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UBC Reports Oct 4, 2007

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VOLUME   53   I   NUMBER   10   I   OCTOBER   4,   2007
CITIZEN J Af   %a___9^^\    UBC's UNITED
DI ind tO DGclUty! Researchers look at a rare condition to find
out how and where we process attractiveness
Beauty may be in the eye ofthe beholder,
but according to research conducted by a
UBC medical student, eye candy fails to
find a sweet tooth in patients with a rare
Chris Waite, a third-year med student, has
studied how patients with prosopagnosia
- the inability to recognize familiar faces,
even family members, because of brain injury
- perceive facial attractiveness. The findings
may provide another assessment tool to help
clinicians localize areas of brain damage.
"We don't know a tenth of what goes
on the brain," says the 26-year-old. "Face
perception is a highly complex visual
skill. Exploring how the brain processes
judgments about facial beauty help us
identify the role of various regions of the
Waite worked with UBC prof Jason
Barton, Canada Research Chair in the
Neuropsychology of Vision and Eye
Movements, and investigators from
Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology. The study was the first of
its kind and earned Waite the American
Academy of Neurology Award for best
medical student essay.
The research team studied eight
individuals with prosopagnosia, an
impairment also known as of face-blindness.
They wanted to know where the brain
processes visual information that adds up to
a judgment about facial attractiveness.
Individuals with prosopagnosia
have trouble extracting and integrating
information they see in a face and rely on
other characteristics, such as hair, body
shape and gait to recognize people. The
condition can result from trauma to the
UBC researchers are studying brain damage that causes "face blindness" which in severe cases means individuals can't recognize their
own reflection.
head, illness such as encephalitis, or
inflammation of the brain, stroke, coma
or insufficient oxygen supply at birth.
In 2006, a web survey of 1,600 people
conducted jointly by a team from Harvard
and University College London suggested
that up to two per cent of people have
some degree of face-blindness.
The damaged area of the brain for
those with face-blindness is usually found
in the medial side of the occipital (low
back of the brain, near the spinal cord)
and temporal, or side lobes. The region
is called the fusiform face area. Because
attractiveness depends on non-changing
elements of facial structure - which in
Western society include a strong jaw, big
eyes and a straight nose - it was thought
that attractiveness might be processed in
this area.
However, because attractiveness
is a social signal that helps us judge
personality or mating potential, scientists
believed it might be processed in a region
of the brain that "reads" changing facial
properties, an area called the superior
temporal sulcus that is located at the
tops of the temporal lobes. Although
prosopagnosia patients cannot identify
faces, they can judge subtle facial clues,
such as a raised eyebrow or pursed lips that
express emotion and convey social cues.
The investigators' wanted to determine
continued on page 3
Arts Initiative Targets
Undergrad Teaching:
Attracts 14 highly regarded post-docs
Catherine Corrigall-Brown has returned home to teach undergraduate students, and
continue her research, into social movements and activism.
This year, UBC arts students have a chance
to learn from young intellectuals and gain
exposure to leading interdisciplinary research
with the appointment of 14 new postdoctoral teaching fellows in the arts faculty.
The initiative, the first of its kind in
Canada, has brought together 14 young,
highly regarded post-doctoral fellows fresh
from studies across the world in places
like Barcelona, Chicago, Connecticut,
Manchester, London and Sydney.
Catherine Corrigall-Brown is one of
them and has returned home to Canada
with a PhD from the University of
California, Irving. Her research and work
on social movements and activism won an
outstanding teaching award in the US.
"How can individuals change the
world?" asks Corrigall-Brown as she
outlines her recent research. "What role
do social movements play and why do
people stay active in them over time?"
All inspiring questions that relate to
undergraduate experience and connect
to the west coast as the home of peaceful
protests and the birthplace of Greenpeace.
Of the inaugural 14 new appointments,
Corrigall-Brown is one of nine teaching
first-year classes, addressing an area
of high enrolment. She is teaching in
collaboration with Prof. Neil Guppy,
head of the Department of Sociology.
continued on page 5 2     |     UBC    REPORTS     |     OCTOBER    4,    2007
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Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in September 2007.  compiled by basil waugh
God Thoughts Influence Your
Generosity: UBC Study
A UBC study has found that
thoughts related to God produce
cooperative behavior and
generosity in people - even if they
aren't religious.
In research published in the
journal Psychological Science,
Prof. Ara Norenzayan and PhD
graduate Azim Shariff from
UBC's Dept. of Psychology
found that playing word games
with religious words increased
"It's like a supernatural
policing agent," said Shariff. "The
reminder that there is an idea of
a God enforces this idea of moral
United Press International,
Reuters, CanWest News, CTV
and the Vancouver Sun reported
on Norenzayan's and Shariff's
Space Weapons and Junk
Threaten Life on Earth
Human security and technologies
are more at risk than ever from
anti-satellite weapons and space
junk, according to the fourth
annual report on space security.
Released by UBC's Simons
Centre for Disarmament and Non-
Proliferation Research, the report
will be presented to the United
Nations First Committee on
international security on Oct. 22.
International news media
including Agence France Presse,
Taipei Times and the Melbourne
Herald Sun covered the report,
entitled Space Security 200
UBC's Saber Miresmailli has conceived a device that could read chemical
S.O.S. signals from plants.
UBC to Use Text Messages to
Issue Emergency Alerts
This September, UBC students
were asked to volunteer their
cell phone numbers to help
authorities set up an emergency
text-message warning system.
David Rankin, UBC Assoc.
Vice President of Business
Operations, said security officials
have been studying ways to
instruct students on how to leave
campus since the Virginia Tech
killings earlier this year.
