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Wilfrid Laurier University • February 2009 VOL. 1 | NO. 1 | APRIL 7,2008




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Meet staff member Adam Lawrence and learn about the Office for Student Diversity.

Dr. Brent Wolfe’s research shows dire consequences for the status of our freshwater resources.

The Wilfrid Laurier University Press has been publishing scholarly books for 35 years.

Photo: Dean Palmer

Photo captions can go in here

Snow and cold temperatures came to Laurier in January. With every snowfall, the grounds crew on the Waterloo campus have to clear and salt the paths and entrances to 77 buildings and more than 100 flights of stairs.

Chilling with penguins and polar ice

Proposed policy on sustainability aims to improve the university’s environmental performance

Laurier graduate student will travel to Antarctica on research expedition

By Stacey Morrison

By Mallory O’Brien

From recycling to energy management and transportation, Laurier is pursuing environmentally friendly strategies to reduce the university’s carbon footprint. The objectives are outlined in a proposed policy on sustainability, which was endorsed by the Senate Dec. 10 and will be presented to the Board of Governors in early February for approval. The suggested strategies touch all aspects of campus development, from water consumption and emission reductions, to green building and sustainable landscaping. “We need an overarching plan that involves faculty, staff and students,” says Gary Nower, associate vice-president of physical resources. “We would like to eventually establish an Office of Sustainability with dedicated people working on these issues. This kind of model has worked well at other universities.”

Nower says the biggest challenge is to precisely measure the university’s consumption and carbon footprint as a whole. “An energy management plan is very important for us,” he says. “Sub-metering to understand where we are consuming, and exactly how much, is something we are working on. Right now we can only estimate.” Laurier has taken strides to become more environmentally friendly. In the last year, 68 percent of food waste was converted to composting, and overall, 34 percent less waste went to the landfill. The university also participated in Earth Hour on March 28, 2008, turning off most lights on campus between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. In doing so, Laurier reduced energy consumption (kw/h) by 28 percent, the equivalent of removing 10 cars from the road for one hour. Nower says the university’s most ambitious initiative is the construction of Brantford’s

Photo: Mallory O’Brien

Laurier seeks to reduce carbon footprint

Gary Nower, above, says Laurier would benefit from an Office of Sustainability.

new University Centre. For the first time, Laurier will aim for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification through the Canada Green Building Council. To do so, the building design must meet stringent criteria for environmental responsibility and energy efficiency, something only SUSTAINABILITY see page 2

Antarctica is the most environmentally hostile continent on the planet. It has the highest average elevation, which also makes it the driest, windiest and coldest place on Earth. The lowest recorded temperature is a brisk -89.2°C. These harsh conditions make travel and life on Antarctica extremely difficult and not many people get the opportunity to experience it, but a trip to the continent is exactly what Laurier graduate student Kevin Turner is looking forward to this month. The PhD candidate in geography and environmental studies leaves for Antarctica Feb. 13 for a two-week research and educational excursion by boat. Turner’s research is focused on hydrology, the movement of water in relation to land and atmosphere. His studies usually take him to Northern Canada — he is working with Laurier geography and environmental

studies professor Dr. Brent Wolfe, investigating the impact of climate change on lake water levels in the Yukon. Both are involved with a governmentsponsored project in the Old Crow Flats, in northern Yukon Territory, through International Polar Year (IPY), a two-year program of science, research and education that focuses on the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The Antarctic expedition will expose Turner to the scientific procedures that are used when investigating hydrological issues on the opposite side of the world, and in turn will provide him with a more comprehensive understanding of how climate change is affecting Polar regions as a whole. February’s Antarctic voyage is the first annual University Antarctic Expedition by IPY and Students on Ice, an awardwinning organization that offers educational expeditions to both the Arctic and Antarctic. ANTARCTICA see page 2


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February 2009

president’s message

As the turmoil in global financial markets continues to ripple through the economy, I find myself thinking more and more about the concept of innovation. I have spent a good deal of my career working in and around research, first as a biologist and later as vice-president of research activities at the University of Northern British Columbia, and through my ongoing involvement with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Industry Canada’s University Advisory Group. It has always struck me that innovation — the introduction of new ideas and ways of doing things — tends to thrive in tough times, as illustrated by the wonderful expression, “necessity is the mother of invention.” There seems to be a good deal of data to support this anecdotal impression.

