DPMG Award

The DPMG Award recognizes employees who belong to the Dalhousie Professional and Managerial Group (DPMG) for their exemplary contributions to the university.

All DPMG members (excluding members of the DPMG Executive) are eligible to receive this award and can be nominated by any faculty or staff member. DPMG members previously nominated can be nominated again. 

Selection criteria

  • High and consistent performance
  • New approaches and initiatives
  • Impact on the university community
  • Alignment with organizational missions, vision and values
  • Positive influence and leadership

The nomination package requires a letter of support from the nominator and two additional letters of support. 

In light of recent events, we will be postponing the DPMG award nomination process until further notice. We recognize the importance of this award and are looking forward to reopening the nominations in the future.


List of previous recipients – congratulations!  

2019 Winners

Hazel Ling

Social Worker

Student Health and Wellness (SHW), Student Affairs

DPMG Early Career Award

Early in her time as a DPMG member, Hazel quickly identified a gap in service for students including a bridge between medical and psychological services. She also realized the need for preventative wellness intervention and advocacy support for students experiencing barriers to their health, aligning with Dalhousie strategic priority Teaching and Learning 1.3, strengthen student experience, leadership development and additional support for our locally diverse and international students.

Hazel consistently challenges herself and has an incredible way of examining issues from multiple perspectives and possibilities, determined to find a solution.  Her unique approach and commitment to excellence in supporting the Dalhousie community and beyond as well as her innovation in delivering programs that align with our strategic priorities makes her a valuable ambassador for wellness at Dalhousie University. 

Emily Huner

Finance and Administration

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)

DPMG Award for Outstanding Achievement

Emily has not only fulfilled the mandate of her office but has gone above and beyond to create a collaborative environment and systematically and methodically enhance collegiate relations throughout FASS. Over the past 7 months, Emily has transformed morale within FASS and has been described by her colleagues as “A Beacon of Hope”. By collaborating with various key employee groups within FASS, such a major shift in trust and morale would normally take years, not months.

She has also routinized support for career and skills growth for NSGEU and DPMG members by scheduling opportunities to attend internal sessions and has also instated an annual FASS Staff Award for Excellence in Service.  Conscientious, inclusiveness, excellence and innovativeness are qualities that Emily possesses and creating a work environment that is respectful, rewarding and engaging is always a priority for Emily.


Dr. Keltie Jones

Assistant Dean,
Student and
Academic Administration

Faculty of

DPMG Award for Outstanding Achievement

Keltie makes the university environment an inviting place for students to come talk to her by learning about their stories and engaging with them personally. Having a mentor like this on campus is crucial to students’ success in post-secondary education. It’s important to have a safe place to go and ask for help. Keltie provides a great atmosphere for students to feel comfortable and is committed to ensuring student success as soon as they enter university and every year after that.  Keltie cares about the community around her and goes above and beyond to make it an inclusive, welcoming and fun place to be.


As an ambassador for positive change, Dr. Jones has shown exceptional and creative efforts in advancing equity, diversity and inclusion within the Dalhousie University Community.  Particular initiatives at the Truro campus include: Mi’kmag Grand Council Flag Installation, renaming “Rover Road” to “Sipu Awti”, creating an Indigenous Resource Room as well as various internal and external community partnerships.


Martha Skerry

Assistant Manager,
Payroll and
Information Services

Human Resources

DPMG Award for Outstanding Achievement

A steadfast employee in Human Resource at Dalhousie since 1973, Martha’s current role has a direct effect on all faculty and staff at Dalhousie and ensures we all get paid accurately and on time.  Under Martha’s careful watch and supervision, she oversees the processing of 5-7 pays per month, translating to almost 8500 employees.  Martha is consistent in both her planning and implementation of this critical role and advises staff and monitors data entry standards for the Banner HR system.  She creates and implements payroll
policies to realize efficiencies, process improvements and improved internal controls.

Martha was a key team member of two mergers with Dalhousie: the TUNS Merger in 1996 and the NSAC merger 2014/2015.  Martha has also played an integral role on other projects and initiatives such as: an upgrade to Banner in 2009, Graduate Student Payroll Information Profile Improved Functionality, Electronic Personal Action Forms rollout in 2016, Process Improvement Project and the Banner 9 Implementation.


2018 Winners

John Hope

Hidden, yet seen, is an apt way to describe John Hope’s contributions to Dalhousie University. While the particulars of his contributions must, by their nature, remain undisclosed, the impacts of his commitment and leadership pervade the University. As Ian Wagschal, Assistant Director of Minor Projects stated in his letter of support, the greatest proof of John’s years of proactive, ethical and ‘prescient’ leadership at Dal, is that he works to make sure that ‘nothing’ happens.

