Appointments and Honours, Fall 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010 9:50:00 AM



The Government of Canada recently announced a total investment of $275.6 million to fund 310 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) at 53 universities.  U of T was awarded nine new chairs and 29 renewed chairs.  Included in these are environmental researchers Professor Jing Chen of the Department of Geography and Professor Ted Sargent of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  Dr. Chen, with a renewed Tier 1 CRC in Ecosystem-Atmosphere Interaction, researches carbon cycle processes and how they interact with the atmosphere in both short-term and long-term time frames.  Dr. Sargent received a new Tier 1 CRC in Nanotechnology and is a current Tier 2 CRC.  His research includes the use of technology to improve the efficiency of solar energy.
     CRCs are divided into two tiers: 1) Tier I chairs are world leaders in their fields of study, according to their peers, awarded for a seven-year period and receive $1.4 million over seven years.  2) Tier II chairs have the potential to become world leaders in their fields and are awarded $500,000 for five years. 
     With 249 chairs, U of T has the largest number of chairs of any university in the country.  For a complete list of current U of T chairs, please visit

For more information and a complete list of new Canada Research Chairs, please visit

For more information on Dr. Chen's research, please visit his homepage, and for
Dr. Sargent's research, please visit

Professor Jing Chen of the Department of Geography is one of four winners of the 2010 Chinese Professionals Association of Canada (CPAC) Professional Achievement Award, recognizing and celebrating the achievements of professionals who immigrated to Canada and achieved outstanding status in their professions.  He was presented the award the November 13 CPAC awards gala in Toronto.  Dr. Chen is a Senior Canada Research Chair whose research focuses on biogeochemical cycle modeling, remote sensing, climate change, geographical information system, micrometeorology, and isotope modeling.  He also has a graduate faculty appointment at the Centre for Environment.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article found in the U of T Bulletin.)
For information on Dr. Chen's research, please visit his homepage.

Professor Elizabeth Edwards of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry is the winner of the Kalev Pugi Award, presented by the Canadian section of the Society of Chemical Industry to an individual or a team for specific R&D projects performed during the previous 10 to 15 years that embody the qualities of creativity and determination, good experimental design and project management and have had a significant beneficial impact on the sponsor company or on society. Dr. Edwards is internationally recognized for her pioneering research on how biological processes affect pollutants in the environment.  She also has a graduate appointment at the Centre for Environment.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article found at
For more information on Dr. Edwards:

Professor Greg Evans of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, is the winner of the Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education, given out by Engineers Canada for exemplary contributions to engineering teaching at a Canadian university. Dr. Evans has previously been honored with the Joan E. Foley Student Quality of Student Experience award in 2008, the Bill Burgess Teacher of the Year award in 2009 and earlier in 2010 received the St. Lawrence Section Outstanding Teaching Award from the American Society for Engineering Education.  Dr Evans' research examines the source and composition of airborne particles, a key pollutant contributing to episodes of poor air quality in large cities.  He is also the Director of the Southern Ontario Centre for Atmospheric Aerosol Research (SOCAAR), an interdisciplinary centre for the study of air quality and has a graduate appointment at the Centre for Environment.
(This is an edited excerpt of articles found at, and
For more information on Dr. Evans:

Professor Bill Gough, Vice-Dean (Graduate Education and Program Development), U of T Scarborough and Professor in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, U of T Scarborough, is the co-winner of the Award for Excellence in Teaching Geography, given by the Canadian Association of Geographers in recognition of the primary importance of teaching excellence in geographic education. Recipients of the award have distinguished themselves in courses with small and large enrolments at different levels of instruction over several years of teaching. At the undergraduate level, Dr. Gough has taught courses on climatology, the Great Lakes, marine systems, climate change impact assessment, and wind.  At the graduate level, his courses have included physical oceanography, atmosphere-ocean modeling, boundary layer climates and climate change impact assessment.  Dr. Gough was cited for his devotion to his students and to teaching and his outstanding teaching record. He also has a graduate faculty appointment at the Centre for Environment.
(This is an edited excerpt of articles found at and
For more information on Dr. Gough:

Professor Christopher Kennedy of the Dept. of Civil Engineering and Dr. Beth Savan, Director of the U of T Sustainability Office and Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Environment at U of T have been awarded the 2010 Excellence in Education Award for Promotion of Sustainable Practices by Educators.  The award of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (Ontario Region) honours outstanding educational contribution to sustainable practices in the fields of architecture, planning, landscape architecture, urban design, geography, engineering, and environmental studies. It recognizes educators who have integrated sustainable concepts in housing and community development into the academic curriculum. 
     Professor Kennedy's research focuses on the economic and environmental aspects of sustainable urban infrastructure including transportation, buildings and water systems; the design of sustainable streets and neighbourhoods; and urban metabolism. He has advised over 25 graduate students, many of whom are now involved in the design of sustainable infrastructure in various locations around the world.  He also has a graduate faculty appointment at the Centre for Environment.
     The Sustainability Office provides more than 100 student research, employment and leadership opportunities and engages students in conservation projects that use the university as a living laboratory.   

