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UBC Reports Nov 1, 2007

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VOLUME   53   I   NUMBER   11   I   NOVEMBER   1,   2007
Winds of Classroom Change: prof. Roland stuii finds
a sense of excitement in his revamped large class on natural disasters
By Brian Lin
When Prof. Roland Stull designed his first-
year course in Earth and Ocean Sciences,
The Catastrophic Earth: Natural Disasters,
he assembled a team of experts so that
students could learn the science behind
storms, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunami and
landslides - and their social ramifications
- from top researchers at UBC.
For more than half a decade, the popular
course has received rave reviews from
students, so much so that two-thirds of its
enrolment - averaging 500 per term - come
from outside the Faculty of Science.
So why have Stull, a world-renowned
meteorologist, and his co-instructors been
revamping the course since the summer?
"We saw an opportunity to make the
course more effective," says Stull, referring
to new resources available through UBC's
Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative
Led by Nobel laureate Carl Wieman,
who joined UBC to launch the $12 million
initiative last January, the CWSEI is
working with eight science departments to
scientifically measure and systematically
improve undergraduate education.
Based on each department's proposal, the
CWSEI funds full-time Science Teaching and
Learning Fellows (STLFs) - young scholars
knowledgeable about research on learning
and with expertise in both educational
methodology and their respective disciplines.
Often experienced teachers themselves,
the STLFs assist faculty members to adopt
proven best practices in teaching and
assessment so students can better achieve
carefully designed learning goals.
Earth and Ocean Sciences Prof. Roland Stull is using interactive activities to help his students better grasp scientific concepts behind storms.
Stull's Natural Disasters is one of three
courses targeted for improvement by the
Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences
this term. Many more courses will be
addressed over the next four years.
A growing body of research shows
that conventional, lecture-centred science
courses often leave students less interested
in science than when they started.
Exercises that guide students to think
through a problem "like a scientist," on the
other hand, significantly increases student
engagement and are proven to double their
grasp of new concepts, says Wieman.
With the help of the department's STLFs
Francis Jones and Brett Gilley, Stull scaled
down the amount of content delivered
in the classroom to make room for more
small-group discussions and debates
designed to challenge students' assumptions
and develop their reasoning and creative
thinking skills.
"I'm guiding them to experience firsthand how scientists brainstorm and
work through a problem, and how they
incorporate knowledge and apply it," says
Stull, who notes that students are now
continued on page 3
The Science of
Teaching Science
Prof. Carl Wieman
It would take nothing less than science itself to convince
scientists to change the way they teach science, according
to Carl Wieman. To that end, he is applying his Nobel
Prize-winning research rigour to show them the data.
This fall, UBC science departments and the CWSEI
are asking more than 3,000 students in 18 courses how
they feel about science before and after a course, and
comparing how different teaching methods affect their
understanding - and interest. The collaboration with
the University of Colorado marks the first time a survey
of this scale has been conducted on university students'
attitudes toward learning science.
"As with any scientific research, we have to establish a
baseline in order to observe change," says Wieman. The
quantitative data being collected this fall, coupled with
focus groups carried out last spring with first- and fourth-
year science students, will paint a holistic picture of what
is important to students.
A key factor identified by the focus groups is the
instructor's attitude towards student learning. "Namely,
students value teachers who show an active interest in
their learning and who make the connection between
what's being taught to its real-world applications," says
Wieman. "This leads to better engagement and in turn
leads to better learning outcomes."
Brendon Goodmurphy, Vice-President of Academic
and University Affairs at the Alma Mater Society, echoes
the finding. "What it comes down to is the instructor's
dedication to a student's academic experience," he says.
"We want them to clearly communicate the goals of the
course, what material we must learn, and that they are
willing to do whatever it takes to support us.
"I think a lot of profs worry that students are looking
for someone funny who delivers amazing speeches, but
it's not about that," says Goodmurphy.
The Science Centre for Learning and Teaching
(Skylight), established by the Dean Office seven years ago
to provide teaching resources and support, takes a similar
approach to the CWSEI, but focuses on one course at a
time, usually in the form of pedagogical research projects.
Leah Macfadyen, a research associate with Skylight and
a member of the CWSEI Working Group, says CWSEI's
scale and infusion of funding is what's needed to take
these improvements to the next level.
"Simply by its presence, the CWSEI has brought the
notion of teaching science as a form of science to the
fore," says Macfadyen. "And it appeals to the scientists'
There has been a lot of "buzz" among students
surrounding CWSEI, according to Goodmurphy. While
students are eager to see "tangible results," he says they
understand that change needs time.
"The most definite impact is the commitment to
teaching and learning that CWSEI makes to UBC and
the greater community," he says. "There will be growing
pains but it's bold and brave and it's worthy trying,
especially for a leading-edge institute like UBC.
"This is what we need to be doing to be a leader in
For more information on the CWSEI and departmental
updates, visit www.cwsei.ubc.ca. 13 2     |     UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER    I,    2007
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Highlights of UBC media coverage in October 2007.  compiled by basil waugh
UBC Student Behind Burma
Facebook Group
Alex Bookbinder, a first-year arts
student at UBC, has learnt more
about international relations,
politics and media in the past
weeks than many people will
learn in a lifetime.
Bookbinder is the Canadian
student responsible for creating
the Facebook group Support
the Monks' Protest in Burma
that has helped focus public
support and media attention on
the crackdown by the Burmese
military regime on peaceful
Bookbinder, 19, has become
somewhat of an unofficial
figurehead for Canadian support
of Burma. He has been flown
to Ottawa, interviewed by
BBC, CBC, Global TV and
the Toronto Star and has been
approached by CNN.
"People needed a way
to express their support,"
Bookbinder said of the 340,000-
member Facebook group. "Many
people wanted to take action
and some were seeking to share
information, even people from
Rangoon were posting news
prior to the Internet shutdown."
UBC Alum Pitches Colorado
Rockies to World Series
Former UBC pitcher Jeff Francis,
26, has helped to lead the
Colorado Rockies to the Major
League Baseball's World Series.
Francis, who majored in
physics and astronomy at UBC,
has featured prominently in
international media coverage of
the playoffs. According to New
York Times' sports columnist
Ben Shpigel, the third-year pro is
"the best pitcher on what is right
now the best team in baseball."
Terry McKaig, Francis'coach
at UBC, said in an interview
with the Globe and Mail: "Jeff
has shown Canadian kids that
you can come to UBC, play
baseball here, get your Canadian
education and if you're good
In October, former T-Bird Jeff Francis became the first Canadian to pitch
in Game 1 ofthe World Series in 32 years.
enough to play pro ball it's not
going to hurt you."
By UBC Reports' print
deadline, the Rockies had won 21
of their last 22 games, sweeping
the Arizona Diamondbacks to win
their first-ever National League
championship. The wild-card club
began the best-of-seven-game Fall
Classic against the Boston Red
Sox on Oct. 24.
Pollution Killing Up To 25,000
Canadians Annually: Study
Pollution could be causing up
to 25,000 premature deaths in
Canada each year and burdening
the health care system with up
to $9.1-billion annually in extra
costs, according to new research
by UBC Trudeau Scholar David
News media across Canada,
including Globe and Mail,
National Post, CTV and CBC,
reported Boyd's study, which is
the first to measure the largely
preventable health toll caused by
the widespread exposure to air
pollution, hazardous chemicals
and pesticides in Canada.
"In our cultural DNA, we
think of Canada as a pristine
nation, but this is at odds
with our track record on the
environment," said Boyd, a PhD
candidate at UBC's Institute for
Resources, the Environment and
Boyd identified more than 50
different chemical ingredients
present in pesticides alone that
are banned in other counties.
He recommends that Canada
develop a comprehensive national
environmental strategy. 13
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Lorraine Chan lorraine.chan@ubc.ca
Brian Lin brian.lin@ubc.ca
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The Lost Forests of Afghanistan
UBC profs use science and sociology to help restore world's forests
This month, Assoc. Prof. Gary Bull from
UBC's Faculty of Forestry is spending time
in Kabul training an Afghan field crew. He
is joining forces with the New-York based
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in
a United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) funded project. Bull
and UBC Forestry PhD student Kijoo Han
are leading an effort to help protect and
restore Afghanistan's remaining forest in
the north east province of Nuristan.
Over the past 20 years, in some provinces,
Afghani farmers have participated in
deforestation rates of up to 70 per cent.
Currently, the country has 1.3 per cent
forest cover, one of the lowest in the world.
"If you're poor enough, you'll cut down
and burn every last tree," Bull says. "Some
of Afghanistan's national parks are largely
denuded and people are going after the
remaining scraps for fuel."
Bull's job will be to deploy Afghani
enumerators to conduct 350 surveys
among Nuristan villagers. Bordering
Pakistan, Nuristan is a remote and rugged
region that has seen much conflict, and
more recently insurgent ambushes.
While an outsider would face great
danger, Bull says locals can do the job in
greater safety. The enumerators will gather
data on forest uses, household behaviour,
income and education levels, taking into
account the region's caste system in which
the population is divided into livestock
grazers, wood carvers and the landless.
Bull says each caste would need a different
financial incentive structure to help both
restore and protect forests.
"If you don't understand what motivates
people, you'll never help them rebuild,"
says Bull, noting that environmental
protocols and standards to combat climate
change can severely impact the poor. About
75 per cent of Afghan people live in rural
"We examine the appropriate public
policy responses because if you ignore the
- an area about half the size of B.C.'s
productive forests - and to Mozambique,
where non-profit organizations are
investing in agro-forestry, which pays
farmers to plant trees between their crops. I
You can't save the trees unless you understand the people, says Forestry Assoc. Prof. Gary Bull.
people, especially the rural populations,
it'll end up in disaster," says Bull, who
specializes in forestry, economics and policy.
To avoid these pitfalls, UBC has pioneered
a multi-faceted approach to sustainable
forest management. The Faculty of Forestry
assembles interdisciplinary teams that
encompass sociologists, foresters, biologists,
engineers, chemists and biometricians.
The Faculty of Forestry is providing its
expertise to China, where the government
is planting 13 million hectares of new forest
Funding Reforestation
Through Carbon Offsetting
Pay people to plant trees rather
than destroy forests, and fund these
alternatives through carbon offsetting
This two-pronged attack will help
alleviate poverty and sustain the world's
forests," says Gary Bull, an associate
professor at the Faculty of Forestry.
Bull says that UBC has produced
some of the world's most sophisticated
tools to evaluate ecosystems and the
services they provide, which include
carbon storage, biodiversity and water.
"UBC leads because we've been doing
this kind of modeling over the past 20
years, given that Canada's ecosystems
are quite complex," says Bull.
For example, Forestry Profs. John
Nelson and Hamish Kimmins have
developed impressive large- and small-
scale modeling tools that can track
nutrients and carbon within dynamic
ecosystems and landscapes. These
models compile data from ecosystem
processes and human activity that
influence carbon storage in everything
from the soil and fallen leaves to stems
and branches.
In fact, Bull says credible scientific
data will make the entire process of
carbon offsetting, more accountable
and attractive.
"If you have reliable systems to
measure, manage and monitor carbon,
you increase the effectiveness of how
you disperse money to reach your goals.
"As well, you can hold the sellers
to account for what they promised to
deliver in terms of carbon offsetting." 13
UBC Climate Change Experts Help Create First Carbon Neutral Airline
Offsetters Climate Neutral Society,
founded by two UBC professors, is
helping the airline industry to reduce
its impact on the environment through
carbon offsets, a method for mitigating
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Harbour Air, the world's largest all-
seaplane airline, recently partnered with
Offsetters to become the first carbon
neutral air carrier in North America.
To mitigate its environmental impact,
on Oct. 1, 2007, Harbour Air introduced
a surcharge on all flight services.
Offsetters will invest the funds into
renewable energy and energy efficiency
projects on the airline's behalf.
Founded by Hadi Dowlatabadi,
a Canada Research Chair in UBC's
Institute for Resources, Environment and
Sustainability, and James Tansey of UBC's
Centre for Applied Ethics and Sauder
School of Business, Offsetters has been
helping individuals and organizations to
reduce their carbon footprint since 2005.
In addition to the Harbour Air initiative,
Offsetters has partnerships with financial
institutions, utilities, apparel companies,
travel agencies and other airlines such
as Westjet, that enable individuals and
companies to calculate, reduce and mitigate
the environmental impact of their activities.
Offsetters has funded a number of
international green projects, including
efficient lighting in households in
South Africa, biogas digesters
to save a tiger habitat in India,
and efficient cooking stoves in
Honduras and Madagascar.
The non-profit company is in
the process of establishing its first
heat recovery projects in North America.
According to Tansey, ground-source heat
pump systems and greywater heat recovery
technologies are a cost-effective means to
achieve dramatic reductions in building
and district level GHG emissions.
All Offsetters-funded projects are
monitored by a third party to confirm
they are producing emissions reductions
that are
'real, permanent
and additional - meaning that
they wouldn't have taken place without
Offsetters' involvement," says Tansey. "So
our users know their contributions result
in tangible climate benefits."
