Selkirk College Honours SCOPE Award Winners

College Community Invited to Celebrate Worthy Recipients


The Selkirk College Faculty Association Standing Committee on Professional Excellence (SCOPE) is pleased to honour Muditha Heenkenda, Doug Henderson and Allyson Perrot as recipients of its 2017/2018 awards.

The Selkirk College community will celebrate the winners with the annual SCOPE Award ceremony and reception held on Thursday, October 11 at the Staff Lounge on the Castlegar Campus from 6 to 8 p.m. 

Muditha Heenkenda

Muditha Heenkenda

Muditha’s dedication to her job and her determination to provide students with a quality learning experience has inspired and motivated many of her colleagues in the School of Environment and Geomatics (SEG).

She received numerous recommendations from colleagues, current and ex-students, administrators, and community members who all praised her patience, humanity, ingenuity and professionalism.

Muditha completed her PhD in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the Charles Darwin University in Australia. She is specialized in environmental problem solving using information extraction from remotely sensed data sources like satellite and drone images. Once she moved to Canada in May 2015, she worked for the Department of Geography, University of Calgary as a visiting scholar for three months and gained valuable experience related to the Canadian spatial data and spatial data management. In December 2015, she joined SEG at Selkirk College as a geomatics instructor. 

She has been described by colleagues as transformational, impactful and supportive and by administrators described as “a welcomed air of new professionalism,” gifted, focused, skilled and effective.

Muditha has managed to provide excellent teaching despite an extremely demanding workload and constantly changing technology. In her first few years at the college, she was asked to teach over 75 per cent of the GIS and computer curriculum in all four years of the SEG programming. She has an extraordinary ability to connect these changes to field and classroom applications.

Muditha is currently teaching remote sensing and GIS courses at various levels such as Integrated Environmental Planning diploma, Advanced Diploma in GIS and Bachelor of GIS levels. She is supervising Bachelor of GIS thesis projects and GIS project based courses while working closely with regional industry partners. She is also coordinating some research projects related to information extraction from remotely sensed data in the field of forestry applications at the Selkirk Geospatial Research Center (SGRC).

“The Advanced Diploma for GIS would not have been the same without Muditha and her dedication to students,” says a student. Another student comments, “Muditha consistently demonstrated her commitment to being an outstanding teacher. Her labs were thorough and detailed. Muditha is a fair, kind and generous teacher who always has her office door open and always makes time for her students.”

Devoted to staying on top of changes in her field, Muditha has used her professional development to create new courses that meet the demands of our employers in the area. She has been instrumental in the new Geomatics in the Workplace online certificate.

Muditha’s expertise contributed greatly to the SGRC’s recent successful Natural Science & Engineering Council of Canada grant worth $2 million.

“In her research role, Muditha works directly with industry partners to apply advanced technology solutions to their industry problems. She also turns these problems into applied learning opportunities for students. She has emerged as a leader in applied research and innovation at Selkirk College.”

Muditha enjoys the combination of teaching and research as it helps to make a massive difference in the lives of young students by introducing state-of-the-art technology and preparing them for their careers through real world applications.  

Conratulations Muditha!!

Doug Henderson

Doug Henderson

Since Selkirk College’s math Instructor Doug Henderson hasn’t had to come up to accept a SCOPE award since 2010, we figured it was time to finally relent to the onslaught of positive student comments over the past 2,920 days.

Or 4.2 million minutes if you prefer.

But backing up a bit, in 2006 Doug was part of 2006 North American Renewable Energy Technology program proposal requesting $291,881.43 in funding. According to that proposal, Doug - who has a couple of degrees in math plus a degree in engineering - worked computer analyses of the high-voltage grid while at BC Hydro and has an interest in heat transfer systems like geo exchange, biomass and solar thermal.

In 2011 Doug put his way with numbers to political pursuits when, as president of the Selkirk College Faculty Association, he pointed out the press that $200,000,000 needed to be added to the system to get the funding to where it needed to be due to meet higher student enrolment numbers and account for a decade of inflation.  He (very politely, I’m quite sure) called on then Premier Christy Clark to use some of her $600,000,000 slush fund for education.

Now on to some more current numbers… Doug is inspiring 149 students across five sections of two courses and four labs this fall. A rough projection shows that this season, Doug will watch his 10,920th minute of Selkirk Saints hockey (not including playoffs, of course). Parenthetically (so to speak) we may need to develop a robust equation to calculate with greater accuracy the precise number of minutes of hockey actually observed that accounts for the number of minutes Doug misses while completing a crossword puzzle in the stands.

While we all love Doug for his prowess with numbers, his students love him for his ability to foster their prowess with numbers

Here are some student comments that were included in his nomination for tonight’s award:

“Doug always takes time to answer absolutely any and every question asked of him to the best of his abilities, therefore no student ever hesitates to ask a question.”

“He delivers the course material in a very effective way by… real-life examples…”

“I have visited Doug both during and outside his scheduled office hours and always felt welcome regardless. He has an incredible amount of empathy and compassion for a struggling student… I felt inspired and [he] created a confidence in my abilities that hadn't been there before and this feeling spilled over into my other course as well!”

Congratulations Doug.  And Thank You! (written by Todd Kettner)

Allyson Perrott

Allyson Perrott

Allyson Perrott began working at Selkirk College as a chemistry instructor in August of 2001. Since that time, she has provided students and colleagues with first-class instruction and mentorship.

Colleagues have used the following words to describe Allyson dedicated, creative educator, thought-provoking and engaging. Other colleagues have described Allyson as a tireless worker and a great mentor.

Allyson is often seen walking down the hallway to her classes with visual models of complex chemical structures so that her students can see chemical equations. In addition to her regular teaching schedule, Allyson runs multiple workshops for youth of varying ages that serve to intrigue and inspire the next generation to get excited about chemistry.

Allyson is a role model for newer instructors through her ability to motivate students to dig into the difficult material. She can instill a sense of confidence and a belief in themselves that they can succeed.

Allyson has been instrumental in the development and delivery of the Rural Pre-Medicine (RPM) Program over the past five years. The RPM students from Selkirk College consistently produce above average MCAT boot camp scores pertaining to organic chemistry directly related to Allyson’s ability to facilitate optimal student learning. 

Allyson contributes not only to excellent student learning but to the overall college community. For example, for many years Allyson was an active member of the University Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee and, most recently, Allyson has been instrumental in sharing her wisdom and pragmatic approach to the RPM Admission Committee. 

Allyson has gone out of her way to ensure that timetabling for courses makes sense and that any conflicts in timetabling are dealt with expediently and in a way that best supports students. Most importantly, each year, Allyson goes from classroom to classroom and ensures that the lightbulbs on all of the overhead projectors are in working order for the start of the upcoming academic semester.

Allyson is best known for getting the job done in a comprehensive, pragmatic way and without fanfare.  Allyson is has been described as being incredibly reliable, she seldom complains but is no pushover. She offers criticism or critique in a respectful and constructive manner. 

Each summer, Allyson teaches chemistry at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. In this way, Allyson brings her incredible way of being from one side of the country to the other. We are sure that students at Dal are the recipients of Allyson’s excellent work ethic and enthusiasm.

Congratulations Allyson, your contribution to student learning and the Selkirk College community is very much appreciated.