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Teaching, Research, Internationalization and Service

Posted by Stephanie Rogers on May 7, 2019 in News, Research
Hannah Pugh, Ashley Coffin, Chastity Spears, Sean Myles and Younes Miar
Hannah Pugh, Ashley Coffin, Chastity Spears, Sean Myles and Younes Miar

As Convocation week begins on the Agricultural Campus, members of the Faculty of Agriculture took a moment to celebrate those who make student success possible.

The accomplishments of faculty and staff who have excelled in teaching, research, internationalization and service were acknowledged last Friday at a reception in the Student Learning Commons

Early Career Research Excellence Award – Younes Miar

Younes Miar is an emerging international leader in the field of mink genomics with a focus on selection of mink for enhanced resistance to disease, improved reproductive performance and pelt quality.

Younes has received over $2 million in funding to date, including NSERC Discovery and NSERC Collaborative Research and Development grants. He is actively producing high quality personnel for his research field by developing graduate-level courses and directly supervising M.Sc. and Ph.D. students.

Younes has a background and expertise in modern genetic evaluation techniques, including next-generation sequencing, that serve as an invaluable resource for bioinformatics in other research groups. His willingness to work with colleagues across disciplines aligns with the University and Faculty focus on expanding our collaborative research. The results of his research have the potential to impact not just the mink industry, but many other industries, as well.

Teaching Excellence Award – Chastity Spears

Hundreds of students have been inspired and trained by Chastity Spears over the past ten years in the Veterinary Technology program.

Throughout her teaching, she builds connections with students that support them through one of our most demanding programs. She knows when to provide a listening ear and when to tell students to “buckle up” and dive into the work. She is skilled at providing information in multiple modes to address the different learning styles in the room. She creates a positive learning space where students feel free to ask questions and share their confusion, all with the end result of moving them to understanding.

In describing her teaching philosophy, she notes that her goal is to “ignite a passion in that student, the drive they need to succeed. Turn them on and let their light shine!”

Achievement in Internationalization Award – Hannah Pugh

Hannah has been engaged in a wide variety of development activities, primarily through our ATTSVE (Agricultural Transformation Through Stronger Vocational Education) project. She has skillfully shepherded this multi-million-dollar initiative and helped build broader educational and research collaborations with partners in Ethiopia. In addition, she was able to expand the original focus to include training in micro-research through a partnership with the Faculty of Medicine. Through her efforts, this project will not only dramatically improve agricultural education in Ethiopia, it will also build the capacity of our partners to develop evidence-based programming in the future.

Hannah has also played an important role in engaging additional students, staff and faculty in our international development work. She actively creates opportunities for students to be part of the ATTSVE work through internships and conference presentations. She has also recruited staff and faculty to participate, often resulting in their first experience with international project work.

Staff Award for Excellence in Service – Ashley Coffin

After graduating from NSAC in 2007, Ashley was part of the student recruitment team that brought enrolment up to just short of 1,000 students. While serving in this role she contributed to student and campus life by helping with Orientation to developing and delivering student leadership programs. She took a short break from the AC to work in industry, developing important connections with producers that informed her work when she returned to the AC in 2015 as part of the Extended Learning team. Shortly after that, she and her husband joined the Residence Life team as Dons of Chapman House.

Ashley is a natural born campus super star. She regularly goes above and beyond, finding ways to engage the entire campus community in new initiatives. She celebrates the accomplishments of other staff and faculty. She develops and leads campus-wide events, including United Way fundraisers, weekly line dancing and videos promoting the Faculty. She uses social media to engage the broader community and promote the importance of agriculture.

Graduate Supervision Award – Sean Myles 

Sean has supervised and mentored many outstanding graduate students. He is deeply committed to ensuring that his students receive the support and experience they need to become the next generation of researchers. He understands that graduate supervision involves more than assigning and reviewing research projects. He skillfully navigates the fine line between supporting students and allowing them to learn independently.

Sean actively engages his students in his research lab, creating a welcoming and supportive environment. His approachability and enthusiasm energizes his graduate students and inspires them to move forward in their research careers. He provides constructive feedback that helps them develop as writers and researchers, giving them the opportunity to be involved in proposal writing and grant-funded projects.

He recognizes that his role is not just to support completion of the project, but to help his students find their path beyond graduate school, wherever that may be.

Congratulations to all!