For more information on Dr. Kennedy:
For more information on Dr. Savan:

Professor Andrew Miall of the Department of Geology was appointed by Environment Minister Jim Prentice to the Environment Canada's Oil Sands Advisory Panel in September, 2010.  Chaired by Elizabeth Dowdeswell (Former UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP), the Advisory Panel has a mandate to advise Minister Prentice on the current state of environmental research and monitoring in the region around Alberta's oil sands and to make recommendations to ensure that state-of-the-art monitoring and best practices are implemented. Panel members have visited Fort McMurray to receive a range of briefings and to take part in a helicopter tour of the mines and in-situ projects near the town. A report containing a discussion of the issues and Panel recommendations will be submitted to the Minister in early December 2010, and will be publicly available on the Environment Canada website. He also has a graduate faculty appointment at the Centre for Environment.

For more information, please contact Dr. Miall at or visit Environment Canada link above. 
For more information on Dr. Miall:

Dr. Barbara Murck, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography, U of T Mississauga (UTM), is one of five recipients of the 2009-10 University of Toronto President's Teaching Award Recipients.  The award recognizes sustained excellence in teaching, research on teaching, and the integration of teaching and research.  Dr. Murck's teaching and research has focused mainly on environmental issues in the developing world, including urban and rural environmental management, alternative energy, and waste management projects in Niger, China, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Her principal role in such projects has been as a curriculum development and training specialist, or gender equity consultant.  At UTM, Dr. Murck teaches ENV100, a year-long introduction to Environmental Science to approximately 700 students each year. In addition, she teaches innovative courses on natural hazards and environmental issues in developing countries, and runs the internship capstone course for Environment, Geography, and GIS students. Dr. Murck won UTM's Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence in 1997 and has been nominated to TVO's "Ontario's Best Lecturer" Competition twice.  She also has a graduate faculty appointment at the Centre for Environment.

University Professor Richard Peltier, of the Department of Physics and Director of the Centre for Global Change Science, has been selected to receive the 2010 Charles A. Witten Medal by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) for outstanding achievement in research on the form and dynamics of the Earth and planets. Dr. Peltier's research focuses on atmospheric and oceanic waves and turbulence, geophysical fluid dynamics, the physics of the planetary interior and planetary climate.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article found at

For more information on Dr. Peltier:

Professor Scott Prudham of the Department of Geography and the Centre for Environment, was awarded an Ashby Prize in 2010 for the most innovative paper published in the journal Environment and Planning A in 2009.  (Please see citation, abstract and link to full article below).  Dr. Prudham's research focuses on the intersection of environmental politics, environmental change, and critical political economy, focussing on the commodification of nature, including issues of social regulation.  These include property rights and the regulation of genetically modified organisms and GM food in Canada; the intersection of neoliberalism with environmental change, commodification, and environmental governance, including the advent of so-called `green capitalism'; and the political ecology of industrial and alternative forestry in western North America.

For more information:

Prudham, Scott. 2009. Pimping climate change:  Richard Branson, global warming, and the performance of green capitalism, Environment and Planning A 41(7):  1594-1613.
Full text of article available for U of T members at
Abstract: On 21 September 2006 UK über-entrepreneur and Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson pledged approximately £1.6 billion, the equivalent of all the profits from Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains for the next ten years, to fighting climate change. Since then, Branson has restated his commitment to action on global warming, including investment in technologies for sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In this paper, I critically examine and engage with Branson's announcements as a specific entrée into a dialog about so-called ‘green capitalism'. I am particularly interested in the role of the entrepreneurial subject in environmental policy and environmental action. There are glaring problems associated with green capitalism as a mash-up of environmentalism with capitalism. One of these is the tethering of environmentalism to a political economy whose mantra is growth for growth's sake, or, in Marx's terms, accumulation for accumulation's sake. This has been discussed by some as the problem of capitalism's ecological metabolism or ‘metabolic rift'. Yet, while accumulation for accumulation's sake may well be anathema to progressive environmentalism and sustainability, I argue that this is not only an objective, quantitative problem but also one of the qualitative dimensions of produced nature and the cultural politics of environmentalism. Appreciation of this can be gleaned by reexamining Marx's discussion of the role of the bourgeois subject in the relentless drive to reproduce and expand capital accumulation via anarchic, entrepreneurial investment. Green capitalist orthodoxy relies on this source of innovative dynamism, but in the process obscures or overlooks the fact that accumulation for accumulation's sake is by definition guided by the anarchic and amoral search for profitable realization of surplus value. Moreover, in order for green capitalism to succeed, its legitimacy must be secured. I argue that this legitimacy derives in part from specific performances of green capitalism by entrepreneurial elites, also made evident by Branson and his commitments to climate action. All of this raises questions about the political, cultural, and ecological character of green capitalism, issues brought to the fore by Branson's brand of climate activism.

