active alumni in touch with you
Faculty of Physical Education & Recreation
flight of the
Falcon Alastair Frankeâ€™s love of Peregrine Falcons takes him to the Arctic
Alumnus Alastair Franke is a researcher at the U of A who loves sport â€” and raptors!
“We plan to continue to enrich our students’ experience in a teaching and research environment that is invigorating, rigorous, relevant and inspirational.”
Message from the Dean This year marks a truly wonderful occasion at the University of Alberta: this is the year we celebrate our Centenary — and it’s an honour to invite you to celebrate this great institution and the part you’ve played in its stellar history. You’ve played a key role by your presence here as a student, by participating in this campus’s vibrant student life, and now as an alumnus sharing your knowledge and skills with others both here and around the world. In doing that you’ve accomplished something quite extraordinary: you’ve helped fulfill a 100 year old promise. One hundred years ago our founder, Henry Marshall Tory, had a marvellous dream, a dream that this University would be for “the uplifting of all the people. It should strive to find the answers to the economic and social problems of common everyday people and then share its knowledge with them.” This year as we celebrate the fulfillment of this promise we’ll also be looking to the future as we plan to continue to enrich our students’ experience in a teaching and research environment that is invigorating, rigorous, relevant and inspirational. Our passion always was, and still is, for excellence. Our plans for the new Alberta Institute of Physical Activity and Health continue apace; the GO Centre, a much-anticipated multi-sport facility at South Campus will be of great benefit to both the Edmonton and University’s recreation and sport communities. In addition, we anticipate moving a team of stellar sport scientists into our new space at the recently-opened Alberta Diabetes Institute in the Health Research Innovation Facility (HRIF) when funding is in place. As leaders in our field we continue to seek new ways to enlighten and encourage Canadians to choose healthy, active lives through the dissemination of our knowledge of sport, recreation and leisure, and physical activity and health, and by service in many areas in the community. To strengthen our position as one of Canada’s top faculties of physical education and recreation, we hope that as alumni you will consider making a philanthropic gift to enable us to continue our work. You can help us by lending your support for our initiatives, by promoting the faculty and by encouraging the companies where you work or to make a gift to the Faculty through planned giving. Henry Marshall Tory saw the vast knowledge housed in, and produced by, the University to be a great gift to the community. Your generous spirit can help us continue to build this important legacy. I look forward to meeting with you at Homecoming 2008. It will be spectacular! Yours truly, Mike Mahon, Dean
Defeating Diabetes Dr. Ron Plotnikoff is one of four scientists in the Faculty on the forefront of the battle against Type 2 diabetes.24
Table of contents 5
Whoâ€™s on First
TAKING The Torch
Flight of the Falcon
Forest Guardian in Cameroon
Centenary 2008 events
Writing for Survival
Sports Wall of Fame
Postcards From the Edge
Jane Hurly, communications strategist Jane.email@example.com; 780-492-6821
Centenary Hockey Books
Publication Mail Agreement No. 40063741 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, W1-34 Van Vliet Centre, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H9
Cover: Photo by Zoltan Kenwell
active alumni Active Alumni is published annually for the alumni and friends of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. Comments, questions, suggestions and stories are welcomed. Contact: Cindi Berg, manager, development and alumni affairs Cindi.firstname.lastname@example.org; 780-492-8804
Homecoming Help us mark the U of A’s 100th birthday with a party!
his year marks the one hundredth year for the University of Alberta and year three of the Physical Education and Recreation Alumni Association and it is time to celebrate. PERAA hopes this year’s Homecoming will be our biggest ever. Please help us to spread the word. September 19 and 20 are our times to reconnect. You should receive a call from your class representative soon. If you have not heard from them, then call us. (Contact information below.) Join us at the biggest tailgate party this university has ever seen when our Golden Bears host the Manitoba Bisons at Foote Field on Friday, September 19. PERAA and Golden Bears and Pandas alumni will be sharing a tent on the southwest corner of the field. Join us for food and drinks, watch the game and reconnect with old friends. On Saturday, September 20 Dean Mike Mahon will host breakfast for alumni celebrating 25th and 50th graduation anniversaries (1983 and 1958) at the Royal Mayfair Club. After breakfast join us for Picnic in the Park at Hawrelak Park — open to all alumni — for more fun and reminiscing. For more information or to sign up please visit the Homecoming website at www.ualberta.ca/alumni.
“PERAA promotes both friendand fund-raising and would like to get in touch — and stay in contact — with all our alumni.”
Upcoming Centenary year events organized by PERAA include: • April 4 – Nanaimo – wine and cheese event, Malaspina University College • April 5 – Victoria – wine and cheese event, location to be determined • June 6 – Calgary – beer tasting, location to be determined PERAA promotes both friend- and fund-raising (see Mission Possible article) and would like to get in touch and stay in contact with all our alumni. If you have moved recently and have not updated your email or mailing address since you graduated – please contact Jocelyne Lambert at email@example.com or call her at 780-492-3893. You will be amazed at the changes and accomplishments of our faculty. Let’s show our pride and attend and celebrate 100 years of excellence at the University of Alberta — our alma mater! Wendy Andrews (BPE ’71) President, PERAA
L to R: Cindi Berg, Bob Kinasewich, Chuck Moser, Jocelyne Lambert
Who’s on First? The Development and Alumni Affairs team answers… by Cindi Berg
ob’s on first. Bob Kinasewich, Director, Development and Alumni Affairs leads a team rich in experience and laden with enthusiasm. Bob has been with the university for almost five years and brings with him a wealth of knowledge acquired in his previous roles as an Edmonton lawyer and businessman. “What’s the guy’s name on second base?” Chuck Moser, Manager, Development and Alumni Affairs is the veteran on the team having been with the university 461/2 years. Chuck is the Faculty’s historian — an alumnus, a former Golden Bear football trainer and manager, and designer/founder of the University men’s team mascot, GUBA. “I don’t know; who’s playing third?” Cindi Berg, Manager of Development and Alumni Affairs is the rookie — she’s playing third. Cindi has been at the university for just seven months and brings with her 17 years of post-secondary experience from MacEwan. She is also an alumnus of the Faculty and is a former Panda field hockey player. “This wouldn’t be a good team without a pitcher; who’s our pitcher?” This team has a great pitcher, Jocelyne Lambert, Administrative Assistant, who provides departmental support and event expertise to the Green and Gold Athletic Society, the Sports Wall of Fame dinner and Reunion/Homecoming committees, something she has done for the past six years. Together we function as the Fund Development and Alumni Affairs team for the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. The Faculty, with its diverse interests, represents a unique challenge for fundraising and alumni relations as
it encompasses academic scholarships, bursaries and awards, athletics, athletic alumni associations, research initiatives, and other unique programs such as Campus Recreation, The Steadward Centre and The Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre. The team is also responsible for raising dollars to support capital projects such as the Physical Activity and Health Centre which will include a new and expanded fitness and lifestyle centre, a new and expanded Steadward Centre, as well as research, classroom and academic office space. The team is also involved in external relations endeavours guided by the Physical Education and Recreation Alumni Association (PERAA) which plans events to re-engage alumni in the university. In 2008, we are initiating a $1M Centenary fundraising campaign to increase the number of financial awards available to our students. It’s the bottom of the ninth, the game is tied, the bases are loaded, the count is full — you, our alumni, can deliver the grand slam! Our team believes and embraces the philosophy of former Golden Bear hockey coach, Clare Drake, “The main ingredient in most success stories is hard work, but work ethic must be accompanied by a strong sense of purpose and belief in what you are doing.” a To make a difference in the lives of our students please contact Jocelyne Lambert at (780) 492-3893 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Summer 2008
photo by: Zoltan Kenwell
Taking the Torch Alumna Dru Marshall is U of A’s new Deputy Provost, making her third in command at Alberta’s top university — and she’s taking the torch from veteran administrator Dr. Art Quinney, one of PER’s former deans. by Wanda Vivequin
“I do care about people and this is how I am”.
