Distinguished Academics Awards

2017 Distinguished Academic Award Recipients: Dr. Darwyn Coxson (UNBC), Dr. Kelli Stajduhar (UVic), Dr. Kate Hennessy (SFU)

CUFA BC is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Distinguished Academic Awards: Dr. Kate Hennessy, Dr. Kelli Stajduhar, and Dr. Darwyn Coxson

Early in Career Award

This award recognizes the contributions to the non-academic community made by faculty members who are at an early point in their careers.

Dr. Kate Hennessy is Assistant Professor specializing in Media at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology. Kate also serves as the Director of the Making Culture Lab. Her research explores the role of digital technology in the documentation and safeguarding of cultural heritage, and the mediation of culture, history, objects, and subjects in new forms. Her video and multimedia works investigate documentary methodologies to address Indigenous and settler histories of place and space. As Assistant Editor of the journal Visual Anthropology Review, Kate designed its first multimedia volume (2003). She serves on the the board of directors of the American Anthropological Association’s Society for Visual Anthropology, and recently served on boards of directors for the Museum of Vancouver, and the Access to Media Education Society (AMES). Kate is also a co-founder of the Ethnographic Terminalia curatorial collective, which explores the border-zones between ethnography and artistic practice.

One of Kate’s nominators describes the impact of her work by noting:

“Kate’s achievements in her early years as an Assistant Professor has demonstrated a remarkable range of work and contribution to the academy as well as beyond…I strongly believe that the community based perspectives, practices, and outcomes of Kate’s work, as exemplified in the Sq’ewlets Project, is particularly relevant in serving to advance understanding and reconciliation between communities.”

Ehor Boyanowsky Academic of the Year Award

Named after the president who created the Distinguished Academics Awards during his term, this award recognizes a specific and recent outstanding contribution to the community beyond the academy through research or other scholarly activity by an individual or group at any stage of their career.

Kelli Stajduhar is Professor in the School of Nursing and Centre on Aging. She has worked in oncology, palliative care, and gerontology for over 25 years as a practicing nurse, educator, and researcher. Her clinical work and research has focused on health service needs for those at the end-of-life and their families and on the needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations. She is currently the academic lead investigator on the iPANEL research project in British Columbia, which brings together nursing researchers, practitioners and administrators to integrate a palliative approach into the health care system. She also currently leads an international research collaborative on family care giving and a Victoria-based study on access to end-of-life care for structurally vulnerable populations. Kelli also received the 2016 Award for Excellence in Nursing Research from the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing.

In addition to her internationally recognized work as a researcher, practitioner, and teacher, Kelli is a fierce and effective advocate for palliative care for the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in Canada. She has fused her scholarly work with a passion to change how we think about the ways in which those facing chronic poverty, substance abuse, and mental health challenges are marginalized by the heath care system. Her academic and advocacy work were  also instrumental in expanding the definition of family in the Compassionate Care  provision under Employment Insurance.

Kelli’s nominators offered this elegant summery of her impact:

“She is a living ambassador for the very real difference that scientific knowledge brings to revolutionizing health care toward meeting the very real needs of the people our systems were intended to serve…. She is a model to researchers, educators and clinicians alike, exemplifying a commitment to impacts beyond the academy through advancing quality end of life care for all members of our population. “

Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award

Named in memory of Dr. Paz Buttedahl – academic, community builder and faculty association leader – this award is for sustained outstanding contributions to the community beyond the academy through research or other scholarly activities by an individual or a group over the major portion of their career.

Dr. Darwyn Coxson is a professor in the Ecosystem Science and Management program at the University of Northern British Columbia. Darwyn has been actively involved at UNBC since its inception, previously holding positions on the UNBC Senate, Board of Governors, and Faculty Association Executive. His research program examines the role of non-vascular plants, such as lichens and mosses, in the ecosystem function of wet-temperate rainforests.

Darwyn’s scholarship has also been fused with a sense of activism and the need to conduct science in the public interest. His tireless advocacy and internationally renowned research was instrumental in the 2015 establishment in of the Ancient Forest/Chun t’oh Whudujut Provincial Park, a 12,000 hectare area protecting the core cedar rain forest in northern British Columbia. He played a pivotal role in bringing together stakeholders to determine protected areas and ensure enduring ownership and participation by the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation. Darwyn was also instrumental in a recent submission for designation of the Ancient Forest as a World Heritage Site under UNESCO.

One of his nominees described Darwyn’s leadership and impact as follows:

“At every face-to-face meeting, community open house, lecture, and radio interview where I have had the pleasure to work with, learn from, and listen to Darwyn, I have been inspired. His consensus building and solutions oriented approach is remarkable and his sincerity and passion is transparent and humbling.”

The ideas that flow out of our universities are the lifeblood of our economy, our political landscape, and our intellectual life. The CUFA BC Distinguished Academics Awards celebrate these ideas that contribute to the non-academic community and demonstrate the necessity and vitality of public university-based research and scholarly activity.
On April 20, 2017 Drs. Hennessy, Stajduhar, and Coxson were presented with their awards at the Awards Gala dinner at the Law Courts Inn, in Vancouver.

The 2017 Distinguished Academics Awards are Sponsored by





University of Victoria



Royal Roads University