David Sherry named as a Western University Distinguished University Professor

March 19, 2019

 David Sherry, Profoessor of Psychology

David Sherry, Professor of Psychology, has been named as a Western University Distinguished University Professor for 2019.

Sherry is widely acknowledged as the international research leader in his field. His research, teaching and service activities have helped shape Western’s global reputation as an internationally leader in the fields of neuroscience as well as avian research, and for being an international destination for students.

Sherry has led and created programs in Neuroscience and Animal Behaviour, as well as the world-renowned Advanced Facility for Avian Research.

Sherry played a key leadership role in obtaining multiple CFI grants to establish Western as an international leader in avian research in general, and in the field of the evolution of memory and the brain in particular.

“It is an honour and a privilege to receive this recognition as Distinguished University Professor from the Western community,” said Sherry. “I am very grateful to the people who nominated me, and to the many colleagues and students who have made research and teaching at Western exciting and rewarding.”

Sherry has sustained an internationally acclaimed program of research for over 40 years. He has been a pioneer in exploring how evolution has shaped memory and cognition, and has a leading international reputation in the study of how birds and other species have evolutionary specializations in brain and behaviour.

The field of research for which Sherry was a leading pioneer is now, literally, a text-book example of evolutionary specialization of brain and cognition and is taught in classrooms around the world. Sherry’s research, teaching, and service have had impact across the university including in the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Faculty of Science.

Beyond his outstanding research contributions, David Sherry has had a tremendous impact on the student experience at Western through his classroom teaching, his mentoring of students, and, at a larger scale, his program and curriculum development. His excellence in teaching has been recognized by the Faculty of Social Science through its inaugural Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and a nomination for the Pleva award in 2016, as well as by being six times on the University Students Council Teaching Honour Roll between 1995 and 2016.

“Research and teaching are two sides of the same coin for me. The University provides a unique environment to pursue research questions simply because they are interesting, unanswered, and challenging,” said Sherry. “At the same time, research gives us a reason to teach, a reason to share our enthusiasms, our way of asking research questions, and our ideas about what makes a question important, in any academic field.  Students respond very strongly to the idea that there is so much still to be discovered. Teaching imparts that attitude and research puts it into action.”

Many students have said that David Sherry has changed the way they view the world. These attributes epitomize what we all value and hope for in a university education. Beyond teaching the course material, David is educating, and helping students achieve an ability to think critically and communicate effectively, regardless of their career ambitions.

Established in 2005, The Distinguished University Professor Award recognizes sustained excellence in scholarship over a substantial career at Western. Scholarship is broadly defined to include research, teaching and service to the community. Thus, this award is not a recognition solely of research excellence, which is the purpose of the Helmuth Prize, nor is it a recognition solely of teaching excellence, which is the purpose of the Pleva Award. The Distinguished University Professorship will recognize sustained excellence as a complete scholar.