John began working at the University’s legal counsel office about ten years ago. He has since risen to become the Assistant General Counsel, and with the retirement of the General Counsel earlier this year, he assumed the leadership of the university’s legal team.

The reach of John’s impacts is simply limitless. Ian Wagshal notes that “a good portion of Dalhousie’s success can be attributed to John’s behind-the-scenes influence and judgment”. And, the Vice President, Finance and Administration, Ian Nason, concludes that “every major construction project at Dalhousie in the last ten years owes something of its success to John’s careful legal guidance and ability to work with diverse stakeholders”. Whether it is in his extensive relationships across the university; his approach to sensitive and high-stakes projects; or his engagement with students, John’s thoughtfulness and ingenuity are always evident.

The complex IDEA project is just one example of John’s practical and solution-focused nature. He developed a unique Contractor Safety Management Process widely acclaimed by safety experts as the “gold standard” in institutional safety practices. He is also credited for improving the process for making small project contracts, by designing a memorandum to delegate signing authority of contracts.

John’s penchant for refining processes is impossible to miss. When he assumed leadership of the legal counsel office, he assigned staff lawyers to specific areas of responsibility; allowing them to build expertise and forge relationships. John has also designed supplemental conditions to standard construction contracts, adapting conventional contracts to Dal’s specific needs and special risks.

Worthy of special mention is John’s deep concern for and commitment to people. Alison Shea tells the story of how John, at a period when the legal counsel office was shorthanded, noticed the toll the increased workload had on her health and encouraged her to seek help. John’s humour and capacity to forge lasting relationships, have been of immense advantage to Dal. In Alison’s words, these strategic relationships allow John to transform “a potential week-long discussion into a ten-minute phone call”.

Said Msabaha

“A human being with a big heart, and strong intelligence; someone who manages everything with a big smile and an easy nature”; is how Jacquie Thilaye describes ‘the mayor of Halifax’. No, not Mayor Mike Savage; but, Said Msabaha, program manager at the Global Health Office (GHO), Faculty of Medicine.

While Said served as an evening supervisor at the Killam Library between 2005 and 2011, he joined the GHO as a program coordinator in 2011. His initial responsibility was limited to supporting international students from Malaysia admitted into the medical school. In no time, the diligence and dedication that stood him out as a supervisor at the Killam library became obvious at the GHO. As the ‘price’ and ‘prize’ of excellence is ‘more work’, Said’s terms of reference were soon expanded to include supporting International Medical Graduates entering into clerkships and managing other programs involving students in health studies to participate in exchange programmes.

Said has not only fulfilled the mandate of his office, he has gone over and beyond. While examples of his outstanding performance abound, a few will be highlighted. Over the past years, Said has successfully managed the Link Program - an intensive 15-week orientation for international students transitioning into clerkship. This entails collaborating with various stakeholders in health studies to develop the curriculum and manage the schedule. He also coordinates a program which deals with the identification and posting of students in Health Studies to undertake courses in Tanzania and the Gambia.

To Said, these responsibilities are not merely professional; they are personal. Hence, in 2017, as part of his vacation, he travelled to Tanzania to have a first-hand appreciation of the situation of Dalhousie students in the country. Despite the successes he has recorded, Said is simply not satisfied. The need to ‘do more’ informed his development of an evaluation report of the International Medical Graduates clerkship program. This report is fast becoming a standard, which officials in other provinces like Ontario are seeking to adapt.

In case you are wondering how Said came to be known as ‘the mayor of Halifax’. All you need to do is to take a walk with him from the Henry Hicks Building to the Carleton campus. However, beware that a 10-minute walk could need a 20-minute extension, as members of the university community, will often stop Said to ask questions, share their news or acknowledge him. Shawna O’Hearn, Said’s nominator, notes that while “Dalhousie campuses can feel disconnected … (Said) demonstrates how interconnected we are”.

Inclusiveness, dependability, excellence and innovativeness are qualities which dot the various letters in support of Said’s nomination for this award. Indeed, his stand-out qualities were well summed up by Dr. Megan Aston and Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy who note that “Said is consistently inclusive and dependable. His sense of humour and demeanour are exceptional and qualities that are effective in moving work forward in a way that is respectful and engaging”.

Kim Thomson

Kim Thomson personifies professionalism, exudes competence and inspires confidence. While her official position as the chief of staff, provost office, might suggest a singular mandate, this is far from being correct. In fact, Kim is many things rolled into one. She coordinates the day-to-day activities of the Provost’s office; manages the provost’s committee, the Dean’s Council and the Provost’s Executive; serves as the university contact and resident expert with the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, and acts as the University liaison with the Education Advisory Board.