Professor Doug Reeve
, Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, is the 2010 winner of the R.S. Jane Memorial Award, the premier award of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, given for an exceptional achievement in the field of chemical engineering or industrial chemistry. Dr. Reeve  is an internationally recognized leader in the field of pulp and paper research and is the founder of the University of Toronto Pulp and Paper Centre. He helped to develop the Rapson-Reeve Closed Cycle Mill, which was designed to eliminate the principal cause of pulp mill water pollution.  He received the award during the 60th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference in October 2010 in Saskatoon. He also has a graduate faculty appointment at the Centre for Environment.
(This is edited excerpt of articles found at and
For more information on Dr. Reeve:


Henry Regier honoured at IAGLR 2010
Photo: Professor Emeritus Henry Regier honoured at special session of the IAGLR 2010 conference. (Photo courtesy of Ann Zimmerman)

At the May 2010 International Association of Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) conference held in Toronto, a session was devoted to the accomplishments of Professor Emeritus Henry Regier, former Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies (now the Centre for Environment) and Member of the Order of Canada.  Attended by over 150 people, five presentations were made by scholars who spoke about the "Regierian" approach to science and his teaching, research, service, vision, influence in the field of Great Lakes ecosystem and fisheries, as well as the global impact of his work. 
     During a long career, and in an active retirement, he challenged reductionist paradigms in aquatic science and acted as a strong proponent of an ecosystem-level approach to environmental problems. His influence at the International Joint Commission led to the adoption of the ecosystem view in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978. His work has influenced the way both scientists and managers approach environmental problems in the Great Lakes. Previously awarded the IAGLR Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, his awards also include the Conservation Award of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists in 1980, the Centenary Medal by the Royal Society of Canada in 1986, the Award of Excellence of the American Fisheries Society in 1992, and Member of the Order of Canada in 2008.
For more information on Dr. Regier, please visit

Environmental chemists André Simpson and Myrna Simpson, Associate Professors in the Dept. of Physical and Environmental Sciences at U of T Scarborough (UTSC), have been honoured with a succession of recent awards for their groundbreaking work on environmental and geochemical processes at the molecular level.  Dr. André Simpson was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of chemical science, after received the RSC Joseph Black Award earlier this year. He was also recently honoured with the UTSC Principal's Research Award for outstanding contributions to the research profile and academic environment of UTSC and the 2010 Fred Beamish Award from the Canadian Society for Chemistry.
     A previous winner of the UTSC Principal's Research Award in 2007, Dr. Myrna Simpson received the 2010 Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and RSC Environmental Science Award for her outstanding contributions to the understanding or development of environmental systems, technologies, methodologies in environmental sciences.  André had previously won this award in 2008.
     Included in The Toronto Star's top 10 people from the Greater Toronto Area to watch in 2008, the husband and wife Co-Directors of the Environmental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Centre at UTSC have earned an international reputation as pioneers in NMR techniques for use in environmental science. These new procedures allow researchers to explore the molecular mechanisms that underpin such large-scale issues as environmental contamination, global warming, and agricultural practices.  Andre researches the role of natural organic matter in the environment, its role in the global carbon cycle, and in the association and transport of organic contaminants and heavy metals.  Myrna studies the molecular composition of soil, and how organic compounds in soil react with contaminants such as pesticides which has the potential to revolutionize agricultural practices and change the way climate scientists model the impacts of global warming.

For more information on their research, please visit their homepages:
Andre Simpson:;
Myrna Simpson:

This is an excerpt of articles found on with added information found on

Professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar
of the Department of Geology was one of two of U of T's top researchers awarded the title University Professor in 2010.  The highest academic honour the university accords its faculty, their selection is based on their unusual scholarly achievement and pre-eminence in their particular fields of knowledge.  Dr. Sherwood Lollar is an environmental geoscientist and Canada Research Chair in Isotopes of the Earth and Environment whose research focuses on the contamination of groundwater resources with petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents.  Director of the Stable Isotope Laboratory, her research group was one of the first to use compound-specific stable isotopes to investigate controls on the origin, transport and fate of these low-level dissolved pollutants in the subsurface. She is also a graduate faculty member at the Centre for Environment.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article found at
For more information on Dr. Sherwood Lollar: