Two Arts & Science faculty named to the prestigious Order of Canada

January 28, 2021 by Chris Sasaki - A&S News

Two Arts & Science faculty members have been named to the Order of Canada — one of the country’s highest honours. They are:

The Order of Canada honours “people whose service shapes our society; whose innovations ignite our imaginations; and whose compassion unites our communities.”

The two are among 18 U of T faculty, alumni, supporters and friends whose appointments to, or promotion within, the Order of Canada were announced in the latest round.

“I am so proud to congratulate professors Baltacıoğlu and Moscovitch on receiving one of our country’s highest honours,” says Melanie Woodin, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science. “It is wonderful to see their enormous contributions to public service and scientific research recognized in this way.”

Yaprak Baltacıoğlu was named a Member in recognition of her remarkable contributions to Canada’s public service and for the leadership roles she has undertaken over many years.

“I am honoured to be admitted to the Order of Canada,” says Baltacıoğlu. “When I arrived in his country 40 years ago, I never dreamt something like this could happen to me.

“Working in the public service is a privilege,” she says. “It is a privilege to have a hand in public policy decisions and to help put in place measures to serve Canadians and I am very humbled to be admitted.”

“Yaprak has demonstrated a sustained commitment to public service,” says Cheryl Misak, interim director of the Munk School.

“As a federal public servant, she was a trusted advisor and held several senior leadership positions,” says Misak. “As a professor at the Munk School, she generously shares her expertise and mentors students as they build their own careers in public policy.”

Baltacıoğlu has served at the highest levels of government for more 25 years, during which time she advised four prime ministers, federal ministers, cabinets and departments.

She served as Deputy Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and played a key role in administering government stimulus following the 2008 economic crisis. She served as Deputy Minister of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food; and at the Privy Council Office served as Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations) and as Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet. And since 2012 until her retirement in 2018, Baltacıoğlu was Secretary of the Treasury Board.

Morris Moscovitch was named a Member for his significant contributions to the fields of clinical neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience, including ground-breaking research into memory.

“I am honoured and very grateful to have been appointed to the Order of Canada and to have my research recognized in this way,” says Moscovitch in an announcement.

“As we better understand memory, cognition and the brain, we can develop effective treatments for disorders such as dementia and help improve the quality of life of older adults everywhere.”

“All of us in the department were thrilled to see Professor Moscovitch receive this recognition,” says Nicholas Rule, chair of the Department of Psychology. “Not only is Morris a brilliant researcher — he is beloved by students and colleagues on all three campuses.

“Sharing in his good news was exactly the bright spot we needed during these troubling times and it has really lifted our spirits to celebrate the tremendous achievements of someone as humble and modest as Morris.”

Moscovitch studies the cognitive neuroscience of memory — in particular, how it changes with time and experience from childhood to old age. He examines this change in both people who are neurologically intact and in those who have experienced brain damage or degeneration due to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

He also conducts research into how memory interacts with other functions such as attention, perception, problem solving and prosocial behaviour — that is, behaviour intended to benefit others. In addition, he studies face recognition and hemispheric specialization.

Moscovitch joined U of T Mississauga in 1971 and, in 2000, became a member of the Department of Psychology on the St. George campus. He is also a founding senior scientist of the Rotman Research Institute at the Baycrest Centre where he is the Max and Gianna Glassman Chair in Neuropsychology and Aging.