Kim played a pivotal role in Dalhousie’s adoption of and transition to the Provost model. Since the model’s roll-out, Kim has dedicated herself to its smooth operation and constant improvement. For example, upon realising the need for an effective and efficient internal review process, Kim undertook a process of ensuring that executive assistants and managers were trained in the six-sigma method for process analysis. The impact of this initiative is felt across the university, as approval processes for new and modified academic programs are now conducted more effectively and efficiently.

Describing Kim, her nominator, the Associate Vice President Academic – Fiona Black, notes that Kim “employs all her formal learning and continued professional development with a deep wisdom” and “wears her learning lightly” even when she clearly knows a situation’s complexity more thoroughly than anyone else in the room.” “She is calm, confident, humble and an enormous asset to the President and Provost’s Offices”. These words were reaffirmed by the Provost and Vice President, Academic, Carolyn Watters, whose deep respect for Kim is evident in her letter of support. To her: “Kim is a positive role model and positive problem solver. She thinks strategically and leads from behind the scenes, through candid and open relationships across the university”.

If you need to get a job done, Kim is your go-to-person. Her reliability, however, comes at a price. In Fiona Black’s words “”Is Kim available?”” has become a regular refrain among senior admin. But Kim’s astounding impact is not limited to senior admin. Her peers and others who report to her attest to her availability, geniality and candour. Andrea Heyer, Executive Assistant and Project Coordinator said: “What is most notable about Kim as a leader is her accessibility. Kim has been my team lead on several projects over the years, and she has always been willing to offer consistent and valuable insight, and if necessary role up her sleeves and work jointly to ‘get the job done’”.

Beverly Zinck

Students, colleagues and faculty feel the same about her. Differently yet uniformly, they all attest that Beverly Zinck, or ‘Bev’ as she is fondly called, has a heart of gold. She gives willingly, unreservedly and unconditionally. She gives her time past the demands of official ‘hours’; she gives her attention past the requirements of her office; and she gives her drive, vision and passion to the cause of the Accommodation Office at the Faculty of Agriculture campus, Dalhousie University. Beyond the dotted lines of her contract as the Coordinator of Access Supports at Truro, Bev has successfully unravelled the underpinning philosophy and purpose of accommodation services; and she operates by the higher mandates this evoke.

Her deeper appreciation of and connection to the demands of her office is evident in the reforms Bev has enacted and the immense success she has recorded in less than four years. To make access to accommodations services quicker and easier, Bev developed a Test Request Form; sends electronic test and examinations notifications to students and is currently revamping the outdated accommodations database at Truro.

One of the many areas where Bev’s engaging, personable, proactive and collaborative attributes came to the fore was in her reform of the scheduling system of examinations and tests. A faculty member, Nancy Pitts, affirms these attributes thus: “Bev built the present efficient, trusted system, and excellent collegial interaction with instructional colleagues from scratch … On her arrival, Bev deliberately reached out to faculty, especially instructors of the large classes … Now, when I as a faculty member, receive a Notice of Accommodation, I have confidence that it is appropriately founded … For this vision of ‘team-ship’ alone, Bev would be deserving of recognition”.

Bev always does more. Whether it is in her scanning and emailing of class notes to students, her last-minute adjustments of her personal schedule to accommodate a student who forgot the time for a test or examination, or spending late nights, early mornings and weekends to work with students, Bev is always available with refreshing calmness and assuring demeanour. And, yes; she makes ‘yummy’ home baked cookies for her students. Her former student, Holly Fisher, fondly recollects that: “After our first meeting I could tell she (Bev) truly cared about the students she worked with and would do anything in her power to see them succeed … Beverly was able to instill in me the confidence to understand my needs while learning and testing … this made a large difference in my life and I am grateful to Beverly Zinck for helping me move past that stage”.

Of her many praiseworthy qualities, one often highlighted by those who know and work with Bev, is her respect for everyone. Her nominator, Carolyn Bartlett, reflects on this quality in the following words: “Respect is at the core of Bev’s leadership style. It is ingrained into her personality and it becomes pervasive with students and colleagues she interacts with daily … conversations occur with understanding, clear listening and empathy to concerns concerned”.

2017 Winners

Darrell Rhodenizer

Darrell Rhodenizer, Associate Director for Advancement Systems & Reporting in the Office of Advancement, is in the early stages of his Dalhousie career as a DPMG member. He joined the Office less than three years ago as the Manager for Information Systems, and within a year he took on a leadership role with the Advancement Operations & Planning unit as Associate Director.

Darrell’s supporters say that he came to Advancement ready for new challenges - and they were able to provide them! He immediately applied his considerable skills and aptitude for learning to some of the thorniest and longest-standing barriers to progress that Advancement staff faced in trying to fulfil their mission. Within a very short time, his supporters were regarding him as a "game-changer."

