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UBC Reports Aug 4, 2005

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VOLUME  51   I  NUMBER  8   I  AUGUST  4,2005
2 UBC in the News i New VP Research        4 Sustaining the Earth        5 Magic Reading Box        6 Welcome UBC Okanagan
When the New University Comes to Town
UBC Okanagan opens its doors in September, by bud mortenson
The creation of a UBC campus in Kelowna is helping define
an exciting future for the Okanagan Valley's largest city and
for the entire region.
"I don't think there's a better employer we could have
sought to help the Okanagan grow in a sustainable manner,"
says Brad Bennett, Chair of the UBC Board of Governors and
an active Okanagan business and community leader.
"This gives us so many value-added propositions, from
wage scales and employment opportunities, to commercial
spin-offs, medical training, and what we can do in partnership
with Kelowna General Hospital and other hospitals in the
region — that is all value-added. And it's all clean industry.
For the Okanagan, we could not have found better."
Bennett says UBC Okanagan means people pursuing a UBC
degree can do so without leaving the region. "To have this calibre of university right in the middle of our region is a tremendous opportunity for people," he says.
"This was definitely the right thing to do — and totally necessary — to help the region meet its potential. And we haven't
even begun to tap that potential. The future is extremely
bright because of this."
Kelowna marked its centennial this year. With a population
nearing 100,000 (contributing to the Central Okanagan's
regional population of 150,000), the city has grown and
Welcome to Kelowna: Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray (1) and
UBC Okanagan Deputy Vice-Chancellor Barry McBride.
changed a great deal over the past quarter century, says
Mayor Walter Gray. But even as he considers the grand scale
of what UBC Okanagan's debut means, Gray still recalls an
earlier, smaller, standout event.
continued on page 3
Thursday, Sept. I
Okanagan Nation Alliance Welcome Ceremony
Tuesday, Sept. 6
Orientation for Returning Students
Wednesday, Sept. 7
Orientation for First Year Students
Thursday, Sept. 8
11:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m.
12:30- 1:30 p.m.
3-5 p.m.
7:30 p.m.
Campus Life Showcase
Opening Ceremony
Academic Colloquium with
Presidents of Four
International Universities
Free Music Concert
For details visit: www.ubc.ca/okanagan/opening
Chew on This
Unique robotic jaw will advance speech research, by brian lin
UBC Robotics engineer Edgar Flores has built a unique mechanical jaw with potential applications in dentistry, orthodontics and speech research.
Two UBC researchers have
developed a unique robotic jaw to
help them better understand the role
jaw movements play in perceiving
and understanding face-to-face
The model is the first anthropomorphic robotic jaw to be built with
six degrees of freedom — roll, pitch,
and yaw rotations, as well as verti
cal, horizontal and lateral translations. It is not only capable of accurately reproducing the complex
motions ofthe human jaw, but has
the ability to extend normal motions
up to three times, literally creating
jaw-dropping effects.
"The extent to which the mechanical jaw can simulate both normal and
exaggerated human jaw motions
makes it a great tool in speech therapy and research," says Sid Fels, an
associate professor in electrical and
computer engineering and director
of the UBC Media and Graphics
Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC).
In fact, Japan's Advanced
Telecommunication Research
Laboratory (ATR), an independent
research and development
corporation, has been closely
following the development of the
robotic model in order to adopt part
of the design for its Infanoid, an
upper-torso humanoid the size of a
three-year-old child. With expressive
eyes, lips and hands, the Infanoid has
been helping researchers from around
the world learn how young children
communicate with others.
"Without an animated jaw,
however, the Infanoid lacks some
of the most important visual cues in
non-verbal communication," says
Edgar Flores, a robot engineer who
designed and built the robotic jaw
from scratch. "This deficiency
hampers the child-to-humanoid social
continued on page 5 I  UBC  REPORTS  |  AUGUST  4,  2OO5
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Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in July 2005. compiled by ai lin choo
UBC's faymie Matthews is the
mission scientist for MOST,
Canada's first space telescope.
Many corporate power brokers
exhibit the same megalomaniac,
manipulative and remorseless
tendencies as hard-core criminals,
says Robert Hare, UBC professor
emeritus of psychology.
Hare, who created the
Psychopathy Checklist used by law
enforcement agencies around the
world, has come up with a new
personality test that companies can
use when hiring, reports The Dallas
Morning News.
The B-Scan quiz, which Hare
developed with New York industrial
psychologist Paul Babiak, is coming
to market this summer.
UBC professor Ross King is calling
for more national investment in
Korean language and Korean
studies programs that foster Korean
"I think everybody in Korea is
absolutely crazy about learning
English,'" said King, associate
professor of Korean Language and
Literature, in an interview with The
Korea Times. "What happens in the
process is that they forget who they
are. They also forget about their own
language. This is a great shame."
