2021 Senate Awards

The Senate Awards for Excellence in Research were established to emphasize the importance of research at Brandon University and to recognize and honour those individuals who excel in scholarship and research. This year’s award recipients are Dr. Doug Ramsey from the Faculty of Arts, and Dr. Rachel Herron from the Faculty of Science.

The Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching affirms the importance of teaching at Brandon University, while recognizing and honouring those faculty members who excel in this endeavour. This year’s award recipient is Dr. Rick Baker from the Faculty of Arts.

Dr. Doug Ramsey

Dr. Doug Ramsey

Dr. Ramsey exemplifies the best type of dedicated, productive researcher — one who delves deeply into questions that matter to communities, who crosses disciplines and departments to find the answers, and who is as committed to sharing discoveries as to making them.

With his vast experience in tourism, agricultural restructuring, well-being, downtown revitalization, and pedagogy, Dr. Ramsey links his research directly to community interests and agencies — often applying his knowledge in board service and volunteer committee work with organizations like the Keystone Centre and Travel Manitoba.

Here at Brandon University, Dr. Ramsey is just as active internally. He is the co-founder and current coordinator of the Tourism Research Centre, and recently became a co-founding member of the Centre for Critical Studies in Rural Mental Health. He also helped write language into the new faculty association contract that gives faculty more time for research.

Perhaps his most lasting academic achievement is the creation of the Journal of Rural and Community Development — he is the founding editor of this peer-review journal that is now in its 16th year.

Clearly, one of Dr. Ramsey’s many fortes lies in partnerships and collaboration. He is hands-on and supportive with fellow researchers both here at BU and around the world. He is just as deeply committed and engaged with students, and is a strong promoter of student research.

His own research has led to more than 25 refereed journal articles that he has authored or co-authored, as well as 20 reviewed book chapters. He has also given more than 60 conference presentations and more than a dozen invited talks.

Dr. Rachel Herron

Dr. Rachel Herron

Dr. Herron has maintained an exceptional record of scholarly achievement throughout her academic career.

Bringing a collaborative and community-based to her research, Dr. Herron works to understand rural mental health and well-being as well as what systematic changes can be made to improve care and quality of life in rural places. Her current research examines the vulnerability and complexity of care relationships, social inclusion and meaningful engagement for people living with dementia, and the diversity of lived experiences of rural mental health.

Two years ago, she became the founding director of Brandon University’s newest research institute, the Centre for Critical Studies of Rural Mental Health — a position she continues to hold.

Since joining Brandon University as an Assistant Professor in 2015, Dr. Herron has brought more nearly $1.3 million in federal research funding to support her work. She continues to demonstrate her commitment to research excellence through her more than two dozen peer-reviewed publications, as well as the training and development of highly qualified personnel, including undergraduate and graduate students, research associates, and post-doctoral fellows.

Dr. Herron’s research excellence has previously been recognized with a number of awards and scholarships, most notably with a pair of Doctoral Fellowships from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and with her naming as a Canada Research Chair in Rural and Remote Mental Health.

For her distinguished scholarly research, it is my honour to also recognize Dr. Rachel Herron with the Brandon University Senate Award for Excellence in Research.

Dr. Rick Baker

Dr. Rick Baker

Dr. Baker has taken a rare path to his current position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science.

Since earning his undergraduate degree right here at Brandon University, Dr. Baker has served in no fewer than seven roles here — coordinating degree programs and distance education, working in the Office of the Vice-President and in the International Activities office, and offering his guidance to students as a writing skills and learning skills specialist.

The common threads that bind these positions are Dr. Baker’s commitment to mastering the subject matter he is responsible for, and his devotion to ensuring the students he connects with are fully able to absorb and understand the information they need. This is teaching.

Now that he is full time in the classroom, this commitment and this devotion to his students is an ongoing mark of Dr. Baker’s excellence as an instructor.

Just as much, Dr. Baker’s students benefit from his energy and enthusiasm, which he puts to work building genuine relationships. He also has a great sense of humour. He excels at encouraging students to participate in their own learning, and motivates them to bring their best. Outside the classroom, he speaks of trying to encourage students from all backgrounds to feel invested in his classes. He is accessible to these students in every sense of the word and is scrupulously fair in both his grading and his treatment of students. While some found the pivot to online teaching difficult, Dr. Baker excelled at it.

When we speak of teaching, there is no better example than the example set every day by Dr. Baker.