Exceptional research and teaching recognized at Brandon University Convocation 2023

Two people in ceremonial academic robes stand with a framed award certificate.
Dr. Kofi Campbell, left, presents a Senate Award for Excellence in Research to Megumi Masaki.

Two of Brandon University’s most dedicated faculty will be honoured with Awards for Excellence bestowed by the university Senate at this year’s Convocation.

The Senate Award for Excellence in Research (Tier 1) is being awarded to Megumi Masaki from the BU School of Music, and the Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching (Tier 1) will be presented to Dr. Nicholas Watier from the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Science.

“These awards recognize two of our best, while also illustrating the breadth of work and the depth of commitment that our faculty demonstrate day in and day out,” said Dr. Kofi Campbell, BU’s Provost and Vice President (Academic). “Research and teaching are two of the central strands that tie a university together, and especially here at BU, are two of the most important ways that we are interwoven with our community.”

Masaki, a pianist, multimedia artist, educator and curator who has been at BU since 2006, received tenure in 2011, and was promoted to full professor in 2014. She has a 30-year international reputation as a leading interpreter of Canadian and new music. As a Japanese-Canadian artist, her work is connected deeply to building community, acting on Truth and Reconciliation calls to action, and how human rights and environmental issues can be communicated through music and multimedia performances. She explores new models of interaction and integration of sound, image, text and movement in multimedia works through new technologies, expanding the possibilities of human expression.

She is deeply involved with community through the School of Music, and is Director of the New Music Ensemble, the New Music Festival, and the Indigenous New Music Festival.

“Megumi has had a remarkable year. Since last May, she has been named to the Order of Manitoba, elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada, and most recently been named Director of Music at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity,” Dr. Campbell said. “It is an honour to recognize her contributions through this award as well. While she won’t be able to join us at Convocation, I was pleased to present her with the award earlier this spring.”

An experimental psychologist with expertise in quantitative methods and visual perception, Dr. Watier is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology BU, where he has taught courses in statistics, perception, and the history of psychology since 2014.

Portrait of a man wearing a black shirt against a black background.
Dr. Nicholas Watier

Before coming to BU, Dr. Watier was nominated for Outstanding Teacher of the Year at Laurentian University, and in 2017, his students successfully nominated him for the BU Alumni Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award. His commitment to teaching has also merited a renewed appointment as a Teaching Affiliate with BU’s Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, where he supports student-centered teaching and learning.

“Where Brandon University shines is in our commitment to students, and Dr. Watier lives that commitment both in and out of the classroom,” said Dr. Campbell. “His students consistently give absolutely glowing reviews of his classes, and a common comment is simply that they wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no better testament to excellence in teaching than that.”

Both awards are selected annually by the BU Senate, the university governing body with authority over academic matters. Along with a certificate and permanent recognition on a plaque, Senate Award for Excellence winners also receive $5,000, which depending on the award can be applied to either research or professional development. Winners of the research award can opt instead to take additional time for research in lieu of teaching.

There are two tiers of each award, depending on how advanced the recipient is in their career. Both of this year’s awards are at the higher Tier 1 level.

The awards are presented as part of Convocation. This year’s Convocation takes place over four ceremonies on Thursday, June 1 and Friday, June 2, when more than 550 graduates will receive their degrees as part of the Class of 2023.

The celebrations begin on Thursday at 10 a.m., with students from the Faculty of Science and School of Music being the first to officially graduate. Following that, the Faculty of Education ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Friday’s schedule includes ceremonies for the Faculty of Health Studies at 10 a.m. and the Faculty of Arts at 2 p.m.

All Convocation 2023 ceremonies take place at BU’s Healthy Living Centre, at the intersection of Louise Avenue and 20th Street on campus. That intersection will be closed to traffic to accommodate the large crowds of Convocation. Everyone is welcome to help celebrate BU’s newest grads.


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