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Spring 2014 | Issue #2

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Come, I shall tell you, and listen and convey the story,
What paths of inquiry alone there are for thinking
The one that is and that cannot be
Is the road of persuasion, for it accompanies truth.

Parmenides, Truth fr. 2

From the Dean

As you are well aware, the Destination project is now underway. We are in the early stages but it will soon pick up STEAM. It is my intent to keep you informed of our progress through various fora. At our last Deans Advisory Council (DAC), the technical committee for the new science building outlined for us four principles that will guide and inform decisions in a way that will help integrate the new building with the campus and the community. The four principles are: 1). Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and teaching; 2) Science on display; 3) Intensive outreach and entrepreneurial engagement; and 4) Innovative / state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities that promote engaged and experiential learning.

I would like to speak to the first principle and would point to John Taylor’s book, Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming our Colleges and Universities (New York, 2010). There is a lot in this book that I would not necessarily advocate, but he recommends a number interesting changes to how we do business as academics. Taylor sees two issues with the current state of universities: first knowledge, as it is acquired within the academic setting has become increasingly fragmented in the sense that graduate students, who come to populate our universities as professors (so you and me), are increasingly trained to be experts in ever more specialized fields of study, essentially subfields within subfields. This trend towards specialization has meant that over time “so-call cutting-edge work became more and more about less and less” (45). Ouch, I feel that one! We no longer educate Wilamowitzes, or Mommsens who are broadly and deeply trained (Wilamowitz and Mommsen are icons in Classics circles, and I would invite you to look them up).

Further, this narrow approach to research has shaped our curriculum to the extent that we offer courses to fit our little subfields of research. This may be less of an issue here than in larger institutions, where by necessity as members of smaller programs we have to teach more broadly and widely, but as Taylor notes “as the interests of those faculty members become more specialized and the subjects of their publications more esoteric, the curriculum becomes increasingly fragmented and the educational process loses its coherence as well as its relevance for the boarder society” (4). At the same time faculties within universities have become more internally fragmented (64). Again this is perhaps less a concern for us, as we have a combined Faculty of Arts and Science with a strong emphasis on Liberal Education, and this might be one of our most important strengths, enabling us to better connect with and shape the new realities of our students. Moreover, we already have programs and conduct research that cross traditional disciplinary lines. Again as Taylor puts it, “as these divisions [within the university] were growing and deepening, the world was becoming more interconnected” (68). Sadly, or perhaps nostalgically for me, a great disciplinary believer (however, of a discipline that is inherently interdisciplinary, namely Classics), in Taylor’s estimation, we are committed to an outdated model of the university (with its disciplinary structure) that goes back to Kant (18-19), which may no longer be effective in dealing with “the expansion of knowledge and increasing complexity of problems created by the proliferation of information and emergence of new areas of inquiry [that] can no longer be confined within traditional disciplinary boundaries” (18-19).

The second issue, which is directly related to the first, is that this fragmented approach to knowledge acquisition does not meet the needs of our students who belong to the network culture, to use Taylor’s term, where information moves freely in various forms across open and decentralized networks on the web, and as it circulates is broken down, reassembled, modified, added to and layered upon, in a sense creating hypertexts. According to Taylor, the university and the wider world have been moving apart over the last half century (112). This network culture has led to increasing interconnectedness, interdependence, greater diversity, the rapid movement of information and “an explosive growth in the amount of information to which people have ready access. Not only is the quantity of information growing, its substance is also changing” (112). In fact, the amount of information has become so vast and so varied that it is impossible for one area on its own to prepare students to assess it critically. But instead of interconnectedness and interdependence, universities have become fragmented internally, research narrowly focused to the point that it is difficult to communicate across disciplines, and expertise has become defined only in terms of a narrow specialization and not in the ability to interconnect disparate fields (113). In Taylor’s view “the narrow research of faculty members and rigid departmental organization have a negative effect on teaching and students” (115). Again, ouch.

