News of Social Sciences Faculty and Staff

A Summer of Scholarship

July 2016: Faculty at VIU wasted no time in launching their scholarly activity for the summer months. In May, with the assistance of a SSHRC Connections grant, Dr Beth McLin (Criminology) and Dr Sylvie Lafrenière (Sociology) organised the Couch Stone Symposium, the annual international meeting of the Society for Symbolic Interaction, which attracted to VIU such figures as Dr David Altheide (Arizona State University). Another participant, Dr Roy Janisch (Pittsburg State University), will, with the aid of the Jarislowsky Foundation, be spending next academic year at VIU as Fulbright Canada Jarislowsky Visiting Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies, and attached to the Criminology Department.

Also in May, at the Planning Institute of BC Conference in Kelowna, Dr Pam Shaw, Mark Holland and Dr David Witty (Community Planning) formed a panel on "What Planners Need to Know," and Pam also participated in a panel on "Public Consultation Horror Stories and Victories." Pam was elected this summer to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

In June, Dr Imogene Lim (Anthropology) made the headlines at an exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver which included her collection of Chinese restaurant menus and showcased her research into the implications of artefacts of this sort for the understanding of the cultural interaction of Chinese, Canadian, Chinese-Canadian and other communities. Imogene was also interviewed on CBC Radio in connection with this topic. More information.

Faculty Update

March 2016: Pam Shaw (Community Planning & Geography), as principal investigator working with other members of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute, has been successful in securing a grant of US$35,800 from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. The grant falls under CEC's North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action and will support a project entitled Collaborative Environmental Monitoring in a UNESCO Biosphere: A Pilot Project in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region. Meanwhile, Joanne Falvai and Beth McLin (Criminology have launched their prison education programme Inside Out at the Nanaimo Correctional Centre. Lastly, Liberal Education, Civic Education, and the Canadian Regime: Past Principles and Present Challenges, a collection of essays edited by David Livingstone (Liberal Studies & Political Studies) has been published by McGill-Queen's University Press.

Research News

February 2016: A chapter by Matt Bowes (Geography) has been included in Domestic Animals and Leisure, a book edited by Neil Carr and published by Palgrave Press. "Parks, Dogs and Beaches: Wildlife Conflict and the Politics of Place" is drawn from Matt's recently completed PhD thesis.

The Sociology of Mompreneurship

December 2015: Following the publication in the Demeter Press book Mothering in the Age of Neoliberalism (2014) of Gillian Anderson and Joey Moore's article “Doing It All...and Making It Look Easy!: Yummy Mummies, Mompreneurs and the North American Neoliberal Crises of the Home,” Dr Anderson has been taking full advantage of her current sabbatical to continue work on the same theme, presenting at two papers in England in September: “Stories of Struggle: Feminisms Resist Neoliberalism” at the annual Women’s History Network conference at the University of Kent, and “Feminist Resistance and the Importance of Coalitional Opposition in Neoliberal Times: The Cross Sectoral Violence Against Women Strategy Group” at the Biennial Feminist and Women’s Studies Association conference at the University of Leeds. These were followed up by “Mothering, Mompreneurship and Precarious Work,” presented in the series Lunch and Learn at VIU. 

Grant Awards for New Initiatives

November 2015: Social Sciences faculty have received external funding to support a number of new learning intiatives in the coming year. Joanne Falvai and Beth McLin (Criminology), with the support of the Vancouver Foundation, will launch in January a three-year pilot, Inside-Out, in which they will offer a class to a combination of fourth-year Criminology students and inmates at the Nanaimo Correctional Centre who are in transition to release. Alex Netherton (Political Studies), with the support of Elections BC, will design and offer a course in which students will investigate the low participation of youth in provincial elections and make recommendations to the non-partisan agency on how this might be improved. David Livingstone (Liberal Studies), with the support of the Institute for Liberal Studies, will inaugurate the Malaspina Fellows Program, a collaboration between the Liberal Studies Department and the Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre. Students selected as Malaspina Fellows will take part in a co-curricular seminar on concepts of freedom, and this activity will be connected to the imminent launch of an online undergraduate journal, The Compass Rose, edited by Liberal Studies students under Dr Livingstone's direction.

