Release Date: July 10, 2008
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University of Regina professor becomes first Canadian ever to win prestigious biology education award
A University of Regina professor who has devoted his career to educating others about wildlife has become the first Canadian ever to win a prestigious international award presented each year by the American Society of Mammalogists (ASM).

Mark Brigham, a biology professor whose work specializes in the ecology and behaviour of bats, was named the recipient of the 2008 Joseph Grinnell Award late last month at the 88th ASM annual general meeting in Brookings, South Dakota.  Each year, the Joseph Grinnell Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to education about mammalogy over a period of at least 10 years.  Brigham was nominated for the award by a group that included his colleagues as well as many of his current and former students.

"I was genuinely surprised to have won the award, particularly since I wasn't aware that I had even been nominated until a short time before the meeting," Brigham says.  "In some ways, what makes the award most special is that the nomination was initiated by people with whom I have worked very closely during my time here at the U of R.  It means a great deal to me that they took the time to put the nomination forward."

Brigham's award is well-deserved, says Katherine Bergman, Dean of Science at the U of R.

"During the 18 years he has been at the U of R, Dr. Brigham has inspired countless undergraduate and graduate biology students through his teaching, his research, and his love of the natural world," Bergman says.  "His work is well-respected by his colleagues across campus and indeed across North America, and there is no doubt in my mind that the ASM selection committee made the right choice by selecting him for this award."

As the 2008 recipient of the Joseph Grinnell award, Brigham will have the opportunity to give a plenary presentation at next year's ASM annual general meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska.  He is also eligible to join the adjudication committee that selects future Joseph Grinnell award winners.

The Joseph Grinnell Award was established by the ASM Board of Directors in 1996.  The award recognizes excellence in education in the broadest sense, encompassing not only the traditional roles of teaching in graduate and undergraduate institutions, but also other activities such as stewardship, public education and the production of materials for federal or local agencies.  Past winners include professors from such institutions as Berkeley, the University of Michigan, Oklahoma State University and the University of Kansas.