In the end, Taylor does not advocate exploding disciplinary boundaries but building on their traditional strengths, by creating courses that resemble the structure of hypertexts that integrate different aspects of learning from across disciplines (see pp.117-138 for his discussion on some of the courses which he has taught at Brown and elsewhere), and by developing what he calls emerging zones of enquiry to complement the traditional divisions of Science, Social Science and Humanities. These emerging zones are different from ‘traditional’ interdisciplinary departments (Asian Studies, Jewish Studies, Women Studies), which over time take on all the trappings of departments, becoming isolated and ossified “rather than opening lines across disciplinary boundaries and encouraging constant change” (146). I think this is what Taylor is looking for in his structure, constant change. These emerging zones are organized around a problem or theme, aimed at developing collaboration between faculty and students within traditional disciplines. They are reviewed every seven years to determine whether they are still relevant and should be renewed or discontinued. Under his proposal every faculty member and student would be required to participate in the program. I am not sure I would go that far, but such a program could lead to some interesting and exciting collaborations both in terms of research and teaching. Taylor suggests that all students develop not only competence in a specific area of study or discipline, but also complete an interdisciplinary program focused on a theme or problem in an emerging zone (130; 146). The value of this is that it forces students to work across a range of disciplines and areas of enquiry and bring that to bear on a single problem; the skills and critical thinking which they would develop from this kind of study would prepare them for the challenges of the twenty-first century.

Some interdisciplinary food for thought.

Dean, Craig Cooper

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New Associate Dean

Dr. Jackie RiceDr. Jacqueline Rice, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, appointed as Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science, for a three-year term, effective January 1, 2014.

Dr. Rice is an exemplary teacher and scholar. She holds a NSERC Discovery Grant, which was renewed in 2012. She engages in a wide range of research activity on reversible logic and socio-linguistic differences in programming languages. Her research and teaching interests cross disciplines, and she is a keen advocate of Liberal Education.  She has been involved in STEM outreach, working with Advancement though her efforts with LUMACS. Dr. Rice has also served as Coordinator of Computer Science.

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Research Round-up

Feb 26 '14 | University celebrates research excellence

The University of Lethbridge continued its prodigious growth as a leading comprehensive academic and research institution over the past year, once again gaining national recognition as one of Canada’s top-three undergraduate research universities. On February 26th the University recognized faculty members and postdoctoral fellows from across campus at the U of L’s annual Celebrating Research event, honouring those who received academic research awards of distinction, secured research funding or published their research findings in the past year. To view a full list of those being recognized at this evening’s reception, follow this link.

Feb 24 '14 | Protein function discovery could advance antibiotic development

A new discovery made partly by University of Lethbridge researchers could one day lead to more effective and efficient antibiotics, biofuels and other bioengineered products.

Dr. Jennifer Mather

Feb 12 '14 | Octopus got your tongue?

It’s an unusual coupling: A linguist and a marine biologist are working together to investigate the human tongue. In their study, the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences researchers are using two species of octopus and tiny worms that helped win a Nobel Prize.

Feb 3 '14 | University launches C-CRAFT, advancing the science of fluorine chemistry

A new initiative to advance the science of fluorine chemistry will make the University of Lethbridge Canada’s leading institution for studying and developing useful applications for this reactive element.

Jan 29 '14 | ARTeMiS helps Hopkinson get a better look at our Earth

In the world of academic research, acronyms are pervasive, condensing the titles of everything from funding agencies to prestigious fellowships. But in the case of University of Lethbridge geography researcher Dr. Christopher Hopkinson, the acronym for his latest project is not only an easy-to-remember abbreviation, but also a symbol of the initiative’s ambitions.

Jan 9 '14 | McDaniel examining possible Canadian labour shortage and skills crisis

University of Lethbridge researcher Dr. Susan McDaniel is examining whether or not an approaching labour shortage or skills crisis looms in Canada.