His contributions include a complete revamping of Advancement’s fundraising reports from the ground up (eliminating many laborious manual processes in doing so); envisioning and creating a "data mart" to accelerate the Office’s ability to bring data together into reports and analyses to drive decision-making; streamlining and automating processes to help staff become more efficient; developing tools and implementing systems to allow fund raisers and alumni officers to work more effectively; helping to set strategic direction for how Advancement Operations can most effectively support the unit’s mission and goals; and representing Advancement's needs to central IT better than it has ever been done before.

As one of his supporters tells us, “He delivers solutions that the user sometimes didn't even know they needed, explaining things in a language they can understand.” His nominator, Suzanne Huett, says, “I have been involved in the fundraising profession for over 30 years and I have never witnessed anyone who has his exceptional ability to holistically understand the work of Advancement. He has developed a universal, integrated and collaborative approach to tackling goals by being an active listener and an engaged participant in any committee, task or challenge that is he involved with.”

In short, Darrell's work with Advancement has been transformational, and forms an important part of the foundation Dalhousie needs to effectively manage the University's relationship with its alumni, donors, and prospective donors, as his Office seeks to maximize support for the University's overall mission.

Gail Power

Things seem to have come full circle for Gail Power. She joined Dalhousie in 1991 as a Facilities Manager for Housing and Conference Services and this very building, Shirreff Hall, was one of the buildings she managed. And later this month, 26 years later, Gail will be retiring from Dalhousie.  Celebrating her receipt of this award here, in Shirreff Hall, is special for her I am sure.

After her first role with Housing and Conference Services, Gail held roles with the Department of Chemistry, Research Services and with the Faculty of Agriculture. During her 15 years with Chemistry she provided a leadership role for new initiatives within the department. Some of those initiatives included working with 25 faculty members writing a first year chemistry textbook and the 2008 strategic review of the department.  That review took place at her suggestion, and Gail also had responsibility for implementation of many of the emerging recommendations.

Most recently, Gail has served as the first Faculty Administrator for the Faculty of Agriculture. This was a newly-created role as a result of the merger of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College with Dalhousie in 2012. While the role of Faculty Administrator is well known at Dal, it was new to the Agricultural Campus. Gail’s nominator, Dean David Gray, describes how the merger of the two institutions, with campuses located nearly 100 kms apart, created the need for an exceptional effort - not only to deal with the transition and integration of the merger with the Halifax campuses-, but also with the day to day operations of an entire faculty.

Results-focused, knowledgeable, positive, personable, understanding, supportive, highly engaged, determined and committed are just a few of the words used to describe Gail by her nomination supporters, Jean Lynds from the Faculty of Agriculture and Janice MacInnis from Human Resources. Jean states not once, but twice, that Gail’s contribution to their campus and Faculty has been exceptional.  

Cathie Smith-Gillis

Cathie Smith-Gillis, Director of Human Resources in the Faculty of Health Professions, is integral to the smooth operation of her large and complex Faculty, which is home to ten different Schools and over 1,400 full-time and part-time faculty, staff, sessional instructors, casual employees, teaching and research assistants and post-doctoral fellows.

She was nominated for this award by her Dean, Dr. Alice Aitken, who tells us that “Cathie's consistently high performance is instrumental in ensuring that we are not just meeting, but in fact exceeding, the standard. In every way, Cathie exemplifies the qualities of an outstanding employee.”

Considered by her peers and community to be an invaluable asset, Cathie is essential to the efficient and effective operation of her Faculty and consistently goes above and beyond to lead HR initiatives, offer exceptional service, and provide reasoned and thoughtful advice – ensuring that the majority of the human resource issues her Faculty encounters do not have to move beyond the level of the Faculty.

Her achievements are many, but in nominating her for this award, her supporters have highlighted several. These include her efforts to help streamline the workload guidelines for DFA members, and her preparation of a highly-regarded Employment Equity plan for the Faculty. Perhaps most notably, however, Cathie has developed a performance support and professional development tool for use across the Faculty. This initiative, which arose out of feedback from workplace surveys identifying issues with the ACHIEVE program, required careful thought around how a performance review tool could foster individual and team development, build accountability and feedback into annual routines, and capture the varied and multifaceted contributions of a broad range of employees.

In response to this need, Cathie created the DPMG Performance Support/Professional Development Tool based on the University's core competencies. The project is regarded by Cathie’s supporters as a prime example of her creativity and understanding of the Faculty and University's strategic objectives and goals. The DPMG tool has been so well received both inside and outside the Faculty that Cathie went on to create a similar tool for NSGEU use.

Dean Aiken tells us, “Cathie inspires confidence in everyone who has the pleasure of working with her.”   

Debbie Parker

“Her role directly affects staff across the entire University, which in turn impacts on the University’s ability to fulfill its mission and meet strategic goals.” This statement was provided as part of the nomination package for Debbie Parker, Manager of Compensation and Senior Human Resources Consultant, and our final recipient of the DPMG Award for Outstanding Achievement for 2017.

