March 2018

Dear Colleagues,

This month marks the start of a new season after an exceptionally long winter. Spring is a time of wonder, of new growth, and makes me thankful to be working in post-secondary education where we support the academic and personal growth of our students, as well as the personal and professional growth of our employees.

In this month’s President’s Report, you will find examples of how we do this. Our annual IDays (International Days) grew more meaningful this year with the addition of professional development sessions for employees, and the opportunity for more staff and faculty to participate in IDays as a whole. This year’s Aboriginal Awareness Week presented more variety than ever, and delved more deeply with a theme of reconciliation through art. And as always, you’ll find great examples of how student and faculty research is making an impact. Please read on for more details.

I hope you enjoy these highlights of TRU community news, publications, accomplishments and upcoming campus events. 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 This report covers up to Mar. 9; the deadline for submissions to the next report is Apr. 5.


Alan Shaver, President and Vice-Chancellor 


Food featured at IDays 2018—for thought, for life, for fun

IDays 2018 used food to explore culture, sustainability and the local-global connection, highlighting four of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Kicking off the week of events Mar. 5 to 9, award-winning Canadian Mary Walsh of This Hour Has 22 Minutes fame gave a hilarious and thought-provoking performance—Food, Feminism, Fun and All the Other Fs—on Mar. 5 to a sold-out crowd of 700 at the Grand Hall.

In a new format for professional development this year, staff and faculty attended their choice of IDays sessions, including employee-only events with speakers such as Chef Ned Bell, founder of Chefs for Oceans; Taras Grescoe (shown), author and leading voice on urbanism; and Navajo Elder Lorenzo Max from Northern Arizona University.

Bannock Bake-Off Event Photo

Reconciliation through art

This year, the theme of Aboriginal Awareness Week was Reconciliation through Art. From Feb. 26 to Mar. 2, participants expanded their intercultural understanding and community connectedness through a wide variety of events, such as the annual Honouring Our Elders Luncheon, TRU’s first bannock bake-off (shown at right), a fashion show featuring BC First Nations designers, Theatre for Living’s performance of šxʷ?aḿәt (home) and a Secwépemc language film festival.

Gala 2018 Fortune and Glory ice sculpture

Gala set to raise $70,000 for student awards

This year’s TRU Foundation Gala on Feb. 17, an Indiana Jones-inspired event called Fortune and Glory, was an event not to miss, snowstorm notwithstanding. Tickets sold out well in advance, with attendees enjoying an evening of good food, entertainment and memories. The five-course meal referenced the movie trilogy, including appetizers named X Marks the Spot, Indy’s Boulder Escape and Monkey Brains. Read more for details and a photo gallery.

Law student's research catalyst for federal complaint

Law student’s research catalyst for federal complaint

In a research project that began in law faculty member Charis Kamphuis’ Civil Society, Dissent and the Law course in winter 2017, Lavinia Floarea (now graduated) identified a previously unknown avenue for potential recourse in a mining-related case involving a Mexican community leader’s death. Thanks to her research, the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project filed a complaint to the Canadian Public Sector Integrity Commission on Feb. 5, 2018. Read more

Barnacle research snags top spot

Barnacle research snags top spot

First- and second-year Master of Science in Environmental Science students were in the spotlight during the annual MSc Showcase on Mar. 1. Shannon Mendt (shown at right) won best oral presentation for her work on stressed-out barnacles—Shell’s Kitchen: Energy and Stress Tolerance in Intertidal Invertebrates. Read more

Consultations on mental health and wellbeing

Last fall, the President’s Task Force on Mental Health and Well-being convened to address four objectives related to TRU’s readiness to adopt the Okanagan Charter. To inform the recommendations to the president, five working groups are collecting information in collaboration with stakeholders on and off campus. The TRU community was invited to participate by attending consultation sessions on Feb. 28 or Mar. 2, or by contributing comments using an online submission form, which is still open for feedback. Learn more

Enactus wins spot in national competition

Four teams from the Enactus Thompson Rivers club competed at the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition – Western Canada, Mar. 1 to 2 in Calgary. Club president Joel Mercer, a fourth-year accounting major, notes that the club is “young” this year—of the 34 members who attended, 30 had never been to an Enactus Canada event—but the teams came out strong. Presenters placed third in the Financial Education challenge, second in the Eco Green Living challenge and first in the Entrepreneurship challenge, winning a spot in the Enactus Canada National Exposition in Toronto in May. Above: the Enactus TRU team in Calgary with faculty advisors Lisa Lake, Nancy Carson and Tatiana Fedotova.

MBA students take BC trophy in ethics challenge

A team of TRU Master of Business Administration students faced UBC and SFU teams at the CFA Canadian Ethics Challenge BC competition on Feb. 2. In a competition designed to expose students to real-world ethical dilemmas, teams have four weeks to analyze an ethics case, and then present their analysis and recommendations to a panel of judges. Students Jose Carlos Rodriguez Jule, Tyler Carson, Adejobi Adewori, Florence Oneneh Lyogun and Kishlay Nikesh, with faculty advisor Dan Thompson, took home the local trophy and advance to the national Ethics Challenge in Vancouver on May 2.

