Distinguished Researcher Award - Spring 2004
The Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes a faculty member's contribution to scholarship through the creation, expansion, and critique of knowledge. W.A. (Bill) Waiser, Professor of History, College of Arts and Science, is the recipient of the Spring 2004 award.
Professor Waiser earned a Bachelor of Arts, Honours from Trent University in 1975. He did his graduate work at the University of Saskatchewan, earning a Master's degree (with the support of a Queen's Fellowship from the Canada Council) in 1976 and his Ph.D. in 1983. He joined the Department of History in 1984 and served as head from 1995-98.
Waiser is one of Canada's leading historians, specializing in the western and northern Prairies. He has written eight books and is currently working on his ninth, a history of Saskatchewan commissioned by the U of S and supported by the government of Saskatchewan as well as the federal department of Canadian Heritage for the provincial centennial. His latest book, All Hell Can't Stop Us: The On-to-Ottawa Trek and Regina Riot, won a 2003 Saskatchewan Book Award for non-fiction.
An earlier work, Loyal till Death: Indians and the North West Rebellion was co-authored with Professor Blair Stonechild, head of Indigenous Studies at the First Nations University of Canada. The book was praised for its sensitivity in telling the stories of Indians during this turbulent time. It won a 1997 Saskatchewan Book Award for First Peoples Publishing and was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for non-fiction.
Waiser's award-winning efforts also include the broadcast medium. Working with CBC producer Paul Dederick, he hosted and co-produced Looking Back, a series of nearly 50 six-minute segments aired on CBC TV's Saskatchewan Now early evening news from 1998 to 2001.
Looking Back was praised for its approach of telling historical stories from the perspective of people who were there. Looking Back was short listed for the Pierre Berton Award and received an honourable mention at the Columbus International Film and Video Festival. Material from the program has been adapted into the 2003 book Looking Back: True Tales from Saskatchewan's Past.
Waiser is adept at satisfying the rigorous demands of scholarly work. He has published 13 refereed articles and served as chair of the advisory board of the scholarly journal Canadian Historical Review from 2000 to 2003. He is an active member of local and regional historical societies, and has served on the board of Canada's National History Society since 2001.
He brings his enthusiasm for our shared history to the lecture hall and to his mentorship of numerous graduate students. He received the College of Arts and Science Teaching Excellence Award in 2002 for these efforts.
Waiser has sought to share the knowledge and understanding gained from his extensive scholarship to develop public policy and public awareness of the context of current issues, in particular public access to historical census materials. He has contributed greatly to this institution's commitment to its sense of place, while increasing national appreciation for the richness and diversity of the history of Canada's West.