Chancellor’s Awards recognize excellence in research, teaching, service

Each year during convocation, Nipissing University celebrates the value and importance of its faculty through the awarding of the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Research, Teaching and Service. Although we are not able to gather together for convocation ceremonies this year, we would like to recognize and congratulate this year’s deserving recipients of the Chancellor’s Awards:

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research

Dr. Katrina Srigley

Dr. Katrina Srigley portrait

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research was established to recognize and celebrate the value and importance of research conducted by Nipissing University faculty. Research that faculty and their students undertake plays a significant role in the growth of Nipissing University and the education of its students. Dr. Katrina Srigley is this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research.

Dr. Katrina Srigley received her PhD in history from the University of Toronto in 2005.  She joined the History Department at Nipissing that year. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2010 and Full Professor in 2019. She also holds a BEd from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Srigley trained as an historian of women’s, gender, and feminist oral history with a focus on the histories of modern Canada. Since arriving on Nbisiing Nishnaabeg territory, Dr. Srigley’s research has developed through her work in partnership with Nbisiing Nishnaabeg. She shares this award with and says gchi-miigwech to Glenna Beaucage (Culture & Heritage Manager, Nipissing First Nation), John Sawyer, Muriel Sawyer, Lorraine Whiteduck Liberty, Peter Beaucage, Patty Chabbert, June Commanda, Marianna Couchie, Erin Dokis, Terry Dokis, Carol Guppy, John Long, Evelyn McLeod, Joan McLeod Shabogesic, Laurie Robinson, Randy Sawyer, Lorraine Sutherland, Autumn Varley, and many other generous elders, knowledge holders, language stewards, and community members who have supported her learning journey over the last 16 years.

Dr. Srigley is co-editor with Stacey Zembrzycki and Franca Iacovetta of the award-winning collection Beyond Women’s Words: Feminisms and the Practices of Oral History in the Twenty-First Century (Routledge, 2018), and author of the award-winning monograph Breadwinning Daughters: Young Working Women in a Depression-era City (University of Toronto Press, 2010). She is co-editor of two special journal issues and the author or co-author of eleven peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, four of which were co-authored with former graduate students. She directed and co- produced a short documentary in English and Nishnaabemwin (, which explores the history of the Nipissing Warriors hockey team.  Over ten years, she has been awarded more than $2 million in research funding as a principal or co-applicant. 

Dr. Srigley has several active research projects. Her Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)-funded projects, developed in partnership with Nipissing First Nation, examine the history of Nbisiing Nishinaabeg territory through Nishinaabeg ways of knowing, recording, and sharing the past. Dr. Srigley is currently co-authoring a book with Glenna Beaucage titled Gaa Bi Kidwaad Maa Nbisiing/The Stories of Nbisiing Nishnaabeg and she works closely on research projects with university colleagues and community partners, through the Lake Nipissing Beading Project (, a Heritage Canada-funded project on Nbisiing Nishnaabeg guides, and the Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts & Cultures (

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Service

Dr. Susan Srigley

Dr. Susan Srigley portrait

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Service was established to recognize the importance of exceptional service of faculty who play a significant role in the education of Nipissing University students. Dr. Susan Srigley is this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Service.

Dr. Susan Srigley is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Religions and Cultures at Nipissing University. She has a PhD and MA in Religious Studies from McMaster University and a BA (Honours) from McGill University. Dr. Srigley has been teaching at Nipissing since 2005.

Dr. Srigley’s research focuses on ethics, imagination, and literature. She has published two books and several articles on the American novelist Flannery O’Connor; has been invited to give talks in Europe and the US; has organized three international Flannery O’Connor conferences; and has served on the editorial board for Studies in the Catholic Imagination since 2018.

Dr. Srigley has chaired her department for 10 of her 15 years at Nipissing. She has served on Senate, the Board of Governors, Tenure and Promotion committees, University Review Aappeals Committee, the Joint Committee of the Board and Senate on Governance, the undergraduate curriculum committee, and Academic and Quality Assurance Planning Comittee. She was the grievance officer for the Nipissing University Faculty Association for several years before becoming the Vice-President and President from 2013-2017. She is a founding member of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association ad hoc committee on governance and has been a passionate advocate of academic freedom at the national level, serving on the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee.

Dr. Srigley has been a palliative care volunteer for the past 20 years. Currently she is a volunteer with the Near North Palliative Care Network, where she mentors new volunteers and leads the volunteer training on death, dying and spirituality. She offers companionship to the dying and respite for their caregivers, and she is training to be a death doula to deepen her skills in palliative and hospice care. She established a local “Death Café” for her community to gather and discuss ideas and questions about death and dying. She teaches courses on death awareness in her department and has presented workshops internationally on death positive education in the post-secondary sector. Dr. Srigley’s students have done placements at the Near North Palliative Care Network, and they are granted “death ambassador” status after taking her death courses as they change the conversation around death in our culture. She runs an Instagram account dedicated to her death ambassador students and death education. For many years she has volunteered at the local pet rescue and she and her partner rescue elderly dogs who need good, loving homes for their final years.