n 2000 Dru Marshall’s mother helped her daughter to make one of the most important decisions in her life. Faced with two choices — one to continue her stellar rise in the world of field hockey as a professional national coach and the other to stay on as an acclaimed scholar and tenured professor at the University of Alberta — Marshall decided to take her mother’s advice. “My mom said to me then, “you didn’t do a PhD to play games all your life” — but it was a tough decision for me because I love sport and I love the athletes I coached,” says Marshall who became the U of A’s Deputy Provost on June 1, 2007. Ironically Marshall took over the position from her PhD cosupervisor Art Quinney and from her bright office in University Hall she says the world does sometimes work in unusual ways. She graduated with a PhD from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation in 1989 and her research results have played an important role in how people define obesity in children. “The main reason I took the job was to work more closely with Provost Carl Amrheim and President Indira Samarasekera, both of whom, I believe, are the best one-two punch in Canadian universities,” says Marshall. As a student, she admits knowing little about what those holding academic administrative positions like the Provost actually did, but, these days, fully immersed in her new position as third in charge of the academic program at the U of A, Marshall lives and breathes the work. Her first nine months on the job have been more than busy with long days and learning and Marshall says now the time has come to address her work-life balance a little. “I used to run 5-6 days a week but I have found this has fallen off to 3-4 days so I need to rebalance!” says Marshall who receives up to 150 emails per day and whose schedule is regularly booked weeks and even months in advance. “I have been putting in some long hours and at times it is a very stressful job — but it is also a great time to be part of the changes happening at the U of A with the reinvigoration of the campus under Indira’s leadership, the Centenary and many exciting new programs,” says Marshall. “The position of Deputy Provost is all about making the academic programs work by working closely with the Deans, the Provost, other Vice Presidents, and President to achieve our strategic goals,” she adds. This includes being in charge of a $440 million dollar academic program budget, meeting regularly with Government officials and talking regularly with counterparts at other universities. Ask anyone who knows Dru Marshall, and the first thing they usually say is how amazing and incredibly dedicated she is and how 110 percent of her effort goes into all she does. Marshall admits, however, that her Achilles heel is that she probably cares too much about people. Her office is decorated with pictures of good friends and former field hockey team members and she makes it a priority to stay in contact with those people important in her life. “One of my mentors warned me about caring too much because there would be times when I would have to make some
difficult decisions that involved those I care about, but I do care about people and this is how I am,” says Marshall who spent virtually every weekend for 20 years coaching and traveling as part of her job being a top-level field hockey coach. “The amazing and pleasantly surprising benefit about my new position is that for the first time in 20 years I am getting the weekends off. Weekends are my time now and it is great to have time to recharge,” she says. During those 20 years of giving up her weekends for coaching, Marshall collected a hockey stick bag full of sporting accolades and achievements that included being named one of Canada’s 20 most influential women in sport in 2005 by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity. “It is interesting that when I started off my career in sport, being labeled a feminist was a bad thing but over the years I have always spoken out for women,” says Marshall who continues to be involved in mentoring young female coaches. In spite of a change in direction and office for the next five years, Marshall’s career as an academic has not been put on hold. “Fortunately, I have some great colleagues and coinvestigators who are helping to keep my research program active, and who still ask me to teach on occasion!” Marshall, who was born and raised in Manitoba, credits her parents with her passion for sport and active living and the decision to pursue an academic career. “My parents are wonderful and I was so fortunate that they encouraged me to be whatever and whoever I wanted to be. I always wanted to be a professor and I always wanted to be a national coach,” she says. Moving into administrative positions in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation allowed Marshall to further develop her leadership and organizational skills. Marshall served as Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and then as Vice Dean; both of these faculty positions helped prepare her for her role as Deputy Provost. Good friends, fine wine, reading, keeping up with politics and spending time in Vancouver are some of the things Marshall values most. She is also a collector of art glass enjoying the free formations of colour, shapes and design that often accompany this art form. It comes as a surprise to learn that exotic travel does not rank very highly on the list of things Marshall would like to do for a holiday. “I went all over the world traveling with hockey teams so my idea of an ideal holiday is actually sitting on a beach reading a great book or getting together with good friends. With this in mind Marshall decided to take a week off to celebrate her 50th birthday in early March. Gathering together a group of 10 of her closest friends she took off for California’s Napa Valley for a week of wine, food and friends. “I can’t think of anything better,” she says smiling. Dru Marshall seems to excel in everything she sets her mind to — as a student, an academic, athlete, coach, administrator and mentor. Her five-year appointment as Deputy Provost is certain to be no different. a
“I felt I needed to have a greater understanding of the physical body and how it works, and that’s why I enrolled at the U of A.”
Flight of the
Dr. Alastair Franke’s love of falcons leads him to the Arctic each year to study Nature’s hardiest raptors. by Ryan Smith
ike the soaring falcons that he studies, Alastair Franke’s career path has not seemed to follow a predictable pattern. Franke has been a farm hand, a biologist, a swimming coach, a lecturer and a falcon researcher. But Franke feels his career choices are easily understood if you trace them back to his happy childhood growing up in Rhodesia, a southern African country known today as Zimbabwe. “When I was younger, sports and recreation were really woven into the fabric of our society. And then, of course, we lived in a beautiful environment and were surrounded by a lot of charismatic fauna, and that influenced me, too. So, I think you can see how those threads of sports, wildlife and the environment run through my career,” Franke says. 8
Franke’s professional journey started in 1981 when he was 20 years old. Due to growing political instability at home and a love for traveling, he moved halfway around the world to study agricultural business at Olds College in Olds, Alberta. When he graduated he realized he probably wasn’t going to be able to make a living as a farmer in Canada. “It was pretty simple logic,” he says. “I didn’t have financial backing, land was very expensive, I was in Canada alone and it was difficult to get into farming here, so it became clear after I graduated that I wasn’t going to be able to continue on that path.” Franke quickly moved to Edmonton to study biological sciences at NAIT in hopes of finding a job in an exercise physiology-related field. While at NAIT, he started coaching at local swim clubs. Franke had been a competitive swimmer in Rhodesia, but sanctions against that country prohibited participation in international competition. However, he enjoyed coaching so much that he thought he might want to make a career of it. “I started out coaching part-time just to keep the wolf from the door, but the more I coached, the more I realized that I really enjoyed it, so I thought I would pursue that as a career. But in order to do that I felt I needed to have a greater understanding of the physical body and how it works, and that’s why I enrolled at the U of A.” Franke studied in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1997. He might have used that degree to continue as a swimming coach, as planned, but he fell in love, and that changed things. “I felt a coaching career was not conducive to raising a family. It requires a lot of travel and time away from home, so I decided a career change was in order,” Franke said. It wasn’t hard for Franke, who was by now accustomed to making such decisions, to choose his next career direction. “I just thought back on my life, thought about what had been important to me. Certainly, sports had been important, and that took me in my first career direction, but I realized that those things related to wildlife and the environment were equally important, so I looked around for ways to change careers.” With his wife, Amy, working in Edmonton, Franke wanted to stay close to home. He applied for, and was accepted, into graduate school — skipping the usual step of a master’s program — in the Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics, now the Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences. Shortly after he started the program in 1998, an opportunity to teach classes in conservation biology and management of endangered species was offered to him, and he has taught them regularly ever since. He graduated with his PhD in 2004 and has since been working on an extensive research project in the Arctic.
