Appointments and Honours, Summer 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008 3:20:00 PM

Academic News


SPENCER BARRETT HONOURED AS UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR
Professor Spencer Barrett, of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is one of three faculty members receiving the designation of University Professor in 2008. This recognition by the University of Toronto is based on an individual's unique scholarly achievements and pre-eminence in his or her fields of knowledge. Also a Full Member of the Centre for Environment's graduate faculty, Professor Barrett is one of the world¹s leading authorities on the reproductive biology and genetics of flowering plants. Among his original findings are the first experimental demonstration of the selective purging of deleterious genes following inbreeding, the first genetic estimates of effective population size, and the most comprehensive evidence for the role of genetic drift in initiating adaptive changes in plant mating. In addition to his studies on plant reproduction, he is also an internationally recognized expert on the ecology and genetics of plant invasions and the environmental consequences of genetically modified crops.  He has received numerous awards such as the NSERC EWR Steacie Memorial Fellowship in 1988, Botanical Society of America's Merit Award in 2003 and Canadian Botanical Association's Lawson Medal in 2006, the Ontario's Premier's Discovery Award in Life Science and Medicine in 2007, 2007) by the Government of Ontario for his ³leadership role in building a culture of research and innovation in the Province of Ontario, and the prestigious American Society of Naturalists' Sewall Wright Award in 2008.

For more information, please visit: http://www.provost.utoronto.ca/Awards/uprofessors/current/SpencerBarrett.htm; http://labs.eeb.utoronto.ca/barrett/.


BRIAN BRANFIREUN RECEIVES CANADIAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION'S YOUNG SCIENTIST AWARD
Professor Brian Branfireun of the Department of Geography, U of T Mississauga, was awarded the Canadian Geophysical Union's (CGU) Young Scientist Award, recognizing outstanding research contributions, both in terms of quality and impact, in the geophysical sciences in Canada and internationally. He was presented the award at the CGU's annual meeting in May, 2008 in Banff, Alberta. Dr. Branfireun is also Director of Programs in the Environment at UTM and a Full Member of the Centre for Environment's graduate faculty. 

For more information, please visit: http://www.cgu-ugc.ca/; http://geog.utm.utoronto.ca/branfireun.


PHIL BYER RECEIVES PRIZE FOR BEST PAPER IN IMPACT ASSESSMENT AND PROJECT APPRAISAL JOURNAL
Phil Byer, Professor in U of T's Department of Civil Engineering and the Centre for Environment Julian Scott Yeomans, Associate Professor at York University's Schulich School of Business, were awarded a prize by the International Association for Impact Assessment for the best paper published in 2007 in Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, an international, peer-reviewed journal covering environmental, social, health and other impact assessments, cost-benefit analysis, technology assessment, and other approaches to anticipating and managing impacts.  The paper "Methods for addressing climate change uncertainties in project environmental impact assessments" (Volume 25, number 2, pages 85-99) and was based on Professor Yeomans' M.A.Sc. thesis, under Professor Byer's supervision and was announced at the IAIA's annual conference held in May 2008 in Perth, Australia.

Paper citation and abstract:
Byer, P.H. and Yeomans, J.S. 2007.  Methods for addressing climate change uncertainties in project environmental impact assessments.   Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 25(2): 85-99.   Climate change has important implications for assessing impacts of many types of project. If climate change is to be included in environmental assessments, then proponents must be able to incorporate its impacts and inherent uncertainties effectively into their analysis; many proponents do not possess sufficient grounding in how to accomplish this task successfully. In this paper, three basic analytical approaches to uncertainty analysis - scenario analysis, sensitivity analysis, and probabilistic analysis - are presented that proponents could use for integrating climate change induced impacts and their uncertainties into their environmental assessments, together with a framework for judging the circumstances that determine which method would be applicable. The use of these three approaches is illustrated on the environmental impacts of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric project.

U of T faculty, staff and students may obtain a free copy of the paper at: http://main.library.utoronto.ca/eir/EIRdetail.cfm?Resources__ID=591545.

Paid copies may be obtained from the publisher at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/beech/iapa.

