From the Department Chair

Greetings from all of us at SFU Geography. Through the continued craziness of the past year, we remain fortunate to work on the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) & kwikwəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) nations and are grateful for it.

Switching between remote, in person and hybrid instruction and learning as the pandemic waves cycled through the education system has tested the metal of many of us this academic year, yet the hard work and commitment of all resulted in higher undergraduate enrolments than ever before (>5000) and 14 graduate theses were defended. It is the care and resiliency of staff, faculty and students that have allowed us to thrive, though we very much hope Fall 2022 will be back to normal and stay that way. We wish all our pandemic graduands the very best for your future successes.

The Department is also ever changing. We bid farewell to Alex Clapp who retired in January 2022, and we welcomed Leanne Roderick, Human Geography lecturer in July 2021 and Sharon Luk, Geographies of Racialization Tier 2 CRC in April 2022. Geography’s long-standing technical staff shifted from Geography to the Dean’s office in a move toward a centralized service model for the Faculty of Environment. Geography Alumnus Chris (Syeta'xtn) Lewis now serves SFU as Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation. Renovations to our physical geography teaching labs are still ongoing (we hope these will be back in use in Fall), while those to some of our research labs are now under way, making for a temporary tight squeeze in our remaining space. The Dean’s office has also furnished us with new faster computers that will enhance GIScience instruction come the Fall.

Several of our students and faculty have been recognized for their achievements this past year. Some examples: Leanne Roderick received a teaching excellence award and Geoff Mann was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Tsatia Adzich, Adrienne Arbor and Joy Russell all received tri-council awards. Kendra Munn received the 2021 ESRI Canada GIS Scholarship and National Young Scholars Award. Rachel Singleton-Polster received the Andre Gerolymatos Graduate Award, the Andrew Petter Graduate Scholarship in Public Policy, and the Mackenzie King Scholarship. Alexander Smith received the Canadian Pacific/Teck Resources Award and the Wayne Goeson Memorial Award. Morgan Wright received the Simons Foundation Award for Environment. Gabrielle Wong received the 2021 Warren Gill award.

Productivity and engagement also fared well. Here are some examples: Paul Kingsbury published a co-edited book, Lacan and the environment, Kirsten Zickfeld co-authored a chapter of the Working Group I Contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Jesse Hahm co-authored a Nature paper on woody plant use of water stored in bedrock. Media interviews and commentaries ranged from race and country music (Geoff Mann) to the UFO report to congress (Paul Kingsbury) to COVID-19 (Andy Longhurst) to hydraulic fishbarriers in the Fraser River (Jeremy Venditti). Undergraduate students in several courses gave back to community by presenting their innovative city building ideas at CityStudio Vancouver’s HUBBUB 17 & HUBBUB 18 events, volunteering to tackle climate change communication on Skeptical Science, and collaboratively publishing an article on how environmental assessments consider endangered marine species with students in a similar course at UBC.

I hope you remain safe and well, and that the coming year continues to bring lots of good news for us all. I invite you to follow us on Twitter and/or LinkedIn, and I look forward to seeing some of you at our events over the coming year.

Tracy Brennand
Professor and Chair, Department of Geography