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CAUT Bulletin Archives

December 2000

Susan Sherwin Wins Notable Sarah Shorten Award

Susan Sherwin, a pioneer for the study of women's health, has been awarded CAUT's Sarah Shorten Award for 2000. Lauded as a "trail blazer" and a "fearless, deeply-committed feminist" Dr. Sherwin was presented with the 10th annual award during a special ceremony held in conjunction with the November CAUT Council meeting in Ottawa.

"Dr. Sherwin has been credited with directly improving the lives of countless women through her work as a colleague and teacher at Dalhousie University," said Jeanette Lynes, chair of CAUT's Status of Women Committee, in presenting the award. "Nominators were unstinting in their praise of her work on behalf of women at Dalhousie University and beyond."

Comments such as the following typify the documentation for her nomination: "The department of philosophy, Dalhousie University and the university system would not be the same if it were not for the input that women like Sue contributed. The professional life of a feminist is not like a walk in the park; therefore, I hold Sue in great esteem because she has lead the way with the purpose of creating an environment less hostile to those who follow."

For the past 26 years, Dr. Sherwin has devoted her career to understanding the complex ethical dimensions of women's health issues. She has published scholarship on topics as broad-ranging as cancer, human reproductive technologies, terminal illness and, more recently, bioethics, and AIDS. She has an impressive publication record that includes four books, two monographs, more than 20 chapters in books, and numerous journal articles. She has been the recipient of numerous substantial SSHRC grants to promote the study of feminist health care ethics, and in 1999, she was elected to the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr. Sherwin has been an important role model for women faculty. For the past 20 years, she has served the Dalhousie Faculty Association in various capacities. From 1976 to 1981, and from 1983 to 1984, she was a member of the executive. She served as president from 1979 ­ 1980. She served on the negotiating committee from 1977 ­ 1980, and on the advisory committee on implementation of affirmative action and the committee on developing a policy on racism and sexism from 1991-1993.

Dr. Sherwin was chairperson of the philosophy department from 1982 ­ 1987, the coordinator of women's studies from 1987 ­ 1988 and 1989 ­ 1992, and a founder of the Dalhousie Women Faculty Organization. She has worked with the Halifax Transition House Association and is currently a member of the board for the International Association of Bioethics.

"Dr. Sherwin is credited as instrumental in improving the chilly climate for women at Dalhousie University," Lynes said. "She has mentored numerous female students in a discipline which has been traditionally male-dominated. Her commitment to equity initiatives is unstinting and she is cited as someone who has been an inspiration to women for almost three decades. Dr. Sherwin clearly demonstrates the outstanding quality of contributions established in the criteria of the Sarah Shorten Award."

The Sarah Shorten Award was established by CAUT in 1990 in honour of the late Sarah Shorten who served two terms as president of CAUT in the 1980s.