Harvard business professor Dr. Clayton M. Christensen, who studies innovation, was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying “breakthrough innovations come when tension is greatest and the resources are most limited. That’s when people are actually a lot more open to rethinking the fundamental way they do business.” This view seems compatible with another observation: that it’s best to build on your strengths. Building on your strengths, however, requires self-awareness — a good sense of who you are, where you come from and where you want to go. Jim Balsillie, the co-chief executive officer of one of Canada’s most innovative companies, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion, made a similar point last month during a talk to Laurier students. Balsillie, who was on campus

ANTARCTICA continued

On the boat there will be lectures, classes and workshops on a variety of topics, from ecology to oceanography. Students will also get the chance to take zodiacs to the Antarctic mainland and surrounding islands. Turner is especially interested in learning the methods for ice core sampling. “Scientists in the past have taken cylindrical samples of ice that extended hundreds of metres into a glacier and contained evidence of what this world was like hundreds of thousands of

years ago,” he says. “For example, by examining the concentration of gases such as carbon dioxide contained in tiny air bubbles throughout the core, scientists can gain an understanding of how climate has changed.” It was geography and environmental science professor Dr. Michael English, who also works with Laurier’s Cold Regions Research Centre (CRRC), who first informed Turner of the expedition, and helped him gather funding for the $10,000 trip. “I’m extremely happy with the support from Laurier,” says

Photo: Tomasz Adamski

Innovation in tough times

Dr. Max Blouw, left, and dean of business Ginny Dybenko, right, present RIM’s Jim Balsillie with Laurier’s Outstanding Business Leader Award.

as the recipient of Laurier’s Outstanding Business Leader of the Year Award, urged students to consider their “personal narrative.” Once you understand who you are, and what your values and aspirations are, you are better able to embrace challenges and opportunities that come your way in life. “Whenever you meet oppor-

Turner. “The university sees the benefits to an excursion like this and really stepped up.” Turner is also a professional photographer who enjoys shooting landscapes, so he’s looking forward to taking some spectacular photos. “Being submerged in this place and seeing everything, from penguins to massive icebergs floating by, will be an amazing experience,” he says. “And I also get to conduct research, meet like-minded people and learn from professors on the boat. I’m very excited.”

tunities … more particularly, whenever you meet challenges in life, you go back to that narrative and that narrative will lead you through … it will be your anchor in the storm,” Balsillie said. I believe the envisioning process that Laurier undertook last year has provided the university with such an anchor — a good sense of what Laurier is, where it came from and where it wants to go. As Mr. Balsillie would put it, Laurier has a personal narrative, and I think all of us understand it much better as a result of our collegial and community-wide envisioning work. Which leads me back to the idea of innovation in tough times. As you know, universities in Ontario are facing serious financial challenges. And as an institution, Laurier has some difficult decisions to make in the coming months and years. But


38 buildings in Canada have achieved. In the meantime, Nower says there are simple things that staff and faculty can do to be more green on campus. “There are lots of little things like turning off the lights in your office when you leave for lunch or using LED lamps,” he says. “The most important things people can do is adjust the temperature — Canadians have a thing about being cold in the summer and hot in the winter. Adjust the temperature a few degrees so it’s cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer. Another big impact people can make is in terms of

tough times involve more than retrenchments and cutbacks; they also include opportunities to innovate, to revisit how and why we do things, and, ultimately, to excel as an organization dedicated to excellence. Laurier is built on an extremely solid foundation. We know what our strengths are, and we have a good sense of where we want to go as an educational community and institution. As we proceed through our strategic budget-setting process, I urge you not to lose sight of the opportunities to innovate. Laurier will get through these difficult times, but we must strive to do more than just survive — we must emerge ready to embrace the opportunities that will no doubt arise when the economy returns to a healthier state. Dr. Max Blouw President and Vice-Chancellor

transportation.” To this end, Laurier established carpooling and car sharing services on campus last fall in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases. As word spreads, the services are becoming more popular. In November, between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m, the car share vehicle was used 22 percent of the time. By December it had increased to almost 41 percent. “The success of these programs depends on the community, and the community here is insightful and recognizes the benefits,” says Mary Basler, manager of parking and transportation resources. “They are the ones moving these programs forward and should be applauded for their efforts.”