The professor, who was visiting
Korea to attend seminars on Korean
language and Korean studies at
Kangnam and Korea University, is
dean of Supsogui Hosu (Lake of the
Woods), a Korean immersion village
in Minnesota.
International space explorers gathered
at the University of British Columbia
in association with the International
Space University's summer session
program this past month to discuss
whether humans are more efficient
than robots in exploring the solar
"Human exploration is felt by some
as too expensive just to do science,"
said U.S. astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman in
an interview with The Globe and
Mail. "Science is part of exploration
but not the whole story. . . . We must
remember that human space
exploration has assumed an important
role in our cultural identity."
Canadian researchers have found an
association between reduced lung
function and the risk of lung cancer.
"Even relatively small reductions in
lung function, which are considered
within the normal range, increased the
risk of lung cancer by 30 per cent to 60
per cent, especially among women,"
Dr. D. D. Sin told Reuters Health.
Sin and his research team from the
University of British Columbia
involved 204,990 subjects, of whom
6,185 had died from lung cancer, in
their analysis and reviewed existing
studies that have looked into the
relationship between lung function
and the risk of lung cancer.
UBC's Daniel Pauly has won the
International Cosmos Prize, an
annual award worth $430,000,
reports the CBC.
The prize awards research that has
"achieved excellence and is recognized
as contributing to a significant
understanding of the relationships
among living organisms, the
interdependence of life and the global
environment, and the common nature
integrating these inter-relationships."
The award was presented by the
Expo 90 Foundation in Japan.
Canada's suitcase-sized MOST
(Microvariability and Oscillations of
Stars) telescope is probing the hidden
internal structures of sunlike stars and
pinning their ages down to a greater
precision than ever before. MOST has
also begun to provide information
about planets that orbit some of those
stars, even hinting at their weather
patterns, reports Science Magazine.
"Not bad for a space telescope with
a mirror the size of a pie plate and a
price tag of $10 million Canadian,
eh?" says UBC astronomer Jaymie
MOST blasted into space June 30,
2003. □
Science Dean John Hepburn
has been appointed UBC
Vice-President, Research.
Effective October 1, 2005
Science Dean John Hepburn succeeds Dr. Indira
Samarasekera, who was selected as President of the
University of Alberta last November.
"I am delighted that Dr. Hepburn is taking on this
very important responsibility," says UBC President
Martha Piper. "His international reputation as an
outstanding researcher, coupled with his commitment to
research at the undergraduate level, makes this an ideal
appointment in an area of central importance."
Hepburn, who has been Dean of the Faculty of Science
at UBC since 2003, is a keen proponent of interdiscipli
nary research and
conducts research
on the interface
between physics
and chemistry. He
studies molecular
beams and laser
chemistry, working
in the area of advanced spectroscopy and imaging
research, and was this month elected to the Royal Society
of Canada. □
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Brian Lin brian.lin@ubc.ca
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Hilary Thomson hilary.thomson@ubc.ca
Sarah Walker public.affairs@ubc.ca
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UBC Okanagan's campus is situated among pines, grasslands and rolling hills in the northern area of Kelowna, B.C.
When the New University Comes to Town
continued from page 1
"I fondly remember 25 years ago,
when I was president of the
Chamber of Commerce, people said
Kelowna had really arrived. The first
McDonald's had just been built," he
says, laughing.
But times do change, and so does
a community's perception of itself.
"We are absolutely at a crossroad,"
says Gray. "UBC Okanagan sets a
positive direction for the economic
future. It brings a new level of stature
and status to the community. It will
motivate young people to be educated at home, and then stay at home to
develop their careers."
It's a good-news story just waiting
to be told.
"As exciting as this is, most people
"The government's decision to separate university and college, with
UBC Okanagan and Okanagan
College, sets up the next chapter in
the evolution of our valley's post-secondary system," Gray says.
"Kelowna is a community that really
has arrived. We've come a long way
in 25 years."
Others are just as excited about the
future as the new UBC Okanagan
campus prepares for its inaugural
year of classes.
"This is one ofthe most significant
economic events for the Okanagan in
at least a decade. It's huge," says
Lorraine McGrath, B.C. Interior
Regional Vice-President for Prospera
The B.C. Ministry of Advanced
Education has estimated that UBC
Okanagan's economic impact on the
provincial economy will be more than
four times that of the former
Okanagan University College, which
was estimated at $ 117 million last
Chief Robert Louie leads the
Westbank First Nation, a short drive
across the Okanagan Lake floating
bridge from Kelowna. He looks forward to greater access to education
with UBC Okanagan so close to
Louie notes that a growing number
of people in the First Nation community are seeking graduate degrees, and
UBC Okanagan will offer increased
"As exciting as this is, most people still don't realize
the incredible opportunity our valley has."
still don't realize the incredible
opportunity our valley has," he adds.
UBC Okanagan is situated in
Kelowna's north end, near the
Kelowna International Airport, on
what was a campus of the former
Okanagan University College. OUC
is now Okanagan College, with four
main campuses in Kelowna,
Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm.
