Dan Jorgensen was recently called on to comment on a series of killings in his research country of Papua New Guinea. The killings have been attributed to retribution against practitioners of witchcraft. However, Dan argues that we need to take a more nuanced perspective on a complicated issue, and try to better understand the real cultural underpinnings, rather than revert to Western caricatures. LiveScience
Adjunct faculty member Jerry Cybulski was recently part of the team that published a paper in Science on the DNA identification of an extinct Canadian Arctic people known as Palaeoeskimos. This paper was highlighted by the Star and the BBC.
This summer a special edition of the "Arqueologia Mexicana" magazine focused on current archaeological research at the Aztec Templo Mayor at the site of Tenochtitlan in Mexico. The magazine included a feature on isotopic work being done by Graduate Student Diana Moreiras, part of a collaborative undertaking including Fred Longstaffe and Jean-Francois Millaire and the Museo del Templo Mayor. This is a nice example of multidisciplinary research in action.
Dan Jorgensen's linguistic skills in Tok Pisin - the pigin English spoken in Papua New Guinea - were recently called upon to assist with a court case here in London. It seems that the court personnel had been looking high and low for someone who could speak this language - and all along they just had to look here! London Free Press
Karen Pennesi’s work on names hit Western News recently. Karen’s recent publication “Reading and Righting the Names at a Convocation Ceremony…” highlighted the importance of the accurate pronunciation of names in terms of identity and belonging. This issue is increasingly important in our increasingly multicultural world, with many new and unfamiliar names becoming more and more common.
Museum of Ontario Archaeology has a new exhibit, curated by Dakota Ireland, entitled “The Story of our ‘Grandfathers’; Our original medicine”. This is a captivating exhibit, weaving together First Nations’ knowledge of the natural environment, spirituality and oral history. The Londoner
A discussion of the traditional model of PhD training features quotes from grad student Beth Compton at Congress 2014. Beth was there with a group of Digital Humanities grads from Western with the “Makerbus” – a fascinating grass roots undertaking to bring technology out from the classroom to local libraries and classrooms and to promote the digital humanities. See Globe & Mail and Makerbus.
Anthropology grad student Jordan Levy was recently awarded the 2013 Whiteford Graduate Student Award in Applied and Public Anthropology for his essay “Schoolteachers and National ‘Public’ Education in Honduras: Navigating the Reforms and Re-Founding the State”. This award, presented by the American Anthropological Association, is very prestigious, and reflects well on Jordan… - and on his supervisor, Kim Clark, and the Anthropology graduate program.
Andrew Nelson with colleagues Gayle Gibson from the Royal Ontario Museum and former grad student/post-doc (now on faculty at Mac) Drew Wade chatting about mummies. YouTube video: How did ancient Egyptians mummify their dead? (YouTube video)
Maria Ferraro, an expert on accounting, was recently called upon to comment on the accounting practices at Orchestra London – specifically the ability of former employees to access the ongoing accounting records. London Free Press
Suzanne Kearns was recently elected to the position of President of the University Aviation Association for the upcoming year. The UAA's mission is to "To promote and foster excellence in collegiate aviation education by providing a forum for students, faculty, staff and practitioners to share ideas, to enhance the quality of education, and to develop stronger programs and curricula." Well done Suzanne - it is great to see people from our Faculty playing leading roles in International organizations!
As part of Botswana's Independence Day events, Professor Emeritus Clark Leith (Economics) was recently awarded the Presidential Order of Meritorious Service for his many years of service as a financial advisor for that country. Clark has served Botswana in a variety of capacities since the late 1980s and plans to return home next May. Daily News Western News
Lance Lochner and former student Philippe Belley's research was highlighted in a New York Time piece on the relationship between education and income. Their conclusion? - more is better...
Gervan Fearon, and PhD alumnus of the Department was recently named President and Vice-Chancellor of Brandon University.
Economics alumna, Carolyn Wilkins, was recently appointed as the Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada. She joins other Western Economics grads Stephen Poloz (Governor) and Timothy Lane (Deputy Governor). Their pedigree goes back to Western profs Michael Parkin and David Laidler who, in the 1970s and 1980s, were key players in building a department that today sits solidly in the top 50 Economics departments worldwide. Globe & Mail
The latest Credit Suisse Global Wealth report, coauthored by Jim Davies (Economics), highlights that the saving (or lack thereof), spending and borrowing habits of Americans are eating away at the Middle Class. News4jax
The recent dive of the loonie has many concerned. The London Free Press sought out economist Kul Bhatia for is thoughts on the issue.
Audra Bowlus was interviewed to give some perspective on the low turn-out at a recent job fair (CTV News). She makes the important point that the difference between the jobless rate and the employment rate is not just semantics, and our policy makers should be focusing on the latter to move things forward.
Terry Sicular is to be congratulated on her recent INET (Institute for New Economic Thinking) grant for a study of “The Middle Class and China's Economic Development” (with Shi Li from Beijing Normal University). This will allow Terry to continue her ongoing collaborative research program in China.
Master of Financial Economics (MFE) program recently got its official launch! This program, a professional masters degree, is run collaboratively be the Department of Economics and the Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences, Ivey Business School and the Faculty of Law. It is a model of interdisciplinary cooperation. The program is directed by Jim MacGee. Western News
4th year undergrad Geography/First Nations Studies student Shyra Barberstock recently attended the Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program at the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. The program seeks to develop emerging leaders in the First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities. It is an elite program and only a select few are admitted. Western News
Jason Gilliland's ongoing work on community engagement continue, under the auspices now of his ACT-i-Pass program. This CIHR funded project is "all about promoting health and wellness" by encouraging physical activity in youth. Western News
Belinda Dodson, Tony Weis and grad students Abel Chikanda and Liam Riley are key participants in a recently announced "Hungry Cities" initiative, funded to the tune of $2.5M by SSHRC and the IDRC under their International Partnerships for Sustainable Societies (IPaSS) program. This is a multiinstitutional grant based at Laurier, but the Western contingent has a prominent role. Laurier News
Gordon McBean recently played an important role in Climate Day in New York. As a result, he was interviewed by CBC for a piece on the impact of climate change on the insurance industry. There is a variety of opinions about climate change in this Faculty, and researchers are addressing this issue from many different perspectives. Gordon was also recently named the President of the International Council for Science. Western News
Congratulations to Jamie Voogt on his election as President of the International Association for Urban Climate (IAUC). As President, Jamie is responsible for many aspects of the organization including representing the IAUC to other bodies, such as the World Meteorological Organization, American Meteorological Society, and IUGG. Congratulations Jamie! Another Faculty member playing a leading role in an International organization!
Rick Fehr (First Nations Studies & Geography) and Micha Pazner recently teamed up to take a group of First Nations Studies and Geography students out to Walpole First Nation for a tremendously successful field course. The Western students had a great cultural and environmental experience and made a real contribution to the Walpole FN. This is an excellent example of community based research and of the importance of the immersive experience! NinNews
Erin Huner is awarded the 2014 Canadian Institutes of Health (CIHR) Institute for Aboriginal Peoples’ Health Scientific Director’s Award. This award recognizes Erin and Clint Jacob's (Natural Heritage Coordinator, Bkejwanong FN) collaborative research which is on the basis of her dissertation, that explores the connections between traditional land based practice and Indigenous health.
Marylynn Steckley, a doctoral candidate in Geography, was among the finalists for the SSHRC Story Teller award. SSHRC recently posted a short interview with Marylynn on the SSHRC web site. She'll present her story at the SSHRC Impact awards in Ottawa on Nov 3rd. Western News
Jason Gilliland continues to get great press for his SmartAPPetite - London Free Press, and he's also very active in the community in other ways - recently moderating a "Community Conversation", where London's Emerging Leaders gathered to discuss important civic matters - London Community News.
Student Nathaniel Pace was awarded $1500 for the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) Award for Highest Overall Graduating Average in the Honours Urban Development Program for 2014. Robert Richards and Kailey Brisbin were each awarded $750 for the SIOR Award for Best Research Paper in Geog 3461 Land Use and Development Issues. Congratulations!
Congratulations are also due to Alexandra Fieder, Madeleine Hicks, Julianne Wood and Cornelia Le from Western's Urban Development Program class of 2014 who are this year's recipients of Toronto CREW Scholarships! Toronto CREW is a business development network for women who represent a broad cross section of disciplines in the commercial real estate industry. Toronto CREW is dedicated to providing knowledge, connections and support to women throughout their commercial real estate career. See: www.torontocrew.org.
Chris Smart’s Big Data work on the hydrology of the Great Lakes was featured during a recent conference, where the possibility of a tsunami emerging from the depths of Lake Huron was raised. While not probable, the possibility of such an event does have real world implications, particularly with regard to the siting of nuclear facilities. London Free Press
Belinda Dodson is headed to Oxford as a Visiting Research Fellow for April-June 2015 at their International Migration Institute.
Jason Gilliland and his team were recently featured in Business London piece on their “SmartAPPetite project”. The primary goal of the SmartAPPetite project is to develop a research evidence-based smartphone app and website to connect consumers with local farmers, producers, processors, retailers and restaurateurs. The team includes, Colleen O’Connor from Brescia University College, and Sean Doherty from the Geography Department at Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as several research associates from the HEALab at Western, and David Corke from the London Training Centre, among many other student volunteers and community collaborators.
The world mourned the passing of Nelson Mandela. South African born Belinda Dodson and her husband Peter Henshaw were called on for commentary for a piece that appeared in Macleans.
As part of reflections on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Eli Nathans had a fascinating look at that momentous event through the eyes of a historian. Western News
In the same issue of Western News, Karen Priestman offered a very personal reflection on the development of her perceptions of the fall of the Wall. Western News
And Marta Dyczok (History and Political Science - see more below under political science) used the fall of the Wall to place the modern crisis in Ukraine into perspective. Western News
Karen Priestman did an op ed piece on the recent opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Karen provides a thoughtful analysis of the debate surrounding the opening of this landmark museum, noting that there will always be some who are happy with it, and others who are not - but she emphasizes the importance of having the debate in a constructive manner, so the project can move forward. London Free Press
Jonathan Vance has continued to be a go to guy during this 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. His input has been sought for several stories... London Free Press, Globe & Mail, Economist, and CBC
Back in April, at the time of the 97th anniversary of Vimy Ridge, Jonathan Vance was called on to present a lecture at the Elgin County Museum in St. Thomas. A fascinating Q&A session was featured in the London Free Press just before the lecture. Jonathan’s work ensures that the memories of these momentous events are preserved, and that they are made available for all to understand.
In June, Jonathan led the History Department’s Relay for Life team in a recent fund-raiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. The team raised over $3360 and finished 11th out of over 90 teams.
Michelle Hamilton and a team of public history students are investigating personal perspectives of everyday life during the war, following historical headlines and using Twitter as a medium for communicating with each other and the interested public. London Free Press
Alan MacEachern’s great coup – the negotiation of the long term loan of 150+ years of Environment Canada’s meteorological records. That loan was celebrated at a conference that Alan’s research group, NiCHE, hosted here at Western in May. Wstern News. The conference was well attended, and provided an excellent venue to highlight NiCHE’s extensive network of collaborative partnerships. – see http://niche-canada.org/
Bill Turkel and grad student Devon Elliott (History) tapped into their expertise in the digital world, specifically digital electronics and schematics, to participate in a recent International Museum Day event at Museum London. London Free Press Devon is also part of the “Makerbus” group, mentioned above in the Anthro section. Digital Humanities has its fingers in many pies – and Bill and Devon are in the thick of it!
