Thompson Rivers University

TRU Forms Academic Partnership with Sun Peaks

  Posted on: April 3, 2012

MOU 'tween TRU and Sun Peaks

Representatives from three Thompson Rivers University faculties and three Sun Peaks entities signed a memorandum of understanding, forming an academic partnership. Pictured here... Front row, left to right: Darcy Alexander (Sun Peaks), and Kathleen Scherf (Professor of Communications at TRU). Back row, left to right: Christopher Nicholson (President of Tourism at Sun Peaks), Al Raine (Mayor of Sun Peaks), Nancy Flood (Faculty of Science, TRU), and John Hull (Faculty of Adventure, Culinary, Tourism, TRU).

Today two venerable Kamloops institutions formed an association to focus on the study and learning opportunities of mountain environments.

Representatives from three Thompson Rivers University faculties and three Sun Peaks entities signed a memorandum of understanding, forming the Alliance for Mountain Environments.

TRU’s Faculty of Adventure, Culinary & Tourism (ACT), and the Faculties of Science, and Arts, along with the Sun Peaks Resort Corporation, Tourism Sun Peaks, and Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality have committed to work toward building mutually supportive initiatives in the study areas that include ecosystems, cultures, and leisure, tourism, and wellness activities associated with mountain environments.

“Through the Alliance for Mountain Environments, we plan to conduct interdisciplinary academic and applied research, and provide education and training,” said Dr. Harold Richins, TRU Dean Adventure, Culinary and Tourism. “Our research activities will engage people and broaden access to mountain areas and promote an understanding of the social, cultural, environmental, and economic impacts of human activity in mountain areas.”

“Sun Peaks feels very fortunate to work closely with TRU. For many years, this relationship has meant things such as Sun Peaks hiring TRU graduates, and providing students with training opportunities,” said Christopher Nicholson, President, Tourism Sun Peaks. “Recently new opportunities have developed such as cooperating on higher level research. Such integration can be a competitive advantage for Sun Peaks in the mountain resort industry.”

“The research and learning opportunities involve academics from 15 departments across the entire campus, and offer opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching, research, and community outreach initiatives,” said Dr. Kathleen Scherf, TRU Professor of Communications. “This is new chapter in TRU’s relationship with one of the top mountains resort communities in Canada.”

Recently launched, TRU’s Academic Plan seeks to establish the institution’s reputation for having graduates who are flexible and adaptable. “The signing of the MOU with Sun Peaks exemplifies what TRU is about,” said Dr. Ulrich Scheck, TRU Provost and Vice-President Academic, “namely to build on that strength through programs and courses that generate interdisciplinary connections between academic themes. TRU will be known for being profoundly interdisciplinary.”

Held in Accolades, TRU’s award winning restaurant, Tuesday’s signing event celebrated the resort’s 50th anniversary, the past collaborations between the two institutions, and also launched Dr. Kathleen Scherf’s book, Sun Peaks: An Evolution of Dreams. The new book chronicles the first 50 years of Sun Peaks.

Thinking about mountain culture for the book, in turn spurred a new topic for a senior English course, Mountain Culture. In the course Scherf and her students explored the history and presence of mountain culture in film, painting, advertising photography, fiction, fashion and resort operations and sparked the discussion between TRU and Sun Peaks to formalize the research and learning opportunities with the MOU.