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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 2 | Jan. 24, 2002

CanLit, zoology expert earn UBC's top honour

Duo named University Killam Professors

by Michelle Cook staff writer

An English Professor who helped to develop Canadian and Commonwealth literatures into recognized fields of academic study and a zoologist who studies how animals survive extreme environmental conditions have been named this year's University Killam Professors, the highest honour bestowed by UBC on its faculty.

The designation recognizes the university's most exceptional faculty members who have distinguished themselves in teaching, scholarly activity and service.

English Prof. William New is an internationally recognized expert on Canadian and Commonwealth literary traditions whose interest in these fields of study began as an undergraduate student in Education at UBC. He was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1986 and winner of the B.C. Faculty Association's Career Achievement Award in 2001.

"It has been an exciting field to be involved in," says New, who joined the English Dept. in 1965. "It has led to contact with people worldwide, as well to significant changes in how these large bodies of work are viewed. It's important to have recovered that sense of respect for ourselves that comes with developing respect for our writers."

New's research interests include exploring representations of space and place in Canadian writing and examining the variety of "englishes" used in different cultures and their relation to literary studies.

In addition to writing six books of poetry, New has published 10 scholarly books, more than 100 articles, and edited 28 reference works and anthologies including an encyclopedia of literature in Canada, scheduled for release this April.

Zoology Prof. Peter Hochachka is considered one of Canada's most distinguished biology scholars.

Since joining UBC in 1966, Hochachka's research has focused on how animals survive extreme environmental conditions such as high altitudes in an effort to understand what happens to the human body when it is deprived of normal levels of oxygen.

His discoveries have attracted worldwide attention.

Named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2000 and a fellow of the Royal Society in 1983, Hochachka's numerous other awards and honours include the Canada Council Killam Memorial Prize in Science and the Natural Sciences and Engineering gold medal.

As a teacher and researcher, Hochachka views his greatest achievement as the training of graduate students.

"I have received no greater reward than the metamorphosis of a keen, young graduate student into an equally keen, well-honed quality scientist, often out-competing me for research funding or opportunities," Hochachka says.

"There is also no greater positive reinforcement for one's research than moments of discovery and insight and when this is shared with a graduate student, it's all the more rewarding."

University Killam Professors continue to teach in their disciplines with reduced duties, are administratively responsible to the president and meet as a group with the president at least annually to discuss plans for advancing the goals of the university.

They are also expected to contribute to the overall intellectual life of the university and to serve as academic ambassadors.

Previously earning the distinction were Dr. Patricia Baird, Roy Daniells, Kalevi Holsti, Peter Larkin, Charles McDowell, Michael Shaw, and Michael Smith.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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