The local government folks continue to be popular commentators on the upcoming civic election. Martin Horak was recently called upon to comment on polling of the top ranked London mayoral candidates. Martin's comments seem quite prescient about Caranci and Cheng, given this morning's move for Caranci to swing his support behind Cheng. The London Free Press
Andy Sancton is also a frequent commentator - including a piece focused on the candidate's positions on jobs. The London Free Press
Doug Long has also been in on the action, commenting on the evolution of lawn signs in elections. Lawn signs are apparently becoming a vehicle to direct potential votors to web sites, where a candidate's message can be made in detail. London Free Press
Erika Simpson has shifted her op ed pen from nuclear threats to the threat of infectious disease, with a recent piece on how Canada should do more to help with the fight against Ebola. Canada has sent mobile labs, but Erika argues that we should be doing more, and that nations from around the world need to join together to combat this threat. Embassy News
Marta Dyczok is headed back to Ukraine soon, this time as an observer to the Ukrainian Parliamentary Elections. This is a notable recognition of the important role that she has played in recent months, providing commentary and coverage of the momentous changes that are affecting that country. Congratulations Marta - should be a fascinating experience. See http://caneom.ca/ for the announcement of Canada's involvement in the mission.
Erika Simpson has shifted her gaze from Kincardine across the pond to the banks of the Cylde, hot on the trail of nuclear issues. Here she has teamed up with a Scottish MP to discuss the implications of the Scottish referendum with regard to the UK's nuclear submarine fleet London Free Press
Andrew Sancton was recently called on to comment on the Amherstburg election. Windsor Star
Situation in Ukraine and Marta Dyczok’s (History and Political Science) active role helping the media to better understand it. Previous to this sequence the situation was quite dire. Here is a selection (there are more) of her interviews/articles. March 17th , where she is interviewed about the talks in Geneva seeking to de-escalate the violence - https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B73HNunPjuAuVGJpWDJ5ZDJ3N00/edit?pli=1; and here is an op-ed piece from the Wall Street Journal from the end of April (available only to subscribers) that discusses the violence directed at journalists in eastern Ukraine: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304393704579528101344061812; In May, Victor Porochenko wins victory in the Ukranian election…http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2014/05/26/petro-poroshenko-wins-ukraines-presidential-election-1/ & http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/05/26/ukraine_analysis_petro_poroshenkos_monumental_challenges.html. Her most recent contributions in June track…- the future of the protesters who occupied the main square in Kyiv - Maidan http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/06/01/whats_next_for_ukraines_maidan_protesters.html and how the historical context shed a lot of light on the current situation http://hromadskeradio.org/2014/06/23/1941-2014-past-reaching-into-present-professor-of-history-marta-dyczok-from-kyiv/. Marta’s previous work on international politics and history, specializing in Eastern Europe, has positioned her well to be in a position to comment on this situation. You can never predict how or where one’s skills can be relevant in new and important ways – but you have to be ready.
Back in May, public frustration was evident, when a block of councillors moved to block the approval of food trucks for the City of London. Martin Horak was called on to provide some perspective: The London Free Press
Then, just a little bit later, Martin was again called up to ponder the question of whether Mayor Fontana would survive the court case and subsequent fallout. It is fascinating now to look back with the gift of hind sight!! The London Free Press
Once Mr. Fontana decided to step down, then all eyes were on who would step in… here Andy Sancton (Political Science) was called on for his opinion… London Free Press.
Cameron Anderson and Cristine de Clercy were frequent commentators on the recent election. In May, Cameron had several contributions to an interesting piece on the role of former leaders, McGuinty and Harris (and the absence of Rae) in shaping the recent race. National Post. In early June, he was called on to comment on the the tone of the campaign - Globe & Mail. He was called on to address what was, at the time seen to be a Tory/NDP race. London Free Press
Cristine’s contributions goes back to May 6th , early in the campaign, when the liberals appeared to be slow off the mark in getting candidates in place. London Free Press. A nice quote from that piece is… “De Clercy said the Liberals are likely targeting NDP voters and will focus their efforts in urban areas and may be taking time to find good candidates.” Shortly after, she was commenting on the Conservatives’ efforts to “distinguish” themselves in the campaign. CTV News. Then later on she commented on the abilities of Horwath and Wynn to galvanize voter. Global News and commented on the conflicted position of labour in the campaig. CBC News
Bob Young’s work on the break-up of Czechosolvakia led reporters to call on him for commentary that appeared in a popular Brazilian new magazine Correio Braziliense. The article was focused on increasing potential for the dissolution of nations in Europe. To practice your Portuguese (appropriate in these heady World Cup days). brasilsoberanoelivre.blogspot.ca
Erika Simpson has had a busy spring on the nuclear file. In particular, she teamed up with Romeo Dillaire for the 3rd Preparatory Committee Meeting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. London Free Press
Erika Simpson weighed in on the topic of the Federal govt’s shift to “dollars diplomacy”. This is an extremely important change in Canada’s positioning on the international stage, and Erika rightly sheds critical light on the new policies.