When the announcement of a
UBC Okanagan campus was made
in March 2004, Gray immediately
saw just how important it would be
for the region. "I believe it was one
of the biggest announcements in
recent history, and it's very, very
exciting," he says. "As a result ofthe
announcement, we can see a shift to
the north in our development focus
and interest from the development
Credit Union and former director of
the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.
Like Gray, McGrath views the creation of UBC Okanagan as a major
new economic driver for the region.
As a member of the President's UBC
Okanagan Advisory Council, she has
seen the projections for direct economic activity as the institution is
developed and operated — but she
also looks forward to the day when
long-term business partnerships and
other benefits flow from UBC
Okanagan research.
Consider the economic spin-offs —
and not just from new professors and
students coming to the Okanagan,
she says. "There will be the benefits
of business born of the research, plus
we will see partnerships with business
and education."
access to this level of education.
"This is going to be really
significant," he says.
"Students can go to university here
at home, and that's a tremendous
advantage," he says. "I hope more
students will go into undergraduate
and graduate programs." □
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New Stories to Sustain Earth
Trudeau Scholar challenges the notion that scientific data alone should guide the way we live, by Lorraine chan
Aliette Frank believes that stories
shape our world. Individual stories
and society's narratives all possess
the power to create, unify or destroy
And given the state of things on
earth, says the UBC geography
student, it's time we revamp the
sustainability discourse.
Frank is one of this year's 15
Trudeau Scholars. The prestigious
award of $200,000 supports doctoral students in their research in areas
tropical ecology in Costa Rica,
marine biology in Jamaica and
ecotourism in New Zealand. Frank
has reported on issues of water
conservation and overpopulation
while working at the National
Geographic Society and for the
National Wildlife Federation.
Her book-in-progress, Light in
Place of Darkness, examines the
complex and often tragic interplay
between humans and nature.
experiencing the natural world."
"Right now sustainability is pretty
much a discourse dominated by
science and numbers," adds Frank,
who holds a degree in environmental
and evolutionary biology from
Dartmouth College.
"Ifyou can't quantify it, if it can't
be certified, if it can't be proven by
science, if it can't be seen as yes this
is true with a capital 'T', then it
doesn't count," says the 27-year-old
has its own story, that each and
every thing has its own story behind
what we see," she explains.
Frank says cultures holding this
worldview believe the external
reflects the internal and all life flows
from a continuous, connected
"When we're cutting down trees,
we're cutting down parts of
ourselves. When we're warring with
each other, we're warring inside."
replenish their food, did not return.
Heavy rains had caused landslides.
Frank also got word Rwandan
rebels were killing locals and tourists
nearby. If she was to survive, she
had to stay alone in the forest and
fend for herself.
"I was trapped alone for two
weeks without any food," recounts
Frank, who at one point resorted
to eating ants.
"I wrote a goodbye letter to my
" I knew I was going to study gorillas. I knew I was going to come here to Vancouver. I had this dream,
booked a plane ticket, got off, and said, yep, this is it. I'm here."
of social justice, human rights,
citizenship or the environment.
As someone who has worked
extensively in the field doing
hands-on conservation work in
seven different countries, Frank has
impeccable credentials to mount
that challenge.
In the late '90s, Frank researched
endangered primates in the jungles
of Uganda. On the barren Juneau
Ice-field of Alaska, she studied
climate change. Crisscrossing the
globe, Frank has also investigated
Drawing from her eyewitness
accounts in Africa and elsewhere in
the world, Frank's searing account
has sparked interest from
publishers at Random House.
"Storytelling is our chief moral
compass," says Frank. "I'm interested in the interface of storytelling and
science — how each can maintain its
own integrity and work with the
other. Storytelling can bring into
sustainability different kinds of
knowledge, different ways of
knowing, different ways of
Utah native.
At UBC, Frank will research
how storytelling can communicate
different ways of knowing and
connecting to nature. She will chart
how storyteller and audience
construct meaning, and she is
especially interested in mystical and
intuitive ways of knowing.
"From my experiences with
storytelling in the community and
in academic field research, I've
encountered many who believe that
nature is imbued with spirit, that it
Frank says this is perhaps what
Western civilization sorely needs,
"steeped as it is in the Cartesian
mind-body split."
But welcoming plural forms of
knowledge and expression can free
us from that duality, insists Frank.
brother. I was sure I was going to
die," she says matter of factly "It
was interesting because at that
moment I felt more at peace and
happier than I've been in my entire
life. I felt feelings of oneness and I
wasn't afraid."
"Let's say, for example, the
Greater Vancouver Regional District
needs to decide about future land
use. In the world I envision, a First
Nations community could authoritatively and compellingly bring their
knowledge and values into that
debate through the process of
storytelling — whether it's oral
tradition, dance or song."
But Frank admits that good
storytelling requires alchemy
between speaker and listener. She
mulls over the question: how will
people accustomed to measuring
reality in facts and numbers shift
to other modes of knowledge?