Franke studies the toxicology and ecology of Arctic nesting raptors in Nunavut as it relates to their demographics and survival. Franke and his graduate student band every falcon in the study area, and, among many other tests performed on the birds, they take blood samples and measure DDT levels. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, peregrines were endangered because of DDT, a pesticide that caused eggshell thinning and reduced their ability to reproduce. Reduction of worldwide use of DDT has helped the peregrines recover to healthy population levels, but a number of other factors, potentially including global warming, continue to threaten them. Franke plans to continue his research in the Artic, not only because he loves spending time in the North, but also because he is passionate about his work. “The opportunity to do long term research is very rare, but it’s important to maintain long-term data sets because it allows insight in trends that would otherwise remain unclear,” he said. “It’s important to document change, and that’s what we plan to do.” And Franke has another reason for doing what he does in the Arctic. He loves falcons. “Ever since I was kid and I read books about falcons, I’ve always been fascinated by them,” he said. Franke learned how to practice falconry — the art of hunting with a falcon — in Rhodesia, and then stopped the practice for more than 20 years, before his wife encouraged him to start again shortly after they were married. He currently owns a falcon that he hunts with every day. He is often with his English Setter, Holly, and his falcon (which he hasn’t named), hunting for ducks in the fall and Hungarian partridge in the winter. Franke goes to an area where he thinks there will be quarry and then lets his falcon go. The bird will fly to a spot about 700 feet above the ground and wait while it watches Holly flush out prey for it to catch. “I just sit back and watch,” Franke said. “As falconers we get to witness the amazing manoeuvres that the falcon makes to catch the prey or the moves the prey make to evade the predator, so you really learn a lot about the species by being able to observe this.” After a successful hunt, the falcon will eat its fill and Franke will recover the rest. Franke can speak easily and at length on the topic of falcons, but he stammers when he tries to explain why he likes them so much. “I think falcons appeal to me because they have such hard lives,” he says, after a moment of thought. “They’re predators, so they’re always out there looking for something to kill in order to survive. But on the other hand, they get killed by eagles and great horned owls. They’re an intermediate sized predator that is also prey to larger predator, and I think that’s a really hard way to make a living, and it just makes me wonder how they do it.” a Summer 2008
Experience Unique outdoor exploration class takes students to the Rockies. by Ryan Smith
Alpine historian Zac Robinson (PhD â€˜07)
any environmentally conscious people travel through wilderness and subscribe to the “leave no trace” doctrine. That is, they try to leave no evidence that they were there. “The problem with this idea is that if we all followed it and were as environmentally friendly as we wanted to be, we would need to remove ourselves from the environment and stop living. Of course, that’s an unacceptable approach,” says Phil Mullins, a doctoral candidate in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. “It’s a really tricky thing,” he says. “We’re all really interested in reducing our impact on the environment — that’s standard. But what other choices can we make rather than think that no matter what we do we will be a detriment to the environment?” Mullins explores this question with his students in the classroom, but he also recognizes that the classroom has limitations. A few years ago, he thought of a way to help his students get a better grasp of the issue. In the spring of 2005, Mullins led more than a dozen University of Alberta students on a canoe trip along the Athabasca River from Hinton to Fort McMurray. The journey lasted 29 days and covered more than 800 km. The students learned about the ecology and history — among other things — of the areas that they visited. The expedition was such a success, Mullins teamed with his colleague in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, Dr. Zac Robinson, to offer similar courses in 2006 and 2007. “There is no other program like this anywhere,” says Robinson, an alpine historian and post-doctoral fellow in leisure studies. “Many outdoor recreation courses focus on leadership skills or skill development, which is great, but we don’t offer any hard-skill certifications. Instead, we look at socio-cultural theory related to ideas of ‘wilderness,’ recreation, and travel, and that differentiates us from other programs.” The program has come to be known as Outdoor Explorations, and this year Mullins and Robinson will collaborate with their colleagues at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Faculty, who have a long-standing outdoor leadership program, to offer an ambitious slate of field courses. Along with Robinson and Mullins, Dr. I.S. MacLaren, a professor in the Department of History and Classics in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta and author of the recently published Culturing Wilderness
in Jasper National Park (University of Alberta Press, 2007), will help students unearth the largely unrecorded past of the Rocky Mountain parks, bringing to light two centuries’ worth of human history in the area. In spring, Augustana Faculty will organize a canoeing expedition, and then, in the summer, Mullins and Robinson will lead a three-week camping and hiking program in Jasper National Park. “Needless to say, it’s fantastic to be able to take students into the Rockies,” says Robinson. “Physically traveling through the range will provide an exceptional experience in which to critically discuss how we popularly think about, and interact with, mountain areas and protected spaces.” The summer program includes 12 days of backpacking along Jasper National Park’s North Boundary Trail followed by a week spent in the town of Jasper visiting with University of Alberta scholars and park wardens. The final week of the three-week expedition will be spent camping on the Wapta Icefields. One week of preparation before the trip and one week to write exams and hand in assignments after the trip completes the five-week program, which will run from June 9 to July 18. The Outdoor Explorations course is open to six U of A students from any faculty, with four more places reserved for international students not enrolled at the University of Alberta. Credits are available in a choice of three 400-level and two 100-level physical education and recreation classes. An additional twenty spots may be available for students in the Augustana Faculty course. “To think students are simply getting university credit for camping would be a mistake,” Robinson says, smiling. “The goal of our program is to expose students to the history and philosophy of popular ideas of nature, culture, and ‘wilderness’ and how they’ve shaped the way that so many have come to think about Canada, mountain parks, conservation, outdoor pursuits and leisure, travel, and tourism. What makes Outdoor Explorations unique is that we try to do this in the field, whether it’s on the high peaks of the Wapta Icefields or in the backcountry north of Mount Robson.” “Our ultimate goal,” says Mullins, “is to spark a continuing interest in outdoor activities, and we see the program as a ‘first in a lifetime’ rather than a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience for these students.” a
“The U of A has been a wonderful home. I’ve learned here that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and that you’ll always get more done if you’re willing to come out of your comfort zone.”
Art’s Legacy U of A’s legendary educator, researcher, administrator par excellence, Art Quinney, retires. Sort of. by Ryan Smith
After more than 30 years on campus, Art Quinney is “on leave” from his latest job as University of Alberta Deputy Provost. Not that he has gone anywhere — he’s still one of the first to arrive on campus most mornings. While easing his way into retirement, Quinney is currently developing a program to identify and mentor leaders for senior administrative positions on campus. He’s also leading an initiative to develop recommendations for academic and research collaborations with universities and governments in the Gulf States. Quinney also sits on a number of faculty and academic unit review committees, as well as serving on a number of national and international boards and conference organizing committees. And he’s involved with organizing some of the University’s Centennial events. For Quinney, widely regarded as one of the hardest workers on campus, the schedule constitutes slowing down. “You can’t go from full speed to stop,” he says. “The important thing for me is that I set my own schedule now. I can be as busy as I want to be or go do other things, too.” His freedom is well-earned. The exercise physiologist and former dean of the Faculty 12
of Physical Education and Recreation has published more than 110 refereed journal papers, 11 books and book chapters, and he has supervised more than 50 graduate students, most of them in the doctoral program. Many of his former students now hold faculty positions at universities around the world. Six of them are faculty members at the U of A. “I’ve been fortunate to work with an amazing group of students in my career,” Quinney says. “You always look for students who are brighter than you are, and if you give them the kind of support they need, they’ll do great things.” Dru Marshall, who is replacing Quinney as the U of A’s Deputy Provost, is one of Quinney’s former graduate students. “Art was the kind of mentor who didn’t say you should study in this area or that area — you had complete freedom to discover what you wanted to explore,” Marshall says. “And he was very well connected and highly regarded nationally and internationally, so he was able to open a lot of doors for you. He had the power and the skillsets to do that.” “Art was a fantastic supervisor, not only in an academic sense, but also as a friend and a role model in life,” Marshall added. “Anybody who was his graduate student instantly became part of his family — and family is very important to him.” Quinney grew up on a farm near Rosetown, Saskatchewan, 100 kilometers southwest of Saskatoon. The third of six children, Quinney developed his work ethic and habit for waking up early while working on his family farm. “You learn a lot of things working on a farm,” Quinney says. “You learn to be self-sufficient, and you learn that complaining doesn’t do much good — whatever trouble you encounter you’ve got to get on with life and get things done.” Quinney left the farm to attend the University of Saskatchewan in 1961. Barely 17, he played centre and linebacker for the U of S Huskies football team while gaining his BA(PE), BEd and MSc. He entered the U of A exercise physiology PhD program in the early ‘70s, completing his PhD in 1974. He became a full-time professor in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation in 1976. Quinney focused on the role of physical activity in maintaining health, particularly for people who are at risk or already suffering from cardiovascular disease. “It was a wonderful time. You had the opportunity to come in and really develop your own research program and teach courses that were central to your interest and expertise,” Quinney says of his early days at the U of A. “I think one of the things that defines the U of A is that there’s always been the opportunity to collaborate with people from right across the university. I had access to really good people in all areas of cardiovascular research and was able to develop some absolutely wonderful relationships.” There was little acceptance of the importance of physical activity in maintaining good health until the last decade. “If you go back to the ‘60s,” he says, “people would drive by someone going out for a run or a walk, and they would stop and ask if they needed a ride. Of course, all that has changed.
