April 2019

Dear Colleagues,

The electric feeling of spring's arrival on campus, paired with the busy end of winter semester, makes this time of year about getting things done—and celebrating our accomplishments.

We started the month with a visit from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. I’d like to thank the faculty and staff who not only made the evaluators feel welcome, but who helped shine a spotlight on TRU as we continue our journey toward accreditation.

We also had an opportunity to shine a spotlight on one another this month through the annual Merit and Long-Term Service Awards ceremony. It was my “first” and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon recognizing the contributions of so many of our colleagues to TRU. My hands are still sore from clapping.

You will read about both the accreditation visit and the awards ceremony in this month’s report, as well as an Envision TRU update and many stories that highlight the strength of research at TRU.

If you would like to share a publication, presentation, external award or other recognition from within the past six months, please send the details to president@tru.ca. This report covers up to April 17; the deadline for submissions to the next report is May 9.


Brett Fairbairn
President and Vice-Chancellor


Dr. Bruce Damer stands next to a 3.6-billion-year-old artifact representing buried layers of molecular structures, thought to be the framework for the origin of life.

Renowned astrobiologist among TRU's Distinguished Alumni

The 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards on Mar. 29 honoured some of TRU's most-accomplished alumni, partners and student leaders and the impact they have made in their communities and careers. The 2019 recipients are Adil Hosenbocus, Kaitlin Lomas, Payton Comazzetto, and Bruce Damer (shown), who also gave a science seminar at TRU on Mar. 28, revealing his research on the emergence of life on Earth and his work with NASA looking for evidence of life on Mars. Watch his DAA video

Themes emerging from Envision TRU consultation

Small group discussions launched in April for Envision TRU, a process to develop a new vision and set of strategic priorities for the university. While indivdiuals participated in group discussions, others continued to share their responses to questions through Thoughtexchange, an online platform. Themes emerging from Thoughtexchange conversations are: Identity, Community, Student Success, Employee Success, Diversity, Physical Environment, Sustainability, and Research. For more information on Envision TRU and the latest updates, visit tru.ca/envision.

Adam Zelmer

Celebrating Research at TRU

Research Week from March 25 to 30 featured workshops, poster and oral presentations, research communication competitions, and community-building opportunities, culminating in the 14th annual Undergraduate Research and Innovation Conference. MSc student Adam Zelmer (shown with CBC Daybreak's Shelley Joyce) won both first place and people's choice at TRU's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, and a spot at the Western Canadian 3MT Finals at UNBC on April 17.

New high-tech lab explores
exercise and aging

Thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund, biology faculty member Dr. Mark Rakobowchuk's new Extracellular Vesicles and Endothelial Dynamics Lab will explore the impact of exercise on disease processes at the cellular and metabolic level. Read more

Accreditation evaluators on campus

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) evaluation committee was on campus April 1 to 3 to review TRU's candidacy for institutional accreditation. TRU was commended for our commitment to student success and sustainability, and the funding of projects that support TRU’s mission. The official recommendations and commendations will be available later this summer. 

Thirty students spend summer as researchers

Students spend summer as researchers

Solenn Vogel (shown) and 29 other undergrads have been awarded Undergraduate Research Experience Award Program (UREAP) scholarships, funding them to spend the summer conducting independent research projects. This winter the award value increased from $4,500 to $6,000, and saw a wave of renewed interest in the program. Read more

Dr. Haytham Elmiligi, Dr. Gloria Ramirez, Laura Howard, Mariah Wilson, Roxanne Letterlough and Dr. Patrick Walton

New technology creates a future for ancient language

A collaboration by TRU faculty, Secwépemc community members and students has brought together Secwepemctsín and literacy technologies to create new ways for the language to be taught and revitalized. In March the team unveiled five picture books and two apps, funded in part by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Aid to Small Universities grant. Read more

Indigenous research celebrated

The annual Indigenous Knowledge Makers Dinner on March 28 celebrated the work of 14 new undergraduate and graduate student Knowledge Makers for 2019 and the work of Indigenous faculty throughout 2018/19. This year’s keynote speaker was Sam Manuela, a researcher, author and leading Pacific academic.

