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UBC Reports Jun 4, 2009

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VOL   55   I   NO   6   I   JUNE   4,   2009
3      Global diseases
4     Carbon footprint
5     Childhood maps
6      UBC teaching survey
Risking the ride to work
More people would jump on their bikes if cycling paths were separated from traffic, UBC Prof. Kay Teschke (pictured above) says.
In nine months, more than
1,100 adults have gone to
emergency wards in Vancouver
and Toronto for cycling-related
injuries, according to preliminary
findings of a UBC study released
for Bike Month.
The study is led by Prof. Kay
Teschke of UBC's School of
Population and Public Health,
one of 10 UBC researchers
participating in UBC's Cycling in
Cities research program, which
investigates how to make cities
research shows most cyclists
want to be away from traffic.
"But that's challenging, because
we are talking about cities that
are already built."
Teschke points to a recent
Vancouver program to increase
traffic calming on residential
street bike routes as an example
of a project that has resulted
from their work.
Teschke and colleagues from
the University of Toronto are
tracking all cycling-related
injuries that come through
emergency wards in two
"We hope to show cities how to build
pathways that are safer and more
Working with Transport
Canada, the City of Toronto,
Metro Vancouver, Translink and
other partners, Teschke says
the initiative's goal is to give
municipalities the information
they need to make the best
decisions for bike infrastructure
types and locations.
"By assessing routes for
injury risks and exploring the
factors that make people want
to cycle, we hope to show cities
how to build pathways that are
safer and more convenient,"
says Teschke, noting that their
of Canada's largest cities.
Preliminary results show that
more than 670 injured adult
cyclists went to the emergency
wards of St. Paul's Hospital or
Vancouver General Hospital
between June 2008 and March
2009. Nearly 450 went to the
emergency departments of St.
Michael's Hospital, Toronto
General Hospital, or Toronto
Western Hospital in Toronto
over the same period.
After interviewing the injured
cyclists, Teschke and her team
retrace their routes and study
where the injury occurred. "This
helps us to better understand
what led to the injury, identify
problem areas and make
recommendations for improving
safety," she says.
The project also surveyed more
than 1,400 Metro Vancouver
adults about which factors
encourage - or discourage -
cycling. It found that the majority
- nearly 60 per cent - had bikes,
but did not use them on a weekly
or monthly basis.
Asked about 16 different route
types and 73 other factors that
could influence cycling decisions,
participants ranked riding on
busy streets very low, expressing
a strong preference for paved
off-street paths for cyclists
only, traffic-calmed residential
streets designated for cycling,
and cycling paths separated
from major streets by a physical
If North America hopes to
reach cycling rates such as those
in Europe and Asia, planners
need a paradigm shift, says
"If we want to really grow our
numbers, we need to focus on
the underserved majority who
don't feel comfortable cycling
with traffic," she says, "older
people, women, people with
"People who cycle regularly
now are a minority," says
Teschke, noting that the typical
frequent cyclist is male, aged
25-45. "They may not like their
route options, but their threshold
for risk is such that they will
cycle on pretty much anything."
Funders for this initiative
include Canadian Institutes of
Health Research, Transport
Canada, Metro Vancouver
and its municipalities, the
Heart & Stroke Foundation
of Canada, the Michael Smith
Foundation for Health Research,
UBC's Centre for Health and
Environment Research and the
Bridge Program.
Learn about UBC's Cycling in
Cities research program at:
For more information about
cycling at UBC, visit the TREK
Program Centre at:
www.trek.ubc.ca. 13
Website helps cyclists find
easiest, greenest route
UBC researchers recently launched a new online
Cycling Metro Vancouver route-planning tool to help
cyclists find the easiest and least polluted route through
the region.
Informed by UBC Cycling in Cities research, the
website uses Google maps to help riders find their way
from place to place while minimizing air pollution, hills
and traffic congestion.
Development of the tool was led by Prof. Michael
Brauer, UBC School of Environment Health, in cooperation with TransLink.
Plan your trip at: www.cyclevancouver.ubc.ca 2     |     UBC    REPORTS     |    JUNE    4,    2009
Get Your Kids Outside St Active this Summer!
Check out our 2009 Junior Tennis Camps:
■Junior Developmental Camp-
•Junior High Performance Camp-
•Smash and Swim Camp-
•Futures III Camp-
Looking to get active yourself?