The acceptance now of the importance of physical activity throughout life is really neat to see, because that’s what we were trying to learn about and promote.” But Quinney’s work also focused on elite athletes. For more than 27 years he developed the fitness evaluation and training programs for the Edmonton Oilers, a number of Canadian national team programs and Golden Bears and Pandas athletic teams. He worked with the legendary Oilers teams of the ‘80s—including with Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, among others—and earned four Stanley Cup rings. Throughout the past 25 years, Quinney was promoted to a number of administrative leadership positions, including Chair of his department, Dean of his faculty and Deputy Provost of the university. At every step, he guided his units through periods of severe financial pressure and unprecedented growth. “Art’s not a guy who would ever tell you about his accomplishments—he’s a humble guy—but he has left his footprint on campus in a really big way,” Marshall says. “And he’s not only made monumental contributions to this campus —and that’s the entire campus, not just the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation—he’s also made huge contributions to the field of exercise physiology. He has left a huge, huge legacy.” “I absolutely looked forward to coming into work everyday,” Quinney says. “The U of A has been a wonderful home. I’ve learned here that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and that you’ll always get more done if you’re willing to come out of your comfort zone.” Students, faculty and staff have always been regular visitors to the Quinney home and maintaining the feeling of family in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation was a priority for him and his wife, Peggy. Art and Peggy also feel strongly about giving back to the University of Alberta. “If the University of Alberta is going to continue the current trajectory, it is critical that we continue to recruit outstanding faculty and students. The quality of faculty and students define the quality of the University.” Quinney says. The Quinneys have created three scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students and made a significant contribution to the Panda Athletic Scholarship, which was created in Quinney’s name last year. “We hope that by contributing to student support, we can assist in attracting more outstanding students and student-athletes to the University of Alberta,” he says. A father of two and a grandfather of one, Quinney plans to ease back into his comfort zone in his retirement by devoting more time to golf, fishing and other outdoor activities. He and Peggy will also continue their passion for travel and sailing. “I can’t complain,” he says. Not that he would anyway. a Summer 2008
Forest Guardian in Cameroon
Alumna Taryn Barry wrote about her experiences working as a volunteer in Cameroon. However, this was before she was unexpectedly evacuated in early March along with five other Canadians trapped by civil unrest in the tiny African country. Alberta may be home but she longs to be back in Cameroon doing what she loves. by Taryn Barry
n June 2007, I graduated from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation with a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism (BARST) at the University of Alberta. The University of Alberta has played an enormous part in my upbringing, as I spent most my youth playing, observing, studying, working, learning, coaching, and celebrating on the University of Alberta campus, and more specifically in the Van Vliet Centre. Now I am living and working in Central Africa, which is definitely a change of pace from the university lifestyle. In partnership with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Camosun College International, I am working as the ecotourism intern for the Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest located in Limbe, Southwest Province, Cameroon. I dedicate the majority of time focusing on my internship responsibilities and in addition I have been encouraged to volunteer in the community. With support from past members of Play around the World, a practicum experience in Thailand for U of A students, I have connected with the local orphanage in Limbe to introduce play and physical education into the children’s daily routines. Over the course of three months, I have observed an increase in peer education, fine and gross motor movement skills, and communication skills. Limbe, with a population of 100,000 inhabitants, is an English-speaking region situated on the coast, and is recognized for its busy fish market, black volcanic sand beaches, and hospitable locals. My first experience at the Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest, east of Limbe, was thrilling as I destroyed snake traps set by illegal hunters and sneaked up on illegal farmers to confiscate their chainsaws. The Bimbia Bonadikombo Natural Resource Management Council, also located in Limbe, South West Province of Cameroon, contains 3735 hectares of the last remnants of coastal lowland rainforest between Douala and Limbe. It is a non-governmental organization that manages the Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest (BBCF). The overall objective of the community forest is to improve the livelihoods of local community members through the sustainable use of the forest’s natural resources, while conserving its biodiversity and protecting its ecosystems. Some of the BBCF efforts include ceasing illegal timber exploitation through weekly forest monitoring, developing agroforestry programs in surrounding villages, running ecotours, and hosting farmer education and sensitization workshops. The BBCF executes sustainable, small-scale ecotours for researchers, tourists and youth groups to the Bimbia Rainforest Mangrove and Nature Trail. Tours include canoe trips, historical site visits, hiking, medicinal plant education, camping, mangrove walking, and bird watching. As ecotourism intern it’s my job to collaborate with staff to provide local environmental education, increase ecotourism promotion, and develop cultural and historical tourism in surrounding villages. Furthermore, I’m responsible for writing grant proposals to funding organizations to increase the capacity of the ecotourism activities. The BARST program prepared me for many of the challenges I face when attempting to develop ecotourism in a
developing country. U of A professors forced us to debate issues of sustainability, authentic tourism, and globalization, and in turn this background knowledge has given me the framework to carry out my responsibilities. The BBCF would like to see the Bimbia communities benefit from tourism, but is challenged to preserve the local culture and keep tours as authentic as possible. Additionally, the BBCF is faced with promoting ecotours that lack a variety of wildlife due to the bush meat trade in Cameroon. Tourism in Africa has expanded in countries such as South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, and Mali, yet Cameroon struggles to increase tourism due to the lack of government support. Tourists are often hassled at police roadblocks, making travelling in the country exhausting and lengthy. Nevertheless, for the adventurous and patient traveller, Cameroon is definitely the country to visit for its historical, cultural and natural attractions. Ecotourism in developing countries is still up for debate as to whether or not it is a sustainable method of bringing in income for local communities, however the BBCF has the enthusiasm to keep expanding their programs. Accessing financial resources has been their biggest challenge, as funding does not come steadily. One way to bring in sustainable funds is the newest development of the Adopt-an-Acre reforestation program. Reforestation is imperative because the vast majority of people live in abject poverty and depend greatly on forest resources for livelihood sustenance. Presently, we have four acres adopted by international partners with hopes to reforest all degraded regions of the forest by 2010. For more information on this program, and the BBCF organization, please email the office at bbcommunityforest@ yahoo.com or check out the website at www.bbcforest.org. a For more information on this program, and the BBCF organization, please email the office at email@example.com or check out the website at www.bbcforest.org. www.camosun.ca/international www.cida.ca www.bbcforest.org www.savethechildrenalliance.org
What do you know about Cameroon? • Cameroon is called “Africa in Miniature” because it encompasses a variety of religions, climates, food, dances, languages, and geographies. • Cameroon’s human rights record has improved but reports of illegal searches, arbitrary arrests and beatings are recurrent, making it the most corrupt country in Africa. • Sixty kilometres from Limbe sits the largest mountain peak in Central Africa, Mount Cameroon, which is has become a wellknown tourist destination for adventure seekers and each year there is a 40km race up the mountain, called the Race of Hope. • Cameroon’s national football team has won four African Cup of Nations titles and participated in the 2002 Summer Olympic Games
Centenary 2008 Centenary 2008 Research Conference – September 19 2008
homecoming events We invite alumni and friends of the faculty to join us in some wonderful opportunities to get together for a Homecoming to remember!
Friday, September 19 HOMECOMING FOOTBALL GAME AND PERAA TAILGATE PARTY Foote Field 17:30 – 22:00; tickets $20 each Contact: Game: Robin Stewart – 492-6820 firstname.lastname@example.org www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/athletics Party: Cindi Berg – 492-8804 email@example.com Jocelyne Lambert – 492-3893 firstname.lastname@example.org www.physedandrec.ualberta.ca PER Research Symposium (see right for details) E-120 Van Vliet Centre 08:30 – 16:30 Contact: Marcel Bouffard – 492-5910 email@example.com www.physedandrec.ualberta.ca Golden Bears and Pandas Reunion Foote Field 14:00 Contact: Robin Stewart firstname.lastname@example.org www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/athletics
Saturday, September 20 25th and 50th Anniversary Alumni Breakfast with the Dean Mayfair Golf and Country Club (please note: dress code in effect. No denim.) 0830 – 10:00 Contact: Cindi Berg – 492-8804 email@example.com Jocelyne Lambert – 492-3893 firstname.lastname@example.org www.physedandrec.ualberta.ca PER Alumni Family Day Picnic in the Park Hawrelak Park 11:00 – 15:00 Contact: Cindi Berg – 492-8804 email@example.com Jocelyne Lambert – 492-3893 firstname.lastname@example.org www.physedandrec.ualberta.ca
Saturday, September 27 Turkey Trot Universiade Pavillion 10:30 – 13:00 Contact: Brian Gratrix – 492-6370 email@example.com www.campusrec.ualberta.ca
Join us for a unique research conference where the work completed by people associated with the Faculty since its beginning will be reviewed. We’ll emphasize the evolution of ideas in different research areas over time and, ultimately, the contribution of a Faculty like ours to society. It will conclude with a review of recent trends (e.g., multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, globalization, partnership) and their implications for the future of the Faculty. Attendance is limited to 180. The list of speakers includes: Tim Burton, Gerry Glassford, Ann Hall, Max Howell, Art Quinney, Wendy Rodgers and Jane Watkinson. Golden Bears and Pandas National Team Champions from 1963/64 to 2007 – Campus of Champions commemorative program Relive University sport’s golden moments with a commemorative program starting with the Golden Bowl football champions of 1963 to the Pandas ice hockey win in 2007. This handsome publication, with an in-depth forward by Dr. Gerry Glassford, former dean of the Faculty, showcases 56 teams in current CIS sports and 40 years of national champions. It also features 25 years of Sports Wall of Fame inductees. Cost is $20 each. Programs are available from the Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics office in the Universiade Pavilion. Commemorative books celebrating Golden Bears Hockey and Coach Clare Drake Read about our century of Golden Bears ice hockey and celebrate one of hockey’s greatest coaches in Canada, Clare Drake (see back page). These elegant and beautifully illustrated coffee-table books are available for purchase through the Faculty’s Development office. (Please see pages 31-32 for more details.)
