Four York professors honoured by Faculty of Graduate Studies (Bettina Bradbury and Marc Stein among the four)

Four professors, representing a cross-section of York University graduate programs, were recently honoured for excellence, commitment and enthusiasm to graduate teaching at York.

Presenting the awards at the April 7 meeting of the Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Dean Douglas Peers said, “Presenting the Faculty of Graduate Studies Teaching Awards recognizing contributions of our faculty members to the quality of graduate education at York is always a high point in my year.”

The recipients for the 2010-2011 academic year are Professor Bettina Bradbury, appointed to the graduate programs in history and women’s studies, and nominated by the Graduate Program in History; Professor Janine Marchessault, appointed to the graduate programs in film, cinema & media studies, communication & culture, humanities, social & political thought and sociology, and nominated by the Graduate Program in Cinema and Media Studies; and Professor Ward Struthers, appointed to the graduate programs in health and psychology, and nominated by the Graduate Program in Psychology.

Also presented at the meeting was a 2009-2010 Teaching Award to Professor Marc Stein, appointed to the graduate programs in history and women’s studies, and nominated by the Graduate Program in Women’s Studies.

Above: From left, Patrick Monahan, vice-president academic & provost; Ward Struthers, Janine Marchessault, Faculty of Graduate Studies Dean Douglas Peers, Bettina Bradbury and Marc Stein

Stein was described by Professor David Murray and PhD student Healy Thompson as “an exceptional supervisor, teacher, mentor and peer in the Graduate Studies community at York University.”

Right: Marc Stein

Since 2001, Stein has participated in the supervision of more than 60 students across at least five programs, including English, history, interdisciplinary studies, social & political thought and women’s studies.

His students, past and present, credit him with much of their success, both as students and as faculty members, with one student commenting, “working with Professor Stein was the greatest contribution to my academic development.”

According to his nominators, “both in the classroom and in his work with students he supervises, Professor Stein sets a new standard in graduate teaching. A role model for those who will go on to teach, he inspires, challenges, engages and supports his students in unparalleled ways.”

First appointed to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in 1993, and having served as director of the Graduate Program in History, Professor Bettina Bradbury (right) is described by Professor Carolyn Podruchny and PhD student Angela Rooke as “a central force in defining the program.”

Bradbury has supervised more than 75 graduate students in her time at York and acted as a doctoral dissertation, master’s thesis and major research project supervisor, committee member, and internal and external examiner for many more.

As a PhD supervisor, Bradbury involves her students in course development and management, teaching them how to develop their own courses down the road. When her students graduate, she goes beyond the call, coaching them through job search processes, and helping them acclimate to life as junior faculty members.

Bradbury’s students said she helps them “understand difficult approaches and concepts in history,” that she “shapes” them as academics. One student wrote, “as a historian, teacher and adviser, I model myself after Dr. Bradbury,” another that “her dedication to my scholarly, professional and teaching development was the highlight of my time at York.”

Professor Michael Zryd writes that though “it is unusual for a Canada Research Chair [to] be nominated for such an award. Professor Janine Marchessault’s record makes it clear, rather than subordinate teaching and service to research, she has leveraged the opportunities afforded by her CRC to collaborate with, teach and mentor in multitude of graduate students in the five graduate programs to which she is appointed.”

Left: Janine Marchessault

Immediately after coming to York in 1998, Marchessault became the director of the Graduate Program in Film. She went on to co-design the doctoral program in cinema and media studies.

Over the past 15 years, Marchessault has supervised 21 doctoral students and 31 master’s students. In that time, she has also led a number of initiatives, sometimes involving more than 20 York graduate students in one project. She is described by colleagues as simply “one of the most popular instructors in the graduate programs in which she teaches.”

Professor Ward Struthers (left) is described by colleagues as “the heart and soul of [the] personality and social psychology graduate area… and very often the hands and the feet in training our graduate students.”

Struthers “exudes a reliably contagious enthusiasm for social science research that inspires students and faculty alike,” wrote his nominators. “The quality of [his] graduate instruction is legendary. His colleagues wrote about his 15-year devotion to improving all aspects of graduate studies in psychology at York, from his acclaimed teaching and his “caring and inclusive style of mentoring” to his attention to policy and program development.

At the centre of Struthers' work, wrote his nominators, “is his concern for conscientious rigour in the practice of social science” and his “vision of a thriving graduate area characterized by collaborative, cutting-edge research with rigorous methodological and statistical tools.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies Teaching Awards are presented annually. Faculty members are nominated in the fall of each year by faculty, students and staff in Graduate Studies, and recipients of the awards are selected by a committee of faculty and students.