New Faculty Members

August 2015: We are pleased to report that, after Paul Zandbergen (GIS) joined us from the University of New Mexico in January, Matthew Bowes and Jessica Craig, the latter as Technician, have also become regular faculty in the Geography Department, and that Jeff Nicol has accepted a regular position in Psychology.

Only Connect!

August 2015: Feverish preparations are underway for the September start of a suite of intergrated courses which will introduce new students to university life, the skills of academic discourse and the peers with whom they will share the development of those skills. The Connexions programme includes participation from Liberal Studies, Criminology, Geography and Sociology.

Retirements and Honorary Research Appointments and Activities

July 2015: This year's retirees include Tim Naegele (Geography), Brad Piekkola (Psychology) and Cheryl Roy (Anthropology). Cheryl and Brad have accepted positions as Honorary Research Associates in, respectively, the Anthropology Department and the Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre. Cheryl will continue her archaeological research, and Brad is writing a book on the history of psychological theory. Meanwhile HRA Alan Warnke (Political Studies) has given two recent conference papers: "Confucianism and the Moral Community in Contemporary China" to the Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast conference at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California; and (with Sven Schirmer) "Public Discussion and the Digital News Media: A Myth or an Enhancement of Democracy" at the Thirteenth International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities at the University of British Columbia.

Angel Wings for Andra Thakur

June 2015: Honorary Research Associate and former professor of Anthropology Andra Thakur has been honoured by the Pipiol Angels with its Angel Wings Award. The Florida-based organisation made the award to recognise Dr Thakur's work through the Nanaimo Sewing School to set up and run sewing schools providing occupations and therefore livelihoods to women in Guyana, Haiti and Trinidad. Dr Thakur trained as a tailor before taking up his academic career, and still keeps his hand in producing excellent shirts and other garments for his friends.

Sad News

March 2015: We are very sorry to report that recently retired Psychology Professor Chuck Lemery has died after a long illness.

Our Second Master's Programme!

March 2015: Applications are now being accepted for our new Master of Geographic Information Systems Applications programme, which builds on the existing Advanced Diploma to promote higher-level skills in this high-growth field. Meanwhile, the Master of Community Planning has received twice as many applications as there are places!

Anthropology Course Changes the World

January 2015: The Anthropology of Homelessness course taught by Helene Demers is well known for raising consciousness about this important social issue. Now the course has inspired an important community action project involving students at Dover Bay Secondary School: Full story.

Geography Professor Honoured

November 2014: Pam Shaw has received triple honours in recent days. She was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society at its meeting this month in Ottawa, where she had also been selected to take part in Deepening Canada-Brazil Research Collaboration through Effective Partnerships, a key research initiative launched by the Canadian Bureau for International Education. Finally, she was declared VIU's "Hot-Shot Prof" in the Toronto Globe and Mail's post-secondary education supplement

Visit from Italian Chef

November 2014: One of the highlights of the World VIU Days this month was the visit of Chef Marcella Ansaldo from Florence, Italy. Organised by Imogene Lim (Anthropology) and Debbie Shore (Culinary Arts), the visit included a talk on "Authenticity in Italian Cooking" and an Italian dinner prepared by Chef Ansaldo and VIU students. It set the scene for a combined Culinary Arts & Anthropology field school planned for the spring of 2015.

Social Sciences Faculty Active in Community

October 2014: VIU prides itself on its faculty's strong commitment to engagement with communities outside the university. This month, for example, Imogene Lim (Anthropology) was appointed by the provincial government to the Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council, which advises government on how to implement recommendations made in the Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation Final Report. Tony Robertson (Psychology) gave a talk on "The Connection Between Traumatic Brain Injury and Depression" to the Nanaimo Brain Injury Society. Previously, Dave Cake (Geographic Information Systems) travelled to Kiev to oversee the startup of courses he and colleagues Michael Govorov and Brad Maguire devised for Ukrainian government employees.