For more information, visit www.
offsetters.ca. 13
WINDS OF CHANGE continued from
asked to learn some content on their own
but expected to use it actively in class
Stull says he enjoys immensely his new
role as a thought provoker rather than
simply someone who delivers content.
"Our students are sophisticated, bright
and caring," says Stull. "It's incredible to
see a 250-student lecture hall filled with
excitement about what I'm teaching.
"The traditional lecturing method is
efficient for covering a large amount of
course material, if little else. Now I'm
teaching efficiently and effectively," says
"By working with professors to
optimize their courses, we change the
dynamics of a classroom from a 'hand-out'
of knowledge to intelligent, thoughtful
discourse," Jones says. "In other words,
instead of passively hearing about science,
they are doing science.
"In Roland's case, he put himself out
on a limb, took the risk and is now very
excited about the results," says Jones.
"When the transformation is so visible
and palpable in the classroom, learning
becomes exciting for students, fun for the
teachers, and more effective."
Jones and Gilley are now helping Stull
design assessment questions that require
students to evaluate scientific information,
reason and arrive at logical conclusions.
"This makes assessment an extension of
the active learning process," says Gilley,
"and enables student evaluation to more
accurately reflect the types of learning they
have done during the term."
Stull, Jones and Gilley are also
evaluating their own efforts by devising
ways to measure how students respond to
different teaching and learning methods
- and adjusting their strategy accordingly
as the semester goes on.
The "evidence-based" approach is
appealing to them as scientists.
"We're tackling teaching as a science,"
says Jones. "And that means seeing and
recognizing the challenges, looking for
precedents and potential solutions, then
measuring and assessing how useful the
solutions are.
"This involves pushing the pedagogic
envelope, and such innovation is exciting
and rewarding." 13 4     I     UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER    I,    2007
Can the World Trade
Organization (WTO) put a
stop to harmful fishing practices
largely driven by government
subsidies that top US$35 billion
each year?
That's the question UBC
Fisheries Centre researcher
Rashid Sumaila has put before
the WTO. The 151-member
organization is hammering
out trade rules during its
current Doha Trade Round of
Negotiations, and by early 2008
will decide whether it will issue a
multilateral ban on subsidies that
drive overfishing.
"The WTO is the only global
institution that has the mandate
to enforce its agreements and
therefore could contribute to
healthy global fisheries," says
Assoc. Prof. Sumaila.
He adds that perhaps the
WTO can accomplish what the
United Nations failed to do.
Last fall, Sumaila presented a
study that he and Prof. Daniel
Pauly co-authored, calling for a
moratorium on global subsidies
of US$152 million which
"strip-mine" vulnerable fishery
resources and ocean ecosystems.
However, last November, the
UN General Assembly defeated a
proposal to ban environmentally
harmful deep-sea bottom-trawl
Putting forward another
economic argument for
sustainable fisheries, the most
recent study by Sumaila and
UBC researchers shows that
between US$20 and US$26
billion annually contribute
directly to overfishing.
Governments invest money
to keep their fishing fleets
competitive and as a result
there are more than twice the
number of boats than oceans can
sustainably support. Currently,
global fisheries catch between
80-90,000 tonnes of fish each
Fishing for Trouble
Governments subsidize plundering of oceans
Fisheries economist Rashid Sumaila categorizes subsidies as "the good, the bad and the ugly.'
year, earning total gross revenues
of about $80 billion.
"The resource base is now too
small for all fishing boats to make
a profit, with too many stocks
being fully or overexploited, says
Sumaila, Director of the Fisheries
Economics Research Unit.
He says ecologists predict
that world fisheries and seafood
populations will collapse by 2048
if current trends in overfishing
and habitat destruction continue.
About one-fifth of the world's
population depends on fish as its
main source of animal protein.
This spring in Geneva, Sumaila
presented these findings to WTO
Director General Pascal Lamy
and delegations that included
Australia, Japan, China, Canada,
Once again the University is recognizing excellence in teaching through
the awarding of prizes to faculty members. Up to six (6) prize winners
will be selected in the Faculty of Arts for 2008.
Eligibility: Eligibility is open to faculty who have three or more years
of teaching at UBC.The three years include 2007 - 2008.
Criteria: The awards will recognize distinguished teaching at all levels;
introductory, advanced, graduate courses,graduate supervision, and any
combination of levels.
