By Fred Sgambati (’83)
The Acadia Alumni Association is pleased to announce that Dr. Blye Frank (’77, ’81) is the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Dr. Frank has enjoyed an outstanding 50-year career as a teacher, mentor, researcher, educator, trailblazer and administrator. He has three degrees from Acadia – BA (’77); BEd (’77); MEd (’81) – and a PhD from Dalhousie University (’90). He also holds a Diploma in Education, a Teaching Certificate in the Province of Nova Scotia, and is a Certified Canadian Counselor.
Donalda MacBeath (’75), President of the Acadia Alumni Association, says Dr. Frank’s selection as the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient “is richly deserved. His considerable achievements exemplify the Acadia experience, and his personal and professional commitment to helping others is a testament to all that Acadia inspires in its students. The solid foundation he built while obtaining graduate and undergraduate degrees at Acadia has formed the infrastructure for an incredible career as an educator, advocate, instructor and administrator. He is someone to whom we can all aspire, and we are proud to celebrate him as a member of our alumni family.”
Dr. Frank grew up in a farming community in the Annapolis Valley and his local roots run deep. He taught at Horton District High School in Greenwich, Nova Scotia for 20 years and was a part-time instructor in Acadia’s Sociology Department and School of Education while pursuing his PhD at Dalhousie. He was also a faculty member in the Department of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University for a decade, where he co-chaired the department during the rationalization of schools, departments and faculties of education in Nova Scotia.
Throughout his academic career, Dr. Frank has been a lecturer, Assistant and Adjunct Professor, Professor, and head of the Division of Medical Education and also Department of Bioethics in Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine. He is currently in his second term as Dean of the Faculty of Education at UBC in British Columbia.
His pedagogical and leadership work in equity, diversity and inclusion in teacher and health care education is grounded in extensive and ongoing scholarship, and his tireless efforts have earned considerable accolades and attention. In addition to being named this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Dr. Frank has received the Mount Saint Vincent University Award for Research, the Mount Saint Vincent University Alumnae Award for Teaching, the Association of Atlantic Universities Distinguished Teacher Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the prestigious May Cohen Gender Equity Award from the Association of Faculties of Medicine in Canada in recognition of outstanding effort for achievement in improving the gender equity environment in academic medicine in Canada.
Dr. Frank has noted that there are three foci to his work: diversity, sociology of masculinity, and boys’ and men’s health, with a particular interest in the examination of medical education through multiple lenses in order to better understand the political, economic and social inquiry surrounding medical practice.
As a teacher and mentor, he says he has “always encouraged and facilitated an environment of mutual respect and critical reflection for diverse learners through the application of new pedagogical theories and practices based on research excellence.”
Dr. Frank has published and presented extensively throughout his career. He is also a highly regarded guest speaker and lecturer, having hosted dozens of faculty development workshops provincially, nationally and internationally to foster a sustainable community of scholars in the areas of gender, health, and medical education.
Fellow educator Nancy Pynch Worthylake has been associated professionally with Dr. Frank for more than 30 years and said in support of his nomination, “I can think of no one who has contributed more to educational and social research, civic duty, an agent of change for equity and social justice, transformational leadership in the administration and business of university faculties, and systemic change at the community level. Quite simply, there are few leaders like Dr. Frank who have the strength of will to serve as an ongoing champion for those most at risk and the talent to influence others to join the quest for deep systemic change.”
Similarly, Dr. Ann Vibert (’74), former Dean, Faculty of Professional Studies, and Professor in the School of Education at Acadia, noted that “many colleagues in the Faculty of Education at UBC … praise his support for students and faculty, his fair-mindedness, his openness and presence, his imagination and energy, his enormous success at attracting top-rate faculty and increasing the University’s international research record, his insightfulness and lived commitment to supporting equity and diversity. Working across his career very much in Acadia’s proud tradition of furthering equitable education and engaging with communities, Dr. Blye Frank is indeed a distinguished Acadia alumnus.”
The Acadia Alumni Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of alumni community members whose endeavours have distinguished them personally and professionally, and brought honour to the University. To learn more about Acadia Alumni Awards, please visit: https://www2.acadiau.ca/alumni-friends/alumni/awards.html .