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Spring Convocation 2021 Honorary Degree, Emeritus & Distinguished Award Recipients

Catherine Parlee, Distinguished Service in the Staff Category

Catherine (Cathy) Parlee has brought her extensive knowledge of research matters to KPU’s Office of Research Services for over a decade. Holding a position as the research services coordinator, Cathy strives to assist all members of the university community and share her growing knowledge of research matters. Committed to continual learning, Cathy recently earned a certificate in research administration from Mohawk College and continues to bring research support to the forefront of all she does. Outside of KPU, Cathy’s an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys spending her time in nature hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing.

Dr. Cory Pedersen, Distinguished Scholarship

Joining KPU as a psychology faculty member in 2005, Dr. Cory Pedersen has continued to make countless contributions to the university community for over 15 years. In 2011, Cory founded the Observations and Research in Gender and Sexuality Matters Lab to further her interests in gender and human sexuality studies, while providing students an opportunity to gain valuable research experience. Since its inception, over 50 collaborative projects with lab members have been presented at conferences or published in psychology and sexology journals. As the psychology department chair, a position Cory has held since 2013, she’s continued to mentor others and engage in opportunities for research and leadership.

Dr. Farhad Dastur, Distinguished Service in the Faculty Category

Dr. Farhad Dastur is an award-winning educator/scholar committed to excellence in teaching and research. With a career at KPU spanning more than two decades, Farhad has left a lasting impression on the Faculty of Arts and the larger university community, holding roles as the chair of psychology, coordinator of Asian studies, chair of the Research Ethics Board, associate dean, senator, dean of Arts (pro temp), and Board of Governors representative. Currently, he leads KPU’s Virtual Reality Lab where he mentors students researching memory distortions, pain perception, and the role of anxiety in conspiracy ideation.

Receiving numerous awards in teaching, scholarship, and leadership, Farhad continues to share his knowledge and seek out opportunities to connect with fellow academics and the public. In 2008, he founded Connecting Minds: North America’s largest undergraduate research conference in psychology, and he’s presented at a range of events at KPU and the community.

Farhad’s dedication to educating hearts in addition to minds is evident as he leads by example volunteering as a faculty lead for a Habitat for Humanity building project, and an in-school mentor with the Big Brothers of Vancouver.

Drawing inspiration from students, colleagues, and mentors he’s worked and collaborated with, Farhad notes that this award, in turn, is very much theirs, too.

Dr. Lucie Gagne, Distinguished Teaching in the Full-time Category

Joining KPU in 1998, Dr. Lucie Gagné is an award-winning designer and educator in the Wilson
School of Design and the current Interior Design Program chair.

As a researcher and educator, Lucie is interested in the connection between people and their environment, and the possibilities that can result from the convergence of pedagogy, people, and place. Teachers, she believes, are responsible for constructing opportunities for learning, and actively learning in turn lets individuals acquire a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Lucie is particularly interested in the possibilities that can result when people from differing backgrounds and experiences collaborate; and in the integration of diverse approaches in making connections across disciplines and international boundaries.

Her strong interest in cross‐cultural education and learning in an international context led to Lucie actively contributing to the internationalization of design programs at KPU. In addition to being involved in the establishment of international exchanges and partnerships with various institutions abroad, she has developed and conducted field study educational travel to a number of international destinations and
established and serves as the faculty leader for KPU’s Amazon Interdisciplinary Field School KPU.

Lucie remains focused on exploring the various ways international experiential education can provide opportunities for contextually grounded transformative learning experiences as part of a full, well-rounded education, and is driven by her passion to help students find the broader context they are a part of.

Chamkaur Cheema, Professor Emeritus

Chamkaur Cheema began teaching at KPU in 1997, anticipating it to be a part-time side gig. Instead, it became a 23-year career at KPU, one that he describes as the best he could have ever dreamed. During his tenure with KPU, Chamkaur taught courses in the self employment programme, the marketing diploma and ultimately the BBA in entrepreneurial leadership.

Chamkaur prided himself in creating an atmosphere and spirit that encouraged students and colleagues to discover their own capabilities while aspiring to more challenging goals and objectives. He was integral to the School of Business’s reputation for creating “industry ready grads” and his students regularly described their experience as transformative, giving them the skills to solve problems and drive success in their own careers.

Beyond the School of Business, Chamkaur found numerous ways to contribute to creating a positive learning environment for his students and colleagues. He served on the University Senate, the School of Business Faculty Council and a multitude of committees in addition to being the departmental chair of the entrepreneurial leadership program. He coached and championed simulation and case competition teams as a way of providing his students additional learning opportunities and acted as a conduit linking employers with ENTR graduates.

Externally, Chamkaur served on the governance boards of multiple organizations ensuring he was able to bring relevant and current business practices and experiences into the classroom and expose his students to the real challenges they would face in their careers. And, while his students may have described his classes as challenging, they also credit Chamkaur with pushing them out of their comfort zones and towards outstanding careers.