Building and maintaining positive relationships with a wide variety of employees and managers is something that everyone wants to do and is a great skill for any employee to possess. But being able to do this successfully while also leading the university’s job evaluation process, which can sometimes be emotional and overwhelming for employees, is impressive. And this is what Debbie has done for many years at Dalhousie.

Debbie is both trusted and respected across campuses and her nominator and supporters have heralded her for her compassion and dedication to a role that, at times, can be difficult and thankless. But Debbie performs her role with a very high level of integrity and commitment and she works hard to contribute to the reputation of Dalhousie as an employer of choice. One of her supporters, AVP of Financial Services, Susan Robertson, noted that Debbie can always be relied upon to provide sound advice. Unfortunately for Debbie, that means she is usually the first person that Susan recommends others in Financial Services to contact when they require guidance!

The nomination package for Debbie outlined a number of achievements and one stood out in particular. The merger of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College with Dalhousie was a large and complex task on many fronts. Debbie was instrumental in the alignment of the Government of Nova Scotia’s compensation structure to the compensation structure of Dalhousie. This project involved evaluating hundreds of positions from various union and employee groups. And behind each position was a person. While there were challenging questions, Debbie was always able to address these in a kind and warm manner, while always remembering that this process was doubtless a very anxious one for our Truro campus colleagues.

Debbie’s nominator, Sheila MacLean from Human Resources, stated in her nomination letter that Debbie is a confidante to many, a strong and knowledgeable leader within human resources and someone who is always considers the big picture when making decisions or providing advice. And, quite simply, she is a very proud member of the Dalhousie community.

2016 Winners

Michael Wilkinson

At Dalhousie, the job of managing mail delivery, snow removal, waste collection, pest control and horticulture is held by one extraordinary individual: Michael Wilkinson, the Environmental Services Manager in Facilities Management.

Mike and his team of 20 staff and numerous service contractors provide these services to the entire campus.  Born and raised in South Africa, Mike honed his horticultural skills in his native country, before moving to the UK to manage the estate grounds of the legendary race car driver Jackie Stewart. Shortly after moving to Nova Scotia in 2007, Mike joined us at Dalhousie.

Mike works every day with his team to create an inviting, safe and sustainable environment for Dalhousie. His horticulture initiatives are very noticeable across the campus as he and his team are in the process of revitalizing the flower beds, shrubs, trees and other landscape features. He has changed the way we manage our waste on campus to make it more sustainable and cost-efficient. Through his collaboration with Security Services, he has made a significant impact in ensuring the three Halifax campuses are a safe place to travel to and from at any time of the day or night. Perhaps most notably, however, he has also improved our snow removal and ice control methods, benefitting the campus tremendously during the winter of 2015-16 which, as we all remember, was one of the most severe winters ever experienced in Halifax.

Mike’s colleagues often joke that Mike manages all the services that nobody else wants. But these critical services help create an environment at Dalhousie where researchers and students can be successful.  Darrell Boutilier, Director of Operations in Facilities Management and Mike’s supervisor and nominator for this award, summed up his nomination by saying, “I think Mike Wilkinson is a great example of what a young, professional leader should be. He is a high performer who is focused on personal and professional growth for both himself and his staff. His expertise and leadership has resulted in a number of accomplishments and successful initiatives that have campus-wide impact on a daily basis.” 



Peter Dykhuis

The Dalhousie Art Gallery enjoys a sterling reputation amongst its peers across the country. The DPMG Award nomination package for the Gallery’s Curator, Peter Dykhuis, demonstrates the many ways in which he has continuously promoted the excellence of the Art Gallery and its programming, dedicated to enhancing the experiential and educative aspects of visual art on campus. In her letter of support for Peter’s nomination, our Vice-President Academic and Provost, Dr. Carolyn Watters, says: “Peter has led his small but excellent team to help all of us think differently about art and its contribution to the ways we think and appreciate, surely a core value of the university.”

As an Academic Support Unit, the Gallery is a resource for the student and teaching populations. Peter frequently works with faculty to incorporate the Gallery’s exhibitions and permanent collection into curricula as a teaching tool, offering class tours, guided access to the collection, and in-class lectures.

His influence is also felt beyond Dalhousie. He actively contributes to all levels of the arts community in Canada: through leadership roles with regional and national gallery associations; participation in Arts advocacy; mentorship of young artists and curators; and committee and jury work.

During his time at Dalhousie, Peter has successfully raised over a million dollars in municipal, provincial, and federal grant funding to support the Gallery’s program of activities. He has also added nearly a million dollars to the university’s capital assets through the growth in the Gallery’s permanent collection holdings in artwork deemed of national cultural significance.

