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.
Just fill out the nomination form [pdf 213KB].
Nominees are judged for outstanding performance or achievement as demonstrated through a particular project or strategic initiative recently completed or currently underway, and/or a consistent record of significant accomplishments over the years.
Below is a list of last year's recipients. Congratulations!
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.
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, 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.”
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
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 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 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”.
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.”
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.”
- 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
- 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