She pauses in her exuberant and
rapid-fire delivery, replying, "It's
happening. It's here. It's just being
aware of it." In many ways, she
says, her own life demonstrates a
merging of both rational and
intuitive faculties.
"Since I was five, I've always had
clairvoyant dreams. Always. I knew
I was going to Africa. I knew I was
going to study gorillas. I knew I was
going to come here to Vancouver. I
had this dream, booked a plane
ticket, got off, and said, yep, this
is it. I'm here. This is where I'm
supposed to be. I'm home."
Two life-changing experiences
further opened Frank's heart, mind
and senses. The first time was
during a research expedition to
Uganda's BwindiTmpenetrable
Forest. At age 18, she had accompanied her anthropology professor to
study endangered mountain gorillas
and chimpanzees.
Things grew dire when Frank's
professor, who had left camp to
Eventually, Frank's professor met
up again with her and they returned
home. But the trauma of that trip
surfaced in Frank's life several years
In 2002, Frank was diagnosed
with terminal illness.
"I had fungal infections and
everything I ate except spinach and
quinoa sent my body into near anaphylactic shock. The doctors found
that my white blood cell count was
lower than most cancer patients."
But through good fortune and
fate, Frank says she encountered a
Montreal group that helped her heal
through techniques using
"Aboriginal dream-time."
"Through that process I was able
to face up to the lost memories of
what happened in Africa. They were
buried in my body and were manifesting as illness."
"Just like that," says Frank snapping her fingers, "in a week I healed
myself from things that in no way
technically or by any scientific
means should you be able to."
Finding that she herself can bridge
the rational and intuitive, Frank says
she has complete faith "the science
part is coming." She says her dreams
have directed her to these very
crossroads at UBC.
"I want to work on sustainability
issues at UBC because I feel I'm
most connected here. People are
very, very willing and open."
And when the task she has before
her seems daunting, Franks says she
reminds herself, "I've been fortunate
to be able to do this. It's my path,
it's my role. The support will come
if I just keep my eyes focused." □
Aliette Frank studied endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda's Bwindi-
Impenetrable forest. IC      REPORTS      |      AUGUST     4,      2OO5      |      5
A Magic Reading Box
New literacy software delivers "amazing" results among Vancouver grade schoolers who speak English as a second language, by Lorraine chan
Most kids would find the Reading
Tutor a pretty cool classroom buddy.
The computer program listens
patientiy never laughs at your
mistakes, reads out loud with you
and sounds out words you don't
know or stumble over.
These are the kinds of four-star
reviews that UBC education professor
Ken Reeder has been receiving from
Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
grade schoolers and teachers as he test
drives a state-of-the-art electronic
tutor equipped with speech recognition and artificial intelligence.
Since 2003, Reeder has been
collaborating with the Reading Tutor's
inventor, Jack Mostow, at Pittsburgh's
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU),
famed for pioneering computerized
speech recognition.
UBC conducted the first trials ofthe
innovative software with English as
second language learners as opposed
to native English speakers or bilingual
students, explains Reeder.
An applied linguist, Reeder is
impassioned about helping students
acquire knowledge and language. He
admits he gets some ribbing about the
coincidence of his last name. "People
usually expect Reeder to be spelled
with an 'ea'," he laughs.
His kind smile broadens as he
proudly demonstrates the Reading
Tutor software. "This is one ofthe
really promising uses of technology in
promoting literacy, especially with
ESL learners."
"This is pretty amazing stuff! This
is simply the most advanced speech
recognition available on the planet.
The nice thing about this is that we've
got it and Vancouver children are benefiting. Schools are clamoring to get
on board."
Mostow, a research professor at
CMU's Robotics Institute, says that he
first conceived the idea of using computers to increase literacy in 1990.
"I started by asking myself, what if
there were a magic box that could
Chew on This
continued from page 1
"Research has shown that the jaw
is a vital part of non-verbal communication," says
Fels, who is
exploring how
the jaw supports
or negates verbal
in adults.
"For example, if the jaw isn't moving naturally during speech, regardless of how subtie the inconsistency,
at one point the listener begins to lose
confidence in
listen to children read aloud, what
actions would it take?"
It was from there that Mostow and
an interdisciplinary CMU team
developed the Reading Tutor. This
software can be installed on any
ordinary personal computer that has
at least Microsoft Windows 2000 and
at least 128 megabytes of memory.
Reeder got wind of Mostow's
impressive study results: children
were able to gain a year's worth of
reading improvement in three months.
However, Reeder pressed Mostow to
expand the magic of his reading box.
"We challenged them to work with
a more representative cross-section of
schoolchildren," says Reeder. "Up to
this point, the Reading Tutorhad
been piloted mostly in Pittsburgh with
suburban, native-English speakers."
