By Shannon Boklaschuk
A University of Saskatchewan (USask) professor and alumnus has been recognized for his exceptional service contributions to the Canadian Sociological Association (CSA).
Dr. Terry Wotherspoon (BA’76, BEd’77, MA’83), a professor in the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Sociology, received the 2018 Canadian Sociological Association Outstanding Service Award on June 4, 2019, during the CSA’s annual conference. The conference was held as part of the 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, which is being held in Vancouver, B.C., from June 1-7.
Organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Congress is hosted each year by a different Canadian university. It represents the convergence of more than 70 scholarly associations, each holding their annual conference under one umbrella.
Wotherspoon, who travelled to Vancouver for Congress, said he was “surprised and pleased” when he learned he would be receiving the CSA award, as he didn’t know he had been nominated.
“It is very humbling to be recognized by colleagues in the discipline for work on behalf of our national association,” he said.
A faculty member in the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Sociology, Wotherspoon earned three degrees at USask before receiving his PhD in sociology from Simon Fraser University. In addition to teaching at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels, Wotherspoon served for several years as head of USask’s sociology department. His area of expertise is the sociology of education, with a focus on social inequality and recognition of and responsiveness to minority communities.
When asked how he became interested in sociology, Wotherspoon said he “didn’t know anything” about the subject area until he started planning his second year of university. It was at that time that one of Wotherspoon’s friends talked about a sociology course he had taken and enjoyed.
“So I picked up a few sociology courses over time, which appealed to me because they addressed so many interesting approaches to asking about and addressing important social issues that were relevant to me,” Wotherspoon said. “But it was only after I had taught school for a short time that I realized that I wanted to come back to sociology as a graduate student, in a way that would allow me to follow up on some of the questions and conditions that I had encountered in various community contexts.”
Wotherspoon is a past president of the CSA and has served as managing editor of the Canadian Review of Sociology. He is a recipient of the Canadian Education Association’s Whitworth Award for Educational Research, and an early edition of one of his books, The Sociology of Education in Canada: Critical Perspectives, was recognized with a book award from the Canadian Association for Foundations of Education.
Wotherspoon said he has “enjoyed the opportunity to work and contribute in various ways” as a professor at USask, including teaching undergraduate students, mentoring graduate students, engaging in research and scholarly work, and making a difference through administrative and collegial roles. He noted there are “very few jobs where a person can have so many opportunities to take on new challenges, to travel and often see the impact that our work can have on others.”