What’s New at Trent: University Updates From TRENT Magazine

linwood barclay

A celebrated journalist, groundbreaking female business leader, publisher and environmentalist, and an acclaimed novelist were all celebrated with honorary degrees at Trent University’s 2016 Convocation ceremonies. Recipients included:

Kathleen Taylor
Honorary Doctor of Laws degree awarded for achievements in the banking industry, fostering respectful workplace cultures, and her dedication and contribution to charitable causes. Ms. Taylor received her honorary degree at a special convocation ceremony for Trent University Durham graduates, held in the Durham region for the first time in University history.

Michael de Pencier
Honorary Doctor of Laws degree awarded for significant contributions to Canadian nature, art, and publishing.

Linwood Barclay ’73
Honorary Doctor of Letters degree awarded for significant contributions to Canadian journalism and literature.

Roy MacGregor
Honorary Doctor of Letters degree awarded for significant contributions to literature, arts, journalism and culture in Canada.

Visit the website at trentu.ca/convocation to read full bios.


Change—it’s a reoccurring theme when Dr. Haroon Akram-Lodhi speaks about his research and teaching. “The world is changed by people,” says the professor of international development studies at Trent University. “My goal is to facilitate the capacity in my students to recognize that they are the authors of their own future, and that through the choices that they make and the actions that they take, they can make the world a better and more just place for everyone.”

Prof. Akram-Lohdi is one of Trent’s “Champions of Change” featured in the new Spring 2016 issue of Showcase, which looks at faculty, students, and alumni who are making a difference on a local, national, and global scale. Read this article and others on environmental policy, the incarceration of women in Canada, and more, and explore the entire spring issue at trentu.ca/showcase


Trent University is not only making headlines for innovative new programs, but is also becoming increasingly well-known as Ontario’s most transfer credit-friendly institution. Building on this long-standing commitment to offer pathway programs to assist students in making the transition from diploma to degree studies, Trent University signed three new articulation agreements with Durham College, Fleming College and Loyalist College. Graduates of their Social Service Worker programs will now be admitted into Trent’s B.S.W. program with advanced standing, allowing students to earn both a diploma and degree in five years. The new pathway agreements will be in effect for September 2016, and students can choose to study either at Trent’s picturesque Peterborough campus or at the growing Durham campus in the GTA.


Building on Trent University’s reputation for excellence in teaching, faculty, staff, students and alumni gathered recently at the annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence to honour the extraordinary faculty members and instructors who are the recipients of the 2015/16 Teaching Awards. This year’s recipients include:

Dr. Joel Baetz, English Literature, Trent University Durham:Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching

Professor Baetz is recognized for being an authentic educator and mentor whose carefully considered teaching methodologies engage students as active participants in the process of learning and discovery. One of his nominators stated, “What supersedes Joel’s guidance toward academic excellence is his enthusiastic, insightful and engaging instruction, which ignites a passion and desire in his students to pursue excellence, advance critical thought, and relate our studies to the world and life around us.” Prof. Baetz will also be presented with the award at this year’s convocation celebration.

Professor David Newhouse, Indigenous Studies and Business Administration: Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation

Professor Newhouse was honoured for leading by example, for his dedication to the refinement of teaching methods that facilitate student learning, his vital contributions to undergraduate and graduate programs, and for the deeply influential role he has played in the development of teaching tools and approaches incorporating Indigenous thought and traditions. “These techniques facilitate student learning, build student confidence, and prepare students for the world beyond university,” said one of Prof. Newhouse’s nominators, adding: “He also has a unique understanding of how to generate student seminar leads that facilitate individual and group learning, model Indigenous responsibility and relationships, and contribute to capacity building at all  levels.”

Ms. Lesley Hewett, Forensic Science: Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance

Highly regarded by her students for her approachability, fairness, and helpfulness, and for her adaptable teaching style, Ms. Hewett, a laboratory demonstrator in the Forensic Science Program at Trent, was recognized for her enthusiasm for teaching and her commitment to student learning and success. She was applauded for her efforts to implement the latest technologies and procedures to ensure that students have access to, and can apply, innovative analytical tools and approaches. In response to winning the award, Ms. Hewitt said: “I am very excited and honored to accept this award. It's easy to be passionate and invested in my job with students that are always enthusiastic, responsive, and engaged.”

Dr. Shirley Williams ’79, Indigenous Studies: CUPE 3908-1 Award for Excellence in Teaching

Professor Williams, an elder and professor emeritus in Indigenous studies at Trent, was recognized as an engaging educator whose caring, patient, and positive approach to teaching fosters a warm, welcoming, and inspiring learning environment for students. Her teaching creates powerful spaces where language and knowledge is imparted to younger generations, and where students feel comfortable, motivated, and supported. In the words of one of her nominators, “Shirley is a great example of all Trent has to offer. She bridges the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canada in a positive and meaningful way. She is a warm and caring person, and uses humour and a big smile to foster a spirit of resilience, determination, and positive actions for the future.”


Graduate students at Trent University will benefit from the establishment of a new scholarship named in honour of the namesake of Trent’s iconic Bata Library, Thomas J. Bata. It was announced at a special event at the University, which marked a renewed relationship between the Bata family and Trent University. Sonja Bata and family members were joined by the Trent community, and Mrs. Bata shared news of the new Thomas J. Bata Graduate Scholarship. It is an endowed $5,000-per-year scholarship available to a deserving graduate student from any country studying in any of Trent’s 15 distinguished graduate programs, and who holds values of leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, community responsibility and global citizenship—values that Thomas J. Bata exemplified in his business and personal endeavours. As part of the scholarship announcement, Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent, unveiled a portrait of Thomas J. Bata by internationally-acclaimed portrait photographer Onnig Cavoukian, and rededicated the heritage plaque that honours the unique history and design legacy of the Thomas J. Bata Library.


In honour of the historic release of the final report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada earlier this year, Trent University and the First Peoples House of Learning welcomed hundreds of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples from across the world to continue the ongoing conversation of reconciliation at “Rekindling the Fire: Reconciliation and the Way Forward,” the 40th annual Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering. Dr. Tom Porter, elder and member of the Bear Clan of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne and champion of the revitalization of Indigenous languages and traditions, gave a well-received keynote address. A second keynote was presented by the Honourable Sydney Allicock, who is both vice-president and minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs of Guyana, and an Indigenous elder and crucial figure in Guyana’s Indigenous community. Through dialogue, experiential workshops, storytelling, drumming and song, traditional feasts, and other ceremonies, the Gathering created an accessible and safe space for people to explore and contemplate what their role in the reconciliation process could be.


This semester, Trent University continued to cultivate and support students’ research with two events that saw students at all levels sharing their research with the broader Peterborough community. At the undergraduate level, students were invited to take part in the second annual Three Minute Paper (3MP) event, which challenged them to share the research they’ve spent weeks on, to a panel of judges in just three minutes. Shayna Deecker, a fourth-year forensic science student, walked away with the top prize for her presentation on “The Use of Environment DNA for Amphibian Conservation Efforts.” At the graduate level, the Three Minute Thesis event invited graduate students to sum up their months of research in front of a crowd of students, professors, and business leaders in the community, in just three minutes. Judges awarded Jessica Reid, a master’s in psychology student, the top prize, the President’s First Prize and Graduate Student Association (GSA) $500 travel stipend, for her presentation “Beyond the Prison Walls: Gender Differences on the Effects of Parental Incarceration.”

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