Brescia professor wins OCUFA’s Award of Distinction for improving working conditions for academic women

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TORONTO—Helene Cummins, an associate professor at Brescia University College, has won the 2016 Status of Women Award of Distinction, presented by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA).

The award, sponsored by OCUFA’s Status of Women Committee, recognizes women who have improved the lives and working conditions of academic women and, by extension, their colleagues, families, and communities.

“Helene has been a beacon of leadership for academic women at Brescia University College and across Ontario,” said Melissa Jean, President of the Brescia Faculty Association. “She has been a consistent, strong, and supportive voice, with a deep understanding of the historic and current issues faced by working women in the province.”

Professor Cummins has been a vocal and inspiring voice in her community. When Brescia’s internal governing council considered eliminating the institution’s Equity Committee in 2015-16, she rallied faculty and staff to convince the council of the committee’s critical importance. As Chair of OCUFA’s Status of Women Committee, Professor Cummins travelled across Ontario to hear from women about their experiences working in the academic profession. Drawing on this experience, she worked tirelessly to educate faculty associations and universities about the persistent inequities that women in the academy continue to face and to identify solutions to address these challenges.

“OCUFA is committed to advancing and protecting the personal, professional and academic interests of women in the academy,” said Judy Bates, President of OCUFA. “That is why we are so thankful for Helene Cummins’ leadership, and so proud to present her with this honor for her exceptional commitment and contributions to the struggle for equity.”

Professor Cummins will receive her award at a ceremony hosted by OCUFA in Toronto on February 11, 2017.

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 28 faculty associations across Ontario.  For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at


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