Shawn Read

Career and Experiential Learning receives national recognition

The Career and Experiential Learning department (CEL) has been granted co-operative education accreditation by Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada. The accreditation provides national recognition as an approved co-op program, which CEL chair Shawn Read (shown) says will benefit students through better programming, curriculum and experiential learning opportunities. Read more

Research answers community health questions

Five TRU researchers have been awarded $15,000 grants designed to support community-based health research teams. Teams awarded funding include those led by Nursing faculty members Lisa Bourque Bearskin, Judy Duchscher, Noeman Mirza and Nicola Waters, and Economics faculty member Ehsan LatifRead more

Athletics honours the best of the WolfPack

The 2018/19 Athletics Awards banquet recognized seven WolfPack players with TRU’s top athletic honours on Mar. 28. The Sports Task Force Athletes of the Year are volleyball players Olga Savenchuk and Tim Dobbert (shown with Vice-President Administration and Finance Matt Milovick). The Dr. Roger H. Barnsley Scholar Athlete Awards went to Avery Pottle, women’s volleyball, and Michael Rouault, men’s basketball. The Cliff Neufeld Leadership Award winners are Kendra Finch, women’s volleyball, and Rouault with his second award of the season. The Newcomers of the Year are Savenchuk, also taking home a second award, and swimmer Ryley McRae. The Director’s Award went to Tim Edge, men’s volleyball. Read more

Minister Mary Ng

Federal minister tours TRU campus

Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion Mary Ng toured the TRU campus on Mar. 26 with President Brett Fairbairn and other members of the leadership team. Ng is one of three federal ministers responsible for overseeing the department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development in Canada. Read more

Conference shines spotlight on equity, inclusion and reconciliation

The third biennial Learning at Intercultural Intersections Conference from Mar. 13 to 15 featured speakers from as far away as Brazil and New Zealand. Close to 200 students and educators shared perspectives on intercultural learning, approaches to equity in education, and de-colonizing higher education. Read more

Awards recognize outstanding research mentorship

Awards recognize outstanding research mentorship

Social work faculty member Wendy Hulko and nursing faculty member Lisa Bourque Bearskin (shown) received TRU's 2019 Undergraduate Research Mentor Awards, for providing guidance and support to undergraduate students to explore, inquire and engage in new knowledge creation. Read more

Winners of the 2019 Masters of Science in Environmental Science Showcase were, from left, Shannon Mendt, Paulina Ross, Aramide Taiwo, Adam Zelmer and Marcus Atkins.

Tenth annual MSc Showcase

More than two dozen first- and second-year Master of Science in Environmental Science students presented their research during the 10th annual graduate showcase on Mar. 7. The 2019 Best Presentation winners were, from left, Shannon Mendt, Paulina Ross, Aramide Taiwo, Adam Zelmer and Marcus Atkins. Photo by Juan Cabrejo, The Omega. Read more

Supporting local law students

The Faculty of Law hosted a donor recognition event on April 5 in honour of Gwyneth Lamperson, whose recent donation of $100,000 will support the existing George Lamperson Law Bursary and create the George and Gwyneth Lamperson Law Scholarship. These endowed awards will annually support two local students entering their second year of law.

Outstanding teaching, scholarship and service

At the President's Annual Merit and Long-Term Service Awards ceremony on April 17, TRU celebrated 14 outstanding recipients of Merit Awards recognizing teaching, scholarship and service, and an amazing 180 recipients receiving Long-Term Service pins from 10 to 45 years. (Shown above: 30 Years of Service recipients.) The Merit Award winners also joined President Brett Fairbairn for a luncheon before the ceremony. Read more


David Barroqueiro in the law reading room

Third-year law student David Barroqueiro (shown) won an inaugural Neota Logic Alumni Award for his work developing a legal app, a self-assessment tool on Arizona condominium law, on the Neota Logic platform. Read more

Electrical trades alum Taylor Ross was named to BC Business Magazine's 30 Under 30 list of young entrepreneurs for 2019, which recognizes those who have built successful enterprises with a social purpose. His company, TDR Electric, was voted top electrical contractor in Vancouver in 2018. Read more

Let's Remember

John (Ivica) Prpić was an Open Learning Faculty Member, teaching strategic management information systems in the Master of Business Administration program. An accomplished academic, author and speaker, John completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Western University, an MBA from Pepperdine University, and a PhD from Luleå University of Technology. He loved the pursuit of knowledge, but most of all he loved to teach. Friends and colleagues will remember his quick-witted humour, infectious laugh and zest for life.


