Research Recognition Awards


The annual Research Recognition Awards (RRA) are designed to celebrate full-time faculty members at Mount Royal University who are making extraordinary contributions to their respective academic/professional fields, our students and our communities. The five awards recognize the outstanding achievements of MRU scholars at all career stages and from all disciplines. They are also designed to recognize the diversity of disciplinary research and scholarship and “capture the full spectrum of activities that we embrace and celebrate at Mount Royal.” By celebrating our faculty members, these awards support and enhance the burgeoning research culture at MRU.  

Award winners are recognized during Research & Scholarship Days and featured on the ORSCE webpage and newsletter.





2022 Award Recipients



Knowledge Mobilization Award

Dr. Kimberly Williams, PhD

Kimberly Williams headshot

Dr. Kimberly A. Williams, PhD, associate professor and program coordinator of Women’s and Gender Studies in the Department of Humanities at MRU, is an award-winning author, feminist scholar, community activist and passionate public speaker. Williams teaches introductory and advanced courses in queer, trans, and sexuality studies, transnational feminisms, global gender issues, critical masculinity studies, and Indigenous and decolonial feminisms.

Spanning 16 years, Williams’ academic career is characterized by sustained efforts to extend her scholarly contributions to diverse audiences. She prioritizes publishing works and disseminating information through mediums that are openly accessible to students, practitioners, policymakers and the general public. 

“I am committed to mobilizing the freedom and (increasingly rare) privilege of tenure in the service of social justice off campus, beyond my classrooms, in and for the community in which I live and work,” she says. “It is imperative that my research advance public knowledge and help maintain a vibrant cultural awareness of issues affecting women and other gender and sexual minorities.”

Starting in summer 2017, Williams’ historical walking tour, Booze, Broads & Brothels, explores the people, places and politics of Calgary’s early consensual adult sex industry. Williams offers the tour by donation with all proceeds going to Shift Calgary, the city’s only rights-based provider of harm reducation services to adult sex workers. Williams is currently working on turning the tour into a free, self-guided GPS application and permanent digital public history archive with open access. 

In her most recent book, Stampede: Misogyny, White Supremacy and Settler Colonialism (2021), Williams examines the colonial roots of the Calgary Stampede. Covering complex topics and exposing the often negative consequences behind this annual event, Stampede was among the top selling non-fiction works in Alberta in July 2021.

For her project on the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, Managing Pets During Disasters (2018), which examines the emergency and disaster management protocols around family pets left behind during the mandatory evacuation, Williams says reaching practitioners and policymakers was the primary goal. The project was funded by a grant from MRU’s Centre for Community Disaster Research, of which Williams is also a faculty affiliate, and provided concrete policy recommendations for municipal and provincial government officials, first responders, policymakers and animal welfare organizations. The full report is currently featured on the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction website.


Research and Scholarship Excellence Award

Dr. Mohamed El Hussein, NP, PhD

Mohamed El Hussein headshot

With a career in academia spanning over two decades, Dr. Mohamed El Hussein, NP, PhD, professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at MRU, is a significant contributor to the profession of nursing and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

El Hussein’s research focuses on understanding how students learn and creating strategies to support learning of complex concepts. Care of older adults is another pillar of El Hussien’s program of research where he explores barriers and facilitators to recognizing delirium and dementia in acute care settings. To support clinical education, El Hussein created and validated tools to better evaluate students’ performance in practical courses. In addition to generating relevant knowledge, his scholarship yielded several knowledge translation vehicles to simplify the interpretation and application of clinical practice guidelines.

El Hussein’s scholarly output has had a powerful impact on nursing education at a local, national and global level. He has been credited with more than 50 published peer-reviewed articles, co-authored and edited three major nursing textbooks, developed exam banks to meet the National Council Licensure Examination’s new testing guidelines and received over $400,000 in research and scholarship funding. Of note is a recent $218,026 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in collaboration with the University of Toronto for El Hussein’s research, “What are the experiences and needs of informal caregivers of fracture patients in a rehabilitation setting?” 

Further recognition for El Hussein’s work includes one of his articles being selected for the Best of 2020 Collection for The Nurse Practitioner and another receiving an honorable mention as the best research brief published in 2018 in Nursing Education Perspective. 

In the classroom, El Hussein translates his breadth and depth of expert knowledge into innovative teaching approaches, encouraging and supporting students to think critically, deconstruct complex ideas and confidently navigate clinical scenarios. In 2020 he was the recipient of both MRU’s Distinguished Faculty Award and the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University’s (SAMRU) Teaching Excellence Award. 

In addition to his role at Mount Royal, El Hussein is also a board member and the director of education for the Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta, an adjunct associate professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary and an acute care nurse practitioner at Rockyview General Hospital. He further plays a large role in disseminating scholarly work by others, serving as an associate editor for two high-impact, peer-reviewed journals and a reviewer for an additional four journals. 


Emerging Scholar Award

Dr. Michael Asmussen, PhD

Michael Asmussen headshot

Dr. Michael Asmussen, PhD, assistant professor of biology in MRU’s Faculty of Science and Technology, is a trailblazer of early research success. His research program focuses on how the foot and ankle are essential for humans to walk and run. While seemingly simple movements, the execution of these tasks is complex and requires coordination across the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems. Asmussen’s research seeks to understand the structure, function and neural control during locomotion in healthy, injured and diseased states with the end goal of translating outcomes into innovative healthcare solutions, including biofeedback systems and participant-specific bracing solutions aimed at improving stabilization of the foot and ankle and a person’s ability to safely walk and run.  