Institute for Practical Philosophy on Ethical Investment

October 2014: As part of its ongoing activities the Institute for Practical Philososophy, directed by Robert Pepper-Smith (Philosophy), publishes a regular newsletter on ethical investment. The Fall 2014 edition has just been released.

Our First Master's Programme!

September 2014: The Faculty of Social Sciences is proud to announce that we have received Ministerial approval to offer our new Master of Community Planning programme, subject to enrolment, beginning in Septmber 2015. Congratulations are due to proponents Pam Shaw and Don Alexander (Geography), and to Provost and Vice-President Academic David Witty, all of whom played a major rôle in the design of the programme and in ushering the proposal through the approval process.

New Faculty Members

August 2014: Archaeologist Marina La Salle is our new professor in Anthropology, filling the position left open by the retirement of Gay Frederick. The Faculty also welcomes the following sessional instructors who will be joining us for the first time this year: Tammy Dorward and Jennifer Kusz (Criminology); Zoe Dalton, Michele Patterson and Jim Windsor (Geography); and Paul Zandbergen (Geographic Information Systems).

Imminent Publication

August 2014: Broadview Press will soon publish an updated edition of Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur by Maureen Okun (Liberal Studies). Reviewer Nicholas Watson, Professor of English at Harvard University, wrote, "I am most impressed with the elegant selection and presentation of Malory's great romance in this new edition. ... This will be the edition of choice not only for literary surveys and introductory medieval courses but also for courses in Arthurian literature and in the history of romance and fantasy. I highly recommend this book."

Retirement News

July 2014: Chuck Lemery (Psychology) and John Anderson (Criminology) have retired from the Faculty. We thank them for all their sterling contributions over the years and wish them peace and joy in the future.

Teaching Awards

June 2014: Two member of the Geography Department received teaching awards this year: Pam Shaw the VIU Provost's Award for Teaching Design and Practice that Employs Experiential Learning; and Michael Tripp the J. Alistair McVey Award for Teaching Excellence in the Disciplie of Geography, given at the Western Division Canadian Association of Geographers Conference.

Fast on His Feet!

April 2014: Mark Blackell (Liberal Studies and Political Studies) completed the Vancouver Marathon in the impressive time of three hours, 14 minutes, thus qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2015.

New Community Research Course

April 2014: Sylvie Lafrenière (Sociology), Beth McLin (Criminology) and Bob Willis (MBA) are organizing an interdisciplinary applied community research course for September. They will select five or six students from each department to conduct research to meet the needs of a community organization. There will be three projects, lasting from September 2014 until April 2015, and students will be assigned to the group working on each on the basis of their interests.

The groups will assess the needs of the client organizations, prepare a proposal, go through ethics review, design the research, collect and analyze the data, present their results at CREATE and submit a report to the client at the end. Weekly meetings of the three professors and all students will guide the process.

Students (with 3rd- or 4th-year standing) may apply by sending a letter of interest and a résumé to one of the professors A selection process with interviews will take place at the end of August.

Dean's Seminar to be Launched in January

December 2013: After approval by Senate, a new interdisciplinary seminar course will be offered to upper-level Social Science students from any discipline. The 1-credit course will involve reading and discussing with Dean John Black key works relevant to the social sciences, in the first instance the 1844 Manuscripts by Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Friedrich Engels. Grading will be on a pass/fail basis, and there are no written assignments. Because a high level of participation is required, enrolment is limited to 15, and to those on the BA Deans' Honour List or recommended to the Dean by faculty.

Retirees Honoured

June 2012: This year has seen or will see the retirement of a number of valued colleagues, including professors Gary Tunnell and Jackie Bates (both Anthropology), as well as Diane Pollard and Lynn McCaw (Psychology). Gatherings of staff and faculty were held in January and June to mark these momentous occasions, with much sharing of memories and best wishes for the future.