Groundbreaker Never a dull moment: creative teacher Karen Robinsonâ€™s classes really connect with learners. by Wanda Vivequin
earning how to do wheelies in a wheelchair as part of a university class is a little unusual, but, for Karen Robinson’s PEDS 472 students, it was required. Robinson (MA 2005) is a petite, athletic woman who is making a name for herself as a creative and innovative teacher at the University of Alberta. She was also recently appointed as The Steadward Centre’s Program Director where her reputation among clients is also far bigger than her tiny frame. In early 2007, Edmonton’s Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital asked The Steadward Centre to develop a program for therapists to teach intermediate/advanced skills to adults with physical disabilities, so Robinson decided to incorporate the students (future educators and therapists) in the process. She readily admits to being a little apprehensive at first. “I was being asked as an able-bodied person to come up with a system for teaching wheelchair skills to people who have already been using a chair and that was a little daunting,” she says. Robinson does in fact use a wheelchair every Saturday to play ball hockey and has been working with people with disabilities for a number of years, but this project had unique challenges. Robinson explains that when people first use a wheelchair they are taught only basic skills, but, as they improve physically there are no programs for learning intermediate and advanced skills. Robinson’s work and life philosophy can be summed up in a statement often found in the literature on disabilities, “nothing about us, without us.” With this in mind she brought together students, wheelchair users with basic skills and an experienced wheelchair user to help develop the program as part of the PEDS 472 practicum. “The area of adaptive physical activity is a relatively new field so there are lots of opportunities to get creative in teaching,” says Robinson. “I really enjoy watching the connection students make with the participants (wheelchair users) because for me a course should be multidisciplinary and dynamic,” she adds. Pat Whaley was one of the participants in Robinson’s class. Whaley has been using a wheelchair for four years after a medical condition forced the amputation of the bottom half of her legs. “I am 54 years old and didn’t really have the confidence to try new things on my own to advance my skills. With just basic skills you really rely on others to help you and that can often leave you feeling stranded,” says Whaley. For Whaley the idea of doing a wheelie or the prospect of falling out of her chair was frightening at first, but together with
Robinson, her students and a dynamic experienced wheelchair user called Roxanne Ulanicki it all came together. “Watching Karen with the students was just amazing. The way she approached the course allowed me to teach the students about the reality and how they can best teach advanced skills,” says Whaley. Vanessa Dorsey was a PEDS 472 student. She says that few teachers have ever come close to Robinson when it comes to inspiration and passion. “She...is illuminated with passion for her career and even more desire to help others. She was able to teach me a great deal about working with various population groups, but most of all she was able to teach me how important it is to love what you are doing with your life and to strive to be the best you can,” says Dorsey. “I had the privilege to be a student in two of her classes, one being physical activity for individuals with physical disabilities. This class allowed us as students to understand the impact of our influence on helping others.” “We were able to truly understand the skills we were learning and teaching because we were working with individuals we had grown to respect and have a relationship with. We could see first-hand how our instruction benefited others because we worked with the same individual every week,” says Dorsey. Robinson says critical thinking is one of the key skills she wants her students to develop in class. “I want them to be able to look at the issues from all perspectives,” she says. In a touching gesture Pat Whaley gave Robinson an angel for Christmas. “I really feel like she gave me wings, I feel free to do things I could not do before and that has made such a big difference,” says Whaley. It is not the first time Robinson’s creativity has provided inspiration. In 2005 she started up the CAGE program where children with disabilities visit a special facility within the Universiade Pavilion to take part in physical activities. The CAGE now runs a summer camp which quickly reached capacity and revealed the urgency and need for this program. Now 28 years old and recently engaged, Robinson believes she has her dream job. “I have been working with people with disabilities since I was 16 and always knew this is what I wanted to be doing and feel privileged to work on projects that make meaningful changes in people’s lives,” she says. a
“I really enjoy watching the connection students make with the participants (wheelchair users) because for me a course should be multidisciplinary and dynamic.”
Active Ageing Young alumna Jennifer Dechaine at the Alberta Centre for Active Living is on the forefront of helping older Albertans age well through physical activity. by Wanda Vivequin
rowing up on a farm near Glendon, Alberta Jennifer Dechaine (nee Sandmeyer) remembers watching the very active lifestyle of her neighbouring grandparents gradually decline over the years. “As farmers they led very active lives and to observe how they aged and the effect on them of reduced physical activity definitely had a big influence on my decision to study and eventually work in the area of promoting physical activity in older adults,” says Dechaine. Today Dechaine works as the older adult coordinator at the Alberta Centre for Active Living in Edmonton, having graduated with a Bachelors degree in Physical Education and Recreation in 2001. “I count myself extremely fortunate because I went to university to study physical activity in older adults and managed to get work in this area before I even graduated,” says Dechaine who is expecting her first child in May. Apart from a two year break when the couple moved to Ontario for Greg’s studies in 2002, Dechaine has always worked at the Centre developing innovative and practical solutions to promote activity and healthy lifestyles in older adults. “The World Health Organization stated many years ago that a sedentary lifestyle is the greatest risk to older adults and that regular physical activity is the key to healthy ageing. I really want to be part of creating the quality resources, raising awareness and advocating for environments that support people to be active throughout their lifetimes,” says Dechaine. In her role as coordinator Dechaine takes projects through the entire process from conceptualization to implementation, something that gives her immense satisfaction. “It takes a special sort of person to work with frail older adults and I know that sometimes people think what do I, as someone in my 20s, know about the experience of aging,” says Dechaine. “But I have learned so much by working with health practitioners in the community and interacting with older adults themselves to come up with projects that we believe can provide some practical and innovative solutions to the issue of keeping older adults physically active,” she adds. Dechaine knows the benefits of being physically active first-hand, cross-country skiing and snow shoeing in the winter and running and hiking in the summer. “Overall, however, the
environment we live in today does not really encourage us to be active,” she says. “For frail older adults the health problems that happen with ageing combined with the isolation that comes from not being able to get out really affects their ability to live a healthy lifestyle,” says Dechaine. One project she is particularly proud of is Active Independence: The Home Support Exercise Program (HSEP) which is now used by health regions throughout Alberta to help elderly frail adults who are mostly housebound. Dechaine has travelled around Alberta delivering the program to health workers and was able to pass on the resource via video to those working with First Nations elders in rural and remote areas of the province. HSEP-trained home care staff members are able to go through the program with clients identified as in need. The program includes functional exercises, healthy eating tips, and ways of charting progress as well as ongoing support that encourages clients to stick with it. “It is so rewarding to see a program move from an idea on paper to eventually hearing back from the clients themselves. Hearing about the success stories about the difference that regular exercise has made in an older adult’s life is just wonderful,” says Dechaine. “The next generation of older adults will be different,” says Dechaine. “I think people are now more aware of the need to be in control of managing their health and that they have to be proactive. More and more older adults are actively seeking out information on physical activity and how they can maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age.” “I also think there is greater awareness regarding the factors that impact people’s ability to be active such as culture, education, social support, income, literacy, and the built environment.” The demand for communities to create healthy environments for residents in both urban and rural areas is increasing,” she says. Before she heads off on maternity leave in May, Dechaine will hand over her latest project — developing a program to promote physical activity in Chinese elders — to someone else but she knows when she comes back there will always be new ideas to work on. a
“Players want to know how I function within the organization: am I going to keep things confidential; will I respect their privacy and needs; where my allegiances lie.”
Priming Athletes Sport psychologist John Dunn helps top talent hone their mental skills.
