Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision 2013-2014

Jean Andrey - Geography and Environmental Management

Dr. Jean Andrey demonstrates incredible enthusiasm for all aspects of academic life. Whether it is her research focused on the impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure and operations, her award winning teaching, her service as the President of the Canadian Association of Geographers, or her supervision of graduate students, Dr. Andrey brings energy and passion to everything she does.

Graduate students who have worked with Dr. Andrey praise her for her dedication to bringing out the best in every student, by both nurturing and challenging them intellectually to set a high standard for scholarship. Dr. Andrey gives generously of her time, knowledge, wisdom, and experience to ensure that every student realizes their potential. For a struggling student, Dr. Andrey provides structure, guidance, and encouragement, while for the advanced student she finds opportunities for them to excel.

As one of Dr. Andrey’s students noted: “Jean has a special charisma that engages people, makes them feel unique and valued and hence draws out the best in them. What better person to guide our young, aspiring scholars”. Through her boundless energy and dedication to the advising of students in a variety of research projects, Dr. Andrey clearly displays the excellence in graduate supervision that is recognized by this award.

Jennifer Clapp - Environment and Resource Studies

Dr. Jennifer Clapp of the Environment and Resource Studies Department is widely recognized for her outstanding research accomplishments.  In the past two years alone, she has been named as a Canada Research Chair, received a prestigious Trudeau Fellowship, been shortlisted for the Donner Prize for the best book in public policy by a Canadian, and been awarded Tri-Council funding for her work on global food security.  Dr. Clapp is also the Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Environment.  Her exceptional achievements in research are only one aspect of Dr. Clapp’s overall contribution, however. 

Graduate students who have the privilege of working with Jennifer Clapp describe her as someone who puts students first, provides insightful, timely and constructive feedback and advice, and develops close mentoring relationships with each one of them.  This mentorship begins even before students arrive on campus and extends into the job search and beyond after they graduate; and it is based on the aspirations, needs and talents of individual students. 

The nomination letters provided for Jennifer Clapp make clear the fact that she supports graduate students in all the usual ways – with reference letters, with funding, and with networking and other professional opportunities.  She always offers generous advice and provides continual support towards the success of her students. But what stands out most in these letters are references to Dr. Clapp’s human qualities and the ways in which she exemplifies how “an academic acts ethically and responsibly”.  

Jennifer is an inspiration for students and colleagues, and is a role model. These are the qualities that make Dr. Jennifer Clapp a deserving winner of the “Excellence in Graduate Supervision Award”. 

Stuart McGill - Kinesiology

Stu’s commitment to his graduate students is perhaps best characterized as a mentor-colleague-friend triumvarite.  This relationship starts on the first day in the lab and is ongoing, as students from 30 years ago who are now Full Professors, with long careers of independent mentorship behind them attest to the continued involvement of Stu in their lives as friend, colleague, and mentor. 

Stu does not subscribe to a ‘one size fits all’ approach to graduate supervision. Individual accounts of how Stu allowed students to take risks, define their own projects, and develop their own ideas are inspiring.  Stu enthusiastically takes on the responsibility to find new and novel ways to challenge and support each individual student. They variously describe his influence as fostering productivity while also exercising stewardship of their careers, conveying not only fundamentals of the area and how to think, but also how to communicate productively and how to be a good colleague.  Stu is always quick to promote his students’ talents and to foster connections and collaborations from his extensive network to advance their work and careers.

His commitment to excellence in graduate supervision is especially remarkable considering his other professional commitments.  He served as department chair for six years, and is also a much sought after research and clinical lecturer who is often called to venues around the world to share his transformative ideas.  His success at being able to provide a stimulating and supportive individualized training experience even under these incredibly challenging conditions is obvious both from the comments of the students, and from the record of their tangible successes and productivity. Many of the student letters include comments that acknowledge extraordinary efforts that Stu has made in order to provide opportunities that have proved to be transformative to their projects, their scholarly development, and their careers. 

Stu’s current and former trainees express that they regard him as a ‘role-model’ and as someone who they aspire to emulate.  There is perhaps no higher or more meaningful compliment to receive from trainees, nor better way to summarize Stuart McGill’s three decades of unmitigated success in fostering mentor-colleague-friend relationships.

All winners of the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision