April 2018

Dear Colleagues,

The past month since my last report has flown by, not just for me, but I’m sure for many of you as we near the end of our winter term. I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of our faculty and staff that goes into supporting our students’ success as they prepare for their final exams and papers. These can be particularly stressful times for our learners and I know each one of us does what we can for them.

Among the highlights at TRU featured in April's report, I’d like to note two milestones that we marked this month. On April 5, we had the honour of having Premier John Horgan and Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark with us to celebrate the start of construction on our new Nursing and Population Health Building. Then, a week later, hundreds of our community members—both from the university and our broader Kamloops community—joined us in person and via livestream for the announcement of our next President and Vice-Chancellor.

These were proud moments for our university as we reflect on the past, the present, and what the future holds. Please read this report for all the 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 president@tru.ca. This report covers up to April 10; the deadline for submissions to the next report is May 9.


Alan Shaver, President and Vice-Chancellor 


TRU announces next president and vice-chancellor

TRU announces next president and vice-chancellor

The TRU Board of Governors announced the successor to TRU President and Vice-Chancellor Alan Shaver on April 12. The Sage Hills Drummers led a processional and Elder Estella Patrick Moller gave a powerful blessing to open the event. Addressing a crowd of faculty, staff, students and Kamloops community members in the Grand Hall and more watching online, board chair Jim Thomson introduced Dr. Brett Fairbairn as TRU’s fourth president. 

Watch the announcement video
Listen to the April 16 Jim Harrison Show interview

“Dr. Fairbairn brings a depth of experience in academics, strategic leadership, relationship development and a strong value system of integrity, respect and accountability, added with a good measure of passion,” said Thomson. Fairbairn, who donned a WolfPack jersey, introduced his wife Norma and spoke about his children, as well as giving his take on why someone would want to be a university president. Read more

Premier breaks ground on new nursing building

Premier breaks ground on new nursing building

BC Premier John Horgan and Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark visited campus on April 5 to celebrate the ground breaking for TRU’s new Nursing and Population Health Building. Read the release

“As a nursing student, it’s gratifying to see this investment, which gives us a state-of-the art facility where we can learn and practice together. It shows the value placed on nursing and health care,” said Gabby Fisher, a third-year nursing student at TRU. Read more from Fisher's speech

Picking up the PACE with student-athletes

Lessons in leadership

Honours psychology major and WolfPack volleyball player Kaitlin Lomas is the recipient of the 2018 Neil Russell Student Leadership Award, in recognition of her demonstrated leadership and outstanding contributions to TRU and her community. She was a student leader with the Pack ACademic Edge (PACE) and the Student Wellness Ambassador Team, and co-led the #IBelieveYou – Supporting Survivors of Sexualized Violence campaign on campus. Read more

Special moments for students at spring law awards

Special moments for students at spring law awards

Eighteen students received over $36,000 in scholarships, bursaries and prizes at the TRU Law spring awards ceremony on March 27. The students mingled with guests, including Justice Len Marchand. The financial awards available to law students continue to grow. Read more

Legal Clinic expands at new location

The TRU Community Legal Clinic is serving an increasing number of clients in a new 3,000 square-foot home on Victoria Street. Students and staff assisted over 200 clients in 2016/17; by this February they had assisted 461—now averaging 2.5 new files per day. As a result, student participation has risen from six to eight students per semester, to 12. The larger and more central space gives students more room to serve the demand from low-income populations in Kamloops for free legal services.

