The Award is financed through a $250,000 endowment provided by Petro-Canada, and a matching annual contribution provided by McMaster University’s Office of the Vice-President Research. Deans will be asked to forward, to the MacPherson Institute, one nomination from their Faculty.
This Award is unique because it:
- recognizes the research achievements of an innovative scholar within the first eight years of their research career;
- provides funding support to the scholar to enable the active participation of undergraduates in the research endeavour.
This Award provides a means for the University to encourage creative thinking about how undergraduate students might participate in university research, to learn how undergraduate education might benefit from research, and to provide, over time, several innovative working models of active student involvement in university research.The Award consists of:
- campus-wide recognition for innovative research achievement by a new faculty member; and,
- $25,000 support towards a project to actively involve undergraduate students in research.
Nomination Deadline to Dean’s Office: March 7th, 2022.
All full-time McMaster faculty members are eligible for this Award, but only during the first eight years of their full-time faculty position at McMaster. The project should be completed in the year following receipt of the Award.
*Please note: The time limits specified above may be extended in the situations that align with Section II clause 7(a) and (b) of the Tenure and Promotion Policy.
The nomination process consists of two parts.
- The first part occurs at the Department and Faculty level and evaluates the research accomplishments of the nominee.
- The second part occurs at the institution level and evaluates the undergraduate project proposal.
The application package consists of two parts:
- Part One (Research Accomplishments) – This section will be used by the Dean of the Faculty, or designate, adjudicate the research achievements of the candidate, and in the case of multiple applications from within the Faculty,the Dean can select up to one Faculty nominee for this round of funding.
- Part Two (Undergraduate Project Proposal) – This section will be used to determine the winner from among those on the short list. The project proposals of those candidates on the short list will be reviewed by a qualified panel of academics. The panel will select the Award recipient by choosing the most innovative and promising project proposal.
The first part is meant to qualify the applicant as an innovative researcher. The candidate should collaborate with his or her department Chair to assemble the case for excellence. The evidence submitted must include:
- confirmation of completion date of full-time faculty appointment at McMaster University;
- an up-to-date curriculum vitae; and,
- a brief (two-page) letter from the Chair outlining the reasons for considering the candidate’s research work as exceptional. This might include such information as a description of the candidate’s research goals, research accomplishments to date, other honours or prizes, impact on the graduate program, impact on the work of colleagues, etc. If there is more than one potential nominee in a department, it is the Chair’s responsibility to put forth the single best candidate each year.
Each candidate will draft and submit a Project Proposal for engaging undergraduate students with their research.
The Project Proposal should be no longer than five pages and should include the following sections:
- statement of goals and expected outcomes
- method or process
- plan for evaluating the impact of the project on the undergraduate program,
- plan for sharing the results of the project with the McMaster community
It is this Project Proposal that will be used to determine the winner from among those on the short list. The project proposals of those candidates on the short list will be reviewed by a qualified panel of academics. The panel will select the Award recipient by choosing the most innovative and promising project proposal.
Note: The complete package is first submitted to the Dean of the Faculty for review. The Dean of the Faculty, or designate, adjudicates the research achievements of the candidate, and in the case of multiple applications from within the Faculty, can select one Faculty nominee to put forward. All candidates identified in this manner are assumed to meet the innovative research requirements of this Award. As a group they make up the “short list” for Part 2 of the Award procedure.
2022 Petro-Canada-McMaster Young Innovator Award
Selina Mudavanhu is an Assistant Professor in Communication Studies and Media Arts at McMaster University. Dr. Mudavanhu has established herself as a key voice in the study of African media, representations of race, and activism in social media. Her research has developed along two complimentary lines, focusing on:
- critical media studies, focusing on how those with power constitute meanings around race and other intersecting identities in mainstream media and social media texts and
- digital storytelling, looking at the manner ordinary people speak back to power, articulate their experiences and create alternative meanings with digital tools at their disposal.
Since 2013, Dr. Mudavanhu has published ten peer-reviewed articles (plus another one submitted for review) and one peer-review book chapter (with another accepted for publication in final form). Four of these pieces have been published since she came to McMaster in 2019. She is currently working on a co-edited volume focusing on decolonizing media education in Africa with colleagues at the Universities of Limpopo and Johannesburg in South Africa.
Before coming to McMaster, Dr. Mudavanhu held three different postdoctoral research fellowships: at University of Cape Town (2015–17), University of Johannesburg (2017–18), and Ryerson University (2018–19).