Since beginning at Mount Royal in 2019, Asmussen has made many significant contributions to his department’s curriculum, student training and infrastructure support through successful grants. He is the first Canada Research Chair (CRC) in MRU’s Faculty of Science and Technology ($600,000 over five years), and secured the first externally-funded postdoctoral fellow to conduct research at MRU through a Mitacs Elevate Award. 

For his project, “Foot-Ankle Complex: Mechanisms Underpinning its Stability and Control,” Asumssen was awarded $152,000 of funding over five years (2021 – 2026) from a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant. He was also awarded a Canada Foundation for Innovation Grant of $799,232 to help put together a human physiology space.

“The large majority will be used to renovate a combined research and teaching space to produce an exceptional training environment for MRU students both in and out of a formal course,” Asmussen explains.

During his time at MRU, Asmussen has published eight articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented his research internationally. In 2021, Asmussen was awarded the World Athletics Award at the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB) for the best paper submitted by a scientist in the field — a competition open to all conference delegates, regardless of career stage. 

A valuable addition to the biology department, Asmussen organizes four to five workshops per semester for research courses and hosts a mini-conference each semester for final presentations. He continues to bring unique industry-oriented research to MRU while advancing a research program with student training at the core.


Undergraduate Research Supervision Award

Dr. Leah Hamilton, PhD

Leah Hamilton headshot

Dr. Leah Hamilton, PhD, professor in MRU’s Bissett School of Business and cross-appointed to the Department of Psychology, has played a significant role in expanding the institution's capacity to provide mentorship, training and opportunities for undergraduate student researchers to participate in and disseminate scholarship.

As co-designer of MRU’s Bachelor of Business Administration Honours Program and coordinator since its inception in 2015, Hamilton continually contributes to the growth and development of MRU students’ research and scholarship competencies. In addition to the group of honours students she directly supervises every year, Hamilton has played a mentorship role for every student who has gone through the program, helping each to complete their thesis and prepare an oral presentation for Research and Scholarship Days.   

Her guidance includes providing expertise on designing research studies and crafting optimal interview or survey questions, training for advanced qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques, providing feedback on reports and theses, and supporting opportunities to disseminate work and scholarship. 

Hamilton says she prioritizes “soft” research skills such as empathy, deep listening and building community partnerships through trust. “For me, working with undergraduate students isn’t limited to helping them develop their technical research competencies. It involves fostering their personal growth.”

A testament to her support and guidance, Hamilton’s students’ accomplishments include multiple awards, scholarships, presentations to community partners, national conference presentations and publications in peer-reviewed undergraduate research journals.

“I try to show up for my students with compassion and to advocate for them when difficulties arise, whether related to their research projects or in their lives more broadly,” she says.

Starting in 2016, Hamilton has organized and facilitated four workshops at Mount Royal to help develop faculty members’ undergraduate research supervision skills. She also designed and currently delivers the Research Methods for Business (MGMT 5110) course. 

Further, Hamilton’s service at MRU has included being a member of the Research and Scholarship Days Organizing Committee, chair of the Undergraduate Research Working Group and member of the General Faculties Council’s Executive Committee.

Hamilton’s own program of research focuses on the social and economic integration of newcomers and refugees in Canada. Her work has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. 



Nomination information


Each year, members of the MRU community are invited to nominate a faculty member for a Research Recognition Award. Please review the following information prior to completing your nomination.


Eligibility for Research Recognition Awards

  • Full-time faculty (including Senior Lecturers) are eligible.
  • Self-nominations are not accepted. 
  • Following the nomination, a faculty member may only submit one award application in an academic year. 
  • A faculty member can only win one award every five years. 
  • The ORSCE will typically give out a maximum of one award per category every academic year. 
  • All nominees are expected to demonstrate principles and behaviours consistent with the responsible conduct of research. 


Nomination process and criteria

  • For all awards, nominations are invited from colleagues (including contract faculty), department chairs, Deans and institute directors. 
  • The committee will not consider an application for any award other than that for which the person was nominated.
  • Each nomination requires two nominators: one primary and one secondary nominator. 
  • For the Undergraduate Research Supervision Award, at least one of the nominators must be an MRU student.
  • Nominators are encouraged to inform the nominee of the nomination.
  • Nominees will be contacted by the Adjudication Committee and invited to accept or decline their nomination.

The nomination form can be accessed here. The deadline for nominations is January 31, 2023. 


Application requirements

Nominees for Research Recognition Awards will be invited to submit the following materials to the selection committee as a part of their award application package:

  • 2-page (maximum) cover letter (double spaced, 12 point font) that articulates how you meet the award criteria and your most significant scholarly achievements as they relate to the award. 
  • CV (any format – MRU CV not required) 
  • Two (2) letters of support.  
  • For the Undergraduate Research Supervision Award, at least one letter from current or former MRU students is required. Letters must detail the impact that the faculty member has had on students’ research and/or scholarly endeavours.  
  • For the Community Impact Award, at least one letter from a community member is required.
  • Cover letters and letters of support should be addressed to the Research & Scholarship Recognition Awards Adjudication Committee. 
  • Extra materials (including extra letters of support) contained in the application package will not be reviewed. 
    All application materials (including letters of support) must be assembled by the applicants and submitted in a single email to

We are committed to an inclusive, barrier-free nomination and selection processes for these awards. We encourage nominations and applications from the entire full-time faculty community.  

The application deadline for 2023 nominees is March 3, 2023 at 5 p.m. MST.


About the awards


There are five distinct Research Recognition Awards.