Check out these daytime adult camps:
Accelerated Beginner Camp-
Accelerated Intermediate Camp-
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Consulting Inc.
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ata Analysis • Survey Sampling • Statistical Education
Jonathan Berkowitz, Ph.D.                    4160 Staulo Crescent,Vancouver, B.C. V6N 3S2
Office:604-263-1508 • Fax:604-263-1708
Email: witz1@interchange.ubc.ca
Accommodation for UBC visitors
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Point Grey Guest House
4103 W. 10th Ave.Vancouver, B.C. 604-222-4104
www.pointgreyguesthouse.com    info@pointgreyguesthouse.com
Swimmer Annamay Pierse is the CIS Canadian female athlete ofthe year.
Highlights of UBC media coverage in May 2009. compiled by sean sullivan
Mail, CBC, The Canadian
Press and the Georgia
Straight reported on the study
by Economics Prof. Philip
The findings suggest that
Canadians and immigrants
with non-English names face
discrimination by employers
and help to explain why skilled
immigrants arriving under
Canada's point system - with
university degrees and significant
work experience - fare poorly
in today's labour market,
Oreopoulos says.
Teens smoke pot to deal with
health issues
UBC researchers say many
teens who smoke marijuana are
trying to find a way to cope with
mental and physical problems,
not aiming to just get high.
Dr. Joan L. Bottorff of
UBC and her team found that
adolescents who use marijuana
to deal with depression, grief,
stress or anxiety say they were
ignored by doctors or found
that prescribed treatments didn't
The findings, reported in
Reuters, Los Angeles Times and
Fox News, show that young
people need help from adults
to find other ways, such as
counseling, stress management
or social skills training, to cope
with difficulties in their lives.
Pierse named CIS athlete of
the year
UBC swimmer Annamay
Pierse was named the CIS
Canadian female athlete of the
Pierse earned top female
honours at the 17th annual BLG
Awards ceremony and received a
$10,000 scholarship to attend a
Canadian graduate school.
"I just came into this year
trying to better myself and better
my swimming and gave it pretty
much my all," Pierse told The
Canadian Press.
Ch'nook program looks to
engag aboriginal students
The Economist reported on
the Ch'nook Aboriginal Business
Education Program. The
initiative from the Sauder School
of Business at UBC aims to boost
aboriginal participation in post-
secondary business studies.
John Claxton, director of the
program, says although many
of the skills needed for business
are universal across cultures,
Ch'nooks can develop their own
unique, successful approach.
"We start by working to dispel
the stereotype that all businesses
are identical in terms of the
motivators behind business
activities," he says. "This makes
it easy for students to see how
their values can impact their
business practices."
Letyourmind wanderwhile
you work
A UBC study has found
daydreaming can be good for
MSNBC, AFP, The Mirror
and Le Figaro were among the
international media outlets that
seized upon psychology Prof.
Kalina Christoff s findings.
The study, published in the
Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, finds
that activity in numerous brain
regions increases when our
minds wander
"Mind wandering is typically
associated with negative things
like laziness or inattentiveness,"
says Christoff, of the UBC Dept.
of Psychology. "But this study
shows our brains are very active
when we daydream - much more
active than when we focus on
routine tasks."
Employers discriminate based
on names
Job applicants with English
names have a greater chance of
getting interviews than those
with Chinese, Indian or Pakistani
names, says a new study from
CTV, United Press
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from the source UBC    REPORTS     |    JUNE    4,    2009     |     3
Pharmaceutical Sciences Prof. Kishor Wasan has developed an oral formulation of anti-fungal drug Amp B that could help eradicate Visceral Leishmaniasis in the developing world.
New funding to study neglected global diseases
What began as a serendipitous
discovery in Prof. Kishor Wasan's
lab almost a decade ago may
soon help eradicate a painful and
fatal disease in the developing
world, thanks to an innovative
partnership among university,
government and industry and
a $600,000 grant towards
neglected global diseases.
Wasan, a Distinguished
University Scholar and
professor in the UBC Faculty of
Pharmaceutical Sciences, was
studying the delivery of water-
insoluble drugs in 2000 when
he discovered something new
about Amphotericin B (Amp B),
a powerful anti-fungal and antiparasitic agent.
immune system, leading to death.
According to the World Health
Organization, 1.5 million new
cases of VL are reported and
close to 60,000 die annually.
