Trent Fortnightly Online
Trent Fortnightly Online

Outstanding teaching, research and service
given recognition at convocation 1998

A recently retired Trent employee received Trent's Eminent Service Award at convocation May 29. Two professors were also honored: one for excellence in teaching and the other for outstanding achievement in research and scholarship.

The Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching
Deb Parnis This year's Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Deborah Parnis, an assistant professor in the Sociology department.        Parnis taught part-time at Trent for about eight years, and became a full-time faculty member in July of last year. She is the first Sociology professor to receive the Symons Award.

      Parnis credits Trent with providing conditions that promote good teaching. Citing small classes, supportive faculty and ample opportunity for contact with students, she says that Trent's environment provides a sharp contrast to her experience as a student at larger universities.

      Parnis lectures in introductory sociology and teaches a third-year course in culture and society. She graduated in 1984 with a bachelor of applied arts in radio and television arts from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University). She earned a master's degree in sociology from the University of Toronto in 1986 and a PhD from Carleton University in 1995. A version of her doctoral thesis on the political economy of commercial radio broadcasting in Canada will be published this summer by the University of Toronto Press.

      The Symons Award is named for Trent's founding president, and recognizes outstanding teachers who demonstrate exemplary concern for students.

The Distinguished Research Award
Tom HutchinsonEnvironmental scientist Tom Hutchinson was presented with this year's Distinguished Research Award.

       Hutchinson, one of Canada's foremost ecologists, joined Trent's Environmental and Resource Studies Department in January 1991 after 25 years at the University of Toronto. Six months later, he became chair of the department for three years, and he is currently involved in two Trent graduate programs - Watershed Ecosystems and Canadian Heritage and Development.

      Hutchinson has a distinguished international reputation for his research on the effects of pollution on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. His research on the effects of smelter pollution in Sudbury is world-renowned. Since 1974, he has garnered more than $18 million in research grants to investigate the toxic effects of acid rain on forests and maple sugar production, of oil spills on ecosystems and of oil hydrocarbons on the environment. He has also investigated ecosystem responses to urbanization, land clearance, air pollution and metal contamination.

      The Distinguished Research Award, established in 1986, recognizes outstanding achievement in research and scholarships.

Eminent Service Award
Joan Hamilton Joan Hamilton, who retired as budget manager in December, 1997 after 21 years at the university, was honored with Trent's Eminent Service Award.

      Hamilton started at Trent in 1976 as a secretary to the comptroller. She moved through a series of increasingly responsible positions, joining the budget office as a budget assistant in 1982 and becoming a budget officer in 1989. In 1995 she was promoted to budget manager, and in 1997, during her final year at Trent, she stepped in as acting director of financial services while Tony van Hoeckel was on medical leave.

       Her citation for the award noted her "21 years of exemplary service," during which she "worked very closely with all university budget managers, providing valuable assistance and guidance to them." It further stated that Hamilton's "dedication to her work has been exceptional and her knowledge of the financial side of the university has been critically important to the well-being of the institution. The caring commitment and personal style which she brought to her work in the department of financial services has been appreciated by all members of the Trent community."

       The Eminent Service Award was established in 1978 and recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the life of the university in any area of its activities.

      The award is presented on behalf of the Board of Governors, acting upon the recommendation of Senate. Hamilton was presented with the award by John Earnshaw, acting Vice-president (Administration).

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Last updated: June 11, 1998