Project Title: Twenty-Twenty Hindsight Project: Digital Memoirs by Black Senior Undergraduate Students by Dr. Selina Mudavanhu
Project Abstract: In mainstream discourses, Canada is constructed as a country more tolerant and embracing of diversity and multiculturalism than the United States (Gismondi, 2017). Further, Canada is portrayed as a post-race country in which racism is non-existent (DasGupta et al, 2020). This is notwithstanding the lived realities of Black and racialized people in the country. DasGupta et al (2020) elaborate that recent evidence reveals that anti-Black racism in Canada is deeply entrenched and insidious. Further, “systemic racism against Black individuals appears across their full lifecycle in areas like education, employment, healthcare, and policing.” Also dismissing as fiction conceptualizations of Canada as non-racist, Foster (2020) avers that “racial inequity is woven into the fabric of Canadian institutions and is normalized in everyday practices.” Using digital technologies and facilities available in the Lyons New Media Centre housed in the McMaster University library, ten Black senior undergraduate students will use the autoethnographic research method to reflect on and record in digital format their intersectional experiences of studying at McMaster and of living in Canada in bodies raced as Black. Drawing on the ‘letters to my younger self’ concept, participants in the project will be asked to reflect on the following key question: Given your experiences as a Black undergraduate student, what advice related to navigating life and university spaces in Black bodies would you give to your younger self? In this project, advice by participants has potential to encourage Black freshmen and sophomores as they contend with circumstances similar to those that would have been encountered by their seniors.
2021 Petro-Canada-McMaster Young Innovator Award
Dilyana Mincheva is an Assistant Professor in Critical Media in the Department of Communication Studies and Media Arts at McMaster University, Canada. Her most recent research is engaged with the culturological study of Islamic feminism, and the politics of image in cinematic feminism and utopia. She is the bearer of two international awards for research excellence (2012 and 2015) granted by the Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society and the author of the monograph The Politics of Western Muslim Intellectual Discourse in the West: The Emergence of a Western-Islamic Public Sphere (Sussex, 2016). Mincheva is currently at work on a second monograph focused on socially and cinematically mediated forms of Islamic feminism.
Project Title: The Academic Screenplay: Intersections of Creative Arts and Media Research
A recent and widely unexplored form of screenwriting has emerged in the last five years within creative or media arts programs in North America: “the academic screenplay.” Unlike the industrial-based practice of screenwriting, the academic screenplay is driven by academic research. This project will create a new lab environment, the CoMMa Script Frenzy Lab, in which McMaster undergraduate students will research, explore, and practice creative methods of translating and communicating scholarly knowledge through the development of their own research-based scripts. The case for the academic screenplay at the undergraduate level is that students will learn how to make use of the intellectual space offered by the academy – by exploring the theoretical scope of concepts central to research in the media arts, such as transnational cinema, arthouse cinema, orientalism, postcolonial critique, critical race theory, screen theory, feminism, agency and selfhood – to incubate and experiment with ideas while crafting an artefact of their own. This is important, first, for students’ understanding of humanities theory as a life form of thought and presence in the world. Second, this is important for students’ own formation as communication and media arts professionals who aspire to either continue this line of work in graduate school or to be commercially published and produced. Finally, the academic screenplay allows for reflective authenticity on the side of the writer, which stands for a deep self-examination of the positionings, and identification processes involved in the creative process. The academic screenplay is precisely the space where students negotiate and resist previously hegemonic modes of storytelling and representation, well documented in critical media studies: orientalist stereotypes, racist and xenophobic cliches, patriarchal, transphobic or misogynistic screen gazes. Work within the creative-critical nexus of screenwriting offers, among other things, fruitful possibilities for our students to develop portfolios for graduate studies in the field of film and television writing or to approach the creative industry directly. In pursuit of these objectives, the Petro-Canada McMaster Award will allow me to develop a model for mentorship, assessment and promotion of the academic screenplays written by my undergraduate students in four major steps: (1) a series of structured workshops, providing theoretical and practical content (modules on scriptwriting) and peer mentorship/collaboration for as many as 15 undergraduate students; (2) a mini-conference with presentations to the wider McMaster community of the students’ scriptwriting projects and reflections on the Lab project and process; (3) training of a student research assistant in methods of scriptwriting, workshop facilitation, peer mentorship, and evaluation; (4) conference presentations, a website, and a research article that share the project’s outcomes and model with broader academic and industry audiences.
Adrianne Lickers Xavier is the acting Director of the Indigenous Studies Program. Her recently completed doctoral research focused in on Indigenous Food sovereignty and security in her home community of Six Nations. As the first McMaster Indigenous Research Institute ‘Indigenous In-Community Scholar’, Adrianne is working directly with her community in partnership with Six Nations Health Services to address the questions and needs around food sovereignty. Adrianne’s passion for community and food work is evident in her research.
Project Title: Indigenous Research as Community
This research will engage students to understand research as active participants in as many aspects of research as possible. All of this will be accomplished within an Indigenous research lens, including the participation of a 4th year seminar, growing a research project at McMaster and culminating in a research event. The project will be to participate, build and grow their own research; learning the skills to build community and build a dynamic research project.
The aim of this project is to engage undergraduate students in the research process and activities. I hope to do that in ways that I am already doing and also expand. The goal ultimately is to enhance the education of my undergraduate students, promote and expose them to graduate level research and education and also find ways to engage students in ‘real world’ activities. This project will be a first step for myself and my students to create a project with students and engage in not only a wellness project for Indigenous students but also the Indigenous research and ways of knowing that I use myself.