In use for more than 50
years, Amp B has been proven
effective against VL and blood-
borne fungal diseases that
affect HIV/AIDS and cancer
patients. Currently administered
intravenously, access to Amp B
is expensive and prohibitive for
underserved populations and
those in developing countries.
Wasan's oral formulation of Amp
B has recently been validated by
third-party scientists to be more
than 99 per cent effective in
animal models with minimal side
effects. This work is scheduled
for publication in The Journal of
"We were surprised to find that when
added to lipids, or fat, high levels of
the drug made it into the bloodstream
with no renal toxicity."
"We were surprised to find
that when added to lipids, or
fat, high levels of the drug made
it into the bloodstream with no
renal toxicity," says Wasan.
That discovery later inspired
the development of an oral
formulation of Amp B that
could greatly increase its
effectiveness - and reduce
the side effects - in treating
systemic fungal infections and
Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL).
VL, a parasitic disease that is
typically transmitted by sand
flies in areas with poor sanitation
conditions, attacks the liver and
spleen and destroys the patient's
Infectious Diseases, one of the
top journals in the area.
"As any pharmacist would tell
you, compliance greatly increases
when the drug can be taken
orally. This is especially pertinent
when we consider the population
and regions most affected
by VL," says Wasan. "Now
that we've got a formulation
of a drug that can be easily
administered and is effective in
treating the disease, the next
challenge is getting it to people
who need it the most."
Enter the UBC Global Access
Developed by the UBC
Industry Liaison Office and the
UBC chapter of the international
student group Universities
Allied for Essential Medicines
(UAEM), the Global Access
Initiative - the first of its kind in
a Canadian university - works
with university researchers and
industry partners to provide the
developing world with access
to UBC technologies. Last year,
Wasan's oral formulation of
Amp B became the first drug to
be licensed according to these
In addition to agreeing to
provide the drug at subsidized
costs to developing countries, the
drug's licensee, Vancouver-based
iCo Therapeutics, is co-funding
Wasan's Research Chair in Drug
Delivery for Neglected Global
Diseases with the Canadian
Institutes of Health Research
Wasan is putting the $600,000
award towards hiring graduate
students who could help
accelerate testing of the drug.
"Every minute, three people are
infected with this disease and we
have the knowledge and tools to
stop it," says Wasan, who is also
organizing a Neglected Global
Diseases workshop to bring
together top scientists from UBC
who are addressing neglected
global diseases that are prevalent
in developing countries.
Wasan says his uncle, a
physician in Mumbai, has seen
first-hand the impact VL has on
rural residents in India - and the
promise of a drug like Amp B.
"My family finally respects
me now," says Wasan jokingly.
"They say 'Kishor is doing
something useful with his
degree.'" 13
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Centre tracks Olympic carbon footprint
James Tansey, associate professor at UBC's Sauder School of Business, leads the school's Centre for Sustainability and Social Innovation. The centre -
graduates Jessica Langelaan and Kristina Welch - is tracking the carbon footprint of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
through the work of recent MBA
On the surface, it might strike
some as, well, an Olympian
challenge: Tracking and
forecasting the carbon footprint
of the upcoming Vancouver 2010
Winter Games.
But that's what a pair of recent
MBA graduates from UBC -
working with the university's
Centre for Sustainability and
Social Innovation (CSSI) - have
been tasked to do.
Over the past year, the centre,
which is hosted at the Sauder
School of Business and led by
associate professor James Tansey,
has been helping the Vancouver
Organizing Committee
(VANOC) develop a credible
methodology for measuring its
carbon footprint.
The project is being conducted
by MBA grads Jessica Langelaan
and Kristina Welch, both of
whom now work for the CSSI as
graduate fellows.
According to Langelaan, who
recently completed her MBA at
UBC in strategic management,
the scope of such an undertaking
is unprecedented for an Olympic
Winter Games.
"This is the first Olympic
Games to look at its footprint
from the bid's inception in
2003 through the wrap-up
of the Games," she said. In
comparison, the carbon footprint
measurement of Torino's Winter
Olympics only took into account
the 17 days of the event itself.
But the scope of this
undertaking is also significant for
other reasons.
Welch, who completed her
UBC MBA with a specialization
in sustainability, notes that most
traditional corporations, for
example, have had the benefit
of starting such an emissions
inventory program on a smaller
scale, and then ramping up
efforts incrementally over time.
"But this is a one-shot deal," she
In developing a methodology
to measure carbon emissions,
Welch looked at other sporting
events with a comparable scale
of size and impact - notably the
most recent FIFA World Cup
hosted in Germany.