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (FASBU)

Dr. Renée Valiquette

Dr. Renée Valiquette portrait

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching was established to recognize the importance of exceptional teaching of faculty who play a significant role in the education of Nipissing University students. Dr. Renée Valiquette is this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Renée Valiquette has been teaching at Nipissing University since 2005 in the departments of Gender Equality and Social Justice and Child and Family Studies. After completing an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Women’s Studies at Nipissing University, Dr. Valiquette went on to attain a Master’s degree in Philosophy at York University, where she also received her PhD in Social and Political Thought in 2018.

Contributing to the expansion of the environmental humanities, Dr. Valiquette’s research uses post-structuralist ideas to rethink and reinvent human and non-human relations. In her dissertation, Renée draws on the work of French feminist scholar Hélène Cixous to describe the Anthropocene – the geologic epoch of humans – as an “age of otherness,” that is, a time defined by strangeness, incoherence and reckoning. Such an approach opposes unilateral solutions that have no time for different, particularly marginalized, ways of thinking when “saving the planet.” Viewing environmental realities through the lens of otherness means stepping back, embracing doubt and uncertainty, and recognizing other ways of living and relating as essential to achieving a just and vibrant future.

Dr. Valiquette carries these ideas into her teaching in Child and Family Studies and Gender Equality and Social Justice and her interest in families as our first classroom. In her classes, Renée asks: how can 21st century family life be reimagined to better support democratic communities capable of responding usefully and ethically to social and environmental injustice?

Dr. Valiquette’s research is perhaps most lively in her commitment to the transformative potential of the university classroom. In 2013, she and Nipissing Professor Dr. Sal Renshaw piloted an experimental interdisciplinary course organized around the theme “DIRT.” The course, officially titled “Introduction to Interdisciplinary Analysis,” has been offered every year since, each time under a different theme. In each iteration, 12 guest lecturers are invited to creatively address the selected theme from their own disciplinary, and often multi-disciplinary, perspective. Guest lectures alternate with seminars run by Renée and Sal. In seminar, students learn how to be curious and acquire knowledge outside their disciplinary preferences, how to make “group work” useful and enjoyable, and how to think critically and imaginatively across epistemic difference. And most importantly, students who take the course acquire an even deeper appreciation for Nipissing’s brilliant professors. The 10th version of the course, wishfully themed “DREAMS,” will run in the 2021-22 academic year. 

Since 2015, Dr. Valiquette has been working to expand her research on experimental interdisciplinarity through partnerships at universities in Sweden and Norway. Along with faculty at Linköping University, Renée helped found the Network for Teaching and Learning Differently. Dr. Valiquette and Dr. Renshaw hope to resume plans to offer a condensed interdisciplinary course to Linköping students and faculty under the theme “NOIR” in the Spring of 2022. Work is also underway on the establishment of a Northern-Nordic Network for Experimental Interdisciplinary Learning to help broaden such offerings.

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (CASBU)

Laura Killam

Laura Killam portrait

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (CASBU) was established to recognize the importance of exceptional teaching of contract academic faculty members who play a significant role in the education of Nipissing University students. Laura Killam is this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (CASBU).

Laura Killam is an innovative nurse educator who is committed to “empowering students to learn their own way.” She uses creativity and technology to engage diverse learners in active and authentic learning opportunities. Laura strives to be an educator who students feel connected to and comfortable with – inclusive, flexible, available, approachable, supportive, empathetic, honest, trustworthy, and fair.

At Nipissing University, Laura teaches part-time in the RPN to BScN Blended Learning Program. Students have appreciated Laura’s use of live sessions, choices for how they engage in and represent their learning, as well as supportive reminders that learning happens when students go outside of their comfort zone (but not too far). Laura has created opportunities and assisted students to experiment with creative uses of: PowerPoint, game creation, H5P technology, media (including memes), video creation, and more in the online classroom. Students particularly value the way Laura personalizes and humanizes learning through regular video feedback on assignments and instruction. Laura is committed to ongoing improvement of her teaching practice and service. She has been instrumental in helping distance students collaborate and achieve recognition within student government and program decision making.

Laura also started the NurseKillam YouTube channel in 2010. This resource has since helped countless students understand complex topics in a variety of disciplines. With over 5 million views, she receives thanks from students across the world. Her expertise in videography in a variety of teaching contexts continues to evolve. She provides an example and inspiration to nurse educator colleagues for her use of technology in teaching and learning. You can find her tweeting from @NurseKillam and blogging from about improving inclusive education.

She is currently focusing her PhD studies at Queen’s University on the use of Virtual Online Simulation in nursing education and advocating for educators to adopt practices consistent with Critical Caring Pedagogy and Universal Design for Learning. She is working with Dr. Marian Luctkar-Flude and the Canadian Alliance of Nurse Educators using Simulation (CAN-Sim) research interest group to improve her use of simulation and engagement in impactful research.

In her free time, Laura loves to spend time creating videos, camping and working on do-it-yourself projects with her husband and four children. Being outside helps her feel refreshed.