Killam Doctoral Scholarship Awardee: Marc Tadaki

Congratulations to our PhD Candidate, Marc Tadaki, for winning a 2014/2015 Killam Doctoral Scholarship!

Killam Doctoral Scholarships are the most prestigious awards available to graduate students at UBC. Approximately 15-20 awards are made each year to the top doctoral candidates in the Affiliated Fellowships competition. The stipend for the 2013-2014 awards is $30,000 per annum for two years and a $2,000 allowance for research-related travel during the 24 months of the scholarship.

Killam Doctoral Scholarships awardees also become Four Year Fellowship holders, and may receive tuition funding from that program.

Dr. Sundberg ranked in the top 5% of instructors

Associate Professor Juanita Sundberg

Student evaluations have ranked Associate Professor Juanita Sundberg in the top 5% of instructors in the Faculty of Arts in 2013. As Dean Gage Averill writes in his congratulatory letter to Dr. Sundberg, “UBC aspires to be great in its three major areas of strength: research, teaching and impact (community engagement, translation and mobilization of research, policy, etc.). Our greatest impact, however, will always be the education of generations of students who will contribute immeasurably to the betterment of the world”.

Congratulations Dr. Sundberg!

New Lab: One of a kind in Canada

The new physical geography laboratory in Ponderosa Commons officially opened on January 23rd 2014, the outcome of four CFI grants amounting to approximately $3 million. The laboratory resides in the basement of Ponderosa Commons West, as a part of a university-wide effort to create, as Dean of Arts, Gage Averill explained at the grand opening, “student housing that had imbedded within them an academic enterprise. The idea is to put students closer together with the campus so they can see the kind of research and pursuits that go on here… we want open windows on the university’s work.”

In particular, this new lab is designed to establish an experimental laboratory to conduct innovative research on the interface between hydrology, geomorphology, ecology and climate (environmental sciences).  Such a lab is unique in Canada with only one or two in the U.S.; this lab will put UBC research on the frontiers of science as there are both great scope and great demand for innovative and fundamental research in environmental sciences. Research in these topics is particularly important given the ongoing and anticipated changes to the Earth’s climate and land surface cover. Land-use changes and rising demands for natural resources will put increasing pressure on landscapes, almost certainly leading to significant, progressive deterioration. In order to make significant progress, it is necessary to combine lab experiments, computer modelling, and available long-term data sets in the research.

President Stephen Toope addressed the faculty, students, and staff at the grand opening of the lab; “I really admire the tremendous interdisciplinary [nature] of the work that takes place through Geography at the University of British Columbia. Just hearing snippets of what goes on in this lab makes me realize how many different fields of study are brought together to produce the kind of knowledge that we hope can benefit the world.” Because physical geography labs are essential for researchers in Geography as well as other UBC departments such as Civil Engineering, EOS, and Forestry, it will also foster strong linkages between discipline-specific research groups. Such interdisciplinary scientific effort is necessary in developing predictive tools that could be used to inform effective and sustainable management of freshwater resources, including habitat restoration and riparian vegetation.

Killam Research Award Winners: Jamie Peck & Simon Donner

Associate Professor Simon Donner

UBC has announced its 2013 Killam Research Award Winners. Associate Professor Simon Donner is one of the recipients of the 2013 Killam Research Fellowship, an award for assisting promising faculty members who wish to devote full time to research and study in their field during a recognized study leave. It is based on special distinction of intellect with due regard for sound character and personal qualities.


Professor Jamie Peck

Professor Jamie Peck has also been awarded a 2013 Killam Research Fellowship as well as the Killam Research Prize, which recognizes faculty members for outstanding research and scholarly contributions.

Dean’s Office Responds to Town Hall Meeting in Memorandum

The Town Hall Meeting to discuss building frustrations was held on January 10th, 2014 as a response to the disruptive construction/renovations that began in the summer of 2013. Originally, the project had been scheduled to be completed by September to prevent disruption of classes but as more building/safety problems came to light, the renovations continued.

On January 23rd, the Dean’s Office distributed an official written acknowledgement of the concerns expressed during the Town Hall Meeting. We encourage everyone in the department to read it. The PDF can be read/downloaded HERE.

Photos of the New Physical Geography Laboratory Opening

On January 23rd, President Toope, Dean Averill, the faculty, staff, and students of Geography gathered at the new Ponderosa building to celebrate the opening of their new physical geography lab.

There are currently two labs operating in the large space: the Biogeomorphology Experimental Laboratory (BGMX) and Mountain Channel Hydraulic Experimental Laboratory (MCHEL).

Photographs by Bret Petersen. The full album can be viewed here.