Proof that “common sense” – at least on the political stage – isn’t what it seems, comes from Tim Cobban’s study of municipalities in Ontario in the wake of the Harris “common sense” program of amalgamation. Tim found that rather than saving money, amalgamation has actually led to more civic bureaucrats and hence more $$$ needed to pay them – see the Toronto Star article.
Martin Horak has been the go to guy lately for people seeking to make sense of London’s civic politics. First, he was consulted on the erratic behaviour of City Council (Free Press article), and later on the entry of Matt Brown into the mayoral race (Free Press article). Martin’s comments that appeared in the print version are not in the web version.
On the teaching front… Peter Ferguson picked up a teaching fellowship to examine how better to promote information literacy. Western News
Post-Doc Dominique Potvin gave a recent talk to Green Drinks Sarnia on her research on the effects of urban noise on urban bird life. This fascinating research shows that a limited number of bird species are able to cope with the urban acoustic environment, which leads to a reduction in biodiversity. Sarnia This Week
Recent doctoral grad Paul Conway (Jim Olson supervisor) is one of the recipients of the 2014 Governor General's Gold Medal. Paul's record of achievements is most impressive, including multiple publications, a 91% average, achievement awards and OGS and SSHRC CGS funding.
Adrian Owen and Lorina Naci are continuing their groundbreaking work on patients seemingly in vegetative states - this time by showing them Alfred Hitchcock movies!! A "nonresponsive" participant was actually able to follow the plot! Western News and CTV News
Andrew Pruszynski - who will begin a cross appointment between "Phys Pharm" in Schulich and the Dept of Psychology this winter - and his colleague Roland Johansson from Sweden published a paper in Nature Neuroscience that generated some buzz. They report that the neurons responsible for touch actually process the signals of sensation themselves, rather than the process taking place in the brain. This research has important implications for strategies for rehabilitation following injury. Western News and The Guardian
Jessica Grahn was recently awarded a prestigious James S. McDonnell Foundation grant for her project "Moving to the beat: The relationship between rhythm perception and movement". James S. McDonnell Foundation
Grad student Sarah Stanton & Lorne Campbell garnered a lot of interest with their research on relationships. It turns out that just thinking about your romantic partner generates "good stress" and adds an energy boost to your day. The findings were published in the journal, Psychophysiology and were featured in various outlets. Medical News Today and Fox News
Western Psychology postdoctoral scholar Ian Lyons recently received a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, allowing him to explore the neural mechanisms and influences math anxiety plays during a student’s time at university. Western News
Adrian Owen’s work on consciousness - NYTimes. Adrian Owen, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, was featured in a recent Retro Report looking back on the enduring legacy of Terri Schiavo. An innovative documentary news organization launched in 2013 as a timely online counterweight to today's 24/7 news cycle, Retro Report videos are streamed online by The New York Times. An article by Owen about his search for consciousness in vegetative patients was also published by Scientific American this month, which generated a commentary by noted British science writer Roger Highfield that was republished by Mosaic, New Statesman and Gizmodo (Australia). scientificamerican.com, mosaicscience.com, newstatesman.com
From a Canada Excellence Research Chair, to a teenager volunteering with the Brain and Mind Institute… Sixteen year old Brain and Mind Institute Volunteer Dan Alferov has developed an objective test to “see how we are feeling”. The test involves reading a participant’s face and how their expressions compare to a series of questions. Metro News Dan made a local impact with his experiments and subsequently went to an international competition where he won the first place $2,500 Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology Award, at the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Western News
Daniel Ansari has been in the news a couple of times recently… First… his work on “numeracy” – the “ability to reason and to apply simple numerical concepts” (essentially the quantitative equivalent to literacy) and its importance in early childhood education has been gaining considerable attention in recent years – most recently his work was highlighted in Western News.