Send us your news, events & stories

Email: Deadline for submissions: February 13

Graduate student Kevin Turner travels up Old Crow River in northern Yukon Territory for a government-sponsored project. He leaves for an expedition in Antarctica next week.

InsideLaurier is published by The Department of Public Affairs Wilfrid Laurier University 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5

InsideLaurier Volume 1, Number 9, February 2009

Design: Erin Steed

InsideLaurier (circ. 2,000) is published nine times a year by the Department of Public Affairs. Opinions expressed in InsideLaurier do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the university’s administration.

Contributors: Tomasz Adamski, Kevin Crowley, Mallory O’Brien, Dean Palmer

Printed on recycled paper.

Editor: Stacey Morrison Assistant Editor: Lori Chalmers Morrison


InsideLaurier welcomes your comments and suggestions for stories. Tel: (519) 884-0710 ext. 3341 | Fax: (519) 884-8848 Email:

All submissions are appreciated, however not all submissions will be published. We reserve the right to edit all copy for accuracy, content and length.


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February 2009

Kimberly Barber’s opera performance in the Canadian premiere of Regina was recently named as one of Victoria, B.C.’s top 10 arts highlights of 2008. A mezzosoprano, Barber is an assistant professor, voice, in Laurier’s Music Department. Michael Purves-Smith, a composer and professor in the Faculty of Music, has released a two-disc CD set of chamber music called Contrasts in Love. Two years in the making, the recording brings together 33 performers, most of whom have a direct connection to Laurier.

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For a complete list of appointments visit

Recorded in various locations, including the university’s Maureen Forrester Recital Hall, the CD is available in the WLU Bookstore.

Andrew Pieon,
 intermediate administrative assistant, Student Recruitment.

New appointments: Holly Gill, financial/retail operations assistant. Candice Krall, support services clerk.

Margaret Salokannel, computer support technician.

Ashley Coe,
administrative assistant I, Counselling Services. Elin Edwards,
editorial/communications officer, Research Office. Khal Hosein,
admissions officer. Kathy Joslin,
graphic design technician/printing services operator.

Stephen Vokey,
shipping/ receiving assistant, Bookstore.

Kathryn McIntosh,
co-ordinator: Student Leadership Centre.

Changes in staff appointments:

Elizabeth Mihit, food service associate.

Melody Barfoot, 
event co-ordinator, SBE.

Greg Papazian, student advisor and admissions co-ordinator.

Joanne Carter,
academic program administrator.

Barry Ries, editorial/ communications officer, Research Office.

Shara Spencer, development assistant, Development. Wayne Steffler,
 assistant vicepresident, administration.

Dr. Peter Tiidus, professor and chair of Laurier’s Kinesiology & Physical Education Department, has been named acting dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Science. Tiidus will serve in this position from March 1, 2009 to July 1, 2010. “I am very honoured and excited about the opportunity to work with the science departments and programs in the continued development of science at Laurier,” says Tiidus. “I hope in some small way to be able to build on my predecessors, Art Szabo and Deb MacLatchy, both of whom will serve as my role models during my time as acting dean of science.”

Maria Zabalza,
intermediate administrative assistant, Associate Dean’s Office. Do you have a professional or personal milestone that you would like to share with the Laurier community? Email your announcement and photo to

Laurier launches Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action Laurier celebrated the opening of its new Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action (CCRLA) Jan. 16 with a reception and keynote address by community-based research pioneer Dr. Budd Hall. Operating within Laurier’s Faculty of Science as part of its community psychology program, CCRLA will partner with organizations and communities on research projects to advance community health and social justice.