But Peter’s staff, who have nominated him en masse for this award, say that this narrative tells only a part of his story. All of his engagements are based on a foundation of professional and personal integrity, deep empathy, an irrepressible sense of humour, and a desire to “make our heaven here on earth” (an expression his staff say he uses by way of apology for contributing more than what is expected, which means they hear the phrase often). 

Michael Campbell

“When you leave a meeting you feel confident and self-assured due to his positive attitude,” is how one supporter described her interactions with Michael Campbell, Manager of Custodial Services with Facilities Management.

Michael is a wonderful example of someone who provides positive influence and leadership and there are many examples of this. He utilizes both one-on-one meetings and monthly meetings with the General Forepersons to discuss how things are going and to learn if there are issues impacting work performance while consistently offering potential solutions. He makes a point to interact with many members of the custodial staff and it should be noted that this takes a great deal effort as these staff members are located in many buildings, across all three Halifax campuses. 

As a supervisor Michael is known to encourage his staff members to advance their education. He has also partnered with the Immigrants Settlement Association of Nova Scotia to provide English in the workplace training for some custodial staff members whose first language is not English.

He took note of the rate of injuries of custodial staff and initiated a project entitled WorkSAFE @ Dal by reaching out to the School of Occupational Therapy. The intent of the program is to reduce injury rates of custodial staff members and to provide occupational therapy students the opportunity to apply their skills in a way that benefits others. WorkSAFE @ Dal was the recipient of the Environmental Health and Safety Award in 2014 and this program is a wonderful example of a new initiative can have positive impacts for multiple Dalhousie stakeholders, in this case, our employees and our students.

As his nominator Suzanne Strowbridge stated, “I don’t know if Michael Campbell realizes the impact he has, but it should be known. I feel very proud in letting you know that he is a great person and it is nice to have a strong leader as our manager for custodial. He supports our endeavours and our efforts to improve.”

Suzanne Le-May Sheffield

 “She is the very best example of outstanding performance and achievement in the university,” is how one supporter chose to describe Dr. Suzanne Le-May Sheffield, Director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching.

Her work impacts many including helping graduate students become dynamic educators, assisting faculty members and instructors on improving student learning across Dalhousie’s campuses and though coordinating events such as New Academic Staff Orientation and CLT’s Annual Conference on University Teaching and Learning. Her nomination package made note of her remarkable leadership and ability to understand the needs of an individual while keeping the big picture of advancing the university’s strategic priorities related to teaching and learning in view. Much of her work directly relates to Strategic Priority 1.5 – Innovation in Programs and Excellent in Teaching and Pedagogy.

Suzanne has led or been an instrumental partner in several institutional initiatives including the review of Dalhousie’s Teaching Awards, the framework for Certificates and Diplomas, the implementation of Brightspace, and a Faculty Certificate in Teaching and Academic Practice, to name but a few. She has overseen tremendous growth and changeover of staff within the CLT as well as the realignment and restructuring of the centre to meet the goals of Dalhousie. She helped initiate, draft a self-study, participate in and work on the response to the CLT’s first ever external review.

The nomination package for Suzanne also made note of how she consistently takes the time to support the mental and physical health of her staff and their development as professionals. Her staff knows that “she is in their corner” at all times. Suzanne never forgets that our work involves people and this inspires others to work harder and with a people-centred focus. Another nominator stated that she has a special gift for working with people and building relationships while maintaining her commitment to creating the best possible learning environment at Dalhousie.

2015 Winners

Jacob (Jake) MacIsaac

Jake MacIsaac is the Community Safety Officer with Security Services.  The position was created four years ago with the remit of providing an education and referral service on issues related to campus safety.  Since then, Jake has developed this position into one which has a wide-ranging influence in Student Services, Residence Life, Human Rights, Equity & Harassment Prevention, and the Dalhousie Restorative Justice Initiative.

He has been at the forefront of a number of initiatives over the past several years, including being security lead for the Dalhousie Restorative Justice Initiative, where he has worked to transform the University into a community that has the capacity to collectively and compassionately understand and repair harm.  This initiative has been in place for the past three years, and was an important part of the response to the University’s response to the Dentistry Facebook Group.  Jake was the face of the University for the individual men and women associated with the incident, and was tasked with guiding the group and the University through a truly restorative process.  The situation was described as stressful, hostile, very public, and ever-changing.  In spite of these challenges, Jake created a safe space for the students where difficult issues could be openly discussed. 

Jake has been described as compassionate, fair, principled and a leader.  One of his nominees notes that “the impact that Jake has had on the University community cannot be overstated”.