"The name ofthe game in schools
today is diverse populations and so
the one size fits all reading solution is
clearly going to miss many, many
children," he adds.
what the speaker is saying," says Fels.
"If the inconsistency continues or
worsens, the listener would eventually shut out nonverbal cues altogether
and their ears take over again."
Hores, who designed 3D simulation software that controls and monitors the robotic jaw's every move —
down to the cogwheel — says he and
Fels discovered other potential applications of the model after they
showed it off at conferences for
acoustic professionals.
"We've been told that the model
may serve as an improvement to
current tools for studying chewing
cycles, denture fitting and other
orthodontics work," says Hores. "It
also has great potential in entertainment, linguistics, psychology, and
human-computer interaction." □
During spring 2004, Reader and
his research team conducted a
10-week trial ofthe Reading Tutor
at five Downtown Eastside elementary schools. These classrooms, like
most elementary schools in large
Canadian cities, have up to 50 per
cent of the students learning English
as a second language.
During a 20-minute session with
the Reading Tutor, the child dons
headphones and reads stories
displayed on the computer screen.
The child starts off by choosing a
story from the menu. The Reading
Tutor then gets to select the second
story, and then they alternate as the
session progresses.
"That way the artificial
intelligence in the program will
adjust the difficulty ofthe stories
that it sets for the young reader,"
Reeder points out. "It'll also gauge
the performance of the child to keep
them moving along just ahead at
what they're performing at."
As the student reads aloud, the
program's speech recognition listens.
The Reading Tutor analyzes the
student's oral reading and will offer
help to pronounce a word, read
along with the child or just signal
with colored text the word, phrase
or sentence that it would like the
child to read again.
When the child asks for certain
words to be pronounced, a
mini-video clip will pop up,
superimposed over that word, and
show a child's mouth pronouncing
the word.
"That's the beauty of this tool,"
enthuses Reeder. "It offers individualized and customized reading
practice for young readers. It's one
on one — the child has the exclusive
attention ofthe Reading Tutor."
Reeder cites a 2003 B.C.
education study which showed that
out of 42,000 Grade 4 students, 32
per cent of ESL and 19 per cent of
non-ESL students were reading at
levels "below expectations."
"I know teachers would love
nothing more than to sit down and
work 20 minutes intensively with a
child, but it's not physically possible.
This technology comes into their
classroom and works alongside them
and helps children who need a boost
in the reading experience."
Reeder says his research team has
almost finished crunching the copious
data gathered from the 2004 spring
trials. He says the results look good:
all four home-language groups and all
three English-language groups made
gains in their reading abilities.
"We had wonderful results across
the board. All ofthe language groups
benefited. We've seen amazing
improvements among school children
whose home languages are Hindi,
Mandarin and Spanish."
"Our best result," says Reeder,
"is the fact that the group of children
with the lowest level of English
coming into the study benefited the
greatest. Their curve was very, very
steep over just a 10-week period."
Starting this September, Reeder
will install the Reading Tutor at three
Eastside Vancouver schools for an
entire school year.
"For the 2005 study, we're including some Aboriginal learners, not that
they're learning English as a second
language, but because we know that a
large percentage of Aboriginal learners
are at risk for success in literacy in
school," he explains.
Although Mostow didn't design
the software for ESL reading support,
he says he greatly values UBC's
third-party, independent study.
"ESL students are like other kids
but only more so; they need more
support with vocabulary."
As well, Vancouver teachers have
given detailed recommendations,
among them pre-reading vocabulary
reviews and related activities for
"In general when you're trying an
education invention, it's not enough to
test it in one place," observes Mostow.
"Ifyou get something that stubbornly
works under different conditions and
settings and different populations,
then you've really got something." □ 6     I
REPORTS      |      AUGUST     4,      2OO5
UBC Okanagan: Planning a Community of Excellence
UBC Okanagan's bold new aca
demic plan emphasizes "excellence at all times and in all
things" and makes integrated
research, interdisciplinary learning, and fun (yes, fun) very intentional parts of a distinctive UBC
Okanagan experience.
Moura Quayle, seconded from
UBC in June to serve as B.C.'s
new Deputy Minister of
Advanced Education, was at the
helm of the UBC Okanagan academic planning process. "One of
the hallmarks of UBC — all of
UBC — is the idea of excellence,"
says Quayle. "We spent a lot of
time thinking about what excellence means at UBC Okanagan."
As deputy minister, Quayle has
had to step away from the project
and her former role as Dean of
UBC's Faculty of Land and Food
Systems. However, she remains an
enthusiastic supporter of the plan
she helped prepare, and the consultative process behind it.
"I like to think one ofthe successes of this plan is it really did
try to step up and look at the big
picture," she says.
That scope is evident in the
plan's long list of priority action
items, calling for the creation of a
campus life council, a community
engagement office, a global citizenship implementation task
force, and a common undergraduate experience. Other initiatives
will cover graduate student assistance, research services, sustainability and equity issues, and
much more.