The emergency system is
expected to be operational by
the end of the year, reported the
Canadian Press, CanWest News,
National Post, Maclean's and
Accommodation for UBC visitors
Plant Sensor Could Tell When
Your Tomatoes are Singing the
Land and Food Systems PhD
student Saber Miresmailli has
discovered a new way to fight
pests in vegetable crops, reported
the National Post and the
Vancouver Sun.
As first described in UBC
Reports, Miresmailli is building
a database of the types of
chemicals that tomato, cucumber
and pepper plants release when
they are in distress.
Once the database is complete,
he plans to build a device that
can sniff out a plant's chemical
warning signals using the same
basic technology as airport
bomb-sniffing machines. 13
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A total of 31 UBC faculty members were recognized at
this year's Quarter Century Club annual dinner, held
Oct. 2.
Established in 1996 by then President David
Strangway, the Quarter Century Club recognizes
full-time faculty members and librarians with 25
years of service.
In addition to the Quarter Century Club
inductees, this year's dinner also recognized
10 faculty members and librarians who have
worked at UBC for 35 years. In 2003, the club
began recognizing these active members, known
collectively as Tempus Fugit, or "time flies," who
reached the additional milestone.
For information on this year's inductees, please
visit: www.ceremonies.ubc.ca/qcc
Executive Director  Si    tt Macrae scott.macrae@ubc.ca
Editor   Randy Schmidt randy.schmidt@ubc.ca
Designer Ann Goncalves ann.goncalves@ubc.ca
Principal Photography   Martin Dee martin.dee@ubc.ca
Web Designer  Michael Ko michael.ko@ubc.ca
Contributors   Lorraine Chan lorraine.chan@ubc.ca
Brian Lin brian.lin@ubc.ca
Bud Mortenson bud.mortenson@ubc.ca
Hilary Thomson hilary.thomson@ubc.ca
Basil Waugh basil.waugh@ubc.ca
Advertising  Sarah Walker public.affairs@ubc.ca
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Scavenger Champion:
Curious George showcases UBC advances in robotic vision
Jim Little looks forward to the day when robots can make
more decisions on their own.
Little specializes in the integration of robotics and
vision systems. As the Director of UBC's Laboratory of
Computational Intelligence (LCI), Little seeks to penetrate
the mysteries of machine vision, comprehension and
"Seeing and perception seem so effortless for humans, but
it involves many computational steps and problems," says
Prof. Little, who teaches in the Dept. of Computer Science.
"We're attacking the whole problem of how robots
move around, how they identify objects and how they
decide which visual information is important."
Showing prowess in all these areas is Curious George,
LCI's robot which walked away - or in this case rolled away
- with first prize at an international competition this July.
The "Semantic Robot Vision Challenge" tested the mettle
of each robot through a three-hour scavenger hunt. The
competition was held in Vancouver at the Association for
the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence conference and
was sponsored by the U.S. National Foundation for Science.
UBC competed against the University of Maryland and
Kansas State University. Each team received a USB memory
stick containing a text file of 15 objects their robot would
need to locate within a hotel room. Items included a bell
pepper, a bottle of Pepsi and a DVD of Gladiator. While
Curious George tracked down seven of the scavenger hunt
items, the other two robots couldn't locate more than three.
LCI's team designed and built Curious George in just
three months. Working on this project were Per-Erik
Forssen, David Meger, Scott Helmer, Sancho McCann,
Tristram Southey, Matthew Baumann, Kevin Lai, Bruce
Dow, and Profs. Little and David Lowe. They named their
intrepid robot not after the storybook monkey, but for the
naval explorer George Vancouver.
Little says UBC's past advances in robotic vision helped
Curious George ace this challenge. During the early
1990s, Little invented stereo-vision mapping to enhance
computer vision. He discovered that robots equipped with
two cameras can see with greater depth perspective and
can gather more data when mapping surroundings and
identifying landmarks. As well, Prof. Lowe developed an
algorithm called SIFT (Scale-Invariant Feature Transform)
which allows software to detect images and verify certain
visual similarities when locating objects.
The LCI team wrote software for Curious George to
Google the Internet, generating hundreds of relevant
Jim Little is collaborating with the University of Toronto to design a wheelchair that can migrate and remember
images for each scavenger hunt item. Using this database
of images, the robot was then well poised to locate the
three-dimensional object as it scooted around the room.
Little says he hopes to apply LCI advances to creating
Technology and Systems Lab in the Dept. of Occupational
Science and Occupational Therapy.
"In the long run, we want a wheelchair to know the
daily business of the person using it, whether that's
While Curious George tracked down seven ofthe scavenger hunt
items, the other two robots couldn't locate more than three.
Curious George
assistive technologies. Such devices would include
wheelchairs that can navigate obstacles, or a smart house
that reminds you to turn off the stove.
"These robot-human interactions will enable older
people to stay in their homes and live independently as long
as possible."
Little was convinced of this while observing the
hardship his mother faced during the last years of her
life. At 89 she broke her hip and was then confined to a
"She hated being dependent," says Little. "But with a
robot, she would have been able to simply say, 'Help me
stand up,' or 'Get me some Kleenex.'"
Little and LCI colleagues are working hard to make
these scenarios a reality. They have partnered with
Alex Mihailidis at the University ofToronto to design a
wheelchair equipped with artificial intelligence. Asst. Prof.
Mihailidis is based at the U of T's Intelligent Assistive
remembering an important appointment or mapping a
route," says Little.
He adds that UBC and U of T hope to produce a
working prototype within three years.
To accelerate Canada's advances in these types of
projects, Little says researchers have established a national
network called ICAST (Intelligent Computational Assistive
Technologies). Members include UBC, the University of
Toronto, York University and Sherbrooke University.
Compared to many other institutions, says Little, UBC
enjoys an edge because of the strong collaboration
between people working on robotics and vision.
"Students come here because they'll be exposed to all of
these complementary areas of reasoning, decision making,
sensing and action."