It provided her with a
perspective on what worked -
and what could be improved
upon. The World Cup's carbon
measurement program took
into account emission activities
taking place within Germany
only. By contrast, the 2010
calculation is global, and factors
in Games-connected carbon
emissions that happen in Canada
and internationally.
"They had to make
assumptions that were right
for the time, but now we are
able to make a different set of
assumptions," said Welch.
There are a myriad of carbon
emitting activities that are being
measured for the 2010 Winter
Games - including the travel
of athletes and IOC members,
energy used to put on the athletic
competitions, and the impact of
spectators themselves.
There's also the carbon output
associated with the journey of
the Olympic Torch - whether
it's from the caravan of vehicles
travelling with it on the road,
or the passenger ferries that will
whisk it across bodies of water
en route to Vancouver.
"Anything that is core to
the Games is measured," said
So what will the 2010 Winter
Games' carbon footprint be?
At the World Conference on
Sport and the Environment in
March, VANOC announced an
estimate of 300,000 tonnes of
carbon dioxide emissions from
the Games. And in fall 2009,
thanks to the forecasting work of
Langelaan and Welch, VANOC
will release an updated forecast
of its carbon emissions.
"VANOC's comprehensive
approach demonstrates they are
taking their carbon responsibility
seriously," said CSSI director
James Tansey.
It is expected the 2009
estimate of the Games' carbon
footprint will be lower than
an estimate made in 2007 by
the David Suzuki Foundation,
because of ongoing efforts by
VANOC to conserve energy and
reduce carbon emissions. These
include expanding public transit,
replacing diesel generators with
cleaner hydro power, and tapping
into renewable energy sources.
"A key piece of this
undertaking is that you
understand what the footprint
looks like, and then you reduce
that footprint," said Langelaan.
www.sauder.ubc.ca/cssi IS
More than 6,800 students at UBC's Vancouver campus graduated this May. UBC Okanagan holds its ceremonies June 5. UBC    REPORTS     |
2009     I    5
Childhood development maps go Web 2.0
A unique tool that measures
early childhood development in
British Columbia is moving to
the web to make its data more
accessible to parents, educators,
policy makers and researchers
The UBC-based Early
Childhood Development
Mapping Project creates maps
illustrating data about children's
development and connects this
data to the socio-economic
characteristics of communities
where the children live. The
maps demonstrate how children
develop differently across B.C.
Leading this project is the
UBC-based Human Early
Learning Partnership (HELP), a
research network of more than
200 faculty members, researchers
and graduates from six B.C.
To date, these thematic maps
have only been available as PDF
files. Now, they're going online
as easy-to-use, interactive maps
that users can customize to meet
their community, school district
and decision-making needs.
"We've developed these maps
to make them easier to read and
absorb," says Jay Douillard,
Geospatial Technical Lead
for HELP's mapping project.
"This tool has the potential to
revolutionize the ways in which
educators and policy makers
approach early childhood
development through its
accessibility and ease of use."
HELP's data comes from its
Early Development Instrument
(EDI), which measures the state
of children's development when
they enter kindergarten.
Kindergarten teachers
complete a checklist for each
child in their class, creating
an overall picture of physical
health and well-being, social
competence, emotional
maturity, language and
cognitive development, and
communication skills.
By pooling this data at the
neighbourhood and school
district levels, researchers can
see how well communities and
governments are supporting
young children and their families
in the early years. The online
maps allow users to see the EDI
results combined with the other
The maps also illustrate
inequalities that emerge over the
first five years of life, according
to such factors as family
income, parental education,
neighbourhood safety and
stability, neighborhood socio-
ral|p Neighbourhood Explorer
vulnerable on
one or more scales of the
0 -16.3
27 8 - 33.8
33.9 and up
BE    Notes:
EDI 2001-2008
Base Layer
EDI Wave 1
I  EDI Wave 2
Ses Index T1
Ses Index T2
I      Uninhabited
'■/'SD Labels
EJ NH Labels
Bookmark View
Submit Comment
New online maps from the Human Early Learning Partnership help show regional differences in early childhood development.
economic differences, and
access to quality child care and
developmental opportunities.
For example, the maps can
show in which Richmond
neighbourhoods children
are most limited in social
development or how residential
stability - i.e., the number of
families moving in and out —
influences the development of
children living in and around
"By launching web-based
maps, our goal is to bring all
this information back into these
communities where children
are being assessed, and to make
it relevant for community
champions and government
ministries," Douillard says.