State-of-the-art sensors take flight over BC grasslands

State-of-the-art sensors take flight over BC grasslands

Geography and Environmental Studies faculty member David Hill has received $200,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund toward technology and equipment to undertake field studies that can improve ranching management. Hill and members of his GeoX Lab will test a new suite of remote sensors to create methods to accurately assess rangeland health from the air, which would have been considered a crazy idea only five years ago. Read more

Students spend summer as funded researchers

Students spend summer as funded researchers

Nineteen students have been awarded $4,500 Undergraduate Research Experience Award Program (UREAP) scholarships. UREAP supports students to spend the summer as principle investigators, conducting their own independent research projects, whether in science, such as a study of cave microbes by Alysha Milward (shown), or arts, business, tourism or other disciplines. Read more

Dungeons & Dragons research a critical hit

Graeme Hallett won the 2018 3MT for his presentation, Does Dungeons & Dragons Improve Social Skills? Kicking off Research Week, TRU’s fifth annual 3MT competition on March 20 challenged 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. Read more

Athletics honours best of the WolfPack

WolfPack volleyball player Rachel Windhorst and soccer player Mitchell Popadynetz (shown with President Shaver) were honoured at the 2017/18 Athletics Awards banquet on March 29 as the Sports Task Force Athletes of the Year. Bachelor of Science student Kendra Finch, volleyball, and Master of Business Administration student Ryan Glanville, soccer, won Dr. Roger H. Barnsley Scholar Athlete awards. The Cliff Neufeld Leadership Athlete of Year awards went to volleyball’s Kaitlin Lomas and basketball player Michael RouaultRead more

Larsen, Ortner awarded for outstanding research mentorship

Outstanding research mentorship

Natural Resource Sciences faculty member Karl Larsen and Psychology faculty member Catherine Ortner (shown) were recognized with 2018 Research Mentor Awards for providing meaningful guidance to support students to explore, inquire and engage in new knowledge creationRead more

Forum for shared understanding

The Office of Aboriginal Education provided an opportunity for the TRU community to learn more about decolonization, truth and reconciliation, and indigenization at a Truth and Reconciliation Forum March 23 to 24. After a Friday evening reception and panel, Saturday featured a day of keynotes by Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, Viola Thomas and Mavis Erickson, breakout sharing circles and a lunch with more community members.

Indigenous mentoring through Ch'nook Scholars program

Indigenous mentoring through Ch’nook Scholars program

Business students Christen Pretty, Dustin Petroff, Keante Joe, Kristen Johnny and Rochelle DeLaRonde (shown) have been developing their leadership skills this year as Ch’nook Scholars. The program provides Indigenous business students throughout BC with mentorship, the opportunity to network with industry professionals and $2,000 scholarships. 

Second-time scholar DeLaRonde shared her experience with other Indigenous students on March 28 at Cplul’kw’ten. “I met many scholars and professionals who I am still in contact with, and it aided me in building my networking abilities,” she said. Read more

Knowledge Makers’ research celebrated

The annual Indigenous Research dinner on March 22 celebrated the work of 14 new undergraduate and graduate student Knowledge Makers for 2018 and the work of Indigenous faculty throughout 2017/18. This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Karlo Mila, a Fulbright Scholar, researcher, author, academic and award-winning poet.

Communications instructor develops open textbook

Communications instructor develops open textbook

Journalism, Communication and New Media faculty member Shannon Smyrl saw a need for a flexible, online text—so she created one, in collaboration with her Open Learning team. University Writing Lessons is a free, Open Education Resource (OER) textbook.

“Institutions are increasingly being called upon to support in a variety of ways the development of OER, and the support of this textbook is one of the ways TRU is doing that,” she said. Read more

Embracing an opportunity to collaborate

Last spring, ESL faculty member Jack Massalski began exploring ways to streamline international student intake—the process of welcoming, confirming and placing these students into classes—just in time to place the largest number of international student applicants in TRU’s history for 2017/18. With numerous collaborations across campus and inventive technology solutions—including using SharePoint onOneTRU—Massalski piloted his new system with great success. Read more

Diverse research, from buses to mussels

Students shared their independent research and creative works—from a public transportation study to microplastics found in mussels—through poster presentations and 15-minute lectures at TRU’s thirteenth annual Undergraduate Research and Innovation Conference, March 23 to 24. Shown is biology student Naia Pennington (at right) being adjudicated on her poster presentation.