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“We’re moving from rhetoric to practice, and students will learn participatory research, analysis and policy development in the process,” said Dr. Terry Mitchell, associate psychology professor and director of CCRLA. The CCRLA will allow students to experience and reflect upon what it is like to work within a community. They will also learn how to translate knowledge from academia into a form that is relevant and useful for a community organization.

This month in history: What happened in February? Feb. 8, 1587: Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was beheaded in England after 19 years as a prisoner of Queen Elizabeth I. Feb. 11, 1990: In South Africa, Nelson Mandela, at age 71, was released from prison after serving 27 years of a life sentence on charges of attempting to overthrow the apartheid government. Feb. 23, 1970: The first public presentation of the Junos, the annual awards of the Canadian music industry, took place in Toronto. February 8, 1986: The Golden Hawks women’s curling team won the Ontario Women’s Interuniversity Athletic Association (OWIAA) championship in London, Ont., becoming the first Laurier women’s team to capture an OWIAA title.

RIM’s Jim Balsillie receives Laurier’s Outstanding Business Leader Award By Mallory O’Brien

Keynote speaker Dr. Budd Hall. Photo: Mallory O’Brien

Students brave cold for Winter Carnival

Frigid winter temperatures didn’t stop students from participating in Winter Carnival in January. The annual event has been taking place at Laurier for more than 50 years. Photo: Mallory O’Brien

For a self-described “quantjock” who excels at math and business strategy, Jim Balsillie struck a literary note to convey some personal and career wisdom to a packed room of Laurier business students. “It is very, very important, I believe, to shape your personal narrative — this is who I am, this is how I see myself, this is why I am, and how I’m going to be who I’m going to be,” he told the gathering in the university’s Senate and Board Chamber. Balsillie, the billionaire co-chief executive officer of BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM), spent an hour with the students prior to receiving Laurier’s Outstanding Business Leader Award at a luncheon ceremony Jan. 22. He spoke informally about the importance of knowing who you are and the value of keeping a positive attitude. “I’m the quant-jock from Peterborough who never quits,” Balsillie said. “That’s how I see myself; that’s my personal narrative.” After his chat with students, Balsillie was honoured at the Waterloo Inn where more than 200 people filled the Viennese Ballroom to see him receive his award from business dean Ginny Dybenko.

Photo: Tomasz Adamski

people at laurier


Jim Balsillie speaks to Laurier students before receiving his award.

In his acceptance speech, Balsillie addressed the issue of global economic integration and the urgent need for an improved and innovative approach to global political governance. The world is changing rapidly, he said, but while there is more and more economic integration, there continues to be political division and conflict as nations remain isolated and international laws and global institutions fail to meet the challenge of an increasingly global world. Balsillie has personally invested millions of dollars to create the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, both of which are located in Waterloo and are affiliated with Laurier and the University of Waterloo. 3


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February 2009

coffee with a co-worker

A look at staff and faculty across campus

Promoting diversity Name: Adam Lawrence Job: Diversity co-ordinator, Office for Student Diversity.

Photo: Lori Chalmers Morrison

Where you can find him: Room 118 of MacDonald House Residence, surrounded by posters promoting social change and diversity events. How he takes his coffee: Black or with a little bit of hot chocolate, but “I’m trying to drink more green tea.”

How long have you been at Laurier? I started at Laurier in 2003 as a residence life area co-ordinator and joined the Office for Student Diversity in January 2007.

As diversity co-ordinator, Adam Lawrence promotes human rights on campus and provides support for campus clubs and services.

spaces. We also support the Rainbow and Women’s centres, the Chaplain’s Office, which is part of the multi-faith resource team, the aboriginal student services co-ordinator and the Student Diversity Committee (which represents 25 campus clubs and services).