For more details about Curious George, visit: http://www.
BLIND TO   B EAUTY continued from page 1
if recognizing facial beauty took place in the region that
supports identification (fusiform face) or the one supporting
social signals (superior temporal sulcus).
The research subjects, heterosexual men and women
prosopagnosics ranging in age from 20s to 60s, were
shown 80 anonymous male and female faces, both average
and attractive, and asked to rate their attractiveness. A
second test involved viewing a series of similar images
while researchers timed how long participants looked at
each image. A control group of 19 provided comparison
data. Prosopagnosics also looked at famous beautiful faces
to further test the relationship between ability to identify
familiar faces and ability to judge beauty.
Both tasks showed that the same damage that prevented
them from identifying faces impaired prosopagnosics in
processing facial attractiveness. They rated the attractiveness
of beautiful faces only slightly higher than average faces.
Also, they were much more willing than the control group
to continue looking at images of average faces.
The researchers concluded that processing facial
attractiveness must use the same neural pathways - those
found in the fusiform region of the brain - used to process
"While the beauty of a face might seem a more fitting
topic for an artist, this work helps settle a debate by
showing that areas that code the identity of a face also
play a key role in the perception of beauty. It helps us
understand the contributions of different 'modules' of the
brain to human experience," says Barton, an investigator
at the Brain Research Centre at UBC Hospital and a
member of the Vancouver Coastal Health Research
Institute (VCHRI).
Although Waite feels fortunate to have conducted
research with eminent neuroscientists, his heart still
belongs to medicine and vision science in particular,
influenced in part by his mother who is an optician.
"I think vision is the most important sense," he says. "If
I could fix something to make a patient's life better, that
would be a great feeling. That's what I want to do."
Once he completes his undergraduate degree in medicine,
Waite is considering a residency in ophthalmology, among
other options.
Funding for the study was provided by the American
Academy of Neurology and the UBC Dept. of
Ophthalmology Thomas Dohm Scholarship.
The Brain Research Centre at Vancouver Hospital,
a partnership between VCHRI and UBC's Faculty
of Medicine, has more than 200 investigators with
broad, multi-disciplinary research expertise to advance
knowledge of the brain and to explore new discoveries and
technologies that have the potential to reduce the suffering
and cost associated with disease and injuries of the brain.
VCHRI is the research body of Vancouver Coastal
Health Authority. In academic partnership with UBC, the
institute advances health research and innovation across
B.C., Canada, and beyond. 13 4     I     UBC    REPORTS     |     OCTOBER    4,    2007
Bridging (communities: Downtown Eastside residents connect
with immigrants at the UBC Learning Exchange
Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
receives a lot of media attention as
home to people who are destitute
and disadvantaged. Yet, it's also a
community where people share the
best of what they have to give.
At the UBC Learning Exchange
storefront on Main Street,
residents are volunteering to
help immigrants practice their
conversational English skills.
Called 'ESL facilitators,' these
residents encourage immigrants
to speak confidently and explain
the use of Canadian idioms like
"What's up?" and "Take it easy."
For some newcomers, these
weekly conversation groups are
so prized that many English-
learners will travel from as far as
Richmond and Surrey to attend.
As Judy Chen, an immigrant from
Hong Kong explains, "It helps
immigrants step out from their
homes, make new friends, share
experiences, exchange resources,
and improve English."
This ESL program has produced
some strong results by tapping into
this community's best resource
- its people.
"There are many residents here
who have a wealth of knowledge
and the time and willingness to
Marisol Petersen, UBC graduate, created a program that uses local skills to create change in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
"I found that I have infinite
patience because English is my fifth
language and I understand people's
confusion, especially older people,"
Eastside by connecting local
skills with local needs grew from
Petersen's studies at SCARP.
She was invited by the Learning
"Having this kind of leadership role is great for
self-esteem and it builds confidence in people who,
for various reasons, are marginalized."
once a week for 10 weeks for
all ESL facilitators. Academic
Director Andrew Scales and
teacher Trish Fodor developed a
specific syllabus after sitting in on
the conversation classes. As Scales
noted it was important to train
the facilitators with practical
tools, not theory, to get the
immigrants speaking confidently.
Next year the Learning
Exchange hopes to expand this
program into East Vancouver
schools where immigrant parents
and guardians will have the chance
to practice their English with ESL
facilitators. The program will take
place in schools and will include
child minding services.
For more info:
www.learningexchange.ubc.ca IS
share with others," says Program
Coordinator Marisol Petersen, a
UBC graduate from the School
of Community and Regional
Planning (SCARP). "Having this
kind of leadership role is great for
self-esteem and it builds confidence
in people who, for various reasons,
are marginalized."
More than just providing English
language skills, the program is
generating mutual understanding
- between immigrants and local
residents alike.
"What is unique is that people
are seeing each other's differences
in age, class, ethnicity, and culture
as learning opportunities rather
than as barriers," says Petersen.
Like others in this community,
Eva Eder has not had it easy in life
and yet a year ago she found the
courage to volunteer as an ESL
facilitator. Remarkably English is
not her first language, nor is it her
second, third or fourth language
- it's her fifth.
says Eder who lives around the
corner from the Learning Exchange
and taught herself English via
crossword puzzles. "I get so much
back from my students and when
I'm teaching I forget my troubles."
Eder starts her classes with a
song and likes to use humour to
teach the nuances of English and
to keep things light. She notes
that people often break into song
when they see her on the street
but she says the biggest reward is
the recognition on a person's face
when they comprehend a phrase,
sentence or joke.
