FASS in the Class: The off-campus visit

Bring FASS to your classroom

Bring FASS to your classroom

Bring FASS to your classroom

Bring SFU and FASS to your classroom! We have a roster of highly successful FASS graduates who are keen to share their research and career journeys with your students. Each speaker will bring a unique perspective to their presentation and will add value to the learning experience by sharing their knowledge and expertise in a humanities and social sciences subject.

Presentations are subject to change and limited to availability.

Presentations list

A Railway Siding Miles from Anywhere: The School and Dental Cars of Northern Ontario - Ideal for: B.C. First Peoples 12 and Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12

Presented by Leah Wiener

This presentation explores the fascinating history of railway classrooms and dentists offices, which enabled children in remote communities to get education and medical care in the early to mid twentieth century. The school and dental cars were classrooms and dentists offices that were operated by the provincial government, with cooperation from railway companies. Students will learn how ideas about education have changed over the past century, and how provisions for education and medical care were fundamental to Canadian settlement. We will also examine how Indigenous children experienced these programs as an alternative to residential schooling. This presentation would be appropriate for B.C. First Peoples 12, Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12, 20th Century World History, Social Justice 12, or a Law Studies 12 class.

Are we really paying attention: What is attention and how does it affect how we experience the world? - Ideal for: Psychology 12 and Advanced Placement Psychology

Presented by Bertrand Sager

After a brief review of various models of attention, common failures in attention which demonstrate the importance of top-down processing will be demonstrated (e.g. inattentional blindness, change blindness). This will be followed by a discussion of how attention does the things it does at a neurological level, using motion detection or Object Substitution Masking (a type of masking we study in our lab) as examples. (Some research on distracted driving may also be presented.)

Automation: are the machines really taking over? - Ideal for: Economic Theory 12 and Human Geography 12  

Presented by Bo Martin

Since the 1990s, a trend called the “Great Decoupling” has given some people cause for alarm: while we are more productive than ever, there are fewer and fewer jobs. One of the prime culprits? Machines are doing our work for us. To make matters worse, some of the leading predictions for how this trend will increase are saying it will only continue, with a leading estimate claiming almost half of U.S. jobs could be automated in the next 20 years. This presentation asks students what kinds of solutions they can think of to this predicament and situates those responses in current literature on the subject. 

Cemeteries: Life in the City - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12 

Presented by Kate Elliott

Can anybody visit a cemetery? Are you allowed to play sports in a cemetery? Do people live in cemeteries? -- Your presenter (who was once invited to live in a cemetery) will answer these questions, and will ask students to consider cemeteries as more than mere places of death. Students will be invited to consider the multiple roles cemeteries could play as community green space.

Citizen Participation in City-Making - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

This presentation explores the ways in which ordinary citizens can help make practical improvements to spaces in our city. Students will explore interventions of various "artist-actionists" who help raise awareness about traffic flows, promote greater use of public spaces, raise awareness of the need for public amenities (drinkable water, washrooms) and increase food security. Students will be introduced to concepts such as guerrilla gardening, ephemeral art, and tactical urbanism, and will be invited to imagine interventions they could make in spaces they use.

Cognitive neuroscience: What electroencephalography and Event Related Potentials can tell us about the mind - Ideal for: Psychology 12 and Advanced Placement Psychology

Presented by Bertrand Sager

After a brief review of the structure of neurons and how they communicate, we will examine some of the possibilities and challenges presented by brain imaging techniques such as EEG and fMRI. The focus of the presentation will then shift to a discussion of Event Related Potentials (ERPs). A simple experiment will be used to illustrate the principles and logic behind ERP analysis.

Cognitive psychology: The early years - Ideal for: Psychology 12 and Advanced Placement Psychology

Presented by Bertrand Sager

A discussion of early cognitive psychology and its tools, and of how the study of the mind survived behaviorism. Some key experiments are described along the way to illustrate how cognitive psychologists make inferences about the mind and how they evaluate theories, for example, Donders’ (1868) experiment on how long it takes to make a decision, or Tolman’s (1938) experiments showing that rats build a cognitive map of the maze they’re in.

Environmental Stewardship, Urban Infrastructure, and Magical Thinking - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

This presentation explores what happens when the goals of multiple stakeholders (local, provincial, federal, transnational) conflict. Using the case study of the contested sewage treatment plant in Greater Victoria, students will examine why it took so long for the province's capital city to start treating its sewage. Looking at the political, environmental, and scientific messaging that contributed to confusion over the need for a treatment plant, students will be invited to offer examples of current issues clouded by mixed-messages.

Forensic Psychology - It’s Not What You See on TV - Ideal for: Law Studies 12 and Psychology 12

Presented by Madison Harvey

This presentation will give an overview of the topic of forensic psychology (the intersection of psychology and the law). A major focus of the presentation will be on current research happening at Simon Fraser University, particularly in the areas of witness credibility and memory. Examples involving real cases will help to illustrate the ideas to students. Possible education and career paths will also be discussed.

Gentrification in Global Cities - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

This presentation explains what we mean when we talk about gentrification, and offers chronologies of how this happens in cities that compete in a global context. Some case studies will demonstrate how this process affects urban environments and people. Students will be invited to examine gentrifying forces in places familiar to them.

Jordan's Principle: Standing up for Children in the Past and Present - Ideal for: 20th Century World History and B.C. First Peoples 12

Presented by Leah Wiener

This presentation focuses on the history of Jordan's Principle, a goal set by the federal government to ensure that Indigenous children with complex medical needs can access care with minimal red tape. Leah will demonstrate how this principle has a long history by sharing how children have experienced poor medical care as a result of bureaucracies. This presentation will allow students to explore case files from the past, and will demonstrate the ongoing relevance of legislation such as the British North America Act and the Indian Act. It will also teach students about Indigenous history beyond the residential school system. This presentation would be appropriate for B.C. First Peoples 12, Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12, 20th Century World History, Social Justice 12, or a Law Studies 12 class.