Please tell us about your job. Why do you like your job? Our mandate is to educate and celebrate diversity. The reality is that we have rich diversity and a sense of human rights on campus already. We provide diversity training to residential services, WLUSU and a number of other groups. Our training focuses on inclusive language and creating safe

coming Events

Woldemar Neufeld (1909-2002): Woldemar Neufeld’s Canada When: Feb. 4 – 14 Where: Robert Langen Art Gallery Cost: Free This exhibit highlights the art movements and influences that helped shape Neufeld’s artistic career and celebrates the centennial anniversary of his birth. Featuring selected works from the WLU permanent collection. Understanding Your Taxable Benefits When: Feb. 11 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Where: Paul Martin Centre Cost: Free * Open to all Laurier employees Join the Human Resources Payroll team as they provide an overview and insight into how taxable benefits work. The Many Dimensions of Student Engagement Conference When: Feb. 17 & 18 2:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. & 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Where: Bricker Academic Building/Science courtyard and various locations. Cost: $249 regular fee/$99 for WLU faculty and staff Presented by Laurier and McGraw-Hill Ryerson, this conference will explore the 4

I love working here because I get to work with students and I have the freedom to create programs that I feel are important and impactful. What are some of the achievements that stand out for you?

Personally, it meant a lot to me when I received the WLUSU Award of Excellence for staff last year. Maybe even more rewarding was seeing the development of the Women’s Centre and the Rainbow Centre into important services. I also get a thrill from working with residence dons. They’re so eager to learn! Do you work with staff and faculty? As our programs get better foundations, we’re branching out and trying to get staff involved. We’d also love to have more staff and faculty diversity training and make

For a complete list of events visit

theoretical and practical expressions of student engagement. With keynote speaker Don Tapscott. For more information email

Social Work Week When: March 1 – 8 Where: Faculty of Social Work, Kitchener Cost: Free

Music at Noon When: Feb. 24 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Where: Maureen Forrester Recital Hall Cost: Free

Social Work week celebrates the profession, the professionals and the importance of moving forward with personal and Social change. Activities will be posted on the faculty web page

Bring your lunch and enjoy the music of Joe Ferretti and Elaine Lau on piano. Dystopia: The future is coming, panic now When: Feb. 25 7:30 p.m. Where: Kitchener City Hall, council chambers lecture theatre Cost: Free *Registration is not required Presented by sociology professor Dr. Garry Potter, this public lecture will look at humanity’s prospects for the immediate future. Opera Production: Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelities When: Feb. 27 & 28 8 p.m. Where: Theatre Auditorium, Waterloo campus Cost: $10/adults, $5/students

Grief: Do’s and Don’ts When: March 2 12 p.m. Where: Kitchener Public Library, main auditorium Cost: Free The Faculty of Social Work’s Dr. Susan Cadell is the speaker for this free lecture, part of the Kitchener Public Library’s Ideas & Issues lecture series. For more information, contact Melissa Ireland at or ext. 3902. Project Empathy Gala Dinner & Silent Auction When: Feb. 28 6:30 p.m. Where: Grace Anglican Church, Brantford Cost: $65 Proceeds will help fund a volunteer trip to Botswana and provide supplies to those affected and inflicted with HIV/ AIDS. For details email

our offices more accessible to staff and faculty. We’re working with Dr. Jasmin Zine to develop a diversity policy. We’re also organizing alternative reading week with Leanne Holland-Brown and Drew Piticco from the Student Leadership Centre. We hope it will be a great professional development opportunity for staff in the future.

What about life outside of work? I’m getting married on May 23rd! (to Lindsay Scott, Laurier’s national recruitment coordinator). Everything’s done except for the flowers. We’re having big wedding parties and holding our stag and doe on campus. Any plans for a honeymoon?

What’s your biggest request from students? To get involved! We have 80 volunteers right now, but we still don’t have enough volunteer opportunities to meet the demand.

We’re planning a Mediterranean cruise. I’m not crazy about the water, but we’re looking forward to Greece!

By Lori Chalmers Morrison

Tips for minimizing stress Stress is a fact of daily life, but too much stress can cause health concerns. Here are some techniques to help lower your stress level: • Make decisions. Worrying about making a decision causes stress. • Avoid putting things off. Make a weekly schedule that includes leisure activities as well as tasks you must complete. • Delegate some of your tasks to others, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. • Keep your thinking positive and realistic. Stress can cause negative thinking, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Find solutions you can

achieve in steps that will bring success. • Reduce tension. Physical activity is a great stress reliever. • Talk about your problems. Venting is often helpful and others may suggest useful solutions. For more information about dealing with stress, visit the Health Canada website at

