Three Arts staff members receive President’s Awards

Three members of the Faculty of Arts community have received 2021 President’s Awards for staff. These awards are presented by the university annually to recognize staff members who demonstrate outstanding achievement and excellence within the UBC community.

President’s Service Award for Excellence

Tamara Baldwin, Director, Office of Regional and International Community Engagement & Acting Assistant Director, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs

Tamara Baldwin is a compassionate leader who fosters ethical, equitable and community-centred engagement. This is shown through her pedagogical work, as well as her relationships with staff, students, and community partners.

Over the last decade, Tamara has worked with her team at ORICE to build unique experiential learning opportunities and bridge the gap between academia and society. ORICE offers a range of interdisciplinary and experiential programs and courses focused on building collaborative relationships to address complex community challenges. Tamara works in partnership with faculty and instructors to incorporate community engagement within coursework; she co-developed the interdisciplinary Wicked Problems in Community Development course providing opportunities for students to collaborate remotely with international community partners on complex problems.

With the transition to online learning, Tamara led her team in innovating virtual experiential learning opportunities – engagementships – for students. Students were involved in projects such as embedding data justice principles and gender+ concepts into data collection; working with a community partner in India on enhancing access to education for children during the pandemic; and working on a project in Uganda on services for deaf children during the pandemic.

An advocate for marginalized communities, Tamara co-founded the Collective for Gender+ in Research. The collective promotes capacity building and dialogue in which gender and other identity intersections, including race, class, sexuality, and ability, are considered when conducting community-engaged research. Tamara also co-developed the SDG Praxis Institute with the BC Council for International Cooperation to prepare young people speak to the government about sustainability development goals and climate change.

Tamara is committed to building an inclusive, respectful environment at ORICE. She acknowledges her positional power and privilege and often steps back to allow space for others in collaborative projects/discussions or with complex and sensitive tasks.

President’s Staff Award for Advancing Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence

Emi Sasagawa, Communications Manager, Faculty of Arts

Nominated by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Emi Sasagawa cares deeply about society and seeks to advance anti-racism and inclusive excellence through her communication and collaboration with others.

During the pandemic, with policies and practices changing rapidly, Emi transformed communication with the graduate community in topics such as student funding and changes in immigration policies. Emi advocated for clear and strong messages and was a consistent voice of reason and kindness.

At the same time, following the events that led to anti-racism protests around the globe, Emi was a strong advocate in G+PS for a unified response, renewed commitment, and sustained action towards inclusive excellence and the elimination of systemic racism. Her leadership was instrumental in bringing forward the concerns of her community into the broader institution response.

Across UBC, senior leaders and colleagues turn to Emi for her knowledge and insights on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. Emi further lends her expertise through her role on the President’s Task Force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence.

An exceptional storyteller, Emi’s stories reveal her commitment to vulnerable populations. At UBC, she creates opportunities to tell Black and Indigenous student stories and achievements. Beyond UBC, Emi has written about topics such as the Downtown Eastside, housing insecurity and inequitable access to healthcare, and her work has been published in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and others.

Emi strives to educate herself further in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion, attending conferences and enrolling in certificate programs, and generously shares back with her team and colleagues. Emi is also a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at SFU and pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at UBC.

Emi volunteers at the Vancouver Film Festival and works with Sunny Hill, where she produces videos and organizes storytelling workshops for families and healthcare professionals on radical empathy.

President’s Staff Award for Wellbeing

Andrea Reynolds, Manager, Student Academic Services, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA)

Andrea Reynolds fosters a workplace environment where SPPGA staff and faculty feel safe and comfortable learning and talking about mental health.

For many years, Andrea advocates for and organizes faculty and staff participation in campaigns including UBC Thrive week, Faculty and Staff Sports Day, Not Myself Today (NMT), and Vancouver’s Bike to Work Week. She leads the SPPGA Mental-Health Awareness Resource Team to plan local activities and share resources around these campaigns.

Despite many of these campaigns or initiatives being short-term, Andrea leads in inspiring her community to reflect on the importance of mental, emotional and physical wellbeing throughout the year. She encourages faculty and staff as well as Postdoctoral Fellows, Liu Scholars and visiting faculty to enjoy activities such as eating lunch together, taking walks in the nearby forest, enjoying the UBC Dog Days Pop-Up Lounge and joining a free UBC Zumba class. Getting people involved is half the battle – Andrea then goes the extra mile to build camaraderie and make memorable moments, such as coordinating costumes for Faculty and Staff Sport Day.

Andrea is an advocate of the Healthy Workplaces Initiative Fund, regularly applying for and using funds to improve workplace wellbeing. She’s used the fund for a nutrition workshop series, the purchase of a community bike, and purchasing office plants.

A champion for mental health, Andrea has created a safe space to speak about mental health, to connect socially and to provide support to one another. She actively role models her commitment to wellbeing in ways that inspire others to join or lead their own initiatives.

With her collaborative leadership, continual encouragement, positivity, Andrea has fostered a safer, more supportive workplace – one that is profoundly supportive and empathetic.