Awardees (2013)

1st annual Equity and Community Building Award - Winners

Administrative and Support Staff Category

Charmaine Lyn (Admissions, Faculty of Medicine)

Director of the Office of Admissions, Equity and Diversity, Faculty of Medicine
(Nominated by Prof. Robert Leckey)

Award winner Charmaine Lyn and sons, together with Provost Anthony Masi and Associate Provost Lydia WhiteCharmaine Lyn was formerly Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Law. She is now Director of the Office of Admissions, Equity and Diversity in the Faculty of Medicine. Her focus on outreach and community engagement spans both positions, particularly relating to recruitment and admission of under-represented groups, such as the High School Outreach Program (Law) which was launched by her and her current involvement in the admission pipeline program in Medicine. Such programs have considerable potential for long term impact, and in the case of the outreach program in law, have already had such an impact.

Charmaine Lyn regularly engages with First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities, and has earned the respect and appreciation of these communities. At McGill, she is a member of the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group, as well as other groups. She serves as a role model in a number of different respects. In addition to her more formal involvement in equity issues, Robert Leckey’s nomination letter points out that: "One of Charmaine’s exceptional qualities is that she carries out her commitment to equity and community engagement in a multitude of informal, implicit ways. Her fundamental commitment to social justice and to every individual’s equal worth infuses every aspect of her work."

Academic Staff Category

Woo Jin Edward Lee (Social Work)

Course Lecturer and MSW field placement supervisor, School of Social Work
(Nominated by graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Social Work)

Edward Lee has shown outstanding commitment to - and leadership in - matters relating to equity, diversity and community building, both within the School of Social Work and in the wider McGill community. This commitment shows itself in his teaching (a course on Anti-Oppressive Practice in Social Work), in supervision of student projects which relate to equity and diversity issues, in supervising field placements relating to the community. More broadly, he is much appreciated as an outstanding mentor of minority students, co-founder of the Racialized Students’ Network, as well as being actively involved in other equity related groups on campus.

To quote from the nomination letter “There is no better example of the integrity, knowledge, pursuit of social justice or community spirit that we all strive for as students of social work”.

Melissa Park (School of Physical and Occupational Therapy)

Assistant Professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy
(Nominated by Ms. Hiba Zafran)

Melissa Park describes her goal as being ‘to ameliorate the experience of living with severe, chronic and life long disability and to create real opportunities for employment’. She is particularly focused on inclusion of people with ‘hidden’ disabilities, including mental illness and autism. The nomination letter and the letters of support all attest to her successes in achieving these aims through her teaching, training students for clinical practice, research and service to the community. They comment on her pedagogical approach, which includes trying to get rid of stereotypes, instead fostering positive perceptions of persons with mental illness, and translating this approach into ethical clinical practice. Her mentoring of students from different cultural backgrounds and of people with mental illness is exemplary. The letters of support draw particular attention to the fact that she has chosen ‘to hire, train and supervise persons with mental illness as guest lecturers and research assistants’ and to her successes in doing so.

Student Category

Sara Houshmand (Educational & Counselling Psychology)

PhD student in the Dept of Educational and Counselling Psychology
(Nominated by Prof. Lisa Spanierman)

Since coming to McGill as a graduate student, Sara Houshmand has shown consistent leadership and commitment to the promotion of diversity and inclusivity in a number of different ways, including research, teaching, counselling, mentoring and service to the community. Her research focuses on multicultural issues: her Master’s thesis was on racial microaggressions and a number of publications and conference presentations have arisen from this research. She is the coordinator of the McGill Diversity and Equity Research Lab in the Faculty of Education, where she is actively engaged in mentoring junior colleagues who are members of under-represented groups. She has co-taught a course on multiculturalism and gender and has developed a multicultural approach to counselling. She has served as PGSS Equity Commissioner, and as an active member of the Joint Board Senate Committee on Equity (JBSCE).

One of the things that the award committee looks for is evidence of potential long term impact of the activities of the nominees. To quote from Prof. Spanierman’s nomination letter: ‘I expect that her racial microaggressions research and its focus on resilience, her multicultural teaching and mentoring, and her wide-ranging service to the community will leave a lasting impression.’




McGill University is situated on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka, a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst nations. We recognize and respect the Kanien’kehà:ka as the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we meet today.

For more information about traditional territory and tips on how to make a land acknowledgement, visit our Land Acknowledgement webpage.

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