Roger Ploude   2010 President's Medal Recipient

Retiring at the end of the current academic year, Dr. Roger Ploude has served as Chair of the Department of English for eighteen of his thirty-eight years at UNB, weathering the two early retirement packages in the mid 1990s and, with much skill and patience, guiding the Department through the lean years of the last decade.

Chairing an academic unit as diverse as the UNBF English Department is no easy task.  Over the years, the Department’s faculty and staff complement has shrunk considerably, while its programmes have diversified and its internal and external commitments have increased.  As Chair, Dr. Ploude has been able to absorb and re-channel these multiple pressures even as the very success of the Department’s programmes has put additional strain on its resources.  It takes a very capable administrator to accommodate the needs of the Department’s various activities, including the Creative Writing and Drama programmes, both of which benefit the cultural enrichment of UNB and the larger community off-campus, and the three thriving professional journals — The Fiddlehead, Studies in Canadian Literature, and Florilegium.  Dr. Ploude has also been instrumental in fostering an environment which has produced a number of winners of the Allan P. Stuart Award for Excellence in Teaching, of the Faculty of Arts Award for Excellence in Teaching, and of the University Merit Award, as well as three University Research and Teaching Professorships — though the teaching release associated with many of these successes has added to the Chair’s staffing woes.  Yet Dr. Ploude has successfully balanced these conflicting demands on the departmental resources while still providing room for colleagues to succeed in their individual endeavours, thus adding to the success of the Department as a whole.  In order to make this possible, Dr. Ploude has usually shouldered more his own share of duties as Chair, without complaint and with other members of the Department often not even being aware of this service above and beyond what can be expected.

 

In addition to being a hardworking and effective administrator, Dr. Ploude is also an exemplary teacher, having won the Allan P. Stuart Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1991.  He has taught courses at all levels, from the large 1st-year service courses to graduate seminars.  Moreover, his commitment to education has also benefited the larger educational community outside the confines of UNB.  As Chief Examiner of the Provincial Achievement Test in High School English, Dr. Ploude was responsible for overseeing the creation of a provincial examination for grade 11 English students and for working with high school teachers from across the province on ways to improve instruction and to increase consistency in grading.

Furthermore, Dr. Ploude was prominently involved in the early years of the Department’s flagship journals.  He co-founded Studies in Canadian Literature and served as The Fiddlehead’s editor and business manager for its initial eight years, and in 1995 he co-edited Fiddlehead Gold, the journal’s fiftieth anniversary volume.

Dr. Ploude’s dedication to the well-being of the English Department has been truly meritorious, and the Department’s collective success is in no small part the result of his astute management of the departmental resources.  Dr. Ploude richly deserves to be recognized for his contributions to the community of faculty, students, and staff at UNB.  The President’s Medal is a fitting acknowledgement of his extensive service to the University.

Christa Canitz
Demetres Thryphonopolous