Renowned scholar talks baby steps to indigenization

The Department of English as a Second Language hosted Amy Abe, a renowned Indigenous studies scholar, during IDays 2018. Abe spoke on "Baby Steps on a Lifelong Journey: Indigenizing Self and Educational Practices" on March 7, and delivered two workshops, "An Education Toolkit Developed at NorQuest" and "Indigenizing in ESL," for the Faculty of Education and Social Work.

Finance students test their equity research skills

A team of finance majors competed with five other BC universities at the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Research Challenge in Vancouver on Feb. 9. Shown (left to right) are Tanvir Sidhu, Oleksii Bielousov, Kostiantyn Siryi, Mikayla Russell, faculty advisor Dan Thompson and Rahul Pujar. The team researched and prepared an equity research report on a publicly traded company, which was evaluated by panels from the world’s top firms.

Board honours Ken Olynyk

Sporting a WolfPack jersey, Ken Olynyk, former director of Athletics and Recreation, received a recognition of excellence from the TRU Board of Governors at its March 19 meeting. He is shown with VP of Administration and Finance Matt Milovick (left) and Board Chair Jim Thomson.

Happy Bengali New Year

The TRUSU Bangladesh Club invited the TRU campus to share in the experience of celebrating Bengali New Year—Pohela Boishakh—with an evening of cultural performances and food in a red-and-white theme, on April 7 in the Grand Hall.

Lunch with the President

A full house of students engaged in conversation and networking at a Lunch with the President for Students on March 28.


The WolfPack women’s curling team—Corryn Brown, Erin Pincott, Dezaray Hawes and Samantha Fisher—won silver at the national USports Women’s Curling 2018 Championships in Leduc, AB, on March 28. Fisher (lead) was named a First Team All-Canadian, while Brown (skip) and Pincott (third) were named Second Team All-Canadians. Read more

Tory Handford, Education, is co-editor of The Academic Gateway: Understanding the Journey to Tenure (2017), one of 10 finalists in the Career (Adult Non-Fiction) category for a 2017 INDIES Book of the Year Award from Forward Reviews, which features the best books from university and independent publishers. Winners will be announced June 15.

Human Resources and the Wellness Centre won a 2018 Extra Mile Award from the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division, on March 28. The Health Educator Award recognizes an organization that goes above and beyond to provide employees with health information. The society noted TRU’s innovative, multifaceted approach to sharing information, including documentary screenings and the annual health fair. 

English faculty member George M. Johnson's screenplay "Peace Pledge" was selected as a finalist in the 2018 Cannes Screenplay Contest in the Historical Drama category.

Jeff McLaughlin, Philosophy, History and Politics, was among 11 Canadians selected to receive a scholarship (up to $1,500 US) to attend the tenth International Holocaust Education Conference at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel, in June, based on his continued work to educate others about the Holocaust.

Bachelor of Science alumnus Owen Paetkau (2017) has received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Canada Graduate Scholarships–Masters award, which will support his master's degree in medical physics at the University of Victoria.

Alex Tse, Ria McKay and Bianca Verde Rios, recent Respiratory Therapy graduates, won the gold, silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the 2018 Canadian Board for Respiratory Care (CBRC) registration exam. TRU students have been frequent medalists in past years, but this is the first time our students have won all three medals. Read more

Let’s Remember

Ted Keating was an instructional designer in Open Learning for 13 years before his retirement in 2013. With a wealth of expertise in digital and online learning, particularly in mathematics, and in teacher training, he managed the development of math courses and was a certified trainer for WebCT. He helped establish OL’s Instructional Design department, serving as co-chair in its early years. Ted will be remembered for his easy-going and supportive nature, his dedication to active living and his ability to make any subject scintillating. He loved learning and teaching, and immersed himself in 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!