February 2009


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Studying the Earth’s most precious resource Dr. Brent Wolfe’s research into declining freshwater levels calls for stringent water policy relying on this fresh water for agriculture and industry.” At the same time, the province of Alberta has allocated at least half of the low-flow volume of the Athabasca River for consumption by the multibillion-dollar oil-sands companies, which use the water to extract bitumen. Wolfe’s studies suggest that rapid declines in river flow and lake levels in some parts of the delta will accelerate unless stringent water policies are put in place to lessen these industrial pressures on freshwater resources. They also emphasize that because the oil-sands industry is important to Canada’s economy, government and industry need to use new information from the study to develop water-use policy for the Athabasca River that maximizes social benefits while minimizing environmental degradation. Current policy decisions about water resource allocation are based on climate records spanning the past 80 years at most; this study will provide policy-makers with critical data from the past 1,000 years. Results also highlight the need to change assumptions that river flows will remain stable. “The status of our freshwater resources is at a critical juncture,” says Wolfe. “Clearly, we have been living on borrowed time.”

By Lori Chalmers Morrison It may have taken Laurier associate geography professor Dr. Brent Wolfe and his research team eight years to study the hydroecology of the PeaceAthabasca Delta, but in that time the team recreated 1,000 years of environmental history, put to rest a 41-year controversy, and issued dire warnings for the Alberta oil-sands industry and Canadian policy-makers. The story actually began much earlier and was many years in the making. It starts in 1968, well before Wolfe and his research counterparts at the University of Waterloo came into the picture. BC Hydro had just constructed the W.A.C. Bennett Dam in northern Alberta, 1,000 kilometres upstream from the migrating birds and the world’s largest free-roaming herd of bison that occupy the Peace Athabasca Delta (PAD), part of Wood Buffalo National Park and one of Canada’s 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites. BC Hydro planned to generate hydroelectricity; it didn’t expect the dam to set off a series of events that would result in multimillion-dollar lawsuits and intense environmental scrutiny. The area’s First Nations communities of Fort Chipewyan have historically regarded the PAD as an important part of their culture and rely on the ecosystem for freshwater resources to support their communities. In 1997, following the long-held belief that the W.A.C. Bennett Dam was responsible for reducing the amount of available freshwater in the PAD and was causing other negative changes in the ecosystem, the First Nations communities launched lawsuits against BC Hydro and the Government of Canada. Three years later, in what has become one of the most highly funded Canadian environmental science projects this decade, Wolfe and his team were called upon to examine the changes that had occurred in the PAD. The

Dr. Brent Wolfe collects a lake sediment core at the Peace Athabasca Delta in northern Alberta.

team analyzed lake sediment cores and used a unique array of high-resolution paleohydrological reconstructions to better understand the 1,000-year history of the PAD ecosystem. “We discovered that river discharge and lake levels in the delta had been varying considerably with climate change over the past 1,000 years,” says Wolfe. The research further indicated that the delta’s water levels began to decline at the turn of the last century — well before the W.A.C. Bennett Dam was constructed. The data clearly

A dry basin in the Peace Athabasca Delta could be a sign of things to come.

pointed to climate variability as the overwhelming driver of the changes in the PAD’s hydrology and ecology.

The status of our freshwater resources is at a critical juncture.


While the team’s research results took the spotlight off BC Hydro, the results are now shining a bright light on another

major industry: the Alberta oil sands. Although the PAD’s water levels have been falling in response to climate change since the development of modern society in Western Canada, the amount of freshwater available was always subsidized by glaciers and high-elevation snow packs in the Rocky Mountains. “Now we are seeing these sources dwindling to very low reserves,” says Wolfe. “We are on the leading edge of a rapid decline, which is of critical concern to those living in areas

Dr. Brent Wolfe is an associate professor of geography and environmental studies at Laurier, and holds the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Northern Research Chair in Northern Hydroecology. Wolfe collaborates with University of Waterloo researchers Dr. Roland Hall, associate biology professor, and Dr. Thomas Edwards, earth and environmental sciences professor. Together with their students, they published “Climate-driven shifts in quantity and seasonality of river discharge over the past 1,000 years from the hydrographic apex of North America” in the December 17, 2008 issue of the international scientific journal, Geophysical Research Letters.