hen the Edmonton Oilers take to the ice — fast, confident, focused, determined — they’re reacting to years of rigorous training to help them bring their best performance to every game. Now they’re looking to increase their effectiveness as athletes even more, taking on a new member of the team — one who admittedly can’t skate half as well, but who certainly brings mental skills aplenty. Sport psychologist, Dr. John Dunn, a professor in sport psychology in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, was recruited by Kevin Lowe, general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, at the start of the 2007/08 NHL season to work with the team. Dunn, a former high-performance athlete and Golden Bears soccer captain, is already well known for his work with high performance athletes: he’s been with Canada’s biathlon team since 1996 when he cut his teeth working with CISM (Conseil International du Sport Militaire) the Canadian military’s competitive sports organization, recruited by former student and Armed Forces biathlon head coach, Roger Archembault. “As it happened,” he says, “there were a number of Olympic athletes on the team.” That marked the beginning “of my first opportunity to do applied sport psychology at the elite level,” says Dunn. Since then he’s worked with the successful Golden Bears hockey program, been recruited by one of the top five men’s curling teams in the world and by Canada’s men’s Alpine team (men’s downhill, giant slalom and slalom 22
team events) to help equip athletes with the mental skills they need to reach their performance potential. Dunn will accompany both Alpine and biathlon teams to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Whistler BC. “This is a great professional opportunity to work with professional players,” says Dunn of his role with the Oilers. He’s not the first faculty member to become part of the Oilers organization. Oilers regularly attend the Exercise Physiology Laboratory to work with exercise physiologists Dr. Gordon Bell and Alex Game; Rob Daum, former Golden Bears ice hockey coach is now an assistant coach to the team, and revered assistant coach Bill Moores, who, alongside Clare Drake, thrust Golden Bears hockey into the limelight as Canada’s university team to beat, remains one of the most influential men in hockey. Dunn says it’ll take time to be effective with the team. “Step one in any organization is to try and create a relationship of trust and rapport,” he says. “It’s about (the Oilers) feeling comfortable with me.” Initially it’s a time of testing by both players and coaches. “Players want to know how I function within the organization: am I going to keep things confidential; will I respect their privacy and needs; where my allegiances lie.” “Coaches want to see if I’m going to get along with the players and respect their confidential issues too. I’ve got to play my way onto the team,” says Dunn, who is around the dressing room at Rexall Place on game days, at practices and after, making himself available to players, building the relationship of trust one interaction at a time, both at the rink and in less formal settings. He’s invited players to his home for a meal, or he hangs out with players for a beer in the pub. “People are far more relaxed if they can get to know you better and they can do that best if they’re away from the formal setting of the dressing room and the organization. Ninety percent of what we talk about has nothing to do with sport and sport psychology but it’s that 10 percent of the time when the athlete wants to engage you on performance enhancement issues that becomes your window of opportunity to make a contribution.” “I have told the Oilers that my first loyalty is to the players, not to the coaching staff or management of the organization,” says Dunn. ”Why? Because if my first loyalty is to the organisation the players aren’t going to let me get close to them or trust me or to develop the level of trust that’s required. Hopefully that will develop over time and that the coaches will have confidence in me too.” Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones to building trust, he’s learned, and reinforcing the importance of accountability and responsibility to athletes: that they are ultimately the architects of their game or race. “I make athletes look in the mirror,” says Dunn. “That means they have to look at their own levels of commitment and dedication — and professionalism.”
While building relationships ranks high, Dunn emphasizes in the end performance is all about preparation. “Elite or professional athletes are under tremendous pressure when they compete,” says Dunn, whose ‘7 p’s’ — Prior Planning and Preparation Prevent Piss Poor Performance” — is something every one of his athletes has heard many times. “In biathlon we say, ‘you plan your race and race your plan.’ Failure to plan is a plan for failure. The moment the biathlete comes into the range or the puck drops, if you’re not prepared…” Every interaction with the athletes counts but Dunn already has an immensely busy schedule, traveling internationally with the biathlon and Alpine teams and there’s simply no time to go on the road with the Oilers as well — something he’d sorely like to do. “My primary responsibilities are to the students at the University and to my research,” he explains. “So it’s becoming a very difficult balancing act to try and do all of those things. I’m maxed out now,” he says, “and something’s going to have give somewhere along the line.” He’s looking at his options for now but, he says, what he’s doing with these high-performance teams is the quintessence of taking research out of the lab and putting it into practice — one of the University’s mandates. But Dunn would like to see the University of Alberta value this type of service more. “I don’t think we give it enough credence,” says Dunn. “The research that I do, maybe if I’m lucky 1000 people in the world will ever even read it, but when I get the chance to work with our athletes or with the military or anybody in a performance setting and then they are performing in front of millions of people then millions of people have the opportunity to either enjoy it or be entertained by it.” Concerns aside, Dunn says this is the most exciting and rewarding time of his professional life. His eyes light up when he describes that magical moment when an athlete achieves his or her goal. “When you see an athlete (at the end of a game or race) and you know they’ve had a great performance — that doesn’t always mean standing on the podium, but it can be achieving a personal best, or an athlete comes through under pressure — to know you’ve played a very small part in that success — nothing comes close. The icing on the cake is when an athlete thanks you and says you made a difference.” Though his job is to help build champions, Dunn says there’s a reward that transcends the medals. “I had the honour of being part of two national championship winning Golden Bears hockey teams (1999 and 2000),” he says. “While the experience of working with these teams and winning these championships is something I will never forget, I cherish the friendships I made with many of the players more than the championship medals that now hang from my office wall.” a Summer 2008
Dr. Gordon Bell
Dr. Wendy Rodgers
Dr. Normand Boulé
Dr. Ron Plotnikoff
Fighting Diabetes PER professors are on the frontline as Alberta Diabetes Institute opens doors to new discovery. by Wanda Vivequin
hen the new Alberta Diabetes Institute opened its doors in the new Health Research Innovation Facility (HRIF) on North Campus to plenty of fanfare last November it marked a new day — and an exciting new venue — for the Faculty’s exercise physiologists and scientists in behavioural medicine. It’s here they’ll continue to forge new knowledge about physical activity’s impact on diabetes, its prevention and mitigation. The Institute will also house biomedical research for the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and the Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences. It’s here that collaborative, interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary research will take place in coming to grips with one of Canada’s most prevalent diseases. With the increased attention on physical activity and its affect on diabetes, four professors from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation are among 35 principal researchers at the ADI. Normand Boulé has spent much of his career gathering evidence that shows physical activity is effective to help prevent and treat diabetes. But he’s also found that traditional clinical approaches to treat the disease may not take full advantage of this fact. “It’s known that physical activity is an important element in the treatment of diabetes, but I’d say most 24
clinics — maybe more than 95 per cent of the places I’ve surveyed — do not have exercise specialists promoting physical activity and answering related questions,” says Boulé, a professor in exercise physiology in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. “These places have physicians, nutritionists, pharmacists, and nurses on staff, but physical activity experts are mostly left out,” he adds. The University of Alberta diabetes treatment program is one of those that have not ignored the importance of physical activity. For more than a decade, exercise physiologist Gordon Bell, was part of the diabetes education centre run at University of Alberta Hospital. “The centre previously offered a team-based approach to teach diabetes patients about the disease from A to Z, and my part has been to educate them about the importance of physical activity and how it can help them,” Bell says. It may not be surprising that the University of Alberta has taken such progressive steps to treating diabetes, a disease that Health Canada says is currently present in more than two and a quarter million Canadians, with the number expected to rise to more than three million by the end of the decade. The U of A has long been known as a world-leader in diabetes research and treatment. In particular, the U of A is
the birthplace of the Edmonton Protocol, a method to transplant islet cells in patients with Type 1 diabetes to help them produce their own insulin. However, with all that has been achieved in diabetes research and treatment at the U of A, many feel the best is yet to come, and will come soon. The reason for the optimism is the recent opening of the Alberta Diabetes Institute (ADI) on campus. The $300 million research and clinical facility will support researchers from five different U of A faculties. It will also include more than 200 support staff, all of them working with the single goal of finding a cure for diabetes. “This new building really is a hallmark of our international success so far, and it’s a landmark for things to come in the field of diabetes treatment and research,” says Ron Plotnikoff, who is one of Canada’s foremost scholars in behavioural epidemiology. Plotnikoff is the director of the Physical Activity and Population Health Research Laboratory in the Centre for Health Promotion Studies in the School of Public Health and holds a CIHR Applied Public Health Chair. Diabetes results from a person’s total inability to produce insulin (Type 1) or a partial inability to produce insulin (Type 2). Insulin is needed to turn glucose into energy in the body, and when this process breaks down it can lead to a number of other health deficiencies, such as blindness and heart disease. Type 2 diabetes, which many experts believe is becoming an epidemic in North America, generally occurs in mature adults as a result of a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes is often linked with obesity and is becoming more prevalent in the young as well. Wendy Rodgers will join Bell, Boulé and Plotnikoff at the ADI, where they will continue their work exploring issues related to physical activity and diabetes. “Gord and I study the physiological side of things, such as how exercise affects glucose levels and how cells become sensitive to insulin. And Ron and Wendy work on the behavioral side, learning about how to develop programs that make exercise more enjoyable for people so that they’ll actually do it and keep it up,” Boulé says. Among many research projects, Boulé will look at different types of exercise and whether or not they can lead to the preferential loss of different types of fat, particularly deep abdominal fat, which is associated with most forms of obesity and often leads to diabetes. “There are a lot of myths with regard to doing exercises in order to target certain areas of the body, like the flab behind the arms, and we’ve agreed that’s not how things work for that particular area of the body. But for other types of fat, such as deep abdominal fat, we may be able to mobilize and utilize different types of behavior to target that area,” he says. For example, Boulé noted there is evidence showing that high intensity exercises have more benefits to prevent and treat diabetes than low intensity exercises, and he believes high intensity exercise may be a better type of exercise to reduce abdominal fat, as well. “The difficulty is that high intensity exercises are not associated with pleasure, especially for someone who is used to living a sedentary lifestyle,” Boulé says.