This ESL program is so
successful that no recruitment is
necessary. It continues to grow,
attracting people simply by word
of mouth. Over the past three years
80 facilitators from the community
have led some 2,000 conversation
group sessions for more than 450
The idea to strengthen the
social fabric of the Downtown
Exchange to create an inventory
of skills and a pilot program
that could build upon those
skills. The pilot was a success,
HSBC Bank Canada contributed
ongoing funding and the UBC
English Language Institute
(ELI) came on-board to deliver
The ELI conducts training
65 Downtown Eastside residents trained by UBC ELI
Earlier this year the UBC English Language Institute received
an award for excellence for their work with the UBC Learning
Exchange ESL Program from the Canadian Association for University
Continuing Education, garnering praise for having a 'commendable
vision to strengthen civil society.' To date the UBC ELI has trained 65
Downtown Eastside residents. The ELI opened in 1969, and welcomes
thousands of international students through its doors every year.
Tor more info: www.eli.ubc.ca 13
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John B. McDonald, UBC's fourth
president, visited campus recently.
During his 1962-1967 tenure, Macdonald
influenced the development of UBC and
higher education throughout the province
with his seminal 1962 report, Higher
Education in British Columbia and a
Plan for the Future.
UBC Reports asked McDonald about the
impact of his report, which helped make
UBC a centre for research and graduate
education in B.C. and laid the foundation
for the development of Simon Fraser
University and the University of Victoria.
"UBC was facing a virtually impossible
proposition," said McDonald, who presided over UBC as baby boomers began flooding Canadian
universities. "They were going to have to meet the huge demand for post-secondary university
education. They didn't have the faculty and the faculty
were not available in Canada."
"What we needed to be doing was building a strong
graduate school to help the country develop the academics
that were going to be needed at UBC and right across the
"Almost as big an objective was to ensure that we
opened up post-secondary education for a large number
of students for whom the idea of going to university was a
non-starter." 13 UBC    REPORTS     |     OCTOBER    4,    2007     |    5
.3TOD the  r reSSeS! Ordinary citizens are re-writing how news is
reported in a new media culture
By Alfred Hermida
Those shaky, slightly blurred
few seconds of video, taken by a
citizen on a cell phone, capturing
a news event as it happened,
have become a familiar sight
on the TV news. It seems that
there is always someone there to
record when news breaks, be it a
shooting at a US university or a
terror attack in Scotland.
The start of this century has
seen the advent of citizen media.
Technologies such as the Internet
and cell phones have empowered
the people formerly known as the
audience to share their perspective
on the world, through blogs,
comments, photos and video. In
this new media culture, the public
is no longer a passive consumer
of media, but an active producer
of media.
The emergence of what is
clumsily described as user-
generated content challenges the
traditional role of a journalist
as the principal conveyor of
information. It used to be
said that journalists wrote the
first draft of history. Now, it is
often ordinary citizens who are
providing this first draft. It is
commonplace to find reports,
images and video captured by
those on the ground on major
news outlets like CBC, CNN or
the BBC.
But the mainstream media has
only recently embraced citizen
media. In the UK, it took the
London bombings of July 2005
to make news outlets take note.
The tragic events were captured
in words, photos and video by
people caught up in the event.
The iconic images of that day
came from the public, not from
professional photographers.
The BBC alone received 22,000
e-mails and text messages on
the day, as well as 300 amateur
photos and several video
sequences. The dramatic stills
and video of the chaos inside the
underground tunnels led BBC
TV newscasts that evening. This
was the first time such material
had been considered more
newsworthy than professional
content. The images recorded
Assist. Prof. Alfred Hermida, an expert in journalism and new media, writes that with a new media culture
it is everyday citizens, rather than reporters, who are writing the first draft of history.
on low-resolution cell phone
cameras helped to shed light on
the attacks in a way that would
not have been possible before.
The July bombings were a
watershed moment for citizen
media and its acceptance by the
mainstream media in Britain. The
BBC News website had in fact
woke up to the full potential of
user-generated content. In the
months that followed the July
bombings, virtually every major
UK newspaper started to engage
in greater interaction with their
The London bombings also
played a role in taking citizen
When, just two weeks after the
first attacks, there was a series of
attempted bombings in London,
it was almost as if people knew
what was expected of them. Since
then, every time news breaks, the
British public has been on hand to
provide first-hand reports.
Just as the July 2005 bombings
The Virginia Tech shootings were widely
heralded as one of those cornerstone events in
participatory journalism in the US.
been soliciting comments from
its audience since its inception in
1997, expanding this to photos
and eyewitness accounts a few
years later. But 2005 was the
year that editors at the BBC,
and at other major news outlets,
media out of the hands of the
early adopters and putting it in
those of the masses. The acres
of analysis and explanation in
newspapers, TV and radio helped
to educate the public for their
new role as citizen reporters.
were a seminal moment for
participatory journalism in the UK,
the shootings at Virginia Tech in
April this year may well have been
that moment for the US. A student,
Jamal Albaughouti, took the most
striking material on his cell phone.
The low quality video showed
a campus devoid of students.
But the sound he recorded of
gunshots echoing across the
campus brought home the horror
of the shootings. By the end of
the day, it was broadcast to an
audience of millions on the main
US news stations.
The Virginia Tech shootings
were widely heralded as one
of those cornerstone events
in participatory journalism in
the US. In August, when the
Minneapolis I-35W bridge
collapsed, citizen media jumped
into action immediately, writing
blog entries, uploading images
and video to sharing sites like
Flickr and YouTube, working
alongside, as well as together
with, the mainstream media.
When news breaks, reports,
images and video captured by
those on the ground help to
create a mosaic of amateur and
professional news coverage. Just
about every news organization
now turns to readers and viewers
for their help in covering the news.
The mainstream media has
accepted that having a public
engaged in the newsgathering
process can enhance its reporting -
but it still wields editorial control.
Professional editors vet images
and information from viewers
and listeners. Almost all of the
mainstream media treat citizens
as a resource for reporters, rather
than treating as equals who can
tell stories themselves.