International conference aims to tackle big data

Conference aims to tackle big data

The Centre for Optimization and Data Sciences at TRU hosted an international conference on Mar. 9 to 10 to focus on innovative ways to solve data science and optimization problems, and to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration with health care, food science, transportation, engineering and other areas. 

Organizer Roger Yu, chair of the Centre and faculty member in Mathematics and Statistics, says TRU is also finalizing a new graduate program in data science and optimization, which aims to address the shortage of skilled professionals in the field of big data. Read more

Funding boosts 21 new research projects

Funding boosts new research projects

Sociology faculty member Mónica Sánchez-Flores (shown) is one of 21 TRU researchers who received 2018 Internal Research Fund awards. The fund provides a maximum of $100,000 annually to support research and faculty development, especially in terms of tenure and promotion. Read more

A place for all voices in research

A place for all voices in research

Now in its third year, the Knowledge Makers program is an effort to encourage more Indigenous students to participate in research. Each year, a new cohort of 10 to 15 students takes part in two days of workshops, enriched by Indigenous Elders, scholars and mentors. 

Airini, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work (shown), told the 2018 Knowledge Makers, “Your way of thinking belongs in the university and the world, and can expand our knowledge. There are as many approaches to research and writing as there are stars in the sky.” Read more

Spring dreams fulfilled

On Mar. 10, the 2018 TRU Williams Lake Gala—Spring Dreams—offered guests an unforgettable spring-like evening featuring dinner, dancing to the music of the Mooncoin Show Band, and a silent and live auction in support of awards for TRU Williams Lake students.

Undergraduate Researchers-symposium gropu

Inclusivity in undergraduate research

Eight TRU Undergraduate Research Ambassadors (shown above) were joined by peers from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts for a three-day symposium, High Impacts in Undergraduate Research. Held at TRU during Reading Week (Feb. 19 to 21), the symposium featured experts from across North America and Australia who shared ways to transform research programs and opportunities to welcome and support all students. Read more


TRU students led the university’s first TEDx event (an independent talk operated under license from TED) on Mar. 3. Eight speakers—Alexandra Proctor, Yasir Ali Khan, Katherine McParland, Tim Shoults, Saira Sabzaali and TRU faculty members Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour, Michael Mehta and Heramb Vadalkar addressed a variety of topics to foster conversations centred on the theme, Growing Through Our Truths. Read more

Educating about the Holocaust

Vera Schiff, author and 92-year-old Holocaust survivor, gave a free public talk on March 15 based on her book (written with Philosophy, History and Politics faculty member Jeff McLaughlin), Bound for Theresienstadt: Love, Loss and Resistance in a Nazi Concentration Camp (2017). She spoke about her years in the camp and of those who fought back, and how education about the Holocaust remains important and relevant.

Personal stories of diversity

The TRUFA Equity Committee and the School of Education recently partnered with School District #73 to host a community forum, The Power of Diversity. Four panelists—Chris Mosier, Elisabeth Walker-Young, Michelle Webster and Education faculty member Nan Stevens—each shared their experience with diversity, and then shared best practices to create more inclusive spaces in our community. Mosier is the first openly trans athlete on the US men’s Olympic team. Attendees included students, faculty, SD#73 administrators and teachers, and community members.

A strong forecast for financial careers

Finance department faculty members Adina Gray, Randy Kimmel, Alex Ng, Li Zhang, Associate Dean Raymond Cox and 11 undergraduate finance majors and MBA students attended the CFA Forecast Dinner on Jan. 25 in Kelowna. Hosted by the Kelowna chapter of the Chartered Financial Analysts, the dinner gathers investment professionals and academics (UBCO, Okanagan College and TRU) to present economic and financial forecasts for the coming year and past year. 

Students learned about the investment world locally and about professional networking, and were proud to see presenter and recent TRU alumnus Ayush Agrawal do very well in the forecast competition.

Job Fair 2018

At the annual Job Fair on Mar. 8, about 1,500 students from across campus met representatives from 70 employers and learned about opportunities in health, information technology, finance, accounting, tourism, trades and more. Hosted by the Career Education Department, TRU’s Job Fair is the largest at a post-secondary institution in the BC Interior, and the second biggest university job fair in the province. Read more

Lunch with the President

Faculty and staff from all over campus engaged in conversation and networking at a Lunch with the President for Faculty and Staff on Mar. 16. Another opportunity for staff and faculty to join Alan Shaver for lunch will be scheduled for April.


Lyn Baldwin, Biological Sciences, received a review in ArtPlantae of her article about resonant journals in Journal of Teaching in Travel and Tourism (see Publications, below), "Illustrated Journals Change Experience with 'Place'" on Feb. 28.

