Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX set to celebrate Spring Convocation 2022; will honour innovator in international educational exchange and community development, Minh Kauffman

May 2nd, 2022
StFX is set to celebrate the Class of 2022 and to honour Minh Kauffman, pictured, with an honorary degree during Spring Convocation 2022

St. Francis Xavier University will celebrate the Class of 2022 and will award an honorary degree to Minh Kauffman, an innovator in international educational exchange and community development whose contributions have spanned over 50 years, when it celebrates Spring Convocation 2022 on Sunday, May 8 with both morning and afternoon ceremonies. 

Several faculty members will also receive major honours during Spring Convocation. 

The Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award will be presented to three recipients: Dr. Carole Roy, Department of Adult Education; Dr. Zeynep Ozkok, Department of Economics; and Dr. Katarin MacLeod, Faculty of Education.

The University Research Award will be presented to Dr. Michael Melchin, Department of Earth Sciences.

The morning ceremony is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. with the afternoon ceremony to get underway at 3 p.m.


Minh Kauffman, Honorary Degree

Minh Kauffman, an innovator in international educational exchange and community development, was born Nguyen Thi Minh in Hanoi and raised in Saigon. She journeyed to Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana in 1969, her personal path of international education. Following graduation, Kauffman taught second grade for two years. In 1976, she and her husband Fred Kauffman began a 13-year series of international service assignments through Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). In 1990, the Kauffmans created the Education Exchange Center (CEEVN) as a project of the MCC Vietnam program, to strengthen linkages between Vietnamese and American scholars and academic institutions at a time when Vietnam was isolated, and the U.S. trade embargo made contact challenging. CEEVN became an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) subsidiary in 1994. Under her leadership, CEEVN began managing the Fulbright Fellowships for Vietnamese scholars and later added the Vietnam portion of the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (2000-13). From 1992-2009, she facilitated many other Ford-funded programs. Starting in 2006, Minh partnered with StFX’s Coady Institute, a collaboration that included co-creating social justice fora to bring CEEVN alumni cohorts together to work for the betterment of Vietnamese society. Under Kauffman’s leadership, ACLS-CEEVN managed over $45 million in grants and funded nearly 2,000 fellowships, study tours, and grants to Vietnamese scholars and organizations. She’s received the 2005 Friendship Medal from Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong and has been called “the most important person involved in the creation of meaningful relations between Vietnam and the United States.” Believing CEEVN’s mission complete, Kauffman retired and closed its offices in 2020. She’d worked the previous years with CEEVN alumni, creating the Stronger Together Center that will preserve and grow its legacy. The Excellent Bridge, published by ACLS in 2020, recounts CEEVN’s history. Fred Kauffman passed away in 2019. Minh Kauffman lives in both Philadelphia, with son Timothy, and in Nashville, with son Tony and daughter-in-law Nadia.


Dr. Carole Roy, Department of Adult Education

Dr. Carole Roy joined the StFX Department of Adult Education in 2007 where she has been providing students with opportunities for the development of critical thinking and reflective practice. Dr. Roy’s philosophy resonates with the teachings of Paulo Freire, who saw education as a process of emancipation. Offering encouragement for the exploration of creativity and innovation, she values and supports student engagement in community, since experiential learning sharpens learners’ theoretical knowledge. She brings enthusiasm, fosters courage, and enjoys the dynamic process of creating space for transformative learning in the classroom as well as in individual conversations with students. Students often comment about the far-reaching impact of discussions: “I looked forward to class and it truly changed my way of thinking and my practice;” “Dr. Roy’s discussions helped me to be a better person and will continue to help me grow long after this course is done. I have rarely felt so engaged in an academic setting.” Dr. Roy brings to her teaching extensive experience of education in non-formal settings, from peace activism, international cross-cultural youth programs (Tunisia, Thailand, India, Uruguay), to documentary film programs and discussions in carceral settings. In the last 18 years, she co-organized annual documentary film festivals with the intention to provide a safe forum to explore and discuss social justice issues with the greater community. Supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, her many research projects have incorporated Dr. Roy’s values with the inclusion of students’ involvement as research assistants, co-presenters, and co-authors. 


Dr. Zeynep Ozkok, Department of Economics

Dr. Zeynep Ozkok graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a BA with first class honours in economics in 2007. Following the completion of her PhD in economics at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in 2013, Dr. Ozkok returned to her alma mater to teach at the Department of Economics. Since then, Dr. Ozkok has been teaching core macroeconomic theory courses as well as courses on international economics and development economics. Having experienced a variety of educational systems throughout her studies in Turkey, Australia, Spain, Canada and in the United States, Dr. Ozkok aspires to provide her students with a learning experience that they can enjoy and from which they will benefit. Dr. Ozkok has worked extensively with international students having shared their experience of studying at StFX. She continues to supervise thesis students and co-author academic papers with her students. In their nomination, students describe Dr. Ozkok’s passion for development economics, saying that they “can hear in her voice how strongly this subject resonates with her,” covering topics such as girls’ education, income inequality, and the multifaceted effects of poverty. Her students note that empathy and a love of learning shine through her teaching. As they put it, “Zeynep’s kindness and generosity simply cannot be overstated. Her passion for students’ success will forever be something that we remember.”


Dr. Katarin MacLeod, Faculty of Education

Dr. Katarin MacLeod began teaching at StFX in the Faculty of Education in 2009. She holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and completed undergraduate physics and Bachelor of Education degrees at StFX. Her doctoral dissertation received the Canadian Science Education Research Group’s Dissertation Award for the best doctoral dissertation on science education in Canada. Dr. MacLeod’s expertise is science education, viewed through the lens of a Science, Technology, Society, and Environment (STSE) perspective, which requires taking the content of science and placing it in a context that is meaningful for students. A consistent perspective voiced by her students is that “Dr. MacLeod’s teaching has truly impacted my views of science and how I plan to teach my classes.” Dr. MacLeod encourages and supports inquiry learning in all her courses. Her students describe her as an intuitive teacher, who understands when to talk and, importantly, when to listen. In Dr. MacLeod’s own words, “For me, teaching is about having high standards for my own professional practice. It is about remembering the humanity of teaching and learning, and that first and foremost, the student experience is paramount.” Along with her teaching, Dr. MacLeod is also actively involved in university service. She currently serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Academic Integrity.


Dr. Michael Melchin, Department of Earth Sciences

StFX earth sciences professor Dr. Michael Melchin is a prolific researcher who has published more than 120 refereed scientific journal papers. Dr. Melchin’s research is focused on understanding the response of life to a pivotal time interval of global change, some 500 and 400 million years ago. He has championed the use of elemental and isotopic geochemical techniques to understand the processes that govern the relationship between ocean water chemistry, nutrient supply and the diversification or extinction of species. Dr. Melchin has had continuous research support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) since 1990 and his NSERC Discovery Grant was recently renewed until 2024. His research requires an extraordinary commitment of time and effort. He has provided numerous generations of StFX students with unique research experiences, including field work in the Arctic, the Canadian Rockies, and in China. These are remote and rugged areas for field research; many require expensive helicopter support, and he has been isolated on occasion for up to eight weeks. Dr. Melchin is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including visiting professorships and fellowships in other countries, such as the Czech Republic and China. He is a President’s Medal recipient and Distinguished Fellow of the Geological Association of Canada.  In 2020 he was awarded a James Chair in Pure and Applied Sciences at StFX. In the community, Dr. Melchin’s abilities as a musician and organizer of charity concerts are legendary – to his colleagues, students, and community he truly is known as a ‘rock star.’

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