Kathy Basaraba, manager
of Children First in Prince
George, says HELP's EDI data
has heightened her group's
awareness of the differences that
exist between neighborhoods in
the community.
"The EDI data gave our
community specific information
that we used when developing
community gardens, Preschooler
Health Day screening circuits,
and early literacy programs,"
Basaraba says. "The EDI also
helped our community receive
capital grants that established
new early-learning child-care
facilities and family resource
Children First is a community
directed initiative that works
to improve the health and
development of young children
(0-6 yrs) and their families.
Douillard, a UBC Geography
alumnus, renders all the maps
in-house using free, open source
software such as Mapnik and
Open Layers.
"The open source software
ties in with our philosophy of
keeping our research accessible
and participatory," he says.
Users can share the maps,
bookmark them, and email
links to those specific to their
community. Because it's all
online, the yearly EDI results can
be rolled out much faster than
"Sometimes it's hard to make
the connection between what
happens at a neighbourhood
level and what happens at a
provincial level," says Douillard.
"Our web-based maps
make this information more
www. map.earlylearning.ubc.ca 13
UBC Faculty of Medicine
> Through knowledge, creating health.
Head, Department of Emergency Medicini
The Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia invites
applications and nominations for the position of Head ofthe Department
of Emergency Medicine. Although it is expected that this position will
have UBC - Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) responsibilities, alternate
nonacademic roles and responsibilities may be considered.
We seek an academic leader with strong leadership, interpersonal, and
administrative skills who will be responsible for leading and developing
the teaching, research and service programs ofthe newly emerging
Department of Emergency Medicine. The successful candidate should
have an appropriate knowledge of Emergency Medicine and have broad
and proven administrative experience, substantial academic and clinical
experience, a proven record of scholarly activity, and a commitment to
undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate health education with
demonstrated excellence in teaching.
The successful candidate should be a Fellow of the Royal College of
Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Canadian College of Family
Practice (Emergency Medicine) or equivalent. It is expected that the
successful candidate will qualify for a full-time appointment at the rank of
Professor, with the possibility of Associate Professor, (grant tenure). The
term ofthe Headship is for five years, renewable once upon a satisfactory
Salary and rank will be commensurate with qualifications and experience
and is subject to final budgetary approval. Anticipated start date is
January 1, 2010 or upon a mutually agreeable date.
Faculty of Medicine | Emergency Medicine
$2.5111 to establish UBC professorship in rural teacher education
Dr. Donald Rix and his daughter Laurie have donated $2.5 million to the University of British
Columbia to create a first-of-its-kind professorship in rural teacher education.
The Eleanor Rix Professorship in Rural Teacher Education will examine how to best support and
equip teachers for the unique challenges presented by teaching in rural communities. This is the
largest-ever gift to the UBC Faculty of Education.
"Educating outstanding teachers - the people who train the next generation of British
Columbians - is critical," says Dr. Rix, who is a UBC clinical professor emeritus of pathology.
"UBC's Faculty of Education is a centre of international excellence and we are delighted to provide
this support."
Application letters,
accompanied by detailed
curriculum vitae, a teaching
dossier, and names of four
references, should be directed
Gavin Stuart, MD, FRCSC
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
c/o Darcie Prosser
Room 317, IRC, UBC
2194 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3
with subject line: Head,
Emergency Medicine)
Closing date: June 30, 2009.
The University of British Columbia is
Canada's third largest university and
consistently ranks among the 40 best
universities in the world. Primarily
situated in Vancouver, UBC is a research-
intensive university and has an economic
impact of $4 billion to the provincial
The Faculty of Medicine at UBC, together
with its partners including B.C.'s Health
Authorities, provides innovative programs
in the areas of health and life sciences
through a province-wide delivery model.
The Faculty teaches students at the
undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate
levels and generates more than $200
million in research funding each year. It is
home to Canada's first distributed MD
undergraduate program.
UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. We
encourage all qualified applicants to apply; however, Canadians andpermanent
residents of Canada will be given priority.
www.ubc.ca & www.med.ubc.ca I     UBC    REPORTS     |
Calculating Canadians' exposure to carcinogens
Paul Demers is leading a study that's examining how and where Canadians are exposed to carcinogens.
Could where you live or
work determine your likelihood
of developing cancer? New
research from UBC's School of
Environmental Health aims to
find out.
