Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences: What’s new for 2013-2014

August 23, 2013

Sanjoy Ghosh

Researcher Sanjoy Ghosh, assistant professor of biology with the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus, is investigating the role Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) play in the development of heart disease in people with diabetes and obesity.

Student research opportunities

Undergraduate Student Research Award (up to $6,500 + $1,500 expenses per student annually)
International Education Travel Subsidy (up to $4,000 per student annually)

Faculty research projects

Assoc. Prof. Lael Parrott, $201,402 Canada Foundation for Innovation funding. Seeking Sustainability: Innovating modelling and analysis of complex human-environment systems
The Complex Environmental Systems Laboratory will provide infrastructure for a research program focused on the study of regional landscapes and ecosystems as complex systems and the search for innovative, systems approaches to land use and natural resource management.

Asst. Prof. Kyle Larson, $251,812 Canada Foundation for Innovation funding. Microstructural Analytics Laboratory
The laboratory will specialize in the microscopic description of deformed rocks from convergent plate tectonic margins and use observations to help characterized the convergence accommodation process that operate during mountain building. The centrepiece of the lab will be an automated crystal fabric analyser. Understanding mountain belts and the processes that govern their formation is fundamental to understanding all other connected spheres (biosphere, hydrosphere and the atmosphere.

Asst. Prof. Susan Holtzman, $69,255 Social Sciences Humanities Research Council funding. Text Messaging versus Face-to-Face Communication: A Face-off Between Two Forms of Social Support
The research will determine whether supportive and unsupportive interactions that occur via text messaging have differential effects on satisfaction with support, mood and stress, compared to non-digital forms of commination.

Asst. Prof. Ross Hickey, $73,110 in Social Sciences Humanities Research Council funding. An Exploration of Charitable Organization
The grant will enhance understanding of the charitable sector through the development and testing of a new survey instrument. Measures generated from the survey will be combined with annual measures from the information returns that charities file with the Canada Revenue Agency, to create a comprehensive charity data set for small to medium sized charities.

Student research projects

Sarah Alexis, Indigenous Studies major. The roles of Okanagan women: shaping Sylix culture. Supervisor, Margo Tamez.

Astri Jack, Indigenous Studies major. Colonized histories of the Okanagan. Supervisor, Gregory Younging.

Yasha Pushak, Mathematics major. Investigating innovative road design algorithms. Supervisor, Warren Hare.

For a complete list of undergraduate student research see:

Intimate learning environments

Assoc. Prof. Patricia Lasserre uses Team-Based Learning in COSC 341 (Human Computer Interaction). This approach is an active learning technique which places emphasis on applying concepts as a means to learn. The main objective during class time is to test the understanding of concepts and apply those newly acquired concepts on more and more complex problems. The students work shifts from being after class in a traditional format, to prior to coming to class: the onus is on students to read and understand concepts prior to the lecture.

Close ties to businesses and organizations

Barber School researchers in Computer Science and Mathematics are working with engineering to reduce the cost of constructing new roads. The team is now working with Softree Technical Systems in North Vancouver to begin to use elements of optimization to improve road design and corridor based infrastructure projects.

Computer Science is working with the City of Kelowna to reduce water-usage in city parks

Highlights of new programs and courses

Gender and Women’s Studies, new major:,282,857,1258
Math, new minor:,282,858,994

Upcoming events

The Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences will again present community discussions featuring internationally known scholars through the Distinguished Speakers Series. While the 2013-14 roster of speakers has not yet been finalized, watch for more information:  (

New faculty members

Kevin Hanna – associate professor – Geography
PhD  University of Toronto; MA  University of Toronto; BA  UBC

Andrew Irvine – professor- Philosophy
PhD  University of Sydney; MA  University of Western Ontario; BA  University of Saskatchewan

David Geary – assistant professor – Anthropology
PhD UBC; MA Carleton University; BA Simon Fraser University

Frederic Menard – assistant professor – Chemistry
PhD University of Toronto; MSc University of Sherbrooke; BSc University of Sherbrooke

John Hopkinson – instructor – Physics
PhD Rutgers University; BSc McMaster University

Richard Plunket – instructor 1 – Biology
BSc and PhD University of New Mexico.

Tamara Kunz – instructor 1 – Chemistry
PhD UBC; BSc University of Victoria

Personnel changes and promotions;

Biology Professor John Klironomos was appointed Associate Dean of Research for a five-year term starting July 2, 2013. John is an internationally recognized scholar (areas of expertise, among others: soil microbial ecology; biodiversity and ecosystem functioning; determinants of plant and microbial community structure).  He joined UBC’s Okanagan campus in 2009, when he moved from the University of Guelph. At Guelph, in addition to his faculty appointment in the College of Biological Sciences/Department of Integrative Biology, he also served as the Research Coordinator of the University of Guelph Arboretum. In addition to his faculty appointment at UBC, he has recently been the Acting Director of the Institute for the Species at Risk and Habitat Studies (SARAHS).

Contact information

Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences
3333 University Way
Kelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7
Tel: 250.807.9597
Fax: 250.807.8001


Media Contact

Patty Wellborn
Media Relations Strategist
University Relations

UBC Okanagan
Tel: 250 317 0293

More content from: Irving K Barber School of Arts and Sciences (prior July 2020)