This year’s retirees:
Pat Elliot – Sociology
Dr. Pat Elliot initially joined the Department in 1988 a year before graduating from the Social and Political Thought programme at York University. Three years later, she was hired as an Assistant Professor in what was then the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and was promoted to full professor in 2012. The Sociology Department has been greatly enriched by Pat’s dedication to improving internal governance and curriculum development with her tireless service as Chair of the Department for three and a half years and her conscientious work on countless committees. She was a generous mentor to new faculty members and supported her colleagues through both good and difficult times. Her kindness and sage advice was much appreciated by many throughout the years.
During her thirty-year tenure at the University, Pat was pivotal to the development, not only to the Department of Sociology, but of the University. She co-founded a women’s caucus to advise the WLUFA executive in the early 1990s at a time when the numbers of female faculty at Laurier were much lower than they are now. She was also a founding member of the Women’s Studies program (in which she taught and served a term as Co-ordinator). In 2007 she was a founding member of the Cultural Analysis and Social Theory MA, a program in which she taught 4 different courses.
Her commitment to the University is matched only by her scholarly accomplishments. She is author of two highly regarded books: From Mastery to Analysis: Theories of Gender in Psychoanalytic Feminism (Cornell University Press, 1991) and, more recently, Debates in Transgender, Queer, and Feminist Theory: Contested Sites (Ashgate Publishing, 2010). In addition to these, Pat has published widely in very reputable journals such as Sexualities, Gay and Lesbian Quarterly, and Hypatia and has served on editorial boards, such as Somatechnics.
Of course, Pat’s accomplishments are many and all of them have served to raise the reputations of both the Department of Sociology and the University more generally. The Department of Sociology will be sad to see Pat leave and she will be greatly missed.
Alma Santosuosso – Music
Alma Santosuosso is well-known and respected for her passion for her research (medieval music) but equally so for her engagement with students. She was at once a brilliant, detail-oriented scholar and a teacher-mentor who, through her teaching core-curriculum music history, influenced every student that went through our program. Throughout her career Alma was relentless in insisting that our program maintain the highest of academic and musical standards. And to that end, if there is a single attribute associated with Dr. Santosuosso it is her commitment to teaching students how to write. She cared deeply for students, spending an inordinate number of hours in her office assisting students with their term papers. In some courses, she allowed resubmissions of students’ papers after critiquing their first submission. Indeed, when alumni return to campus they invariably mention ‘Dr. S’ (as she came to be known) as one of the best teachers they had during their time at Laurier. Her commitment to teaching was not at the expense of research, as she produced half a dozen books and attracted $140,000 in external funding and over $22,000 in internal funding throughout her 33 years in the Faculty. She ran workshops on grant-writing and information sessions on applying to grad school, both as evidence of her commitment to students’ lives beyond Laurier. And her service—to the Faculty and University through committee involvement too numerous to mention and to the community through program notes, presentations, and guest lectures—rounds out an amazing career of productivity, passion, and professionalism.
Rob Milne – Geography
Verbal biography given at Wine & Cheese Social.
Paul Maxim – SBE
Paul came to Laurier in 2006 after a 25 year career at Western University in the Department of Sociology. His leadership roles include 3 years as Associate Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Western, 3 years as Director of the Master’s of International Public Policy (MIPP) Program and 6 years as Associate Vice President Research at Laurier. His most recent research focuses on migration and the socio-economic integration of immigrants into Canadian society. He has also written extensively on the formal labour force experiences of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples and is extending that interest to China’s ethnic minorities. He has taught statistics, research methods, labour, and population economics both in the Economics Department and in the Balsillie School of International Affairs. His career has demonstrated an ability to adapt between institutions (Western, Laurier, Balsillie School), disciplines (Economics, Criminology, Sociology) and leadership roles (Associate Dean, Program Director, Associate Vice President). His wry sense of humour and unflappable nature have served him well through each transition. He now migrates to retirement where sources say that his itchy feet will take him to China or British Columbia where he will continue his research. Paul your life of leadership and purpose have been well and truly appreciated by your colleagues at Laurier. Thank you and Happy Retirement.
This year’s inductees to the WLUFA Contract Faculty Century Club
This year’s WLUFA CAS Award Winner
Back when the Bee Gees were still releasing albums, and Mike Harris was about to be Ontario Premier, the Brantford campus had not yet materialized and the WLU President was receiving a salary of about $224,000. Meanwhile, Michele Kramer had begun what would be a more than 20-year journey with the Department of English and Film Studies at WLU that continues to this day.
Michele is so deserving of the CAS Award that it could justifiably be renamed the “Michele Kramer Contract Faculty Award”. Not only has she fought long and hard for improving the working conditions of Contract Faculty, she has also wholeheartedly represented all faculty in various WLUFA roles, most recently as President of the Association since 2015.
Michele has had the interests of faculty at heart for more than 15 years, demonstrated via her membership on numerous Contract Faculty negotiating teams from 2001–2015, overseeing both part-time and full-time negotiations during her presidency since 2015, eloquently informing the membership in newsletters, as Communications Officer (2012–2013), and then while on the Communications Committee (2014–2015), and standing up for individual faculty rights as a Grievance Officer since 2012. She also worked on behalf of all faculty on the Executive Committee prior to being President.
It is a measure of her credibility and dedication to the needs of all faculty members that Michele became President of the Association three years straight. This achievement was not only unprecedented in the history of the Association since Michele is a Contract Faculty member, but her presidency was uncontested all three times—a clear sign from the WLUFA membership of their trust in and respect for her. As usual, she earnestly committed to the challenging opportunity with intellect, wit, and unpretentious, undying professionalism.
Michele also saw the need to create campus coalitions with staff and student associations, given her extended experience with the Administration. For example, she led the Association in a fight of solidarity with CUPE 926 (WLU’s custodial staff) as the Administration decided that long-serving, dedicated WLU staff should be replaced with a sub-contracted labor force who are not paid a living wage.
While President of the Association, she served on the OCUFA Board of Directors and CAUT Council. From the OCUFA Executive Director, Dr. Mark Rosenfeld:
“Over the years [Michele] was always insightful on issues pertaining to the advocacy work of OCUFA, and in particular, very supportive and encouraging of OCUFA’s initiatives to address precarious academic work, conveying the realities of precarious work to Board and committee members. Michele was also a regular contributor a number of years ago to the well received blog post on OCUFA’s Academic Matters website titled ‘Postcards from the [L]edge: The working lives of sessionals and postdocs’, where she insightfully explored and explained the realities of precarious academic work for Academic Matters readers. She has always been regarded at OCUFA as a dedicated, committed, principled advocate for faculty.”
As an additional example of her capacity and merit as seen outside of WLUFA, she was elected by the OCUFA Board of Directors to the hiring committee for OCUFA’s next Executive Director.
Michele has genuinely and persistently served WLUFA, OCUFA, and CAUT with vigor and passion. Through immutable perseverance, she has undoubtedly had a beneficial, tenable influence on the lives of Contract Faculty and thus indirectly, their students, fellow staff and faculty. With dogged patience and a soupçon of acceptable and understandable frustration, Michele steadfastly played a vital role in the abyss of work required in negotiating numerous collective agreements over the years that saw incremental improvements in the working conditions and rights of Contract Faculty.
Michele Kramer is an exceptional Contract Faculty member. Her extensive work on behalf of members was possible given her evident ability to see both the difficulty in opportunity and the opportunity in difficulty. She will likely not want recognition for her countless acts on behalf of Contract Faculty, but Contract Faculty have much to be thankful for due to the tireless efforts, innumerable hours, and endless sweat and tears that Michele has spent on their behalf.