UBC Okanagan Deputy Vice-
Chancellor Barry McBride says he
is impressed by the quality of the
work and the speed with which
the plan was prepared.
"Staff, faculty and students rallied and put together an imaginative, creative plan in record
time," McBride says.
The plan, now ready for UBC
Okanagan Senate consideration
in November, began to take shape
in spring 2004 when McBride
and Quayle went on the road to
consult with community groups
throughout B.C.'s southern interior.
Community roundtable meetings and more than 50 "university circle" meetings were held with
students, faculty and staff of the
former Okanagan University
College (its North Kelowna site
became the UBC Okanagan campus on July 1). The meetings
helped an Academic Plan
Working Group gather ideas that
were explored in a series of mini-
projects, many summarized in the
final plan.
The result is a comprehensive
document that goes beyond traditional academics by calling for a
rich campus life with many social
and cultural connections that will
become central to the UBC
Okanagan experience.
The plan is aimed squarely at
achieving excellence, building
global citizenship and supporting
the vision of UBC's Trek 2010
strategic plan. It's built on four
imperative statements calling for:
• An intimate learning
• An integrated research
• A locally responsive, globally
conscious community
• A flexible, adaptable and
sustainable community
"What excites me about the
plan is the way the imperatives all
connect to one another," Quayle
The campus is described as small
and light on its feet, attributes
Quayle says create the intimate
learning environment called for in
the plan.
"Students will have direct contact with professors and high-quality research at UBC Okanagan. It's
a relationship that's harder to
come by at a larger university," she
"Creating an intimate learning
environment is also about the relationship students have with each
other and breaking down large
classes with the idea of engaging
students in their own learning
"A campus that is light on its
feet allows us to experiment — if
someone asks, 'what if we tried to
do this particular cross-disciplinary
class this year?' We can give it a
try." Many universities could take
this approach, but with a smaller
campus and a great deal of integration, "it's just easier to make it
happen," says Quayle.
McBride is confident the plan
will make UBC Okanagan a campus full of creativity and innovation, providing an environment
where students have an opportunity to build programs on an interdisciplinary basis. Take, for exam
ple, the new Faculty of Creative
and Critical Studies, where students will be encouraged to study
across traditional subject boundaries.
Then there's the fun factor. The
plan highlights fun as an important, not frivolous, component of
the university experience.
"University life also includes
more than just academic rigor,"
the plan states. "For most young
students, it marks a period of
emancipation, liberation, exhilaration and, it has to be said, fun. We
ought not rely on that happening
by accident — for students, faculty or staff."
Fun, in the UBC Okanagan context, "is a feeling of excitement
about the learning environment
you're in," says McBride. "You
can be serious and have fun."
To view the UBC Okanagan
Academic Plan, go to
www.ubc.ca/okanagan and select
Academic Planning Process in the
QuickFind section. □
Moura Quayle, now serving as B. C. s
Deputy Minister of Advanced
Education, led the team preparing
UBC Okanagan's new academic plan.
English Meets Art History
Outside-the-box thinking behind new faculty by bud mortenson
Blurring subject boundaries is an important facet of the new faculty at UBC Okanagan headed by Robert Belton.
A different school of thought is
taking shape at UBC Okanagan.
Robert Belton, dean of the
brand-new Faculty of Creative
and Critical Studies, is an art
historian with a plan to blur the
lines between language,
literature, and visual and
performing arts this year.
The idea of an overtly interdisciplinary faculty began to take
shape in 2004, while Belton was
Dean of Arts at the former
Okanagan University College and
a member of the UBC Okanagan
academic planning team.
"It was during the development of the academic plan that
the penny dropped for me," he
recalls. "We kept saying we want
to do things that are different. I
said, let's do it."
As a result, this September
courses in English, modern
languages and other literary
studies won't be offered through
the new Irving K. Barber School
of Arts and Sciences. Instead,
they will be offered alongside
visual arts and art history in the
Faculty of Creative and Critical
Next year, the traditional
majors in English, French,
Spanish and Fine Arts will be
joined by new offerings in
creative writing, theatre, film
and media studies, and cultural
studies — with music, musicolo-
gy and possibly other areas to
follow in September 2007.
It's a new approach, "but I
think people will get on board
quickly," say Belton. "Something
is happening that's value-added
without additional expense. This
opens up a smorgasbord of
The vision he has is for an
environment that provides
students with both the traditional
majors and the opportunity to
mix it up — for example, to
study creative writing and theatre
history together. "Or acting and
painting," he adds. "You don't
really find that right now."
Visual arts students at the
former Okanagan University
College participated in a visual
forum as part of their program.
Belton would like to see that kind
of forum for all students in
creative and critical studies
"Visual arts students have done
it for 15 years. But if you're an
English major, why not take the
opportunity to be exposed to art
history at the same time? These
are things that build and set off
fires of interest in students."
