Ken Josephson receives Social Sciences Excellence award

Ken Josephson receives his award
Ken Josephson (right) receives his award from Faculty of Social Sciences Dean Catherine Krull and Associate Vice President of Human Resources Kane Kilbey.

Geography's Ken Josephson was recently celebrated at the Faculty of Social Sciences Excellence Awards for his work with connecting communities. He received the 2017 Meritorious Staff Contributions Award for his "enthusiasm, resourcefulness, and passionate commitment to the department and the Vancouver Island community." Read the full citation below:

Citation for Meritorious Staff Contributions Awarded to Ken Josephson

 Ken Josephson may be a cartographer but really he is a connector, community engagement expert, creative leader and passionate teacher. As a longstanding member of the geography department, he has never wavered in his enthusiasm, resourcefulness and passionate commitment to the department and the Vancouver Island community. His office is quite literally a University-Community hub.

 Ken has served as a guest lecturer in numerous courses but more often he is not just a guest but an integral part of the course-sharing his love, methodology and tools for community mapping. His cartography skills and his community networks are critical to several student projects and partnerships. As a result, Ken contributes to the department’s research and community engagement goals, deeply improves the work environment, helps build an internal sense of community and identity within the department and contributes to an amazing student experience.

 “Ken has been central to geography’s formal and informal progress towards making the department a place more inclusive and respectful of Indigenous peoples, course content, and ways of knowing,” says Chris Darimont, associate professor. “Ken has driven our work in his kind, gentle and ultimately effective manner-we ought to honour him because he is a model for us all to follow,” adds Darimont.

 Each year, Ken initiates and coordinates the department’s longstanding photo contest. He uses the winning photos to create a department calendar while the proceeds are donated to a local charity.

 “I have been privileged to have worked with Ken for over thirty years,” says Peter Keller, professor and former Dean of Social Sciences. “I have learned to deeply respect and value Ken’s creativity, passion and drive, and his capacity to work so hard to make the world a better place.”

 Ken plays a key role connecting students, course content and research to the community. Students will often have “real-time” community mapping initiatives to complete and Ken is always willing to share his broad network of contacts with community organizations. He developed a partnership with the Tsartlip and Tsawout First Nations to introduce visiting students, (such as the large delegation of Chinese Leadership Students), to Indigenous histories, cultural practices, traditional foods and ways of knowing.

 “The community based mapping he does honestly is transformative,” says Teresa Dawson, teaching professor and past Director of the Learning and Teaching Centre. “He performs a kind of magic that empowers even the weakest voices in communities to be heard….so many people in Victoria and far beyond have a much greater sense of place and feel much more connected to their communities because of Ken’s work.”

 Ken is very deserving of the 2017 Meritorious Staff Contributions Award.