For more information, please visit: http://www.iaia.org;
Authors' contact information:
http://www.civil.engineering.utoronto.ca/infoabout/staff/professors/byer.htm;
http://www.schulich.yorku.ca/SSB-Extra/Faculty.nsf/faculty/Yeomans+Julian.


ELIZABETH EDWARDS RECEIVES KILLAM FELLOWSHIP
Professor Elizabeth Edwards of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry was one of two University of Toronto recipients and one of ten recipients nationwide of the Killam Research Fellowship, Canada's most distinguished research award. Professor Edwards, also a Full Member of the Centre for Environment's graduate faculty, studies how microbial cultures break down toxic and potentially carcinogenic chlorinated solvents like dry-cleaning and degreasing agents. The Canada Council for the Arts Killam Research Fellowships support scholars engaged in research projects of outstanding merit in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, engineering and interdisciplinary studies within these fields. The prizes are given in recognition of a distinguished career and exceptional contributions in one of these fields.

For more information, please visit: http://www.canadacouncil.ca/prizes/killam/; http://chem-eng.utoronto.ca/~biodegraders/.


GREG EVANS RECEIVES JOAN E. FOLEY QUALITY OF STUDENT EXPERIENCE AWARD

Professor Greg Evans of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, was awarded the Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award, presented on April 16, 2008, recognizing the efforts of a member of the University of Toronto community who has made a distinct and lasting contribution to the enhancement of the quality of the undergraduate or graduate student experience at the University. Professor Evans is the Director of the Southern Ontario Centre of Atmospheric Aerosol Research (SOCAAR), a Full Member of the Centre for Environment's graduate faculty and former Vice-Dean, Undergraduate, of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.

For more information, please visit http://www.chem-eng.utoronto.ca/~evansg/; http://www.socaar.utoronto.ca.


DOUG MACDONALD WINS DONALD SMILEY PRIZE FOR HIS BOOK BUSINESS AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS IN CANADA
Doug Macdonald wins Smiley book prize
Dr. Doug Macdonald, Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Environment, has won the Canadian Political Science Association's (CPSA) Donald Smiley Prize for the best book published in English or French in 2007 on government and politics in Canada: Business and Environmental Politics in Canada (Broadview Press, Peterborough, Ontario. 240 pages). He was awarded with a special plaque at the CPSA annual dinner held in Vancouver, on June 5, 2008.
     Hailed by the CPSA as "well-written, accessible, concise, and one of the most outstanding studies of public policy in Canada to appear in recent years", Business and Environmental Politics in Canada examines the ways in which large firms at the centre of major pollution issues have worked to influence environmental policy from the 1960s to the present. Although action is primarily intended to contribute to profitability, firm participation is influenced also by its need for legitimacy by complying with environmental regulation and corporate-image advertising and by actively promoting environmental norms, such as sustainable development.  Firms always rely upon the strategy of privileged access to environmental decision-makers and only supplement closed-door negotiation with public campaigns for support when the former process is not yielding desired results. Despite exerting considerable influence upon policy, regulation has forced firms to make significant improvements to their environmental performance. The concluding message is that the firm is not a pathological monster, untouched by societal norms. It is adaptive and legitimacy-seeking and will respond, given sufficient external pressure.  
     The Donald Smiley prize was established to honour the life and work of Donald V. Smiley (1921-1990) and to encourage the ideals of scholarship represented by this Canadian political scientist. An internationally renowned professor of Canadian government and politics and later Professor Emeritus at York University, he served as President of the CPSA.

For more information, please visit www.cpsa-acsp.ca; http://www.broadviewpress.com/home.php; douglas.macdonald@utoronto.ca


DON MACKAY RECEIVES U OF T HONORARY DOCTORATE
Professor Emeritus Donald Mackay of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry received an honorary doctor of science degree presented to him by University of Toronto on June 16, 2008. Until 1995, Dr. Mackay was Professor in Chemical Engineering and the former Institute for Environmental Studies (now Centre for Environment), when he then retired from U of T and became founding Director of the Canadian Environmental Modelling Centre at Trent University. Dr. Mackay, now Professor Emeritus at both the University of Toronto and Trent University, is one of Canada's leading scientists, recognized internationally for models that demonstrate the impact of oil spills, particularly in cold climates, and a ground-breaking system to predict how chemicals affect the environment. These "Mackay models" are used to help to guide regulatory and environmental policy decisions worldwide.  He became the first Canadian to receive the prestigious Honda Award for his contributions to eco-technology in 2001. In the same year, he also won the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Award of Excellence. In 2004, Mackay was appointed to the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.