Nomination Process: Members of faculty, students, or alumni may
suggest candidates to the Head of the Department, the Director of the
School, or Chair of the Program in which the nominee teaches.These
suggestions should be in writing and signed by one or more students,
alumni or faculty, and they should include a very brief statement of the
basis for the nomination.You may write a letter of nomination or pick up
a form from the Office ofthe Dean, Faculty of Arts in Buchanan BI30.
Deadline: 4:00 p.m. on January 15, 2008. Submit nominations to the
Department, School or Program Office in which the nominee teaches.
Winners will be announced in the Spring, and they will be identified
during Spring convocation in May.
For further information about these awards contact either your Department,
School or Program office, or Dr. Dominic Mclver Lopes, Associate Dean of
Arts at (604) 822-6703.
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the European Union, the U.S.
and Pakistan.
"We've categorized
government subsidies into the
good, the bad and the ugly."
The study argues that while
good subsidies help to monitor
and rebuild fish stocks, bad
subsidies don't make ecological
or business sense. Governments
increase the capacity of
commercial fisheries by giving
them money to buy new boats
or via fuel subsidies that support
destructive practices such as
bottom trawling.
"Ugly" subsidies are less clear
and could lead to a decline
or increase in fishing effort
depending on the program is
designed and implemented. For
example, a buy-back program
to reduce the number of fishing
vessels could backfire.
"If it's not done well, fishers
could sell one boat and simply
use that money to enhance the
capacity of a second boat,"
explains Sumaila, "or increase
their fleet if they find out
beforehand there will be a buy-
back program sometime in the
Sumaila estimates that
Canada's annual "good," "bad,"
and "ugly" subsidies total
US$203, $163 and $267 million,
respectively. He adds that so far,
Canada appears to support a
WTO ban on harmful subsidies.
He says that subsidies are a
contentious issue because fish
are a commonly held resource,
swimming freely across human
made borders. Thus, no nation
wants to act unilaterally.
"A country doesn't want to
give advantage to competing
nations, thinking, 'The fish I
leave, you catch.' And this is why
we need multilateral action."
To date, two coalitions have
emerged over the question of
banning bad subsidies. Some
countries such as the U.S. and
New Zealand advocate a "top
down" approach that essentially
eliminates all government
Others including the EU,
Japan, Korea and Taiwan favour
a "bottom up" approach that
bans only specific subsidies
such as money for modifying
or purchasing boats. This camp
wants to continue supporting
vessel buyback programs and
access agreements that richer
nations pay developing countries
to fish in their waters. 13 UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER
2007     I    s
Prof. Bob Pritchard and Prof. Sidney Fels have created one ofthe few systems in the world that translates hand gestures to digitally synthesized speech and song.
Over 200 years ago Wolfgang
von Kempelen created a manually
operated speech machine. It
produced spoken words by
pumping a bellows and shaping
air through tubes into vowels and
consonants. His 1770's talking
device is considered the start of
speech synthesis and inspired a
line of successors curious about
generating speech via artificial
vocal tracts.
Now UBC researchers have
created a new system that
translates hand gestures to speech
using a computerized glove. It is
one of the few gesture-controlled
systems in the world to create
digitally synthesized speech and
song, with the wave of your hands.
The project, Gesturally
Realized Audio, Speech and Song
Performance (GRASSP), is lead by
composer and music professor Bob
Pritchard, of the UBC School of
Music, and investigates how sound
can be shaped and how speech or
song can be produced using hand
gestures and technology.
"As an artist I'm interested in
fresh ways of expressing human
emotion and how we understand
the human condition," said
Pritchard. "This gesture-controlled
system is not unlike conducting
an orchestra, adding elements and
moving sound around."
Collaborating with Pritchard
is UBC Prof. Sidney Fels,
Director of the Media and
Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre
(MAGIC). Fels is a UBC professor
of computer and electrical
engineering who first developed
the gesture-controlled speech
system called Glove-Talk.
With GRASSP musicians or
performers use sensitized gloves
to control and create speech, song,
and electro-acoustic sounds via
software that models the vocal
tract. They can also control the
processing of multi-channel sound
from other acoustical and digital
instruments through specific hand
This gesture-based system
gives musicians or performers
access to an unlimited range of
sounds and words - not available
with traditional text-to-speech
synthesizers - in addition to
facilitating greater pitch variation
and integrating visuals within
vocal expression.
It takes about 100 hours
to learn to use the gloves and
performers are then able to move
all 10 fingers and a foot pedal
to produce vowels, consonants,
vocal sounds, pitch and volume.
