Donald Lawrence, professor of visual arts at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, has been selected as a 2019 Council on Undergraduate Research-Arts and Humanities Faculty Mentor Awardee. The award consists of a plaque and a check for US$1,000 for the recipient’s work with undergraduate researchers.
A member of the TRU faculty since 1989, Lawrence was recognized for achievements as a research leader, artist-scholar, and teacher-mentor to 64 visual arts undergraduate students during his 30-year career. His nurturing of interdisciplinary projects include the use of “wild” natural settings, focusing on artistic research in engaging community and cultural partners, and pursuing innovative, inquiry-based, experiential teaching. He earned his bachelor of fine arts from the University of Victoria and his master of fine arts from York University.
Said CUR Executive Officer Elizabeth L. Ambos on behalf of the award selection committee, “Professor Lawrence’s students have been profoundly influenced by his dedicated modeling of artistic inquiry and creative scholarship as an artist-researcher, incorporating what they have learned from him into their artistic practice and teaching. His teaching, mentoring, and collaborative scholarship have distinguished him as a transformative ‘culture changer’ in the advancement of undergraduate research in the visual arts.”
Said Will Garrett-Petts, associate vice-president of research and graduate studies at TRU, “We are thrilled to see Professor Lawrence receive this international recognition for his work with undergraduate research students. The relationship between creative inquiry and research is a complicated one, and with the help of teachers and scholars like Professor Lawrence, we are finding ways to scaffold success for all students in all disciplines and at all levels of their education.”
The CUR-Arts and Humanities Faculty Mentor Awards were established in 2018 through an endowment by 2012 CUR Fellow Joyce Kinkead (Utah State University) to nurture undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry in arts and humanities disciplines.
The Council on Undergraduate Research supports faculty development for high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. More than 700 institutions and more than 13,000 individuals belong to CUR. CUR believes that the best way to capture student interest and create enthusiasm for a discipline is through research in close collaboration with faculty members.
Thompson Rivers University is located on the traditional territory of the Secwepemc peoples in British Columbia’s southern interior. Nearly 26,000 students study on campus (in Kamloops and Williams Lake) or in online programs through open learning. TRU provides learners with access to a research-informed education and provides its communities with access to the benefits of scholarly, research, and creative activities designed to solve community problems and enrich community lives.