then, his work with graduate students Stephanie Bugden and Anna Matejko was featured at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington DC, “Frontiers for Young Minds” session. Western's Media Release
Vicki Esses (MER) and Bipasha Baruah’s (Women’s Studies and Feminist Research) CFI funded project Migration, Gender, and International Development Research Laboratory is moving into the execution phase. Hopefully, construction will be able to begin soon!!! Western News
A paper by Psychologists Marc Joanisse and Daniel Ansari (with Lisa Archibald and Janis Cardy from Communication Sciences and Disorders) was named one of the Top 100 most talked-about academic papers of the year, according to The Altmetric 2013 Top 100 – where they rang in at number 82. The paper also received a lot of online attention: http://www.healthcanal.com/child-health/45103-western-researchers-explore-links-between-learning-disorders-in-children.html, http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-11-explore-links-disorders-children.html, - http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/269096.php.
AFAR (The Advanced Facility for Avian Research) received the great news that the Ontario Research Fund- Research Infrastructure (ORFRI) was supporting AFAR’s recent Canada Foundation for Innovation Grant. These federal/provincial partnerships are a great boost to research! AFAR, which includes scholars from Psychology (including Scott MacDougall-Shakleton & David Sherry) and Science (including Chris Giglielmo and Beth MacDougall-Shakleton) has previously focused on its wind tunnel work – but can now “spread its wings” to move into satellite tracking and more.
Music+neuroscience was featured in an article in the most recent University Affairs.
Wolfgang Lehmann's work on access to higher education was recently featured by thetyee.ca. Wolfgang is interested in better understanding the barriers that students must over come, particularly those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Ingrid Connidis' work on the family lives of gays and lesbians (Interview and Memoir: Complementary Narratives on the Family Ties of Gay Adults) was awarded the 2013 Alexis Walker Award. This award was created to honour high quality research in the area of family studies. Western News
Anabel Quan-Haase, Brad Corbet (Research Data Centre) and Michale Haight (PhD student, sociology) have been working on internet use and the impact of internet and mobile technologies on low-income housing units. They were recently interviewed for, and their work integrated into a piece posted to the Huffington Post on "the digital divide" (to other outlets such as the CBC's Spark as well).
Rod Beaujot's work on the proportion of senior citizens in Canada created a bit of a buzz. London Free Press
Jerry White and Catherine Gordon's (Research Associate in the Aboriginal Policy Research Consortium (International)) work, presented at the "Indigenous Issues in Post-Secondary Education: Transitions to the workplace" conference held Oct 6-7 in Toronto, generated a lot of media interest. In particular, the Globe & Mail picked it up as part of their Folio feature and then highlighted it in a editorial the next day. This is work that has important policy implications for aboriginal education.
Rachel Margolis' work on the relationship between education and the likelihood of making medically necessary lifestyle changes garnered a lot of press interest. News@JAMA
Rod Beaujot's (Sociology) new paper in Canadian Public Policy on family policies in Quebec was picked up by Medical Xpress.
The Canada Foundation for Innovation highlighted Vicki Esses' SSHRC Partnership Grant funded "Pathways to Prosperity" project. This is a nice example of synergy between granting agencies as this project is aligned with Vicki and Bipasha Baruah's (Women's Studies and Feminist Research) CFI funded Migration, Gender and International Development Laboratory. Western News
Rita Gardiner, the first WSFR PhD grad has won the International, 2014 Values and Educational Leadership Paul T. Begley Award for her dissertation titled "Thinking With Arendt: Authenticity, Gender and Leadership"