But the torrent of material from
the public is helping to shape the
coverage of major news stories.
In some cases, decisions on where
to send reporters are being driven
by the personal stories of those
caught up in the news. During
the summer floods in Britain,
the torrent of information from
the public has helped form the
BBC's coverage, influencing where
reporters and camera crews
were dispatched. Technology
is irrevocably changing the
way news is reported, how it is
reported and who is reporting it.
Alfred Hermida is an assistant
professor at the UBC School of
Journalism and a former founding
member of BBCNews.com. 13
PASSIONATE continued from page 1
"Having a mentor gives you
both constructive feedback and a
positive role model," she notes.
The new post-doctoral fellows
will be teaching undergraduate
classes on subjects that range
from the microscopic to the
monumental: from the effects
of emotional states on social
behavior to why people join
social movements; from glacial
geomorphology to the history
of science; from sustainable
societies to how civil conflict can
transform economies of war into
economies of peace.
"There are many ways to
learn and I love to teach in the
outdoors where it is a complete
experience, where students have
direct, physical access to the
concepts they are learning about
the environment and can get
their hands dirty," says Michele
Koppes who will be running part
of the Physicial Geography Field
Course for geography students.
Koppes studied the impact
of climate and ice dynamics
on glacial erosion rates at the
University of Washington,
worked as a science advisor
in Washington DC and also
developed an experientially-
based course on glacial
geomorphology for women aged
14-19 called the Girls on Ice
Last year UBC President,
Stephen Toope made a
commitment to improve
undergraduate teaching and
learning. His idea - to match
existing UBC scholars with
new post-doctoral teachers
in undergraduate classrooms
- was backed by an allocation of
With two-year appointments,
these 14 post-doctoral fellows are
the first of 30 recruits over the
next three years. Already over 40
new courses have been created
within the UBC Arts Faculty and
could expand to include other
Their work, in collaboration
with established professors,
represents the convergence of art
and science, mixes traditional and
intuitive models of learning, and is
a major shift within the faculty.
"The interdisciplinary nature
of what is happening here is
really significant," says Kathryn
Brown, a Rhodes Scholar from
Australia with a PhD from
Oxford University. Brown will
bring a breadth of experience
to undergraduates in the area of
nineteenth century visual culture
in Europe after spending the past
15 years as a scholar and teacher
in the UK.
"UBC is hitting the ball out
of the park in three areas: in
teaching, in research and in
research-led-teaching," says
Brown, who finds that research-
led teaching stimulates students
to come to the table with fresh
ideas. "They're [the university]
fostering a new ethos within the
arts faculty, between teachers and
Peter Dauvergne, Associate
Dean, UBC Arts Faculty says "For
the students, the benefit is smaller
classes, bringing mentoring profs
into the classroom, and exposing
students to cutting-edge recent
grad research that may not even
be published yet."
At the same time, UBC is giving
the post-doctoral fellows exposure
to great mentors who provide
feedback on what works and
what doesn't and regular training
in techniques to engage, evaluate
and listen to students.
"We teach [the Fellows] how
to teach - how to become better
teachers, more comfortable in the
classroom - that's the benefit for
them," explains Dauvergne.
The 14 post-doctoral fellows
are: Claire Ashton-James, Dawn
Biehler, Darren Bradley, Kathryn
Brown, Catherine Corrigall-
Brown, Brian Hepburn, Tsvetanka
Karagyozova, Michele Koppes,
Jenny Peterson, Alessandra
Santos, Torrey Shanks, Adam
Shapiro, Scott Sinnett and William
Troost. 13 I     UBC    REPORTS     |     OCTOBER    4,    2007
Accommodations to match our spectacular setting!
Warm, welcoming suites. Kitchens, flat panel TV and wireless
internet. Natural wood and stone, king beds with luxury linens,
conveniently located on campus.
All new. Right here.
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West Coast Suites
at The University of British Columbia
Reservations 604.822.1000 Toll Free 1.888.822.1030
The University of British Columbia
Call for Nominations
The University of British Columbia established Awards for Excellence in
Teaching in 1989. Awards are made by the Faculty of Science to UBC
Science faculty members, including full-time (sessional) lecturers and
laboratory instructors who are selected as outstanding teachers.
We are seeking input from UBC alumni, current and former students.
Nomination Deadlines:
First term -October 12, 2007
Second term-February 1, 2008
Nominations should be accompanied by supporting statements
and the nominator's name, address and telephone number.
Please send nominations to:
Chair, Killam Prizes
for Excellence in Teaching
c/o Office ofthe Dean of Science
Rm. 1505 - 6270 University Blvd.
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC V6T1Z4
FAX (604) 822-5558
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@ubc.ca
Okanagan Experience May
Dispel Aging Time-Bomb Myth
UBC Okanagan researcher Mary Ann Murphy is looking at how communities can improve the longevity and
healthy lifestyles of an aging population.
How will Canadians cope with
a rapidly aging population? We
may do just fine, predicts Mary
Ann Murphy, Assoc. Prof, of
Sociology and Social Work at
UBC Okanagan. For inspiration,
she says, just look at British
Columbia's Okanagan Valley
- despite having Canada's oldest
populations, communities there
are doing quite well.
"We are living to a longer
old age and reaching it in better
health than ever before," she
says. "This should be seen as
a demographic triumph. Fears
that health-care costs are a
demographic time-bomb waiting
to go off are greatly exaggerated."
Aging - as opposed to
make some important policy
Statistics Canada's July 2007
report on aging, A Portrait of
Seniors in Canada: Age and Sex,
confirms that the Okanagan has
a senior population that the rest
of Canada will not experience
for another 20 years. The
region's largest city, Kelowna,
has a senior population of 19 per
cent - the highest of all Canadian
metropolitan areas with
populations over 100,000. And,
some of the smaller Okanagan
towns and cities are already at
25 per cent of older adults, with
median ages dramatically higher
than the national figures.