"The tipping point comes
when the vocalist, or musician,
starts to get really expressive
with it," notes Fels. "At that point
it becomes integrated into the
person, part of the performance,
and is no longer only technology.
"A gesture-based system
expands options for performers,
allowing them to move sound
around the stage, or to develop
the performance for a specific
site, or to activate moving and
still images," says Pritchard. It
is anticipated that this gesture-
controlled system will soon
include features to activate
synthetic faces, kinetic sculptures,
or moving robots, for interactive
The researchers are currently
refining GRASSP on many fronts:
making the system portable;
adding adaptive features to allow
for unique expressive styles;
working with a textile artist
from the Emily Carr School of
continued on page 7
Car Sharing Comes to UBC Students
Service bandy for groceries, daytrips... and dating
Steve Jones remembers the day
he snapped.
He was traveling to the
outskirts of Vancouver, like so
many other days, to purchase
materials for engineering projects
and transport them back to UBC.
"I was standing in the rain at a
bus stop in Burnaby," says Jones,
a fifth-year UBC engineering
student. "I had these heavy 10-
foot metal bars under one arm
and sheets of fibreglass under the
"When the bus came I could
hardly get on with all that stuff,"
Jones says. "It was ridiculous. I
thought: 'There has to be a better
That's when Jones began
taking advantage of car-sharing
at UBC. He joined Zipcars, a
car-sharing company that, since
August 2007, has partnered with
UBC to make a Toyota Yaris and
Matrix available to students who
sign up as members.
Now when the bus won't do,
UBC's new car-sharing program puts UBC student Steve Jones behind the wheel of 126 vehicles around
Jones simply books one of UBC's
two Zipcars online or using
his cell phone. Then he walks
to Totem Park or Walter Gage
student residence to pick up his
car from its designated parking
spot, uses his key-like "Zipcard"
and drives away.
Jones' $30 annual membership
fee gives him a license to drive
not only UBC's two Zipcars, but
also the company's worldwide
fleet, which includes 126
automobiles in Vancouver. He
pays $9.75 per hour for the
time he uses the cars - up to
$69 per day - which includes
gas, insurance, maintenance and
reserved parking.
Cost and convenience makes
car-sharing a good alternative
to renting or owning a vehicle,
says Jones. "It is cheaper than
taxis or owning or renting a car,
and it's a lot less work," he says.
"It's nice not to worry about
maintenance, things like brake
jobs or tune ups."
Jones says that he and friends
pile into a Zipcar for daytrips
and to shop for groceries or big
ticket items at Ikea and Home
Depot. Zipcars also come in
handy on the dating scene, Jones
adds. "Let's just say renting a car
for a date would be pretty weird.
Somehow it's not so weird if
you're car-sharing."
Car-sharing is part of an
continued on page 6 UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER
Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
JANUARY 25,2008
2008-2009 Early Career Scholars Program
Assistant and Associate Professor Competitions
The Early Career Scholars program is oriented towards full-
time UBC faculty at relatively early stages of their careers.
The objective forthe program is to bring outstanding early-
career researchers together to share ideas and research
approaches. Assistant Professors should be untenured
and within two years of their initial appointment at UBC.
As of May 2007, Associate Professors should be within
three (previously it was two) years of tenure having been
awarded. Each participant will receive an infrastructure
budget of $6,000 and has access to a Project Fund of up
to $1,000.
MARCH 1, 2008
Exploratory Workshop Grant
The Peter Wall Institute Exploratory Workshop program
awards $15,000 to $25,000 to interdisciplinary core groups
of UBC researchers to create new research initiatives
by bringing outstanding international experts to the
University. Proposals should be broadly interdisciplinary,
involve basic research and be innovative.
For wore information, please visit our website at
www.pwias.ubc.ca or call us at (604) 822-4782.
A Crime Called Genocide
UBC Okanagan scholar seeks knowledge from
the heart of darkness
Near a small town in Bosnia this
summer, Adam Jones watched
in the rain as a mass grave was
exhumed, the remains of dozens
of nameless people brought forth
from the sodden earth. It was
a solemn reminder of a terrible
truth: "Genocide is woven
inextricably into the fabric of
modern history," he says.
"We're coming to a greater
understanding of just how
pervasive this phenomenon
has been throughout history,"
says Jones, an Assoc. Prof, of
Political Science who joined UBC
Okanagan this year from Yale
Until 1943, it was called the
"crime without a name." Today,
genocide is a label judiciously
applied to atrocities around the
globe, as experts like Jones build
new understanding about what
motivates one group to seek the
extermination of another.