CAREX Canada, based at
UBC's School of Environmental
Health, is examining how and
where Canadians are exposed to
cancer-causing agents in our air,
water, soil, food and everyday
"In Canada we really have
very little idea how many people
are exposed to carcinogens,
either in their community or
workplace," says project leader
Paul Demers.
In fact, there are no statistics
showing how many Canadians
are exposed to occupational and
environmental carcinogens, how
and where they are exposed, and
at what levels.
"We want to know who is
exposed, what they're exposed
to, and how to set policy to
address this," says Demers, a
professor and director of the
School of Environmental Health.
The project is funded through
a $4.1 million commitment
from the Canadian Partnership
Against Cancer, an independent
agency funded by Health
Data gathered from across the
country will be used in a number
of ways. It will help policy
makers regulate and reduce
people's exposure to cancer-
causing substances and provide
important data to help guide
future cancer research.
The first-of-its-kind database
will also consider geographic
patterns of exposure to
carcinogens in Canada, and
identify high-risk groups to help
While it's easy to point a finger
at industrial sectors as polluters,
there are more silent, discreet
ways for substances to threaten
communities and individuals.
The research will also examine
radiation and drugs used in
chemotherapy, which can be
toxic to health-care workers
performing the procedures.
Likewise, individuals working
in dry cleaning and auto repair
could be affected by the products
they routinely use.
Even schools, where cars may
congregate to drop off children
each day, can be a dangerous
place: traffic-related air pollution
has been associated with lung
The group is pulling together
data from government agencies
"We really don't have much data
along these lines in any Canadian
target prevention efforts.
"The impetus behind this
is cancer prevention," Demers
says. "We need to target groups
that have the highest levels
of exposure and know which
carcinogens to target if we want
to prevent cancer."
Demers and his team
are looking at well-known
carcinogens such as benzene
and asbestos. They're also
considering other substances
that have been suspected to be
carcinogenic, such as lead - a
known reproductive toxin and
such as Statistics Canada,
Environment Canada and
the Pesticide Management
Regulatory Agency, but also
private industry and universities.
The end product will be an
"incredibly useful tool" for
people who are looking at
preventing cancer, Demers says.
"We really don't have much
data along these lines in any
Canadian jurisdiction," he says.
This data will be freely
shared with policy makers,
researchers and health and safety
professionals when the project
wraps up in 2012.13
Profs care about teaching: UBC survey
UBC faculty members care
deeply about teaching and
learning and most feel they
could teach with even greater
effectiveness by applying new
advances in the scholarship of
teaching and learning. This is a
key finding of a recent survey
commissioned by the UBC
Lasting Education, Achieved and
Demonstrated (LEAD) Initiative.
Conducted by Angus Reid
Strategies, the anonymous,
voluntary survey was sent
to 3,200 faculty members.
An impressive 35 per cent
responded, far exceeding the
pollster's most optimistic
expectations. "To be honest, we
were hoping for, at best, a 25
per cent completion rate," says
Angus Reid vice president and
UBC alumna Catherine Rogers.
"It's a real testament to
our faculty's enthusiasm for
teaching and learning," says
Lome Whitehead, University
Leader in Education Innovation.
"It also confirms what we've
believed all along - that given
the opportunity and resources,
faculty are very interested in
excelling in teaching in the same
way their excellence in research
has made UBC a world-class
UBC is the first major
Canadian university to ask all
of its faculty members their
opinions about teaching and
learning and how it may be
improved, according to Walter
Sudmant, UBC's director of
Planning and Institutional
Research. Commissioned
following a recent series of
group discussions hosted by the
LEAD Initiative involving more
than 300 faculty members, the
survey aims to better understand
how the university can support
faculty in making teaching more
rewarding for both the teachers
and learners.
One finding has already
triggered a flurry of activities.
"Faculty members have told us
in both the group discussions
and the survey that they'd like
to share their experience with
their colleagues - both in and
outside of their own area of
scholarship," says Whitehead.
To that end, LEAD joined forces
with UBC's Centre for Teaching
and Academic Growth (TAG)
and invited submissions for a
special edition of TAG's Tapestry
Submissions quickly filled
the pages of the magazine,
with 23 faculty members from
diverse disciplines on both
the Vancouver and Okanagan
campuses sharing their thoughts
on engaging students, tips and
helpful resources and examples
of teaching techniques that have
worked in their classrooms.