Murphy works with an
interdisciplinary team of UBC
Okanagan gerontology, social
secrets to a long and healthy life,
they would look carefully at how
Okanagan seniors are actually
living and what they do with their
Seniors in the Okanagan are
among the most active, healthy
and longest-lived seniors in
Canada, Murphy points out.
Supporting this health and
vitality are a variety of recreation
and cultural programs running
in seniors' centers, and active
lifelong-learning organizations
such as the Society for Learning
in Retirement.
There's also KickStart Kelowna,
a five-year program established
in 2005 focused on increasing
levels of physical activity by 20
per cent by 2010. For those who
are frail, Kelowna also has one of
"If experts really wanted to understand the secrets to a long
and healthy life, they would look carefully at how Okanagan
seniors are actually living and what they do with their time."
factors such as inflation,
population growth, technology,
pharmaceuticals and the cost
of dying - may represent only a
modest fraction of the growth
in health care spending, Murphy
"The common story about
Canada's aging population is
that we are a demographic time-
bomb but the hidden story could
explode that myth," she says.
"The Okanagan is the bellwether
for Canada's aging. If we are
able to demonstrate to the rest
of the country how the active,
healthy lifestyle of many older
adults in the Okanagan improves
quality of life and longevity, and
conserves health care resources.
"What the Okanagan can teach
us is that communities can and
do respond to both the challenges
and the opportunities of an aging
population," Murphy says. "But,
we will need to grapple with
prevailing myths, plan ahead and
work, nursing and geography
researchers collaborating with
the community to investigate
the future of seniors' health
and housing in the District of
Peachland, a municipality south
of Kelowna. Twenty-five per cent
of Peachland residents are over
65 years of age, and 41 per cent
are over 55 years of age.
"It's a community with a
wealth of social capital and
commitment to building
community capacity for healthy
aging," says Murphy. "The
Okanagan is well situated to
disprove the time-bomb and
other aging myths that depict
growing older as a time of
inevitable frailty, decline, and
lost productivity, with seniors
devoid of the ability to learn
anything new or demonstrate
"As one Peachland senior told
me," Murphy says, "if experts
really wanted to understand the
just two 24-hour palliative care
outreach teams in Canada, and
the region has some nationally
innovative programs in areas such
as falls prevention, integrated
chronic disease management, and
a planned Aboriginal primary
health care clinic.
"This is not to say that we
will not have health challenges,"
she says. "Among these are the
rising obesity rates for pockets
of seniors which make disability
rates hard to predict, a shortage
of geriatricians, the prospective
retirement of large proportions
of nurses, major cuts to home
support and home care that have
not been cost-effective, waitlists,
and issues with long-term-care
bed supply and shifting burdens
of care. The true looming issues
are the policy choices and debates
we need to have about how to
focus spending in prevention and
integrated services." 13 UBC    REPORTS     |     OCTOBER    4,    2007     |     7
UBCs Other United
Way Contribution:
It's 4 p.m., do you know where
your child is?
It turns out, the answer can depend
on how much money you make.
That is a new finding by
Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, a UBC
expert on the social and emotional
development of children and
adolescents, whose research is
being funded by the United Way
of the Lower Mainland (UWLM)
Her 2006 survey of more than
1,200 Greater Vancouver children
was among the first in Canada
to explore the psychological and
social world of kids aged 9-12, a
period known as middle childhood.
She found that kids this age
have, on average, 67 hours of free
time each week. Tremblingly, most
spend this time alone, in front of a
TV or on a computer.
The findings merit concern for
several reasons, says Schonert-
Reichl. "Middle childhood is a
critical development period. They
should be developing social skills
and life experiences," she says.
"Besides, one in two of the
kids who play video games
and watch TV said they would
rather be doing physical social
activities with friends and adult
companions," says the associate
professor of educational and
counselling psychology and
special education.
Schonert-Reichl recently dug
deeper into her 2006 findings,
looking at differences between
children according to vulnerability,
as measured by a made-at-
UBC tool for assessing school
readiness - the Early Development
Instrument (ECI). While many
factors can cause a kid to become
vulnerability to development
problems, she says household
income is a primary factor.
Compared with "low
vulnerability" households,
so-called "high vulnerability"
children watched 20 per cent more
TV - 36 per cent compared to 16
per cent - and played 10 per cent
more computer games - 41 per
cent compared to 31 - she says.
They are also more likely to be
home alone - 15 per cent versus
12 per cent - and less likely to
attend after school programs - 5
per cent versus 8 per cent.
"Parents said the biggest barriers
to putting children in after school
programs are cost, time, and
transportation," says Schonert-
Reichl. "So while kids are telling
us they want programs - which we
know are critically important to
their development - parents face
all these constraints. This is the
gap that United Way programs are
really helping to fill."
According to Michael
McKnight, President and CEO of
the UWLM, UBC researchers are
helping to identify pressing social
needs in B.C. and determining
how the organization prioritizes
its efforts. UWLM supports
a network of more than 400
programs and services helping
people in 24 communities
Household income is a major factor in how much time kids spend alone or watching TV, says Kimberly
Schonert-Reichl (pictured with her son Gray).
throughout the region.
In addition to Schonert-Reichl
research of children aged 6-12,
UWLM is funding research by
UBC's Clyde Hertzman, who is
researching how socio-economic
environments contribute to
development outcomes for
children aged 0-6.
"To strengthen our community,
research tells us that we need
to focus extra resources on
some critical social areas," says
McKnight. "United Way is
committed to helping more school-
age children to be healthy, happy
and resilient, so they can succeed in
their teen years and beyond."