"In studying genocide, I've
come to appreciate how many
societies have been vulnerable to
it. When we talk about genocidal
prevention, we re coming to terms
with the legacy of the past," he
says. "Hopefully, that makes us
more aware of the destructive
processes when they arise today."
Jones has traveled the world to
learn more about the places and
people involved in genocide. From
Bolivia to Bosnia, he has seen
first-hand the horrific damage
inflicted by one group against
The author of a new textbook,
Genocide: A Comprehensive
Introduction (www.genocidetext.
net), Jones was drawn to UBC's
Okanagan campus by an
interdisciplinary approach to
research, and an opportunity
to delve ever deeper into what
he calls "the heart of darkness"
- genocide through history and
around the world.
He's keenly interested in
the role of gender in genocide.
Examples of gender-selective
atrocities - "gendercide" - are
found in the witch hunts of
Europe, colonial North America,
and even modern-day Africa.
Gendercide also permeates
Africa's long history of conflict,
CAR SHARING continued from page 5
overall strategy to make
UBC one of the world's
greenest campuses, says
Carole Jolly, Director of the
UBC TREK program, which
works to provide sustainable
transportation options at UBC,
including the U-Pass, a universal
bus pass initiative that has
increased transit ridership by 40
per cent since it was introduced
in 2003.
"On average, shared cars
replace 20 privately owned
cars," says Jolly. "So by reducing
the demand for parking,
they leave more room for
the important stuff such as
institutional buildings
and greenspace."
Although the
minimum age for
Zipcar membership is
usually 21, Jolly's
office negotiated
a reduction that
makes UBC the
only university in
Canada where
students as
young as 18
can become
members. "We
wanted to make the
Zipcars accessible to
as many students as
where invading forces cull battle-
aged males from the population,
thwarting any resistance. In one
historical case, that of Shaka
Zulu's imperial armies in the
early 19th century, the oppressing
army did the opposite, killing all
the women and children, forcing
the men into service as soldiers.
"The role of gender in
atrocities is under-explored,"
Jones says. "I'm now looking
at women and men as victims,
perpetrators and bystanders in
genocide. Understanding the
role of gender helps us better
understand the dynamics of
Jones has developed tools to
expose and record genocide - so
the crime, the perpetrators, and
their victims are not nameless.
Gendercide Watch, a non-profit
organization he founded under
the auspices of the Gender Issues
Education Foundation, is one
of these tools: collecting and
publishing online a wide range
of gendercide case studies, from
Armenia during World War One
to Rwanda in 1994, and more
recent world media reports on
continued on page 7
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possible," she says.
While Zipcar is
the newest car-
sharing initiative
at UBC, it is not
the only one. Six
other shared cars
are available to
c    students, staff, faculty
f    and campus residents
;    through a partnership
between UBC and
the Cooperative Auto
Network (CAN) that began in
UBC is also preparing to
launch an innovative car-
sharing pilot project with CAN
for university departments,
Jolly says. It is designed as an
environmentally friendly, money-
saving alternative to purchasing
more vehicles.
UBC's Shared Vehicle
Program (SVP) will be an
opportunity for vehicle-owning
administrative units to defray
costs by maximizing the use of
existing vehicles. It will provide
departments with access to a
variety of vehicles, whether
or not they own one, at a
reasonable rate.
"To my knowledge UBC is
the only university in North
America to take car-sharing this
far," says Tanya Paz of CAN,
which will manage the car-
booking software and billing for
SVP. "To date, only companies
and municipalities have tried to
maximize their fleets like this."
For more info on sustainable
transportation options at UBC,
visit www.trek.ubc.ca. For more
information car-sharing, visit
www.zipcar.com and www.
cooperativeauto.net. 13 UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER
2007     I     7
GENOCIDE continued from
mar* . .<■:■' • Mr
*6%&imr jststsr/xer
*&?*- X6&'SJVS
■■.■■■:-•■ ■■:_■
.<-.-■■ •
Grieving women pass by the stone marker at the Potocari memorial site
for victims ofthe 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which 8,000 Bosnian
Muslim men and boys were massacred by Serb forces.
gendercide. He has also published
a comprehensive look at media
coverage and human-rights
reports about gender-selective
killings in Darfur, Sudan.