Wilson Bell, Philosophy, History and Politics

Barenberg, Alan, et. al. “New Directions in Gulag Studies: A Roundtable Discussion.” Canadian Slavonic Papers, vol. 59, no. 3-4, 2017, pp. 376-395.

Matti Haverila, Marketing & International Business

Haverila, Matti J., and Kai Christian Haverila. “Examination of Customer-Centric Measures among Different Types of Customers in the Context of Major Canadian Ski Resort.” Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logisticsvol. 30, no. 2, 2018, pp. 438-459.

Belayet Hossain, Economics

Aziz, Nusrate, Belayet Hossain, and Masum Emran. “Role of Income in Intergenerational Co-residence: Evidence from Selected African and Asian Countries.” Australasian Journal on Ageing, 30 March 2018.

Alex Ng, Accounting and Finance

Donker, Han, Alex Ng, and Pei Shao. “Borrower Distress and the Efficiency of Relationship Banking.” Journal of Banking and Finance, 9 January 2018.

David Paul, Law

Paul, David A. “Canine-Assisted Mediation.” Harvard Negotiation Law Review, vol. 23, no. 123, pp. 123-176.


Airini, Faculty of Education & Social Work

Te Ava, Aue, et al. “Atoro’ia te peu ‘ā to ‘ui tūpuna: A Culturally Responsive Pedagogy for Pasifika Peoples.” Wellbeing in Higher Education: Cultivating a Healthy Lifestyle Among Faculty and Studentsedited by Marcus A. Henning et al., Routledge, 2018, ch. 9. 

Wilson Bell, Philosophy, History and Politics

Bell, Wilson T. “Tomsk Regional Identity and the Legacy of the Gulag and Stalinist Repression.” Russia’s Regional Identities, edited by Edith Clowes et al., Routledge, January 2018, ch. 9.


Businesses find success from building an identity

April 26

Alumnus Jordan Wilman reveals how branding, a social media presence and identity can be the difference between stagnation and growth for a business.

Day of Arts and Science

May 3

Grade 11 students have a chance to sample TRU's wide variety of arts and science programs with 24 unique sessions, from creative Visual Arts workshops to crime- scene investigating in Chemistry.

Friends of the Gardens Plant Sale

May 5

Support the TRU Horticulture Gardens and Horticulture students at the annual FOG Plant Sale, offering annuals, perennials, grasses, herbs and vegetables.

Retirement and 25+ Years Long-Term Service Dinner

May 9

TRU’s annual dinner in honour of employees retiring from our institution during the past year has expanded to include employees with 25, 30, 35 or 40 years of service. Come celebrate with colleagues from across campus.

Trash Bash 2018

May 10

Do your part, individually or in a team, to keep our beautiful campus clean of litter and other trash. Prizes and a BBQ lunch await the participants.

Get more out of your wine-tasting experiences

May 10

The Deans Lecture Series presents a talk by Marketing and International Business faculty member Matti Haverila: Your Visit to a Wine Tasting Room…Did You Really Enjoy It?

Chemistry Contest

May 16

Local Grade 11 and 12 chemistry students are on campus to write a contest-style exam based on the BC curriculum.

Closed for Victoria Day

May 21

Most of TRU will be closed for the Victoria Day statutory holiday. If you need assistance on campus during that day, please contact Campus Security at 250-828-5033.

Trades and Tech Thursdays

May 24

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

Williams Lake Commencement

May 25

Celebrate the successes of TRU Williams Lake students at Commencement. Long-Term Service Awards will be presented to faculty and staff at a lunch with the president before the ceremony.

Bike to Work Week

May 28–June 1

Celebrate cycling by joining a team or riding solo for a chance at prizes. The Sustainability Office hosts a great lineup of events.

Spring Convocation

June 6–8

Celebrate the success of graduates in six ceremonies across three days. See tru.ca/convocation for the schedule, volunteer opportunities and livestream link.