Friends and colleagues gathered at UBC’s University Gathering Place on April 15, 1999 to celebrate the achievements of the 1999 Distinguished Academics Awards recipients Dr. Luciana Duranti (Academic of the Year) and Dr. Fred Cooke (Career Achievement Award).
Dr. Duranti’s recognition as Academic of the Year stems from her ground-breaking work in the authentication and preservation of electronic records. Using techniques pioneered by 17th-century Benedictine monks, Dr. Duranti has developed methods to ascertain whether electronic data have been tampered with, who has had access to the data, and what modifications have been made to the data. Her work with these techniques—know as “diplomatics”—has garnered the attention of her peers, the media, governments and even the Pentagon. Some of her work is expected to be incorporated into the U.S. government standard for authentication of electronic records.
Dr. Duranti is also largely responsible for transformation of UBC’s small Archival Studies Program into a high-quality, academically rigorous program on the cutting edge of archival scholarship. As one of her referees for promotion noted, Dr. Duranti’s arrival in Canada was “like a breath of fresh air, sweeping in very elaborate and sophisticated concepts that have spawned a whole flurry of literature in archival theory and practice in Canada.”
Dr. Cooke, who is considered one of Canada’s leading ornithologists, specializes in the study of bird populations and holds the Canadian Wildlife Service/NSERC Chair in Wildlife Ecology at SFU, which has a mandate for integrating basic research with the more applied interests of Environment Canada. His projects include seabird research on B.C.’s Triangle Island, waterfowl population studies in the Interior of B.C., and various studies of birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway.
Through Dr. Cooke’s leadership, the budget of the Chair has increased from the initial $300,000 to $1.2 million annually, which supports the work of 21 graduate students. Dr. Cooke has received many academic honours during his career, including the prestigious Brewster Medal from the American Ornithologists Union in 1990 for “the most outstanding contribution to ornithology over the previous decade.” His work has contributed greatly both to the advancement of his academic field, and in informing policy makers on environmental issues and wildlife conservation.
This is the fifth year the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA/BC) has given awards to recognize excellence in the contributions of academic work to the wider community. The Academic of the Year Award was established in 1995 as a means to highlight the accomplishments of the academic staff of B.C. public universities. In 1999, the Career Achievement Award was added and the awards became collectively known as the Distinguished Academics Awards. Dr. Duranti and Dr. Cooke each received a cheque for $2000 and specially commissioned memento.