Jones takes some comfort in
knowing that against considerable
cultural odds, great social victories
have been won in the past - over
slavery and in advancing women's
rights, for example. "Maybe there
is a chance to engineer similar
transformations when it comes to
genocide," he says.
Two years ago, his explorations
took him to Potosi, Bolivia, and
the Cerro Rico mountain, the
richest silver mine in history. "For
two centuries, this mine fueled
the epic excess of the Spanish
monarchs," Jones writes on his
genocidetext.net website. "Still
today, it is excavated - mostly for
other minerals - by a small army
of poverty-stricken miners whom
I had the honour of joining for a
couple of hours deep in the humid
bowels of the mountain."
During the colonial period, at
least one million forced labourers,
and perhaps as many as eight
million - mostly Aymara Indians,
but including some African slaves
- died in the mines of Cerro Rico.
"There are grounds for
believing that the Cerro Rico is
the world's greatest single tomb,"
says Jones. "Potosi reminds us
that our journey into genocide is
only beginning - and with it, our
reckoning of our past and present
barbarisms, and our potential to
banish the scourge for good." 13
SINGING FINGERS continued from
ob Pritchard
How does it work?
GRASSP uses several input devices including a Cyberglove
from Immersion Corp. to shape vowel and some consonant
sounds, a self made contact-sensitive glove to control
stop sounds such as B, D and G, a Polhemus Fastrak™ to
control vowel sounds and a foot pedal to control volume.
www.music.ubc.ca www.icics.ubc.ca
http://hct.ece.ubc.ca/      www.nime.org
Interactive links:
» Fels original research with graduate student singing
alphabet http://hct.ece. ubc.ca/research/glovetalkl/index.
html (click on alphabet video)
» Traditional text-to-speech synthesis http://cepstral.com/
(type in sentences and hear them reproduced) 13
Art + Design to address aesthetic
elements of the gloves; and
collaborating with UBC linguistics
professor Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson
to analyze voice production.
The research team has plans
to expand the system to facial
gestures, allowing performers to
produce digitized sound modeling
throat and mouth movements.
"Music is about shaping sound,
forming a continuous sonic wave,
and science has tried to artificially
reproduce sound for a long
time - it's the basis of modern
communication," says Fels. "This
takes it a little further."
Both Pritchard and Fels are
members of the UBC Media and
Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre
(MAGIC) and the UBC Institute
for Computing, Information &
Cognitive Systems (ICICS).
This project received funding
from Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council
of Canada (SSHRC) and has
recently secured joint funding
from the Natural Sciences and
Engineering Research Council
(NSERC) and the Canada
Council for the Arts. 13
St. John's College
UBC Guest
St. John's College extends an
invitation to visitors to UBC to stay
in our quiet, comfortable, and
well-appointed guest rooms.
Available year-round, guest rooms
are furnished with a double or
queen bed, private washroom,
telephone, television, coffee
maker, bar fridge and internet
Dining with College residents in our
spacious Dining Hall is an integral part
of the life of the College, and meals
are included in the guest room fees.
For further information or to make a reservation, contact us by
phone at 604-822-6522, or by e-mail: sjc.reception@ubcca
Sessional Lecturer
Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics
The Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics
at the University of British Columbia invites applications for a
renewable 1 -year Sessional Lecturer position for this coming term
January 2008 to April 2008 to begin 1 January 2008.
We are seeking an outstanding Sessional Lecturer who will
contribute to our undergraduate program. Applicants should have
BSc and a higher degree in Pharmacology. Expertise in teaching
"systems pharmacology" laboratories to undergraduate students is
essential. The position involves the running of in vitro (tissues and
organs) and in vivo laboratories, marking reports, developing new
exercises for laboratories and giving lectures in pharmacology. Salary
within the UBC guidelines for Sessional Lecturers.
Areas of special interest within the Department include
cardiovascular, neuropharmacology, infectious diseases and
respiratory pharmacology.
The position will remain open until filled. Applicants should send
their letter of application, curriculum vitae, and the names and
addresses of three referees, to:
Dr. David Fedida, Ph.D., bm., B.ch,
Associate Head
Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics
2176 Health Sciences Mall
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada
email contact is: aileen.to@ubc.ca
UBC Faculty of Medicine (www.med.ubc.ca)
UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity.
We encourage all qualified applicants to apply; however, Canadians and
permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.
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Email: mediagrp@interchange.ubc.ca
T: (604) 822-5561
F: (604) 822-2004
rroup	 I     UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER
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