Jan 8, '14 | U of L researchers get funding boost from Canada Foundation for Innovation

Drs. Chris Hopkinson and Locke Spencer will both see investments in technical equipment essential in furthering their research projects

Dec 12 '13 | Efficient and cleaner oil production could result from Hazendonk, U of L research

Understanding the architecture of asphaltene, the heaviest element in bitumen, allows researchers to develop products that could aid the processes for extracting and upgrading crude oil

Dec 2 '13 | McDaniel study seeks to understand supply and demand of migrant care workers

The $2.85 million Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Grant is exploring the demographic, economic and policy factors that affect the global supply and demand of migrant care workers

Nov 28 '13 | Women with disabilities still facing barriers as they seek relationships, motherhood

Eugenic sterilization is no longer legal in Alberta, but some people with disabilities continue to experience barriers when it comes to having children

Nov 22 '13 | Alexander named Canada Research Chair in Child and Youth Studies

Dr. Kristine Alexander, an assistant professor of history at the University of Lethbridge, is named a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Child and Youth Studies

Nov 22 '13 | Bibby survey shows football thriving in Canada

Sociologist Dr. Reg Bibby reports that not only is football interest on the rise, but the Canadian Football League is more than holding its own against the National Football League in terms of popularity

Spotlight on Conferences & Events

Planning is now underway for our 12th Annual Research in Religious Studies Conference to be held on May 8 and 9, 2014. 

Note: our conference has been held in Lethbridge since its inception in 2003 but since the regional American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature meeting will take place in Calgary we are pleased to relocate for this one year. This will make travel to the conference much easier for students from other locales in and outside of Alberta. Prof. James Linville remains the primary contact person; therefore, please contact him  with any questions, etc.

The conference provides undergraduate and graduate level students with the opportunity to present papers on the history, belief, practices, cultural contexts, and artistic or literary expressions of any religious tradition. Proposals for papers from any discipline within the academic fields of the humanities and social science are welcome.

The conference is open to students from any educational institute at any point in their educational career. Although we encourage PhD students to attend, we are particularly seeking papers by undergraduate and masters level students.

Papers will be selected on basis of abstracts submitted.

Click here to submit your abstract. To learn more about this conference, please visit the website.

RiboWest2014 10th Annual Meeting to take place at University of Lethbridge, June 18-21, 2014.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Tom Steitz, Yale University, USA
  • Joan Steitz, Yale University, USA

Invited Speaker:

  • Nahum Sonenberg, McGill University, Canada
  • Brenda Bass, University of Utah, USA
  • François Bachand, Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
  • Bonnie Schmidt, Let’s Talk Science, Canada

UofL Buffalo In 2014, the RiboWest Conference will take place for the 10th time, and we would like to invite you to this special event! The UofL and ARRTI are proud to host the event and welcome all to campus. To celebrate the 10th anniversary, there will be more fascinating speakers than before and some special events such as a trip to the Rocky Mountains. The RiboWest Conference is an annual meeting of RNA researchers from western Canada and beyond. In particular, we welcome whole research groups to attend as we offer several opportunities for young researchers in a very friendly setting. This meeting is an excellent opportunity for networking, establishing new collaborations and having fun in sharing our enthusiasm for RNA. The first RiboWest Conference has been organized in 2005 by Stephen Rader at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, BC. Since 2008, this annual Conference alternates between Prince George and Lethbridge.







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Students | What are They Up To?

Please congratulate some of our current grad students—Karissa Patton, Anastasia Sereda, Arielle Perrotta, Brittney Adams—whose panel titled "Feminist Borders and Boundaries of Southern Alberta: Grad Student Activists' Experiences" has been accepted for presentation at the Annual Conference of Women and Gender Studies et Recherches Feministes (WGSRF) to be held in St. Catharines, Ontario. The conference will be held Sunday May 25 to Tuesday May 27, 2014. If you are attending CONGRESS this year, their  session is scheduled for Tuesday, May 27th from 2:15 - 3:00 PM.

Lydia Ryall (BSc '06) | Lydia wins Outstanding Young Farmer award. First sole recipient of this award and recognized as the first woman whose name will appear without her husband.

