News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB to honour eight with emeritus distinctions

Author: Communications

Posted on May 18, 2010


Eight professors who have had distinguished careers at the University of New Brunswick will receive honorary designations for their outstanding contributions.

At UNB’s spring graduation ceremonies in Fredericton, May 19 and 20, professor emeritus designations will be awarded to John DeDourek in computer science, Anne Klinck in English, Sally Rehorick in education and Arun Valsangkar in civil engineering. Andrew Hughes will receive the designation of professor and dean emeritus of education, Janet Stoppard will be named professor emerita in psychology and dean emerita of Graduate Studies, and Michael Ircha will be named professor emeritus in civil engineering and associate vice-president emeritus.

On May 21, at UNB’s Spring Convocation in Saint John, the professor emeritus in statistics designation will be conferred upon Rameshwar Gupta.

The professor emeritus distinction is awarded only to retired faculty members. Criteria for the honorary rank include teaching performance of exceptional merit, extensive research and publication of unusually high quality, creative contributions to the administration and development of the university and a record of professional conduct that indicates fair and ethical treatment of students and other members of the academic community.

The ranks of dean emeritus and associate vice-president emeritus are awarded to those who meet the criteria for professor emeritus and have served at least one term in these senior administrative positions.

John DeDourek is an outstanding teacher, mentor and graduate supervisor who took a great interest in his students. He also made important contributions to the faculty and to the field of computing. He was instrumental in the development of a certificate program for professionals developing computer telephony integration applications for the call centre industry. While at UNB, he held several administrative positions, including director of graduate studies, graduate school executive committee and assistant dean of computer science. In 2007, John received a UNB Distinguished Service Award for his outstanding service to the university community. In addition to his teaching, research and service to the university, he has also authored or co-authored 20 papers and four textbooks which have been widely used around the world.

Rameshwar Gupta was a tireless crusader for improving the offering of statistics courses at UNB Saint John. Students in engineering, business, sciences, economics and computer science have all benefitted from this and from his teaching. Dr. Gupta is a dedicated researcher, publishing more than 85 papers. In addition to being a teacher, researcher, and graduate and undergraduate supervisor, Dr. Gupta was also an acting associate dean of Graduate Studies. He served on many committees on both the Fredericton and Saint John campuses, including the School of Graduate Studies committee, the Saint John Senate and departmental committees, all in the name of his love for statistics and his passion for having students receive statistics courses at the graduate level. Dr. Gupta received a UNB Merit Award four times during his close to 30 years of teaching at UNB Saint John.

Andrew Hughes helped shape UNB’s department of education and contributed to its national reputation for outstanding research and teaching. He introduced problem-based learning to the faculty and collaborated extensively on research and development projects in Canada, Iceland, Russia, Bhutan and the Caribbean. He was the director of the Spirit of Democracy Project, a five-year collaborative between members of the faculty of education at UNB and the Russian Association for Civic Education. Over the span of his 25-year career, Dr. Hughes provided continuous support to UNB, his colleagues, administrators, and his students. He was an outstanding teacher who had high expectations of his students and encouraged them to see their potential. In 2002, he was named UNB Teaching Professor in recognition of his career-long commitment to excellence in teaching.

Michael Ircha distinguished himself as a scholar, teacher, administrator, adviser, mentor and author during his 28-year career at UNB. As an educator, he took a personal interest in the professional development of his students, challenging them to think for themselves and mentoring them to find their passion and purpose. He served in a number of administrative capacities at UNB including acting dean of engineering, associate vice-president (academic), and acting associate vice-president (capital planning and property development). He was also an integral part of UNB’s Transportation Group and carved a niche and international reputation in the area of ports and shipping. He has published numerous papers in journals, books and conference proceedings and was in great demand as a speaker and resident expert. His outstanding teaching, research and service have been honoured with a UNB President’s Medal.

Anne Klinck was among the first generation of women faculty to join the Department of English at UNB. During her 18-year career, she distinguished herself as one of the department’s most productive and most learned scholars. In addition to being a highly regarded researcher, she was also a respected professor who passed her love for learning on to her students. Her contributions to the field of Anglo-Saxon studies and the representation and reception of women’s song in the literature of the classical and western worlds have earned her international recognition. She is an accomplished author publishing five books, and working on her sixth, 23 refereed articles and book chapters, and has given numerous conference presentations. She has served on a number of departmental and faculty committees.

Sally Rehorick contributed in a significant and meaningful way to all aspects of academic life – service, research and teaching – during her more than 20 years at UNB. She exhibited exemplary teaching practices and engaged her students in meaningful conversations. She was instrumental on a number of research projects including her report French Second Language Learning in New Brunswick Schools: Paradigms, Challenges and Strategies, and Plan 2013, a study commissioned by the Department of Canadian Heritage. She also served on provincial and national task forces. Her outstanding contributions to second language education in Canada earned her Le Prix Robert Roy and she brought recognition to UNB and her community through her service to the Canadian Olympic Association and the Canadian Figure Skating Association.

Janet Stoppard was one of the first women to hold an upper level administrative position at UNB and was instrumental in the design and set up of the original Women’s Studies interdisciplinary program. She also played an important role in the development of UNB’s nationally accredited doctoral program in clinical psychology. During her close to 30 years at UNB, she established herself as an exemplary academic, a dedicated leader and a steady mentor. She was well respected by her colleagues and her students. She received a UNB Fredericton Merit Award for her contribution to the university and an Allan P. Stuart Award for Excellence in Teaching. Janet has served in a number of important administrative roles including coordinator of the interdisciplinary women’s studies program, and dean of graduate studies.

Arun Valsangkar is a two-time UNB Merit Award recipient and a valuable and respected member of UNB’s faculty of engineering. He designed UNB’s world-class geotechnical centrifuge in collaboration with many of his former undergraduate and graduate students. He always aimed to provide teaching of the highest calibre. He was, and still is, held in high regard by students, other faculty members and practicing engineers. In recognition of his quality of teaching, he received the Eric Garland Award for Teaching Excellence and the Allan P. Stuart Award for Excellence in Teaching. His research has been published in more than 60 peer reviewed journal articles and he has presented at 53 conferences in 12 countries. He has served the university and engineering profession with distinction and has been recognized for his leadership and service by several national engineering bodies.

About UNB

Established in 1785, UNB is one of the oldest public universities in North America. With more than 12,500 full- and part-time students from more than 100 countries, UNB has the best student-to-faculty ratio of Canada’s comprehensive universities, according to Maclean’s magazine. As the largest research institution in New Brunswick, UNB conducts over 75 per cent of the province’s university research. The university has an annual operating budget of more than $165 million and annually employs more than 3,500 faculty, staff and students. UNB’s two main campuses are located in Fredericton and Saint John, N.B.


Natalie Montgomery, Communication Officer (506) 453-4990