Li Zhang, Finance faculty member, received recognition as a new Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Charter holder at the annual CFA Forecast Dinner on Jan. 25 in Kelowna. 

Let’s Remember

Bernard Igwe was a faculty member in English and Modern Languages for 28 years. A devoted teacher and mentor with wit, wisdom and an ever-present desire to help others, he acted with passion and compassion to all. He served as a UCC Faculty Association and TRU Faculty Association shop steward for 15 years, and was elected chief steward on three occasions. A man of honour and integrity, Bernard was deeply respected and will be keenly missed.

Shirley McCaffrey was a graphic designer in TRU Marketing and Communications for over twelve years, bringing her creative flair to materials for the TRU Foundation Gala, Actors Workshop Theatre productions, Athletics and many other areas. She spoke with pride about being involved in the redesign of everything from signage to stationery when TRU first became a university. An animal lover, she volunteered with animal rescue organizations in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and here in BC during the 2003 and 2017 wildfires, and helped promote Pilots N Paws.


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!


Tony Bell and Wayne Singular, Accounting and Finance

Bell, Tony, and Wayne Singular. “Mostly Mental Shuttles.” Western Case Writers Association Meeting, Venue, 8 Mar. 2018, Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Stan Miles and Ehsan Latif, Economics

Miles, Stan, and Ehsan Latif. How Do Students Choose Elective Courses? Teaching Practices Colloquium, Thompson Rivers University, 19 Feb. 2018, Kamloops, BC.

Muhammad Mohiuddin, Marketing & International Business

Mohiuddin, Muhammad. “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): Geostrategic and Economic Challenges of South Asia.” The New Silk Road – Conference of the Quebec Council on Geo-politics Studies (CQEG), Université Laval, 22-23 Mar. 2018, Québec, QC.


Lyn Baldwin, Biological Sciences

Baldwin, Lyn. “Drawing Care: The Illustrated Journal’s ‘Path to Place’.” Journal of Teaching in Travel and Tourism, vol. 18, no. 1, 2017, pp. 75-93. 

Li Zhang, Accounting & Finance

Shi, Guifeng, et al. Corporate Social Responsibility and Geographic Dispersion. Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, vol. 36, no. 6, November 2017, pp. 417-478.

Shi, Guifeng, Jianfei Sun, and Li Zhang. “Product Market Competition and Earnings Management: A Firm-level Analysis.” Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, 18 Dec. 2017.


Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

Mar. 20

Kicking off Research Week, TRU’s fifth annual 3MT competition challenges graduate students in their second year of study to present their research and its significance to a non-specialist audience—in three minutes or less. Cheer on our students! Read more

180(s) Research Challenge

Mar. 20

TRU faculty go head-to-head for fun and prizes in this companion to the 3MT, a 180-second research communication competition. Come watch and cast your vote! Read more

Undergraduate Research & Innovation Conference

Mar. 23–24

Students from across campus share their work through posters or 15-minute lectures at TRU’s 13th annual celebration of undergraduate research. Read more

Science Seminar: When swimming pool research goes viral

Mar. 29

PhD student Lindsay Blackstock of the University of Alberta talks about the health risks of urine in swimming pools and the international media frenzy when her study was published. Read more

Environmental Science Seminar: Climate change and oil sands 

Mar. 29

Andrew Leach of the University of Alberta presents Would Action on Climate Change Strand the Oil Sands? Read more

Arts Colloquium: What is Going to Happen Next

Mar. 29

English faculty member Karen Hofmann presents a literary reading and Q&A on her latest novel, What is Going to Happen Next (NeWest Press, 2017). Read more

Closure for Good Friday and Easter Monday

Mar. 30, Apr. 2

TRU is closed for Easter on both Friday and Monday. If you require on-campus assistance on these days, contact campus security at 250-828-5033.

Environmental Science Seminar: Bee diversity

Apr. 5

Lincoln Best of Oregon State University presents on the history of melittology in the Thompson region, home to many unique and charismatic native bee species. Read more

Regional Science Fair

Apr. 9–11

Elementary and high school students showcase their projects in the TRU Gym, with TRU faculty and current students assisting with judging, tours and more. Read more 

Live Theatre: Directors Festival

Apr. 9–14

Senior directing students showcase a collection of one-act plays, with a different schedule on alternating nights. Read more

Science Seminar: Capillary reactors

Apr. 12

Reyna Natividad, Chair of the Carlos Moshinsky Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Group at Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, presents three successful applications of capillary reactors for selective three-phase reactions. Read more

Arts Colloquium: Unfriendly relations

Apr. 12

Sociology faculty member Alejandro Campos-Garcia presents Unfriendly Relations between Races, Civilizations and Nations. Read more

Trades and Tech Thursdays

Apr. 19

From automotive to welding, learn more about foundation programs, women in trades and Red Seal apprenticeships. Read more