Brock recognizes profs for creative teaching and research

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Brock recognizes profs for creative teaching and research

Published on October 18 2011


Brock students benefit from the commitment and expertise of faculty who provide an innovative and student-centred research and learning environment. Their influence engages students to think creatively and critically both inside and outside the classroom.

Brock will honour two professors for their outstanding contributions to teaching and research at Fall Convocation on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Nancy Francis, a professor of Kinesiology, will receive the Brock University Award for Distinguished Teaching. This award recognizes a faculty member who has made a significant commitment to providing and developing quality learning experiences for students. It also acknowledges valuable contributions to curriculum development and the mentoring of colleagues.

Francis will receive her award at Saturday’s 10 a.m. ceremony. She will also deliver the Convocation address at the 2 p.m. afternoon ceremony.

Vincenzo De Luca
, a professor of Biological Sciences and a Canada Research Chair in Plant Biotechnology, will receive the Brock University Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity. The award, which will be announced at Convocation, recognizes faculty members who demonstrate outstanding research achievements, contributions toward the training of future researchers, and consistency in scholarly or creative performance.

More than 800 students are expected to receive their degrees at Fall Convocation. All ceremonies will be held in the Ian D. Beddis Gymnasium and a reception for graduates, family members and other special guests will be held after each ceremony.

Nancy Francis

In her teaching philosophy, Nancy Francis states that her research, teaching and professional work converge into a relevant and passionate teaching practice that is a lifetime commitment to the learners in her care.

Testimonials from students and colleagues at Brock as well as other schools bear witness to the multi-faceted nature of Francis’ outstanding teaching abilities. She has a sustained record of superior teaching evaluations that are above departmental averages in undergraduate and graduate courses, and she has been a supervisor and mentor to numerous students.

Francis truly distinguishes herself in areas of educational leadership. She has presented many educational development workshops for her colleagues at Brock and beyond. She also trained for and achieved certification as an Instructional Skills Workshop facilitator through the Centre for Curriculum, Transfer and Technology in Victoria, BC, and has provided several training sessions for her colleagues at Brock.

Francis is widely published in the scholarship of teaching, disseminating her findings in journals within her own discipline and in academic forums on higher education.

Francis has been recognized with several awards for her teaching. This includes the 2002 Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, as well as awards from her own discipline, like the 2003 Award of Honour from the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Sport and Dance. With these accolades to her credit, Francis nevertheless attended the PEI Faculty Development Summer Institute in 2007 acknowledging her continuous and ongoing development as a teacher.

Francis might say that distinguished teaching and mentorship are simply part of the scholarship that she practises. Her students and colleagues would say that they are core values that pervade her personal and professional life.

Vincenzo De Luca

Vincenzo De Luca is recognized as a world-class expert in plant secondary metabolism. A central component of De Luca’s research focuses on how plants, the green and flowery variety, can be used as factories to produce life-saving medicines, new functional foods, valuable aromas, flavours and colorants.

His research findings, including the identification of cancer-fighting compounds in the Madagascar periwinkle, have garnered significant industry interest, research funding and media attention.

As a fellow with Brock's Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, his recent research focuses on the potential antioxidant components produced from grape pomace – that is, the components of the grape left over after squeezing for juice or wine production.

De Luca holds funding from a number of sources, including industry contracts and granting bodies such as Genome Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. As Canada Research Chair, he is recognized as a world leader in the areas of plant biochemistry and biotechnology, and has the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from across the country and around the world. Over the years, his research program has also helped train numerous undergraduate and graduate students, technicians and postdoctoral associates.

De Luca has held positions as associate editor of several scientific journals, including Canadian Journal of Botany, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and Plant Cell Reports. He has been a long-standing associate editor of the journal Phytochemistry and in 2010 he became associate editor of The Plant Cell, the most prestigious of specialized plant journals. He is also on the scientific advisory boards of the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and of the Max Planck Institute for chemical ecology in Jena, Germany.