Examples of United Way-funded
initiatives that address priorities
United Way donation pledge forms will be mailed to all UBC
employees in early October. Pledges will be accepted until the end of
the tax year, Dec. 31, but please note that only those received before
Nov. 30 will be eligible for the grand prize draw of two Air Canada
tickets to anywhere in North America, plus other great prizes.
To book a presentation or volunteer, contact Allison Brownlee,
UBC United Way Campaign Coordinator at 604.822.8929, e-
mail united.way@ubc.ca. For information on UBC Okanagan's
campaign, contact Elizabeth Kershaw at 250.807.8565 or elizabeth.
Research contributions are only one facet of
UBC's relationship with the United Way (UW).
For over 30 years, faculty, staff and students
have donated time and money through UBC's
workplace campaign for the UWLM.
This year's campaign kicks off Oct. 1, with a
target of $415,000, to be raised through pledged
donations and fundraising events.
"UBC's relationship with United Way reflects
our Trek 2010 commitment to global citizenship
and building a sustainable and civil society," says
John Metras, Director of Plant Operations and
2007 UBC United Way Campaign Chair.
"Everyone likely knows someone who needs
a United Way service at one time - whether it's
parenting education, after school programs,
grief counseling or support for new immigrants
or aging parents," Metras says. "Eighty-nine
cents of every dollar raised goes directly to local
Last year, the campaign raised $391,000,
producing more donations in excess of $500
than any other workplace campaign in the
Lower Mainland. In its second campaign, UBC
Okanagan raised nearly $37,000 for the UW of
Central and South Kelowna.
A variety of campaign volunteer opportunities
give people at UBC the chance to make a positive
impact while developing important skills, including
fundraising, event planning and public speaking.
Each year, UBC staff members can apply to
become UW "loaned representatives," giving a
boost to UW campaigns at workplaces around
the Lower Mainland.
One of the responsibilities of 2007 loaned
representative Tracy Chang, from UBC's
International Collaboration on Repair
Discoveries (ICORD), is to help raise awareness
of the campaign among UBC's 15,000 staff and
faculty through presentations.
"One of the best ways for units to support the
campaign is to invite us to do a short presentation
about the United Way and all it does," says
Chang. "This campaign is already one of the
largest in the Lower Mainland, but our potential
for growth is really exciting."
UBC staff also participate in Days of Caring,
where small teams leave work for a day to help
out at a local program in need. On Sept. 24, a
team of UBC volunteers spruced up Berwick
Memorial Centre - the Point Grey home of an
UWLW-funded infant development program
- with yard work, a new shed, earthquake kits
and some paint.
Previous UBC Days of Caring projects include
work at Surrey Delta Immigrant Services Society
and the Vancouver's Crossroads Treatment Centre.
For more information, visit: www.unitedway.
ubc.ca. 13
outlined by UBC research include:
mobile child care services in
Surrey, after school programs
at East Vancouver's Kivan Boys
and Girls Club and a parent
empowerment program at Frog
Hollow Neighborhood House,
also in East Vancouver.
For more information on
Schonert-Reichl's work, visit:
http://www.ecps.educ. ubc.ca/
faculty/K-schonertreichl.htm E
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rroup	 UBC    REPORTS     |     OCTOBER    4,    2007
*1 *i a ju Ml laaaf. «T VaWaY
enate Activities 2006/200
The Vancouver Senate conducted a review of its activities during the 2004/2005 academic year.
In its May 2005 report, the ad hoc Senate Committee that undertook the review observed a need
to raise awareness of the Senate's role and activities within the University. To help address this
need, the Senate Secretariat and the Senate Agenda Committee were asked to compile an annual
report on the activities of the Vancouver Senate for the information of the University community.
This is the second such annual report.
The Vancouver Senate is established and vested with responsibilities related to the academic
governance of the University under the University Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 468. The Vancouver
Senate is responsible for matters relating to the Vancouver campus, while the Okanagan Senate
is responsible for UBC Okanagan and the Council of Senates considers matters relevant to the
broader UBC system.
The Vancouver Senate has 90 members, including faculty members, student senators,
convocation senators, a representative of the professional librarians, representatives of affiliated
theological colleges, and senior administrators of the University, including the President as Chair
of the Senate, the Chancellor, the Vice-President Academic, the University Librarian, 12 Deans
and two Principals. The Senate has 12 standing committees that perform much ofthe Senate's
work. Committees deliver reports for information, discussion and/or approval. Some of these
reports are annual reports on committee activities, some present routine matters for the approval
of Senate, while others address more ad hoc matters for particular consideration or decision.
The Senate schedules nine meetings per academic year. During 2006/2007, the Senate met seven
times from September 2006 through May 2007. Meetings of the Senate are generally open to
the public, with a few matters being considered in closed session. The 2006/2007 year was the
second year of a three-year Senate electoral term.
Regular Activities of Senate
Matters considered by the Vancouver Senate during the 2006/2007 year included the following:
The Curriculum Committee and/or Admissions Committees brought forward matters relating
to admissions policy and over 950 curriculum changes, including new and revised degree and
diploma programs and their related courses. New degrees included:
»  Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Cell and Developmental Biology;
» Master of Nursing;
»  Master of Laws in Common Law; and
Master of Digital Media — offered at the Great Northern Way Campus in collaboration
with UBC, Simon Fraser University, The Emily Carr Institute for u\rt + Design and the British
Columbia Institute of Technology (see also under "Great Northern Way Campus" below).
In February 2006, the Admissions Committee presented for approval the enrolment targets by
Faculty and program for the 2007/2008 academic year.
The Academic Building Needs Committee expressed the intent to expand its role to include an
increased influence on project-specific development approvals as well as greater involvement in
considering the impact of building projects on the academic enterprise.
