June 25, 2019

Social work prof wins peer recognition for outstanding career

David Este recognized with prestigious Canadian Association of University Teachers Lee Lorch Award
University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work professor David Este is the recipient of the 2019 Canadian Association of University Teachers Lee Lorch Award.

David Este is the recipient of the 2019 Canadian Association of University Teachers Lee Lorch Award.

Kloie Picot, for the Faculty of Social Work

Faculty of Social Work professor Dr. David Este, PhD, was recently recognized with the Lee Lorch Award, one of the Canadian Association of University Teachers' (CAUT) highest honours. It’s the first time a University of Calgary professor has won this award. 

According to CAUT, the award recognizes an academic who has “excelled in each of the three principal aspects of academic life: teaching, research, and service to the institution and to the community. The recipient will be an individual whose teaching, research and service has contributed significantly to the lives of students, to their institution, to their field of study, and to the community.”

In his acceptance of the award, Este said, “It truly is an honour to have been nominated by my dean and to have been selected as the recipient of the Lee Lorch Award. Although I am the individual recipient of this prestigious award, it would not have been possible without the support of my family, friends, colleagues, the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary, my peers across Canada, and the community partners with whom I had the pleasure to associate throughout my career. Thank you, CAUT, for bestowing upon me this highest honour.”

Este came to the Faculty of Social Work in 1992, after a career working as a medical social worker and researcher, and an evaluation consultant for the Calgary Health Region, Immigrant Services Calgary, and the Canadian Mental Health Association. 

His research has focused on different aspects of the immigrant/refugee experience in Canada. He has also been involved in research studies examining the health and well-being of people of African descent in Canada, and HIV/AIDS service utilization by African newcomers in Calgary. He was a co-primary investigator of the Strength in Unity Project that focused on reducing stigma around men’s mental health in several Asian communities. 

“I am so thrilled that Dr. Este was chosen as the very worthy recipient of the Lee Lorch award,” says Dr. Jackie Sieppert, dean of the Faculty of Social Work. “He is a wonderful colleague and citizen of the University of Calgary. Beyond recognizing his outstanding record as a teacher and researcher, I believe this award really reflects the positive change that David has created and led throughout his distinguished career. This award really reflects his ongoing contributions in forging a better and more inclusive Canada.”

Este is also the co-author of one book and co-editor of four volumes, including Racism and Anti-Racism in Canada, which he launched last fall. Este has also published extensively, including several journal articles and book chapters focused on issues related to immigration and diversity. During his career, Este has been deeply involved in the community, working extensively with a number of non-profit organizations including the United Way of Calgary, Woods’ Homes, and the Coalition for Equal Access to Education.  

One of Este’s most recent projects was the documentary film We Are the Roots: Black Settlers and Their Experiences of Discrimination on the Canadian Prairies, which he made with University of Lethbridge oral history professor and filmmaker Dr. Jenna Bailey, with Deborah Dobbins from Edmonton’s Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots. The film allowed Este to draw on his MA work at the University of Waterloo, where he focused on African-Canadian history. The film project was awarded the Governor General’s Award in History for Community Programming, along with several other major awards. Este says it was among the most satisfying works of his career.