Belton, who earned a PhD from
the University of Toronto in
1988, has a background in the
history, theory, and criticism of
modern and contemporary
European and North American
art and architecture. And he's
adept at making connections that
cross over traditional subject
Author of several books on art
and art history, his recent
publication Sights of Resistance
(University of Calgary Press,
2001) was once described as
"an anti-textbook," he says,
explaining how each feature in
the book was accompanied by a
list of key terms and pointers to
other concepts — some without
obvious connection to the topic at
hand. It was designed to make
readers aware of ideas they might
not otherwise experience.
"I like to let others achieve
what they want to," says Belton.
"I get a reward from helping
them see how to do that and then
getting out of their way."
The cross-discipline model
Belton and his faculty are
designing may be a new idea, but
he's confident it will provide UBC
Okanagan students with the
distinctive educational experience
called for in the academic plan.
"This is about getting students
excited and prepared for new
challenges and finding a way
to embrace the unexpected," he
"Imagine fine arts students
working with social work
students on the psychology of creativity, or engineering and sculpture students working together on
projects," Belton says.
" I can hardly wait to start
developing this vision." □ UBC  REPORTS  |  AUGUST  4,  2OO5  |  7
Okanagan Perfect Fit for
Microchip Engineer
Imagine more than 15 million
transistors packed onto a wafer
the size of a thumbnail. Andrew
Labun can tell you precisely how
warm one of those transistors is.
And that's pretty cool.
An avid science fiction reader as
a kid, Manitoba-born Labun saw
engineering as a way to explore
new technologies — to build
things and make some of the fiction a science reality. He followed
his interests and earned an engineering degree from UBC, and a
PhD in electrical engineering from
the University of Alberta while
working on high-power gas lasers
big enough to fill a transport trail-
specialized knowledge of microprocessor modeling.
It's the kind of extensive and
rare industrial experience to which
UBC Okanagan students will have
access when Labun begins teaching
as associate professor of engineering this September.
"I want to convey some of the
excitement of engineering to the
students," he says. "And I plan to
work on research in modeling technology — there's no doubt the
world is full of opportunity for this
kind of research."
Using virtual models and sophisticated computer-aided design tools
he developed, Labun can predict
says he is intrigued not by the electronics but by the physics and
other science that goes into the
"I always hated electronics," he
says, grinning a little. It's a curious
disclosure from someone who happily shows off examples of tiny
processors he " and a team of thousands" helped create.
Souvenirs from painstaking
development projects, each chip is
encased in plastic and each held
distinction as the world's fastest
microprocessor at one time or
another — some for several years.
Holding in the palm of his hand
four generations of these chips,
After working in Massachusetts as a senior engineer for Intel,
Compaq and Digital Equipment Corporation, Labun wanted
to bring his family to Canada.
er. It was fitting research for a
sci-fi fan.
Chemically reacting plasmas
involved in laser research are similar to those in which semiconductor integrated circuits are manufactured. That parallel took Labun
light years away from the laser lab.
For the past 13 years, he has
been in the U.S. delving into the
inner world of microelectronics —
bits of silicon and other matter
organized into electrical gateways
and conducting structures.
Labun's area of specialization is
in modeling electronic structures
that make up the microscopic circuits of computer chips. There's
irony in the way he holds his
thumb and forefinger slightly apart
and explains, "These structures are
as big as a micron across." Not
very big at all — line up 10,000 of
them and they'd stretch out for a
After working in Massachusetts
as a senior engineer for Intel,
Compaq and Digital Equipment
Corporation, Labun wanted to
bring his family to Canada, and he
wanted an opportunity to share his
exactly where circuits get hot, how
much power they'll use, and their
capacitance — how the tiny wires
interact electrically with each other.
All without having to build a chip.
In fact, he says, there's no sense
building a chip to get these readings. "These chips are so complex,
measurement is all but impossible,"
he says. "Modeling is the only
His research is changing how
computer chips are modeled. A
common technique called Finite
Element Modeling has its place,
but tools Labun has developed are
faster and handle big chip designs
better. The latest of his published
techniques is called Chip-Level
Intertwined Metal and Active
Temperature Estimator, or CLIMATE. Using this new technique,
"what would take four hours to
simulate with a finite element
model — still a very useful tool —
takes just a fraction of a second.
Of course, multiply the sample by
a billion and it takes a bit more
Despite a career immersed in
microprocessor technology, Labun
dubbed "Alpha" by maker Digital
Equipment, Labun details the magnificent science behind each.
The Alpha EV6 chip, for example, was the first to handle out-of-
order instruction processing. "This
thing could predict what a more
efficient sequence would be — it's
fiendishly complex microprocessor
The semiconductor industry is
well known for jealously guarding
its secrets. Labun came to realize
that the sharing of knowledge —
and being able to pursue interesting
research not strictly tied to a corporate mandate — was very important to him.
"Teaching is a great opportunity,
and Kelowna is a good fit for me,"
Labun says, explaining that he
chose UBC Okanagan because he
has family in the community, and
because he saw a chance to put his
experience and interests to work.