For his part, Bell hopes to do more collaborative research at the ADI by continuing to study the various benefits of physical activity in individuals with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and is interested in how exercise affects patients who have gone through the Edmonton Protocol and have had islet cell transplantations. “We know physical activity can also provide many benefits to people with Type 1 diabetes, but we don’t know enough about how this translates to individuals who have received islet transplantations,” Bell says. “But it’s something we plan to find out and will be more possible by being able to work with other researchers and physicians that will also be a part of the ADI.” Both Bell and Boulé know that physical activity is a critical element of any comprehensive diabetes prevention and treatment plan, but finding ways to get the patients to exercise is just as important. “Let’s face it, we know physical activity is important for everyone, but with the increasing incidence of diseases such as diabetes obviously people are not doing it, so we need to find appropriate ways to ensure people will do enough physical activity and do enough of it to become healthy,” Bell says. “Why don’t they want to exercise? It could be socio-economic reasons, they could be too busy, it could be environmental — maybe there are no safe places to walk in their neighborhood — but the point is we need to know how to design better programs so that people participate enough to get health benefits. That’s why Wendy and Ron’s work is so important,” Bell adds. For more than a decade, Rodgers has conducted research and developed programs and methods to encourage people to exercise and stick with it. She considers many of the factors that may affect people’s behavior related to physical activity, and then she does fitness assessments and offers fitness prescriptions. She began a new study in January to test a theory related to the costs of self-regulation. A researcher named Roy Baumeister created the theory, and Rodgers wants to test it in the context of physical activity. “The idea behind the theory is that if we have to make conscious efforts of will to self-regulate, such as consciously not eating a food we would really like to eat or making conscious efforts to keep our activity levels up, this depletes our self-regulatory muscle, so we become fatigued in the self-regulation department and therefore perform less well on subsequent tasks,” Rodgers says. “We want to see if that has any real-life manifestations.” Plotnikoff also explores the factors that affect whether or not we exercise through his Physical Activity and Population Health Research Lab where he currently supervises a large group of graduate trainees and research staff on numerous studies. “We have national, provincial, and community-based studies (with both healthy and those living with diabetes populations) where we examine the determinants of physical activity. With this information, we then test and design continues page 27 Summer 2008
“Facing mortality changes you. Contentment comes a lot easier and you don’t spend your time chasing something that might be around the next corner.”
Writing for Survival by Wanda Vivequin
The amazing thing about Bill Birse is that he would like you to believe he has led an “unremarkable life.” You get the feeling, however, that it has been anything but unremarkable after reading his fictional, but, somewhat autobiographical novel The Amazing thing about Grace. With raw and simple honesty Birse lays out for all to read intimate details of the path his life took when a phone call from the doctor in 1999 shattered its almost blissful balance. “I guess you could say that Sandee (his wife) and I did in our life what most people would do in their retirement and now we have some catching up to do,” says Birse from his home in Red Deer. His first novel was published in September 2007 although he started writing it years ago as a kind of therapy during his battle with prostate cancer. “Facing mortality changes you. Contentment comes a lot easier and you don’t spend your time chasing something that might be around the next corner,” says Birse who graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Administration. “Going through prostate cancer and being able to talk about it openly is a very cathartic thing,” adds Birse who is now busy organising the second print run of the book. “I really hope that the book helps to open the channels of communication and gives broader exposure to the issue of prostate cancer because men are not very good about talking about these things.” His novel tells the story of a group of cancer patients going through treatment while living at a hostel near the Alberta foothills and the impact one vivacious patient has on all their lives. An interview with Birse has to be scheduled around the shifts he now works at a Red Deer lumber yard. His illness and wife Sandee’s brain surgery forced the couple to reconsider how much energy they had to continue running their home26
based woodcraft business, Timberland Toys, which they had started in Markeville in 1978. “A lot of people say they are going to take up wood working as a hobby but we did it for a living and that was great,” says Birse. Even as a young man Birse had a habit of doing quirky things and in 1974 he applied for funding to prepare a report on whether small towns in Canada were thriving or dying. Along with his wife of almost five years Sandee, their infant son Ryan and a dog, the family set off across Canada in a camper van during the summer of 1974 and spent two weeks in each province to find out as much as they could about the vitality of small towns. “The project was called The Small Town Idea and after finishing the report we pretty much decided that we wanted to live in a small town ourselves and eventually settled in Markeville Alberta,” says Birse. “If I had continued to work for the government I would have ended up in the city and this is something that we knew was not us.” “We became very involved in our community and I used my recreation background in such things as being on the recreation board, building an arena and community hall, coaching hockey and instructing in disabled skiing,” he says. Restoring old buildings in the community was also a natural fit for Birse who helped with restoration of the oldest continuously run hall in Alberta and the only restored creamery in the province, both of which now have historic classification. To help raise funds for these efforts he wrote and directed two plays which have been performed to capacity audiences several times. The plays, Andy Fergusson’s Birthday Party and A Quilt of Many Cultures were Birse’s first forays into writing.
He says that this writing experience provided a great launching point for him to embark on the novel about Grace which has played such a crucial part in his healing. The book is dedicated to the five most important women in his life; wife Sandee, his daughter Willow, his granddaughter Tyler, his mother and his grandmother, who was called Grace. The main female character in the book is a creative compilation of characteristics drawn from these five women. Birse says many of those reading the book are disappointed when they find out Grace did not actually exist so he simply encourages them to see the good in all people, rather than trying to find everything in one person. In a passage from the book Birse writes: “When I abandoned traditional career aspirations and headed to the country to be a back-woods craftsman, there is no possible way that would have worked out without the goodness of grace looking out for me and my family. And now after getting cancer and seeing what it has done to me and the people around me, that gift of grace is still hanging in there.” Birse has committed 10 percent of sales from his book to prostate cancer research. a Bill Birse’s website is: www.skookumworks.com Diabetes continued from page 25 theoretically-based, physical activity promotion interventions and programs,” Plotnikoff says. For example, Plotnikoff has examined whether or not e-mail messages, telephone counselling, print-based materials, pedometers or a combination of such strategies are effective approaches to encourage people to exercise. He also takes into consideration the costs of each method. “With the growing rise of Type 2 diabetes, which is related to the obesity epidemic, it’s extremely important for us to find ways to keep people active and healthy. Aside from the obvious benefits of improving the quality and length of life of people, a healthier population also saves our health care system significant costs,” says Plotnikoff, who was recently named a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair in Applied Health. Plotnikoff and the other ADI-affiliated Physical Education “quote”?? and Recreation professors are all enthusiastic about the new research and treatment opportunities that the ADI will foster. “We already collaborate with many researchers and clinicians from across faculties at the U of A, but our challenge is that we work in isolation of each other physically,” Boulé says. “When we’re all under the same roof and having coffee together at the ADI, there’ll be a lot more opportunities for exchanging ideas and benefiting from common resources.” “Having many of the diabetes experts in the same building will definitely help solidify the integration of our interdisciplinary work,” Plotnikoff adds. “The record of work at the University of Alberta in diabetes has been outstanding, and the exciting thing is that I think this will provide even more significant research advances in this area.” a
Sports Wall of Fame Joan Thomson (BPE 1953) receives her award from University of Alberta Chancellor Eric Newell at the 2007 Sports Wall of Fame Dinner
2008 Sports Wall of Fame Dinner and Fund-raiser — May 8 Annual fund-raising event supports student-athletes
his year the Green and Gold Society’s Sports Wall of Fame Annual fund-raiser celebrates 25 years of helping studentathletes achieve their potential. In this Centenary year, please join us as we celebrate the silver anniversary of this important fund-raiser committed to supporting excellence in sport. Enjoy the company of friends and colleagues, pay tribute to inductees and meet our promising young studentathletes at this special event.
Keynote Speaker Coach Clare Drake, winner of the Geoff Gowan Award Legendary coach of the Golden Bears hockey and football teams
2008 Sports Wall of Fame Inductees Hugh Hoyles, BPE 1966 Dan McCaffrey, BPE 1969; MA 1976 Golden Bears Hockey team — Three-time national champions Pandas Volleyball team — Six-time national champions
Event details Thursday, May 8 Shaw Conference Centre 9797 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton 5:00 p.m. Reception 6:30 p.m. Induction Ceremony 7:30 p.m. Dinner
Tickets Contact Jocelyne Lambert at 492-3893 or order online at www.uofasportswalloffame.com Summer 2008
Mission Possible Help us raise funds for scholarships $10 at a time. by Cindi Berg
our mission should you choose to accept it — is to join the Faculty in creating a one million dollar endowment as a gift to the university in recognition of its centenary. Of course, the Fund Development team and the Physical Education and Recreation Alumni Association have accepted the challenge and we need your help! If every alumnus gifts $10 a month for a period of 12 months our faculty would endow nearly $700,000 and, when the university is able to attain matching dollars from the Alberta Government’s Access to the Future Fund, that amount will double to $1.4 million. Consequently we could provide 52 scholarships/bursaries valued at $1,000 each on an annual basis, and we would provide this in perpetuity. Your challenge is to gift a minimum of $10 a month for a year or a minimum of $120 — when you make this gift, you will have your name, degree and year of graduation placed on a brick of the donor wall plus you could be the contributor that sees your class raise the most money or be the class that achieves the highest percentage of alumni participants — these classes will also be recognized on our donor wall. If you have seen our hallowed halls lately, you must be asking yourself, where are they going to put this donor wall? We have alumni all over the world wanting to donate but are not be able to visit the university to actually see the wall — so, we are going to create a virtual wall on our faculty website for all the world to see acknowledging the support and generosity of the alumni of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. Please complete the donor form below and leave a legacy today for the builders of tomorrow — our students.