A laminated sediment core is used to reconstruct flood frequency.



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February 2009

Reading between the lines of WLU Press Laurier’s award-winning publishing house has over 200 books in print By Lori Chalmers Morrison

Photo: Lori Chalmers Morrison

In an otherwise immaculate office, where rows of perfectly placed books adorn several bookshelves, a photocopy of a $343,000 cheque has been hastily

slapped on the door. “It’s the first one of three from the Canadian Research Knowledge Network,” grins Brian Henderson, director of Wilfrid Laurier University Press. “It’s exciting for us to get that

Director Brian Henderson with some of the books published by WLU Press.

In the classroom

hit of capital. Scholarly publication is not a money-making machine; it’s a dissemination-ofknowledge machine.” But more than money, the million-dollar payment also represents how far WLU Press has come since 1974, when Laurier religious studies founder and former chair Norman Wagner established the Press as a voice for Canadian religious scholars. In what Henderson describes as one of its standout successes, the Press “wrangled a deal” to digitize its backlist of more than 400 titles. “We did it just in time,” he says. “The Canadian government came up with funds last year to buy digital materials, and now these publications are available free to researchers through online libraries.” The money will help kick-start an endowment campaign for the Press, which publishes and markets about 30 scholarly titles a year in humanities and social sciences, and has over 200 books in print. The publications are sold in Canada and around the world. Most are used by academics as resources for their research,

many appear on upper-year course reading lists, and some take the form of textbooks and academic journals. All have covers that could be considered works of art, and the words within have been recognized with numerous awards. But getting a book to this stage takes up to 18 months, with a host of freelance writers and an internal staff of 12. The process begins with acquisitions editor Lisa Quinn, who actively solicits manuscripts from Laurier researchers and other Canadian scholars by reviewing journals and networking at academic conferences. Publishing depends on funding, and funding depends on peer reviews of each manuscript. Quinn finds academics from around the world to serve as peer reviewers. If funding is secured, the Press presents the work to Laurier’s editorial review board, which ultimately determines if it’s worthy of the Laurier stamp. Managing editor Rob Kohlmeier, along with production manager Heather Blain-Yanke, then oversee typographers and freelance copy

editors, indexers and designers who bring the manuscript to the printing and distribution stage, which is handled externally. Publicist Clare Hitchens promotes each publication and the Press itself. The Press is known for its book series on particular themes such as a new series on the environment and humanities, and another on film and media studies. “We build up our reputation in certain areas, so scholars want to come to us,” says Henderson. “We’re promoting Laurier faculty and the Wilfrid Laurier University name around the world along with our books.” The Press co-publishes with the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies and the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and is working with University of Toronto professor Janice Stein on a series called Canadian Commentaries, which invites journalists and scholars to respond to introductory essays in a debate format. “But not in an academic way,” says Henderson. “We want to bring scholarship out into the open and down from the ivory tower.”

A look inside the lecture hall

International integration Professor: Dr. Gene Deszca Class: International Business Concentration with Study Tour Description: A set of five courses and an international field trip that exposes students to international business through integrative learning.

Dr. Gene Deszca teaches one of the courses for the International Business Concentration program, an initiative that, in addition to course-level evaluation, reinforces learning through integrated assignments such as group projects, company analyses, simulations, guest speakers, a two-week international field trip that features corporate visits and an individual project. Deszca, who has been at Laurier since the early 1980s, teaches International Management, an organizational behaviour course that includes topics such as negotiating international arrangements and international human resources. “You could take one course on international business or travel on your own but this integrative component for the whole term is experience and exposure on a whole other level,” he says. “Course boundaries are dropped, stuff connects and learning sticks.” By Mallory O’Brien 6

Photo: Dean Palmer

Dr. Gene Deszca says the integrative nature of the International Business Concentration provides a high level of experience and exposure for students.

Feb. 2009 insideLaurier  

February 2009 issue of Wilfrid Laurier University's internal newsletter, insideLaurier.