Note: These citations follow MLA Handbook (8th edition) format. We respectfully ask that you please format citations for your work in MLA prior to submitting them for inclusion in the President’s Report. Thank you!


Hasnat Dewan, Economics

Bo, L., et al. “Sustainable Development in an Aging World: Lessons from Chinese Elderly Migration Data. The 15th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, 17-19 Jan. 2019, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Warveni Jap, Marketing & International Business

Jap, Warveni. “China Today Part 2.” Invited multi-session speaker, Kamloops Adult Learners Society (KALS), January 2019, Kamloops.

Ehsan Latif, Economics

Latif, E. (2018) “Health Outcomes Before, During and After the Great Recession in Canada: A Longitudinal Analysis.” 12th Annual International Conference on Global Studies: Business, Economic, Political, Social and Cultural Aspects, 20-23 Dec. 2018, Athens.

Stan Miles and Ehsan Latif, Economics

Miles, S. and Latif, E. “How do Undergraduate Students Choose Elective Courses?  The Role of Professor’s Characteristics.” 2019 TRU Teaching Practices Colloquium, 19 Feb. 2019, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops.

Derek Pyne, Economics

Pyne, Derek. “Predatory Publications and a University’s Reaction to Them.” Philosophy and Political Science External Speaker Series, University of British Columbia – Okanagan, 8 Mar. 2019, Kelowna.

Zubair Raja, Accounting and Finance

Raja, Z. A., Procasky, W., and Oyotode, R. “The Relative Role of CDS and Bond Markets in Efficiently Pricing Emerging Market Sovereign Credit Risk. 14-15 Mar. 2019, Southwestern Finance Association Conference, Houston.

Joel Wood, Economics

Wood, Joel. “Tradable Permits and Pollution Hotspots: Evidence from Ontario.” Western Economics Association International’s 15th Annual International Conference, 21-24 Mar. 2019, Keio University, Tokyo.


Kyra Garson, Student Development, and Lisa Bourque Bearskin, Nursing

Garson, Kyra, et al, editors. Editor’s Notes. Learning at Intercultural Intersections: Indigenization, Internationalization and Intercultural Learning, Special Issue of New Directions in Teaching and Learning, no. 157, Spring 2019, pp. 7-12.

Muhammad Mohiuddin, Marketing & International Business

Mohiuddin, Muhammad, et. al. “Back-Shoring or Re-Shoring: Determinants of Manufacturing Offshoring from Emerging to Least Developing Countries (LDCs).” International Journal of Logistics Research and Applications, vol. 22, no. 1, 2019, pp. 78-97.

Al Mamun, Abdullah, et al. “Strategic Orientations, the Mediating Effect of Absorptive Capacity and Innovation: A Study among Malaysian Manufacturing SMEs.” International Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 23, no. 2, February 2019.

Robin Reid, Tourism Management

Reid, Robin E. Intercultural Learning and Place-Based Pedagogy: Is There a Connection? Learning at Intercultural Intersections: Indigenization, Internationalization and Intercultural Learning, Special Issue of New Directions in Teaching and Learning, no. 157, Spring 2019, pp. 77-90.


Jonathan Van Hamme, Biological Sciences

Van Hamme, Jonathan. “Watching the Watchkeepers.” CBRNe World Magazine, February, 2019, pp. 14-20.


Art show: Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate exhibition

A Polite Conversation

April 18 – May 3

Explore the works of graduating Bachelor of Fine Arts students Josh Allan, Deb Fong, Kazia Poore and Elizabeth Sigalet.

Startup Basics Series: accounting

May 2

Learn how setting up a business properly from the start can save your company time and money.

Startup Basics Series: legal

May 2

Get your business off to the right start legally by gleaning information from a local expert versed in startup law.

Startup Basics series: resources

May 3

Get an overview of the tools, resources, mentorship, workshops, events, and support available to you as an entrepreneur or startup.

Celebrate retirement and long-term service

May 9

TRU colleagues who are retiring this year will be celebrated at the annual Retirement and 25+ Years Dinner. Employees with 25, 30, 35, 40 or 45 years of service are also included. Tickets are available until April 30 for TRU faculty and staff to attend.

AlumNight Williams Lake

May 30

Alumni and guests are invited to reminisce, catch up and meet others who attended the Williams Lake campus.

TRU Williams Lake Commencement 2019

May 31

Celebrate commencement with all 2019 TRU Williams Lake graduates.