Brandon University geography faculty bring home awards

October 22, 2018

Two men stand in the left and centre of the photo, with a woman on the right. They are holding two framed certificates.
Dr. Roderick McGinn, left, and Dr. Rachel Herron, right, were recenlty presented with major awards by the Prairie Division of the Canadian Association of Geographers. Dr. Derrek Eberts, in the centre, presented the two awards. All three are Brandon University faculty members.

BRANDON – Two Brandon University faculty members in the Department of Geography have been recognized with awards from the Canadian Association of Geographers.

Professor Emeritus Roderick McGinn and Dr. Rachel Herron were presented with the awards from the Prairie Division of the Canadian Association of Geographers (PCAG) at its 42nd annual meeting, held Sept. 29 in Hecla, Man.

PCAG President Dr. Derrek Eberts, who is also a fellow member of the BU Geography faculty, presented the two awards.

Dr. McGinn received the John H. Warkentin Award for Scholarly Contributions to the Geography of the Western Interior, while Dr. Herron received the Prairie CAG Early Career Award, for recent appointees who have made significant scholarly contributions to the discipline and/or demonstrated exceptional achievement in teaching.

“Brandon University has always been a place where brilliant teachers and researchers have a home, and where faculty have the opportunity to excel in their fields and to share that excellence with our students and our community,” said Dr. Bernadette Ardelli, BU’s Dean of Science.

“Both Dr. McGinn and Dr. Herron are contributing important and meaningful work to western Manitoba and to rural areas that truly makes a meaningful difference right here.”

In a letter of nomination, Dr. McGinn was lauded for his lifetime of work to exploring the complex physical geography of western Manitoba.

“His research has been published in a variety of formats: technical reports, and refereed articles in academic journals as well as in more popular venues. A great deal of his research can be classified as applied, as with his long running snow survey research in Riding Mountain National Park, carried out in co-operation with Parks Canada. He is regarded as the expert on the glacial geomorphology of western Manitoba,” his nominators wrote “Rod has inspired a generation of students with his enthusiasm for his subject and has maintained a clear regional focus.”

Although now retired, Dr. McGinn continues an active research program showing no signs of slowing down.

Dr. Herron is noted as being one of the leading early-career health geographers in Canada.

“She has already gained international recognition for her original, high quality and impactful scholarship on rural dementia care,” wrote her nominators. “In addition to her appointment as a Canada Research Chair, Dr. Herron’s contribution to her area of research is exemplified in her productivity, including twelve peer-reviewed papers (plus three more in review) and four book chapters (with two more in review), the lead role she is currently playing in developing a new research centre for rural health at Brandon University, and her leadership as principal investigator on successful new CIHR and SSHRC grants worth more than $500,000, that involve teams of more senior scholars and community leaders.”

Dr. Mark Skinner, a health geographer at Trent University, and co-principal investigator with Dr. Herron on the CIHR grant, supported her nomination.

“For those of us that work with Rachel at BU and elsewhere, her research success is underscored by her commitment to excellence in pedagogy and her passion for teaching geography and training geography students in the often more demanding (and certainly more rewarding!) smaller university setting of BU,” Dr. Skinner said.

Dr. Eberts said he commends both Drs. McGinn and Herron for their lifelong career, and early career accomplishments respectively.

“BU is home to world class scholars,” Dr. Eberts said, “and our students are truly privileged to study and work with some of the best geographers in the region and beyond.”