"I like to talk to people about
the science," he says. "The academic environment is ideal for that.
I see lots of scope for collaborative
research with other academics and
industry partners." □
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www.mediagroup.ubc.ca REPORTS      |      AUGUST     4,      2OO5
Campus to Integrate History,
Culture, Sustainability
First Nations inspired Gathering Place proposed at entrance.
Picture standing in a glass-walled
atrium surrounded by panoramic
snapshots of expansive grassland,
pine forest and red brick buildings
— infused with a sense of local history and culture.
This is the vision guiding design
principles and planning at UBC's
new Okanagan campus.
As the university gears up to welcome its first class in September and
meet projections that will see it
triple in size and serve more than
7,500 students by 2010, administrators from both the Vancouver and
Okanagan campuses have been
working non-stop to put together an
ambitious plan that will transform
the existing campus into a cultural
and sustainable landscape.
"This campus master plan has a
rather unusual mandate in that
we're trying to achieve all these
goals over the next five years. New
buildings and facilities are going to
have to be constructed and expand
rather quickly in order to cater to
our growing student body," says
Aidan Kiernan, UBC Okanagan
Associate Vice-President Operations.
The school emerges as one of two
new post-secondary institutions in
the region. In early July, Okanagan
University College (OUC) turned
over its grounds to make way for
UBC Okanagan at its former North
Kelowna campus, and Okanagan
College in Kelowna, Penticton,
Vernon and Salmon Arm.
The landscape and design plan
detail the construction of new
research, recreational and cultural
facilities at the new university.
Kiernan explains that development
will build on existing cleared areas
of the campus to preserve non-developed pristine land.
New buildings will also feature
spectacular views of the Okanagan
hillsides, and reflect First Nations'
land use.
"We want people to have no question in their minds that they are in
the Okanagan," he says. "The idea
is to bring the outdoors in and create
an intimate learning environment for
students while establishing a world-
class university that is distinctive in
academic programs, responsive to
the needs of the Okanagan, and yet
complementary with UBC
The campus master plan was
developed following extensive consultation with the City of Kelowna,
First Nations groups, and student
and academic groups in the
Okanagan. Its principles are guided
by the university's academic plan
(see page 6), which envisions a campus that emphasizes four major
research themes — indigenous studies, sustainability, health and wellness and creativity, and culture and
Details are now in their final
stages, and the plan is expected to go
before the UBC Board of Governors
for approval late September.
The first proposed feature that visitors will see as they pass through
the main gates is a circular, open-air
structure called the Gathering Place,
says Marta Farevaag of Vancouver-
based Phillips Farevaag
Smallenberg, the primary consulting
firm on the project.
The idea for a Gathering Place
arose out of consultation with First
Nations groups as a way of reflecting traditional Okanagan Nation
symbols such as the circle.
The large structure, which will be
available for special events and student use, is a huge opportunity for
a greater understanding of indigenous cultures and peoples, says
Westbank First Nations Chief
Robert Louie.
"That's missing right now in the
valley," he says. "We are anticipating it will become a focal point.
Access to education about our culture is extremely important. It's
important for people to know
about the land and how we came
to have a society here."
In July 2004, the Board of
Governors approved an approximate $20 million construction plan,
funded by the B.C. government to
expand OUC's research and learning facilities. Expansion to existing
arts and science buildings will be
completed before the school's first
cohort arrives this September, and
construction of two new 180-bed
residences has already begun.
Additionally, the new campus
UBC's new campus
will feature panoramic
views of the Okanagan
landscape, says Aidan
Kiernan, UBC
Okanagan Assoc. Vice-
President Operations.
will rely on geothermal sources to
heat and cool the campus, and optimize solar opportunities and natural ventilation.
Buildings will also be LEED certified — a rating system that evaluates buildings that incorporate
design, construction and operations
to reduce environmental impact in
categories such as transit access,
water efficiency, energy efficiency,
resource efficiency and indoor environmental quality.
"The idea is to create a showpiece of urban sustainability," says
Farevaag. "The Okanagan landscape has become stressed and fragile over the years. What we found
important was to create a cohesive
campus that would have a sense of
place, while ensuring development
is compact and engaging."
Farevaag's award winning planning, urban design and landscape
architectural firm has been working
in the Okanagan for many years,
and recently won a nation-wide
competition to design and construct
a memorial in honour of Canada's
military veterans on the grounds of
the Ontario Legislature.
Kiernan says the main goal of the
plan is to establish a student-oriented campus that will build on the
existing community and create a distinctive feel and sense of belonging.
"Ultimately, what we're trying to
accomplish is a campus that attracts
people from all over the world, that
encourages people to live on campus, and that offers the kinds of
campus experiences that make for a
world-class university," says
"What we're saying is that ifyou
want to strive for excellence, you
have to provide an environment that
embodies excellence as well." □
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