The Student Awards Committee recommended for approval 132 new scholarships, bursaries,
prizes, and awards representing over $450,000 annually in support of UBC students. In addition
to the above-mentioned awards, the Senate approved the establishment of the Pacific Graduate
Century Scholarships, funded by the Province of British Columbia.
The Nominating Committee recommended appointments to Senate committees and to the
Council of Senates. The Committee also undertook its annual review of the terms of reference of
Senate committees and recommended several adjustments.
Based on recommendations from the Vice-President Academic & Provost, the Senate:
i. Approved and recommended for approval by the Board of Governors the establishment of
one new centre and one new institute, and received information about one other new centre.
ii. Approved and recommended for approval by the Board of Governors the establishment of six
At the November and May meetings, the Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Services &
Registrar presented for approval lists of candidates for degrees and diplomas. The Vancouver
Senate granted a total of over 9,200 degrees and diplomas. The Associate Vice-President
Enrolment Services & Registrar also submitted for information dates relating to the 2007/2008
Academic Year (January meeting).
In closed session, the Tributes Committee recommended a list of candidates for honorary
degrees, which the Senate discussed and approved. The Tributes Committee also recommended
84 individuals for emeritus status, recommended approval of regalia colours for a new degree
program, and prepared a short tribute known as a "memorial minute" for a former Senator who
had recently passed away.
Under authority delegated by the Senate, the Committee on Appeals on Academic Standing and
the Committee on Student Appeals on Academic Discipline heard 14 and four student appeals,
respectively. The observations of the Committee on Appeals on Academic Standing led to the
creation of an ad hoc committee to consider issues related to advising and cultural diversity (see
also under "Establishment of Ad Hoc Committees" below).
The Senate received information about planned enhancements to communication and
interaction between the Senate and the Board of Governors.
Annual reports were presented by the Committee on Student Appeals on Academic Discipline,
the Committee on Appeals on Academic Standing, the Council of Senates Budget Committee,
the University Librarian, and the Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning. At
the October meeting, the Associate Vice-President, Finance presented for information the
University's financial statements for the 2005/2006 fiscal year.
UBC Okanagan and the Vancouver Senate
With the Okanagan Senate and the Council of Senates well established and operational, the
Vancouver Senate undertook less activity related to UBC Okanagan in comparison to the two
previous years. A few transitional themes remain.
At the September meeting, the Senate accepted a joint Okanagan/Vancouver recommendation to
increase each Senate's representation on the Council of Senates from eight members to 13, while
remaining consistent with the University Act.
College for Interdisciplinary Studies
Beginning at the September meeting, the Senate and its Academic Policy Committee participated
in several discussions about the future of interdisciplinarity and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
These discussions culminated in a recommendation to establish and assign powers to a College
for Interdisciplinary Studies. The College was established effective January 1, 2007. The Senate
enlarged its membership to include the following representatives for the College: the College
Principal, two elected faculty members, and one elected student member. As well, a twelfth
Convocation Senator was added to the Senate at its February 2007 meeting.
Great Northern Way Campus
The Academic Policy Committee, the Curriculum Committee, and the Admissions Committee
were all engaged in discussions about the emerging academic program at the Great Northern
Way Campus, which is a collaborative effort between four BC post-secondary institutions.
The Senate ultimately approved a model for academic governance and the administration of
degree programs, as well as the first new program: the Master of Digital Media (MDM). These
approvals are particularly notable because they coincided with approvals by the three other
partner institutions - Simon Fraser University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology,
and the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design - in time for the MDM program to accept its first
intake in September 2007.
Participation in U21 Global
The ad hoc Committee for the Review of U21 Global delivered its report at the January
meeting. U21Global is a joint venture between Thomson Learning (a division of the Thomson
Corporation) and 19 ofthe 20 universities in the international consortium known as Universitas
21.The Senate endorsed recommendations that the University make no further investments
in U21 Global and withdraw its participation from this venture. The Senate forwarded these
recommendations to the Board of Governors.
Academic Policy Development and Revision
Upon recommendation of the Academic Policy Committee, the Senate approved revised policies
on Membership in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Viewing Marked Examinations, and
Academic Concession. Further recommendations to revise the policy on Academic Concession
are expected during the 2007/2008 academic year. At the November meeting, the Academic
Policy Committee presented a new policy on Procedures for the Review of Administrative
Units. The Senate requested changes to this draft policy prior to consideration for approval and
discussion is expected to continue during the 2007/2008 academic year.
At the May meeting, the Teaching and Learning Committee presented for approval a new
Policy on Student Evaluation of Teaching, following an extended period of consultation. The
Senate approved this comprehensive policy, which includes guiding principles, a model for
implementation, stipulations about access to and dissemination of results, and assignment of
various responsibilities.
Term Modification for the Vancouver 2010 Winter
Olympic Games
Upon recommendation of the Academic Policy Committee at the May meeting, the Senate
modified the 2009/2010 Academic Year to extend the February 2010 midterm break for the
period of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Establishment of Ad Hoc Committees
The Senate established two ad hoc Committees with reporting deadlines as follows:
i. Ad Hoc Committee on Writing and Communication Skills (report due December 2007); and
ii. Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Advising Issues Relating to a Culturally-Diverse Student
Body (report due April 2008).
Concluding Remarks
Overall, the Vancouver Senate had an active year, dealing with both routine and ad hoc business.
The 2007/2008 academic year will be the last of a three-year Senate term, with the next Senate
term beginning on September 1, 2008.
This report was prepared by Dr. Michael Isaacson, Chair, Senate Agenda Committee and
Ms. Lisa Collins, Assistant Registrar, Senate & Cirriculum Services, Enrolment Services.
Questions or comments may be directed to Ms. Collins at 604.822.2951 or lisa.collins@ubc.ca.


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