Ahmed Farag Ali (PhD '12) | Ahmed's paper "Nonsingular Rainbow Universes" published in Scientific American, highlighted in Nature Middle East and discussed on TV show "SUNRISE". Ahmed says he owes a lot to both Dr. Saurya Das and the PhD program at uLethbridge. Ahmed did his Ph.D. at the UofL under my Dr. Das's supervision, and graduated in 2012, immediately following which he was employed as a faculty member at Benha University and Zewail City of Science and Technology, both prestigious institutions of higher learning and research in Egypt. In their work, Ahmed and his collaborators use the idea that light of different colours (or frequencies) travel along slightly different paths in our cosmos filled with gravity (“Gravity’s rainbow”), and consequently do not meet at the same singular position in the far past, about 14 billion years ago, at the time of the so-called big bang. Therefore, our universe, although expanding, and would have been very small in the past, may not have started at a single point; instead, it could have been there forever. If true, their prediction would be a really fundamental and important one, having implications for the start (or not), the evolution and ultimate fate of our universe.


Parasitism: The Diversity and Ecology of Animal Parasites, Cambridge University Press. 2014

Goater helps breathe new life into textbook | An internationally recognized textbook on parasites has received a substantial upgrade due to the efforts of a University of Lethbridge biologist, his brother and an American colleague.
Dr. Cam Goater, his brother and an American colleague spent eight years rewriting The second edition of Parasitism - The Diversity and Ecology of Animal Parasites. The second edition of Parasitism: The Diversity and Ecology of Animal Parasites, published by Cambridge University Press, is the result of years of work performed by the U of L’s Dr. Cam Goater (biological sciences), his brother Dr. Timothy Goater from Vancouver Island University and Gerald Esch of Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

John Harding's latest publication release | Prof. John Harding's latest publication "Poets and Pilgrims: From Saigyo to Shikoku" has been published in Landscape and Travelling East and West - A Philosophical Journey (Publisher: Bloomsbury).

Hillary Rodrigues, General Editor | Routledge has just published Studying Islam in Practice.

Linda Many Guns provided cultural support and expertise for the book Buffalo Stone (Heritage Press), part of a series of texts that will provide cultural knowledge for teachers in the Alberta school systems. The book includes a manual of traditional activities for grades 4 to 7. A book launch will be held during Native Awareness Week this spring.

Yale Belanger received a Social Housing In Action (SHIA) "Innovation in Housing First" award for "research in support of the Social Housing in Action program and ongoing Lethbridge initiatives" in December 2013. Yale's new book, Blockades or Breakthroughs? Aboriginal Peoples Confront the Canadian State, co-edited with P.W. Lachenbauer, was recently accepted for publication by McGill-Queen's University Press, and will be forthcoming in 2014.

Dr. Robert McDonald


McDonald earns visiting fellowship to Oxford University | University of Lethbridge neuroscience professor Dr. Robert McDonald has been elected for a prestigious visiting fellowship appointment at Corpus Christi College at Oxford University in spring 2015.

In a recent Compute Canada resource allocation competition HJ Wieden was awarded 390 000 hours of processor time, and Stacey Wetmore was awarded over one million hours.

Students to participate in U of L's first Three Minute Thesis competition | Seven University of Lethbridge graduate students will give compelling research presentations on Monday, Mar. 3 and Saturday, Mar. 15 – and will do so in fewer than 180 seconds. The Three Minute Thesis is an internationally recognized research communication competition that was developed by the University of Queensland in 2008. It challenges thesis-based graduate students to give a compelling presentation about their research and its significance in three minutes or less. Hosted by the U of L’s School of Graduate Studies and Graduate Students’ Association, it is the first year this competition will take place at the U of L.

After a long hiatus, MA students have joined the philosophy department again, beginning with two students and the peer-assistance program, developed by Ardis Anderson, continues to provide assistance to philosophy students from our best senior students.