I wish to make a gift of: q $50
q Other _________
q Cheque (payable to the University of Alberta) q Visa
q I wish to make a monthly gift of $ _______________ beginning (mm/yy) ___________ and ending (mm/yy) ___________ q I wish to make an annual gift of $ _______________ to be withdrawn on (dd/mm) ___________ of each year until further notice
Name (please print) Credit card number
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I would like my gift to support: q Physical Education and Recreation Alumni Association Award q Other fund ______________________________________________ q I would like information on how to make a gift of publicly traded securities to support the Faculty. q I would like information on how to include the Faculty as part of my will, life insurance or other planned gifts. Please return to: Office of the Dean Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation W1-34 Van Vliet Centre University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2H9
University of Alberta’s Alumni Awards recognize outstanding contributions by Physical Education and Recreation graduates.
Award of Excellence
Howie Draper, ’91 BPE, is the head coach of the University of Alberta Pandas Ice Hockey team — Canada’s most successful women’s university hockey team. Under his guidance, the team won its sixth Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship in 2007. His skillful direction of the Pandas also earned him the title of CIS Coach of the Year twice and he has been named the Canada West Conference Coach of the Year four times since 2000. This former captain of the University’s Golden Bears Hockey team is a director of the U of A Summer Hockey Camps, and he teaches in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation.
Hugh S.D. Hoyles, ’66 BPE, created a legacy of wellness at the University of Alberta, where he served as the director of Campus Recreation for more than 32 years before retiring in 2004. Affectionately known as Captain Rec, he was a tireless promoter of health through sport. Under his direction, the Campus Recreation program became one of the most comprehensive at any Canadian university. His contributions to the sport of volleyball, which includes serving as the director of volleyball for the 1976 Olympic Games, have earned him induction into both the Alberta Volleyball Hall of Fame and the Volleyball Canada Hall of Fame.
Chris M. Blanchard, ’97 MA, ’01 PhD is breaking new ground in the field of physical activity and chronic disease prevention. He holds a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Disease and Physical Activity in the Department of Medicine at Dalhousie University and two cross-appointments in the Schools of Health and Human Performance and Psychology. Prior to this, he held an Ontario Career Scientist award funded by that province’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and was a University of Ottawa Research Chair in the human kinetics department.
Steve Johnson left for Japan in 2002 to be an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) on the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) program, one of roughly 6000 English-speaking people from countries all over the world who work throughout Japan in this role. Steve wrote over 6000 words, describing his fascinating experiences in Japan! We couldn’t fit all of it into this issue — but here’s a little taste of his life in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Postcards from the Edge Our Man in Japan — Steve Johnson.
hen I applied to work on the JET program, I was asked where I would like to work. Most people want to go to popular cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka – but I was happy to accept a posting in the most rural prefecture in Japan: Shimane. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Shimane before coming here. So, I assumed many things about the area: it would have beautiful nature, kind and friendly people, and rich culture (the kind of things you can always find in the countryside in most countries). I was right! I have been very fortunate to be placed in a wonderful part of Japan. Its places and people make my life in Ohda city so enjoyable that I have extended my stay into its sixth year! My job has developed far from its humble beginning as an ALT working at four junior high schools in the area. Now I enjoy the challenge of pioneering English programs at all of the 21 elementary schools in the area. I have also enjoyed discovering more and more about Japanese culture and language. The Japanese have an 30
amazing interest in foreigners, which is even stronger in the isolated countryside. My friends, colleagues and students always have endlessly interesting questions for me about Canada. I enjoy the elementary school students’ questions the most because they are never too shy to ask what everyone wants to know. It’s this enthusiasm and lack of hesitation that allows them to succeed in their attempts to learn English and it’s why I enjoy my work. Coming to Japan or to any country where one cannot speak or read the language is to become essentially functionally illiterate. I credit my Canadian heritage that I consistently chose to persevere despite my linguistic handicap and to acknowledge cultural barriers rather than downplay them or by taking the easy way out. Attempting to understand Japanese culture is a constant challenge; its highly refined traditional manners and politeness, its speaking in vague terms and use of silence as communication. It is both an intriguing and tiring experience, yet essential to carefully take note and take part
in the rituals of daily life and work. Doing so makes it possible to pick up on the subtle nuances that set the tone and of the Japanese people’s expectations of social behaviour. In my daily encounters with humble conduct, constant apologizing and endless bowing, it is mystifying to think that these behaviours are directly linked to the long shogunate period when such conduct was prescribed and enforced by the sword carrying samurai class. The summers are so hot, humid and sweaty, you can’t believe it could ever be cold: it’s the kind of hot that finds you wiping sweat from your shins, requires a minimum of three cold showers a day, and standing directly in front of an electric fan at all times. If you dare step out of its range, you had better be on your way to the shower! Although the winters are mild in comparison to the Canadian freeze, winters in Japan are so cold they chill you right to the bone. Without central heating (even in schools) being indoors doesn’t always offer an escape from the cold. I dress in multiple layers as though heading out on an expedition, just for a regular day at school! On the other hand, forgetting to put something back in the fridge becomes forgivable as the kitchen transforms into one giant walk-in refrigerator! That being said, spring and fall’s transitional climates are so lovely that they enable you to endure the extremes of the summer and winter. Work involves a lot of play, and play is sometimes so intense it resembles work. My enjoyment of taiko (Japanese drumming) now rivals any of the sports I played in Canada. Demanding musically, rhythmically, artistically and physically, taiko is a unique mix of music and athletics. I have found my taiko team to be the closest thing in Japan to a Canadian hockey team. Although the locker room talk is difficult to comprehend, the camaraderie is unmistakable, comfortably familiar for me, and uncommon in Japanese daily life. (Editor’s note: Johnson also participates in shorinji kempo and iai-do — both martial arts — runs and rides his bike relentlessly.) I am very happy here. My experience here continues to surprise me and improve in ways I never thought possible and I am optimistic and excited that even better things are on the horizon. a
Hockey Books Golden opportunity to purchase a slice of hockey history and help build a new arena. by Cindi Berg
ears on Ice and Clare Drake: The Coaches’ Coach are ‘must-reads’ for any University of Alberta graduate, fans of university hockey and anyone who cares about winning traditions in team sports. Bears on Ice by Stephen Scriver and Kenneth Brown is the story of Canada’s most successful university hockey team, the University of Alberta Golden Bears. This book goes beyond conventional chronological history. It’s a thematic look at the values and traditions that built the Golden Bears into a Canadian Interuniversity Sport dynasty, and indeed one of the greatest, longest-running championship stories in the sporting world. Scriver and Brown interviewed nearly 200 former Golden Bear players, coaches, trainers and opponents from every era. The book’s succinct style underscores a depth of understanding of the game and the team. Combined with anecdotal storytelling, the story of the incredible Golden Bears hockey program comes alive on every page. Clare Drake: The Coaches’ Coach is an analytical biography of one of hockey’s greatest coaches. With a foreword by NHL master coach Ken Hitchcock, this work transcends standard memoir writing by setting Clare Drake’s career against the greater context of Canadian hockey history. While many know Drake as the builder of the Golden Bears’ tradition of excellence, few know that his technical innovations and coaching philosophy helped create the professional standards now used in today’s NHL. The author, Derek Drager, is a former Golden Bear manager and graduate of the University of Alberta. This work is both a thoughtful treatise on the profession of coaching and a compelling tale about a unique and highly respected man whom, according to Ken Hitchcock and other NHL leaders, has his “fingerprints all over the game.” Proceeds from the sales of these books will be directed to renovating the Clare Drake Arena on the university campus. Summer 2008
active alumni in touch with you
Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation University of Alberta W1-34 Van Vliet Centre Edmonton, AB T6G 2H9 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Golden Bears Hockey
Centennial Book Sets COMMEMORATIVE SETS Price: $1000 (Tax receipt $750)
HARD COVER EDITIONS Bears on Ice – $57.75 ($55)
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Set of two – $94.50 ($90)
Orders of 10 or more – $78.75 ($75) per set
TRADE SOFT COVER EDITIONS Bears on Ice – $42.00 ($40)
Clare Drake: The Coaches’ Coach – $31.50 ($30)
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