Heather Doyle

Heather has been the Director of Student Services with the Faculty of Agriculture at the Truro Campus since August 2013, and has led the department through a time of intense change.  During her short time there, she has transformed students' perceptions of Student Support Services by advocating for the integration of student services into the students' academic experience.   As one of her nominees states, “Simply put, Ms. Doyle puts students first”.

Heather was the first person in Canada to become a Certified Appreciative Advisor, and has now become an internationally recognized leader in the field.  She shares the appreciative advising tools with her staff and students, which has resulted in improved retention and engagement.  Heather has also been credited with revitalizing the Student Services Office on the Truro Campus, during a difficult time of change.

She has been described as having an exceptional work ethic, a positive mindset, and being a gifted relationship builder.  These qualities, along with many others, have allowed her to play a critical role in bridging the gap between the Truro and Halifax Campuses and improving collaboration between sites, all while focusing on fulfilling the strategic priorities of the University.
Janice Godin

Janice has been the Director of Human Resources in the Faculty of Medicine for the past number of months, and many of you will know her from the 6 years she spent as the Manager of Employee Development with Human Resources.  In both these roles at Dalhousie, Janice has been described as throwing “her heart, soul, and significant talents into any initiative where she believes she can help to advance learning, discovery and the value of Dalhousie”.

Janice has led a number of initiatives during her time with Dalhousie, including the development of a leadership competency framework and the academic leadership development program; the design and implementation of new online performance management and leave management tools, as well as the introduction of Skillsoft onto campus.  She was even involved with championing this very award to ensure that her DPMG colleagues could be recognized for their significant achievements.

She has managed to achieve ambitious goals with limited resources, and has accomplished this while maintaining a high level of integrity and compassion.  According to one of her nominators, “She is a rare example of a simply superb colleague who takes her roles and responsibilities very seriously, while maintaining a fabulously calm and reassuring manner”.

2014 Winners

Wendy Fletcher, program and student services officer with the Faculty of Graduate Studies, has worked at Dalhousie since 2003. Part of her focus is helping to attract and support international graduate students. Since 2011, Wendy has travelled to Brazil, Colombia, China and Saudi Arabia on Dalhousie recruitment missions. For her trip to Colombia, Wendy was Dal’s representative with the CALDO, a group of five Canadian universities that have teamed together to help bring Latin American students to Canada. Wendy was instrumental in developing CALDO’s web presence.

Carolyn Watters, Dal’s vice-president academic and provost, was dean of graduate studies when Wendy joined the team.

“As I started, my top priorities included building a higher profile for FGS on campus and in Canada and building international recruiting support,” she says. “Wendy led the team to make these priorities a reality. She brought innovative ideas, great initiatives, team building and leadership that led by doing.”

In addition to her work in recruitment, Wendy has increased contact with newly accepted Dal students, building strong relationships by email and social media. She also organizes September and January orientations, held the first webinars for incoming students and works closely with counterparts at other universities.

Janice MacInnis, Human Resources, was recognized for her work in organizational health with Employee and Organizational Development.

Janice works hard at promoting healthy values with Dalhousie’s staff. She has engaged colleagues from across campus to form the Healthy Dalhousie Collaborative, which shares and coordinates efforts to make Dal a healthier university. She also launched the Healthy Workplace Award, which awards specific departments for their commitment to health. The recipients so far have made real  efforts to improve all areas of wellness, including environmental and mental. Janice has assisted Faculties and departments by creating strategic plans to provide a welcoming and supporting environment and build relationships. Janice also helps develop Dalhousie’s Workplace Survey and works with staff and faculty to implement changes based on their results.

“Five years ago Janice developed Dalhousie's first Organizational Health strategy,” says supervisor Jim Neale. “It was an ambitious plan with precious few resources to support its implementation. She has capably and resourcefully achieved many of the objectives. She has every right to feel great pride in what she's been able to accomplish and I look forward to seeing where she envisions going from here.”

Janice collaborated on the development of Difficult Conversations videos, a resource for Dal employees that has been adopted nationally in a number of other universities and organizations. She also collaborated in developing comprehensive training for employees and supervisors regarding these videos.

A dedication to health and fostering a positive work environment for staff is evident in the work Janice does.

 “Well-being leads to be engaged, and that leads to productivity,” says Janice. When asked about what she’s most proud of Janice replies, “making people really understand what organizational health is. Organizational culture goes beyond being nice, or [receiving] perks but really making employees feel valued and supported.” 

2013 Winners

Catherine Currell, Department Administrator, Faculty of Medicine

Catherine works in the Department of Medical Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, and during her short time there she has been attributed to revitalizing the department, creating a team approach and improving morale.

Among her many accomplishments to date, she was responsible for the development and implementation of a systematic cost-recovery plan for the Clinical Cadaver Program. In addition, she has demonstrated leadership by identifying infrastructure issues that have resulted in a renovation of the morgue in the Tupper Building, as well as introducing e-learning to the gross anatomy lab in the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year with the purchase of iPads to replace anatomy books.

