical studies.

That same year, McCormick’s monograph William Petty and the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic earned the John Ben Snow Foundation Book Prize from the North American Conference on British Studies.

A leading scholar of early modern British, Irish and Atlantic history, McCormick came to Concordia in 2008. He has since won a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Standard Grant and a Mellon Fellowship at the Huntington Library.

Read about the four recipients of this year’s President’s Excellence in Teaching Awards.

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