Distinguished Academics Awards

Each year since 1995, CUFA BC honours the outstanding scholarship and public policy contributions of the distinguished academics at five research universities across the province. They are Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of Northern British Columbia, University of Victoria, and Royal Roads University.

At CUFA BC, we believe that the ideas that flow out of our universities are the lifeblood of our citizenry and democratic landscape, our intellectual life, and our economy. The CUFA BC Distinguished Academics Awards celebrate the ideas that contribute to the non-academic community and demonstrate the necessity and vitality of public university-based research and scholarly activity.

Each year, the nominees hail from different institutions and disciplines, and conduct research in very different domains. However different their work, they are united by their passion for rigorous and meaningful scholarship – and for research that contributes to the public good.

The awards bring with it the admiration of one’s colleagues across the institution, disciplines, geographic borders and beyond, and is recognized with a commemorative plaque and cash award. 

Learn more about the Distinguished Academics Awards:

2022 Call for Nominations (Coming Soon)
Awards History
Past Winners
2020 Award Winner Videography Profiles


2021 Distinguished Academics Awards Recipients

Dr. Athena Madan, Professor Enda Brophy, and Dr. Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins

Early in Career Award – Dr. Athena Madan, Royal Roads University

Dr. Athena Madan, Assistant Professor in the School of Humanitarian Studies at Royal Roads University, will receive the Early in Career Award for her work on humanitarian medicine and intervention, and her commitment to the peace, justice, and development of strong global institutions. Dr. Madan demonstrates an exceptional record of social justice, meaningful engagement with marginalized communities, and humanitarian action. The Early in Career Award recognizes the contributions to the non-academic community made by faculty members who are at an early point in their academic careers.

Ehor Boyanowsky Academic of the Year Award – Dr. Enda Brophy, Simon Fraser University

Professor Enda Brophy, Associate Professor in the School of Communication and cross-appointed in Labour Studies at Simon Fraser University, will receive the Ehor Boyanowsky Academic of the Year Award. The award is named after the CUFA BC president who created the Distinguished Academics Awards series during his term and recognizes a specific and recent outstanding contribution to the community beyond the academy through research or other scholarly activity by an individual at any stage of their career. Professor Brophy’s research illuminates the complex dynamics of remote and precarious work, a topic that has gained increasing urgency during the pandemic. Professor Brophy co-produced a report with his students on the labour conditions and collective organizing among food delivery workers in Metro Vancouver during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is the first of its kind and provides a richly nuanced analysis of Canadian legal cases, hiring policies, pay structures, media stories, and statistical data about the sector. The report sheds light on the vulnerability and precarity of gig workers in Canada who are often women, people of colour, and immigrants. It is a call to action to close the loopholes on the regulations of so-called independent contractors who are often excluded from labour protections and health and safety regulations.

Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award – Dr. Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins, University of Victoria

Dr. Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins, Professor and linguist at the University of Victoria, will receive the Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award for her lifelong commitment to community-based language research, a methodology she introduced originally in a ground-breaking work. Community-based language research aims to advance the democratization of knowledge, social action and social change, and to shift power differentials in research by advocating that language research conducted in collaboration with outsider linguists must be carried out for, with and by the speakers of that language. Throughout her career, Dr. Czaykowska-Higgins’s research, service, outreach, and community engagement has supported the maintenance, revitalization, and reclamation of Indigenous languages. The Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award is named in memory of Dr. Paz Buttedahl – academic, community builder, and faculty association leader – and is awarded to a faculty member who has shown sustained outstanding contributions to the community beyond the academy through research or other scholarly activities by an individual over the major portion of their career. 


Recognizing the Nominees

The Awards Selection Committee had the extremely difficult task of selecting award recipients from the many outstanding nominees, whose excellence is indicative of the high quality of British Columbia’s faculty and of their many contributions to the life in British Columbia. From one year to another, the nominees hail from different institutions and disciplines, and conduct research in very different domains. However different their work may be, they are united by their passion for rigorous and meaningful scholarship – and for research that contributes to the public good.

We congratulate all of the nominees who have clearly earned the deep respect of their colleagues, both inside and outside of the academy.  

The following faculty members were nominated for the 2021 CUFA BC Early In Career Award:


Dr. Nancy Clark

Dr. Nancy Clark is Assistant Professor at the Department of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria. Her work on refugee women, their health and experience of integration in Canadian Society has impacts beyond the academic field into the larger community. With her work, Dr. Clark aims to better the mental health and wellbeing of Canada’s newcomers and therefore strengthen the Canadian Society.