For more information, please visit http://www.trentu.ca/academic/aminss/envmodel/dmackay.html; http://www.news.utoronto.ca/science-and-technology/green-engineer-celebrated-with-honorary-degree.html


ERIC MILLER AND DAVID HULCHANSKI APPOINTED DIRECTOR AND ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF NEW U OF T CITIES CENTRE
Professor Eric J. Miller of the Department of Civil Engineering and Professor David J. Hulchanski of the Faculty of Social Work have been appointed Director and Associate Director of Research, respectively, of the new Cities Centre at the University of Toronto.  It is a new multi-disciplinary research and teaching centre launched in 2007 which focuses on urban research, as well as teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels. 
     Professor Miller holds the Bahen-Tanenbaum Professorship, is Director of the Urban Transportation Research and Advancement Centre and a Full Member of the Centre for Environment's graduate faculty. Appointed for a 3-year term from July 1, 2008, he will succeed Interim Director Larry Bourne, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography and Program in Planning. Professor Miller's research interests include integrated land use-transportation modeling, analysis of the relationship between urban form and travel behaviour, modeling transportation system energy use and emissions, and microsimulation modelling. He is the developer of GTAModel, a "best practice" regional travel demand modeling system used by the City of Toronto, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and several other groups to do travel demand modeling in the Greater Toronto Area.
    Professor Hulchanski was Director of the former Centre for Urban and Community Studies (CUCS) which has now folded into the new Cities Centre. His teaching and research focuses on housing policy and related urban social and economic issues, including poverty, the relationship between health and housing, discrimination in housing markets, social housing programs, and homelessness.
    The Cities Centre, located at 455 Spadina Avenue (formerly the home of CUCS), is scheduled to undergo extensive renovation and will hold various events during its inaugural year (see events listings in CFE Summer 2008 E-Environews or http://www.citiescentre.utoronto.ca/events.html). 

For more information, please visit
http://www.citiescentre.utoronto.ca or email citiescentre@utoronto.ca to join its listserve.


MICHELLE MURPHY WINS FLECK PRIZE FOR SICK BUILDING SYNDROME BOOK
Michelle Murphy, Associate Professor in the Department of History and the Institute of Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, was awarded the Fleck Prize for her book Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers (Duke University Press, 2006, 264 pages). The prize was presented in Rotterdam in August, 2008.  Professor Murphy is also a Full Member of the Centre for Environment's graduate faculty. 
     This book tells the story of how sick building syndrome came into being: how indoor exposures to chemicals wafting from synthetic carpet, ink, adhesive, solvents, and so on became something that relatively privileged people worried over, felt, and ultimately sought to do something about. Sick building syndrome provides a window into how environmental politics moved indoors. It embodied a politics of uncertainty that continues to characterize contemporary environmental debates. Dr. Murphy explores the production of uncertainty by juxtaposing multiple histories, each of which explains how an expert or lay tradition made chemical exposures perceptible or imperceptible, existent or nonexistent. She shows how uncertainty emerged from a complex confluence of feminist activism, office worker protests, ventilation engineering, toxicology, popular epidemiology, corporate science, and ecology. 
    The Fleck Prize is awarded annually for the best book in the interdisciplinary area of science and technology studies by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).  The prize is named after microbiologist Ludwik Fleck(1896-1961), author of Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact and an influence on the conception of the history of science developed by Thomas Kuhn.

For more information, please visit http://www.4sonline.org/fleck.htm; http://www.dukeupress.edu/.


RODNEY WHITE RETIRES: DINNER CELEBRATES FORMER IES DIRECTOR & CENTRE FOR ENVIRONMENT CO-FOUNDER (click for article)