April 27, 2023 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

The King’s community gathered in the Vitali Student Lounge on April 27, 2023, to celebrate outstanding faculty during the presentation of this year’s Research Excellence Awards. Our researchers received a total of $75,000 from King’s, as chosen by the Research Activities Committee (RAC) which is composed of King's faculty members, a representative from the Cardinal Carter Library, and support staff members from the Academic Dean’s Office. 

The presentation of the awards included the Distinguished University Professor Designation, the Hugh Mellon Excellence in Research Award, King’s Research Excellence Chair - Early Career and the King’s Research Excellence Scholar Grants, which are part of the $1M King’s Research Excellence Fund established in November 2021 to support research by King’s full-time faculty.

“The research recognized by these awards is at the very heart of the university’s educational mission – to seek truth and disseminate knowledge for the good of society. Sparked by curiosity and animated by creativity, faculty research at King’s reflects the sustained search for a critical understanding of the pressing issues of our time, and of all time,” says Dr. Robert Ventresca, Academic Dean (Interim).


Recipients of the 2023 Research Excellence Awards

The inaugural Distinguished University Professor Designation was awarded to Dr. Rachel Birnbaum, Professor, School of Social Work and Childhood and Youth Studies, and Dr. Paul Werstine ’70, Professor, Department of English, French, and Writing. This designation is granted to faculty members who have gained international recognition for extraordinary impact in their academic discipline(s). The designation represents the highest research-related honour bestowed by King’s.

Dr. Birnbaum is highly acclaimed for her landmark evidence-based research at the intersection of family law and social work, which challenges the assumptions of policy makers and judicial representatives alike. An external reviewer attests to Dr. Birnbaum’s excellence by naming her as “one of the most prolific and rigorous social scientists working in family law in the world as present.” Dr. Werstine, preeminent editor and author of numerous works on Shakespearean drama, is internationally lauded for his contributions to the fields of Literature and Digital Humanities. His monumental body of work in literary studies and the “New Variorum Shakespeare editions are the gold standard for scholarly editing of Shakespeare on historical principles” as an external reviewer notes.

King’s Research Excellence Awards also honoured the following recipients for their exceptional research.

Hugh Mellon Excellence in Research Award

The Hugh Mellon Excellence in Research Award is named in honour of Dr. Hugh Mellon, late Associate Professor of Political Science (now Politics and International Relations) at King’s University College at Western. This award recognizes the scholarly work of a faculty member at King’s, which reflects Dr. Mellon’s avid academic engagement, his pursuit of knowledge and its dissemination through publication, and his willingness to ever renew his research through innovative partnerships and consistent commitment to research excellence.

A thought leader on the African Union and decoloniality in international relations, Dr. Tieku is renowned for his work in conflict resolution and influence on international policy. In the words of his colleagues, “Dr. Tieku’s considerable achievements in the fields of political science and international law embody the scope and the spirit of the Hugh Mellon Award. … [With] his formidable record of influencing international peace processes and conflict negotiation in the diplomatic space, Thomas has achieved a rare combination of academic excellence, pedagogical leadership and real-world policy impact.”

King’s Research Excellence Chair - Early Career ($45,000 [$15k/year for 3 years])

  • Dr. Daniella Bendo, Assistant Professor, Childhood and Youth Studies – “Child and Youth Involvement in Participatory Action Research Outputs: Engaging with Justice-Involved Young People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities”

The Research Excellence Chairs honour researchers at King’s who are recognized by their peers as established or emerging scholars in their field on a national or international scale. They provide long-term investments for programs of research, and chairholders will be invited to contribute back to King’s through leadership and mentorship initiatives. 

King’s Research Excellence Scholar Grants ($10,000/year for 1 year)

King’s Research Excellence Scholar Grants recognize research programs that promote independent thinking, creative inquiry and add a human dimension to innovation, advancement, governance, and economic relations between communities and lands. 

“One is struck by the diverse range of disciplines in which King’s faculty are working, and by the interdisciplinary nature of enquiry that is breaking down artificial barriers between science, social sciences, and the humanities. Congratulations to the award winners, and best wishes for continued progress in their important work,” says Dr. Ventresca.