"His influence ripples outward from SFU unto fields of study and practice that make the world a better place."

PhD candidate, Nora Timmerman

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2019 Award for Excellence in Supervision: Sean Blenkinsop

October 09, 2019

Since joining SFU’s Faculty of Education in 2005, Professor Sean Blenkinsop has been a pillar of insight for graduate students.

Blenkinsop’s students and colleagues recognize his intellectual rigour, approachable demeanour, and commitment to helping students succeed.­ He mentors students academically and professionally, including PhD candidate Lee Beavington.

“He has offered detailed critical feedback on drafts (now published) of several of my peer-reviewed articles. He frequently sends out invitations for further publications, conference presentations, and employment,” says Beavington.

Kris Magnusson, Dean of the Faculty of Education, commends Blenkinsop’s commitment to helping students despite his heavy supervision load.

“He provides enough latitude for students to engage in independent scholarship, and enough structure and guidance to ensure that their work is completed to the highest standards and in a timely manner. Students express that they feel valued by him, and that he demonstrates respect for them as both scholars and people,” shares Magnusson.

Blenkinsop also makes a significant effort to connect his students to leading scholars in the field. He provided numerous students with employment references, as well as opportunities to attend and present at local and international conferences.

“Attending Harvard, he has obviously benefitted from ready access to significant theorists in the areas of Philosophy, Education and Curriculum; that he maintains these relationships is a significant advantage to his mentees. As a student of Dr. Blenkinsop, one feels an important and valued contributor to a long lineage of philosophical conversation,” says Tim Waddington, PhD candidate.

Doctoral student, Maureen Jack-Lacroix, admires Blenkinsop’s openness to bridging academic theory with action. As an ecological educator, Blenkinsop challenges his students to consider the real world impact of their studies.

“Sean always strikes a great balance of being supportive and listening attentively while actively pushing and provoking me to think not just about ­the content of my studies, but of what difference they can make on the planet,” agrees Laura Piersol, PhD, a previous student of Blenkinsop’s.

To apply his academic background into hands-on work, Blenkinsop takes part in community initiatives like the Centre for Dialogue, the Imaginative Education Research Group, and the Maple Ridge Environmental School Project.

Nora Timmerman, PhD candidate, summarizes the impact of Blenkinsop’s supervision: “His influence ripples outward from SFU unto fields of study and practice that make the world a better place.”­­

The 2020 Dean of Graduate Studies Awards for Excellence are open for nominations. Deadline for nominations is March 15, 2020.