Dr. Theodore Cosco

Dr. Theodore Cosco is Assistant Professor of Mental Health & Aging at the Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University. His work focuses on mental health resilience and aging. His program of research addresses salient aspects of precision mental health drawing on earlier cutting-edge work in epidemiology and public health.

Professor Hannah McGregor

Professor Hannah McGregor has contributed to transforming the landscape of public scholarship through the development of scholarly podcasts that engage thousands of listeners around the world. Co-creator of the Amplify Podcast Network, Canada’s first scholarly podcast network. Professor McGregor has emerged as a leader in areas of feminist theory, critical media, publishing, literary and gender studies. She is also the creator of Witch, Please, a feminist rereading of the Harry Potter series. 

The following faculty members were nominated for the 2021 CUFA BC Ehor Boyanowsky Academic of the Year Award:


Dr. Catherine Costigan

Dr. Catherine Costigan is Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria. Dr. Costigan’s research focus is on immigrant and refugee families new to Canada, addressing issues like social inequalities and oppressive attitudes that create barriers for these newcomer families. Dr. Costigan’s research identifies risk and protective factors within these vulnerable families and the ecological contexts that shape trajectories of health and wellbeing.

Dr. Alanaise Goodwill

Dr. Alanaise Goodwill is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Her work aims to ensure Indigenous approaches are meaningfully integrated into psychology research and teaching, and that psychology practice is enriched by intersectional knowledge. Dr. Goodwill also consults with local communities on manifestations of colonial violence such as gangs, gender-based violence and youth suicide. Dr. Goodwill in her efforts strive to bridge both psychology and indigenous studies while prioritising the mental health needs identified by indigenous communities. 

Dr. Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta

Dr. Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta is Assistant Professor at the Department of Theatre at the University of Victoria. Her work with SSHRC involves the use of theatre as a tool for Indigenous language revitalization. Dr. Sadeghi-Yekta’s takes theatre work that happens to often within the confines of high art and traditional theatres into the world in surprising engagements that address issues affecting communities directly.

Dr. Debra Sheets

Dr. Debra Sheets is Professor of Nursing at the University of Victoria. Dr. Sheets work in the Voices in Motion aims to study the benefits of an intergenerational choir for older adults with dementia, their caregivers and high school students. This innovative project has been widespread in the larger community in BC, with currently 3 community-based choirs and 3 choirs in long-term care. The Voices in Motion choirs addresses key issues such as the need to reduce stigma and social isolation, create inclusive dementia -friendly communities and include those with dementia as active partners in research.

Dr. Brian Thom

Dr. Brian Thom is Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Victoria. Dr. Thom’s research focus is on issues of Indigenous territory, knowledge, and governance. He has applied his technological expertise to pioneering the use of ethnographic mapping as a socially and politically powerful tool for indigenous peoples in their support of their title, rights and governance, and to promote Indigenous place-based knowledge within and between communities.

The following faculty members were nominated for the 2021 CUFA BC Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award:*


Dr. Colin Bennett

Dr. Colin Bennett is Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria. Dr. Bennett’s work focuses on one of the most critical issues of the modern times: personal privacy protection rights. As technology grows ever so sophisticated to capture greater quantities and varieties of personal data, what are the risks to personal privacy? Dr. Bennett’s research seeks to understand how different states respond to their common privacy challenges and what these responses say about their capacity to manage technological change.

Dr. Lara Campbell

Dr. Lara Campbell is Professor in Department of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Campbell’s work focuses on gender and women’s history in Canada through media commentary, public events, community service and other forms of knowledge mobilization in an effort to stimulate dialogue on issues surrounding women. Her works including her latest book, A Great Revolutionary Wave: Women and the Vote in British Columbia draws attention to the evolution of gendered conceptions in Canada.

Dr. Faisal Khosa

Dr. Faisal Khosa, MD, MBA is Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Khosa’s work on gender and racial disparities in academia helps ensure a sustainable legacy of inclusive excellence in academia and beyond in the larger community. Dr. Khosa’s relentless pursuit to elucidate inequalities in academia produced a multitude of evidence that has catalyzed initiatives to increase accessibility of higher education and achievement for underrepresented students.

* NOTE: Not all nominees for this category are listed due to personal privacy reasons