Justifying hate: Identifying racist narratives online - Ideal for: Law 12 and Social Justice 12

Presented by Naomi Zakimi

This presentation aims to describe the different narratives used in social media and online forums to discriminate, offend, and "other" minorities. Specifically, it will explore the results of a qualitative discourse analysis on posts obtained from popular social bookmarking site Reddit, which revealed five themes: “danger!,” “we are the real victims,” “the other is inferior,” “it’s only logical,” and “conspiratorial thought.” Findings suggest that these narratives, which often fall under the definition of "reasonable racism," have become more palatable to attract a wider audience. As well, the presentation briefly discusses ongoing research projects on the same topic that employ automated content analysis techniques to provide a different perspective on ways to tackle the problem of online racism. Finally, the presentation encourages students to engage in constructive and respectful dialogue when using social media.

Life on the Front Lawn - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

As we examine the evolution and role of lawns in urban and suburban communities, students will be introduced to questions about ideas of "home" and social control through neighbourhood regulation of residential green space. Following an analysis of the ways lawns can affect human behaviour, students will explore the ways in which the choice of a lawn impacts other species. Students will be introduced to the Rights of Nature and to movements that promote this ecological philosophy

Making inferences from limited data: A primer in inferential statistics - Ideal for: Psychology 12 and Advanced Placement Psychology

Presented by Bertrand Sager

Statistics need not be intimidating; this light-hearted discussion aims to take the mystery out of the principles underlying statistical inference. Concepts such as variability between samples, and how the central limit theorem can help us compose with it, will be explained in easy to understand terms. The focus will be on logic rather than mathematical formulas.

Memory: How reliable is it? - Ideal for: Psychology 12 and Advanced Placement Psychology

Presented by Bertrand Sager

A discussion of the constructive nature of memory and of how its malleability makes it prone to errors (with some demonstrations of false-memory experiments). We will debate how our memory system, with all its flaws, can be beneficial to our survival. Some effective study tips may be included in this presentation.

Pay to Play: Basic Income and its Effects on Civic Engagement - Ideal for: Economic Theory 12 and Human Geography 12

Presented by Bo Martin

What happens to peoples’ lives when you give them cash, every month, with no strings attached? Do they stop working? Do they spend it all on temptation goods? Are they happier or healthier? This presentation will talk about the creative experiments and projects that have, over the past 50 years, answered these questions by giving people cash every month, or what’s called a “basic income”. Current projects are taking place around the world, with promising conclusions that might change the way we think of how our social safety nets currently operate. 

Perception: Top-down versus bottom-up; how what we know influences what we see - Ideal for: Psychology 12 and Advanced Placement Psychology

Presented by Bertrand Sager

Perception may be triggered by sensory input (bottom-up), but most of what we perceive is heavily influenced by our knowledge and intentions (top-down). I will discuss some perceptual phenomena that illustrate this (e.g. the moon appears larger near the horizon), before describing some surprising results I obtained from experiments that attempt to separate bottom-up and top-down effects in stereoscopic vision.

Research: From research question to experimental design - Ideal for: Psychology 12 and Advanced Placement Psychology

Presented by Bertrand Sager

How do researchers test theories? What makes a good experiment? How can we measure things that aren’t necessarily visible? Using cognitive psychology as an example, the research process from the initial question to the eventual publication of results is discussed.

Seeing the World in Sixteenth-Century Germany - Ideal for: 20th Century World History 12 and and Comparative Cultures 12

Presented by Esther Souman

This presentation is designed to give students an overview of a crucial period in Western history in a fun, visual, and interactive way. By transporting students into the shoes of sixteenth-century Germans -- some real, some fictional -- in a real German city, Esther aims to help students imagine how large, historical events and trends affected the lives of normal people, and how these people would have responded. There will be a brief overview of context and themes of the time: the Renaissance and Humanism, the Reformation, early German nationalism, and exploration. This presentation includes a PowerPoint, role-playing cards (no physical acting required), multiple-choice questions, and a matching exercise.

Some common errors we make while driving and why we make them - Ideal for: Psychology 12 and Advanced Placement Psychology

Presented by Bertrand Sager

Our evolution did not adapt us to travel at speeds in excess of 30 km/h, so our instincts are rarely helpful. Using knowledge gained from over 15 years as a driving instructor, traffic-safety researcher, motorcyclist, and racecar driver, I describe and explain some of the most common mistakes drivers make, the reasons behind them, and how to avoid making them.

Urban Dirt  - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

Where do cities hide their dirt? Who performs urban "dirty" work? Why do we cover so much of the soil in our cities with pavement and asphalt, and how does this affect the quality of the dirt in our cities? This presentation will  look at why the idea of "dirt" carries stigma when, as a finite resource, it is so valuable. After a quick look at organizations like the Depave movement that uncovers and cares for dirt in urban spaces, students will be invited to think about how they might care for the soil in their own communities.

Urban Space, Surveillance Regimes, and Social Control  - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

This presentation explores how spaces in cities are designed in ways that tell us who is allowed to be there and what activities are (or are not) permitted. What does this tell us about humans and the spaces we use? Students will be invited to examine public spaces in their own lives where there might be examples of hostile or defensive architecture, to discuss reasons why those spaces need "defending," and to collaborate in an imagined re-design to make a space welcoming and accessible.

What do We Mean When We Talk about Street Trees?  - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

Are street trees part of the urban forest? What valuable services do the trees on our streets offer the city and the humans within it? As we look at street trees in the Lower Mainland, students will explore the many roles these trees play, the benefits they offer if appropriately selected, and the damage that can result if they are not.