Destination 2020

Destination 2020, the U of L's 2014/19 Strategic Plan, is released | The University of Lethbridge has released a new strategic roadmap that will guide the University forward over the next five years. The U of L’s 2014/19 Strategic Plan, dubbed Destination 2020, outlines the U of L’s strategic priorities and identifies actions to ensure its goals are realized.

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Upcoming Events

Mar 3-7 '14 | Native Awareness Week
The University of Lethbridge and the Native American Students Association is excited to present the annual Native Awareness Week celebration, Mar. 3-7. A number of activities from Pow Wows to medicine bag making, to drumming contests and fry bread tastings are scheduled to run throughout the week.

Mar 6 '14 | SACPA On-Campus Session
The Pros and Cons of Abolishing the Indian Act. Recent events have brought issues of treaties, reserves, land claims, and the Indian Act to the forefront of political discourse in Canada. The speaker has written extensively on aboriginal history, culture and politics and has a keen understanding of the relationship between Aboriginal Peoples and the Government of Canada.

March 12 '14 | University Scholar Presentation
"Humans evolved by not evolving?" by Dr. Louise Barrett, Professor of Psychology and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Cognition, Evolution, and Behaviour.

Mar 13 '14 | Physics Colloquium Series
SPEAKER: Dr. Yansun Yao, Assistant Professor
Department of Physics and Engineering Physics
University of Saskatchewan

TITLE: Thermodynamic ground state of MgB6 :A theoretical prediction

Mar 20 '14 | COHT 2014 Speaker Series
Dr. Jenna Bailey will present The Cooperative Correspondence Club 1936-1990: Researching and Writing about a Secret Women's Magazine.

Mar 21 '14 | Prentice Brown Bag Lecture Series w. Trevor Harrison
“A Tale of Two (Global) Cities: London, New York, and the Rise of Finance Capital”. Presenter: Dr. Trevor Harrison, Professor of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Science, Associate Director and Research Affiliate of the Prentice Institute, UofL

Mar 21 '14 | Community groups have opportunity to present at annual CURE event
In an effort to ensure research at the University of Lethbridge is accessible to community groups and industry, as well as create opportunities for collaboration between faculty members and external stakeholders, the U of L will be hosting its second annual Community University Research Exchange (CURE) event on March 21, 2014.

Mar 23 '14 | Day of Math 2014
Department of Mathematics & Computer Science present Day of Math 2014. Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 9:00am-5:50pm UHall B660. Spread the word about this day filled with fun math activities—with cash prizes for the winning team—for high school students.

Mar 28 '14 | "Your Affectionate Little Elma: Lady Elma Bruce's Archive of her Imperial Childhood" by Dr. Jarrett Henderson, Assistant Professor of History at Mount Royal University. Co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Institute for Child and Youth Studies at the University of Lethbridge. 3pm, B650.

Mar 28 '14 | Save the Date: Social Sciences and Humanities Ethics Symposium
Please mark your calendars for an upcoming research ethics symposium sponsored by the Office of Research and Innovation Services. The symposium will address issues relevant to human subjects research ethics in social science and humanities research, and is tentatively scheduled for March 28 2014. They are hoping for a full-day event.

Apr 2 "14 | COHT 2014 Speaker Series
Dr. James Tagg will present The First Generation of the University of Lethbridge Oral History Project.

Apr 3 '14 | Prentice Brown Bag Lecture Series w Glenda Bonifacio
“Youth Bulge in Selected Asian Populations: Gender, Migration and Development”. Presenter: Dr. Glenda Bonifacio, PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Women and Gender Studies, Prentice Institute Research Affiliate, UofL

PIMS Distinguished Visitor(s)

Prof. Olivier Ramaré (CNRS/Université de Lille 1) Visiting from February 21 to March 6, office D518.

Prof. Minhyong Kim (University of Oxford)
Visiting from May 11 to May 15, 2014.

Deadlines to Note

May 1 '14 | Deadline to apply for the International Livestock Congress Beef 2014-Student Bursary Program. Please spread the news to students in ag related majors. Visit the ILC website for more information.

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