“I can honestly say that Catherine is the most approachable and fair administrator that I have worked with at Dalhousie over my 27 years,” said Brenda Armstrong, Human Donation Program. “Her enthusiasm is an inspiration for me, as well as for others, who have the pleasure of working with her.”

Bev Hubley, Director, ITS Business Operations

Bev began her career at Dalhousie more than 25 years ago starting in the Registrar’s Office. Since accepting the position as Director, ITS Business Operations, three years ago, she has demonstrated her knowledge and experience in HR practices and procedures as well as the budget process. During the merger with the former NSAC merger and Dalhousie, she was instrumental in the integration of ITS employees in both the Halifax and Truro campuses.

In 2012, ITS received the Dalhousie Healthy Workplace Award due in large part to Bev’s enthusiastic planning and coordination efforts. She leads many ITS events that promote a healthy work environment including the annual Ring Toss picnic and various social events.

“Bev exemplifies employer loyalty and demonstrates what a model employee can be with the right attitude, skills and ability to learn,” said Bryan Utas, Administrative Computing Services.

Ted Migas, Project Manager, Facilities Management

Ted has been with Facilities Management since 1996 when Dalhousie merged with the former Technical University of Nova Scotia (TUNS). In 2003, Ted advanced to become a Project Manager in Facilities Management. He is known to many in the department as the “Facilities Management Ambassador”, as a supporter of the merger and assisting with its successful integration. In 2012, he shared that same positive attitude with the introduction of Dalhousie’s Agricultural Campus.

One of his greatest contributions to the university has been with Dalhousie’s research activities. In the last five years, Ted has managed more than 117 research-related renovations totaling $11million. He is instrumental in guiding the researchers to a lab design that successfully achieves their requirements.

“Ted is one of the most respected and admired people in Facilities Management,” said Darrell Boutilier, Facilities Management. “He has been a beacon of positivity from the day he arrived and continues to be so today. On a daily basis, he inspires others to be better people.”

Gaye Wishart, Advisor, Harassment Prevention, Conflict Management, Office of Human Rights, Equity and Harassment Prevention

Gaye began with Dal’s School of Physiotherapy in 1984, and since then has assumed a variety of roles within the university. In 2007, she took on her current role, and expanded the Sexual Harassment position to include Personal Harassment and Conflict Management.

During her time with Human Resources, she launched the first online application process for recruitment, making Dalhousie one of the first in the Atlantic region to go “digital”. In her current role, she has led the establishment of Dalhousie’s Personal Harassment Policy and she supports other groups on campus including the Women’s Centre, the Residence Assistants and Dal Allies. In addition, Gaye co-developed conflict resolution training programs for employees, managers and supervisors, and a video series of showing employees having difficult conversations.

“Gaye is a caring and considerate advisor and colleague who is highly responsive and accessible,” said Janice MacInnis, Human Resources. “She cares deeply about the experience of others and believes strongly in the power of the organization and its people.”

Lynn Power, Director, Human Resources, Faculty of Medicine

Lynn began her career at Dalhousie 32 years ago. In her current role as Director of Human Resources, Faculty of Medicine, she has demonstrated dedication, diligence and commitment to the welfare of faculty and staff across the Faculty of Medicine and the university. Lynn has also served as President and Vice-President of DPMG.

She has been instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Faculty of Medicine’s mentorship program for senior leaders, including department heads, associate/assistant deans and department administrators.  Lynn has also championed the successful implementation of the university’s performance management tool, ACHIEVE, for staff across the Faculty of Medicine. One of her most notable achievements is her leadership in the Faculty’s renewed policy for faculty appointments completed in May 2013.

“Lynn’s caring and thoughtful manner is at the forefront of all her interactions with faculty, staff and students,” said Tom Marrie, Dean, Faculty of Medicine. “She is always available to listen to  and provide advice regardless of her own time commitments.”

2012 Winners

  • Pamela Bourque, Program Manager, Dalhousie Medicine NB 
  • Krista Cross, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications, Student Services
  • Sandra Crowell, Managing Director, Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre (AHPRC)
  • Rochelle Owen, Director, Office of Sustainability
  • Susan Robertson, Director, Budgets and Financial Analysis, Financial Services
  • Blair Westhaver, Custodial Supervisor, Facilities Management

2011 Winners

  • Mary Jane Adams, Director of Planning, Facilities Management
  • Laura Addicott, Director, Career Services Centre, Student Services
  • Bonnie Best-Fleming, Advisor, Human Rights & Equity, Office of Human Rights, Equity & Harassment Prevention
  • Bruce Moxley, Manager, Clinics & Building Services, Faculty of Dentistry