To add a personal touch, all
participants included a brief
video clip for the web version,
available at www.tapestry.ubc.ca.
Other survey highlights
• Faculty members feel
there is considerable room
for improvement in the
undergraduate learning
experience, with non-interactive
lecturing and large class sizes
being the most detrimental
aspects of current pedagogy.
• The majority of faculty
members, regardless of rank
or focus, want to apply new
teaching techniques in their
work but feel they do not have
the tools or access to the latest
proven pedagogy to take the
classroom experience to the next
• Faculty members believe
that excellence in teaching
should be weighted more heavily
in judging their success.
The full survey is available
at www.lead.ubc.ca/
angusreidreport 13
LEAD joined hands with TAG in creating a special issue of Tapestry
magazine focused on faculty sharing. UBC    REPORTS     |
2009     I     7
Honours math degree for 18-year-old
Eighteeen-year-old Jason
Sewell will receive a Bachelor of
Science degree with honours in
mathematics at UBC Okanagan's
convocation ceremony this
month. He's graduating with
an overall grade-point average
of about 95 per cent, reflecting
high academic achievement
throughout a post-secondary
journey that began when he was
just 10.
"My family went to an
open house at what used to be
Okanagan University College to
look around," says the long-time
Kelowna resident. "At one of the
booths there was a competition
to solve a logic puzzle, so I
entered it and won. When
everyone found out that I was
10 years old, and I was the only
one to solve it, I guess it created
a stir."
Sewell and his parents started
communicating with a small
group of math professors about
how they could nurture Sewell's
talent. At first, the teachers
only acted as mentors to him,
providing him with advice and
guidance. However, by age 12
Sewell was taking his first post-
secondary math course, and
doing very well.
In fact, as time went on he
began taking two or three
university courses at a time,
Jason Sewell, 18, has completed an honours degree in mathematics at UBC Okanagan.
and by the age of 16 he had not
only completed his high school
graduation requirements, but
was almost half way through his
university degree. In September
2007 he began studying full-time
at UBC Okanagan, taking up to
six courses a semester to "catch
up" to the graduating class of
"Math has always just made
sense to me," says Sewell. "I like
it because it explains so much
using natural concepts. It is
something I like doing, and have
been doing since I was four years
old. I know I'm pretty young to
be graduating from university,
but really the whole process has
been a natural progression for
Heinz Bauschke, a math
professor at UBC Okanagan
and Canada Research Chair
in the field of convex analysis
and optimization, has played
a significant role in Sewell's
educational journey over the
years, and says Sewell is one of
the most talented students he has
encountered in his career.
"Jason has extremely strong
analytical and problem-solving
skills, and I feel he has a very
bright academic career ahead in
mathematics should he choose
to pursue this further," says
Fellow UBC Okanagan math
professor Shawn Wang agrees.
"Jason Sewell is an A++
student," says Wang. "He has
taken Analysis I and Analysis II
with me, and earned 97 per cent
and 100 per cent respectively.
Analysis has been a hard-core
and challenging course in
mathematics, which demands a
lot of abstract thinking rather
than routine calculations. He is
the only one who has got 100
per cent in Analysis II. In my
opinion, Jason is a truly talented
And although the 18-year-old
has certainly earned himself a
well-deserved summer break,
Sewell has no plans to slow
down. He has received a Natural
Sciences and Engineering
Research Council Undergraduate
Study Research Award (NSERC
USRA) and will be back at UBC
Okanagan this summer to work
with Professor Bauschke.
In addition, Sewell has
received the prestigious NSERC
Canadian Graduate Scholarship
and intends to take up graduate
studies in mathematics, possibly
at UBC Okanagan this fall.
After that, the future is wide
"Math is mainly something
I like to do right now," says
Sewell. "I have no great ideas
about where I want to go with
my career.
"I'm only 18." 13
New aboriginal business
education accord at UBC
Business deans from
universities and colleges across
B.C. gathered at the University
of British Columbia on May 8 to
mark a new era of cooperation
aimed at increasing Aboriginal
participation in business
The Ch'nook Business
Education Accord, comprised of
22 post-secondary institutions in
B.C., was signed at at the UBC
Established by the UBC First
Nations House of Learning and
the Sauder School of Business,
the Ch'nook Aboriginal Business
Education program works
with a circle of advocates and
supporters to raise Aboriginal
awareness and interest in post-
secondary business education.
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