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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences celebrates past year's accomplishments at FASS Forum
During a celebratory gathering at the Diamond Family Auditorium, faculty, staff, and alumni from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) came together to reflect on a year of outstanding academic achievements, department highlights, and public outreach.
New FASS Dean Laurel Weldon opened the event with warm words of welcome before Indigenous Studies professor Eldon Yellowhorn led land acknowledgements specific to Lhuḵw’lhuḵw’áyten (Burnaby Mountain).
The event reimagined the annual townhall meeting formerly known as FASSembly to focus on celebrating the past year’s accomplishments, starting with flash talks by new and newly-promoted faculty across a range of disciplines.
Lara Aknin, Hali Kil, and Yuthika Girme introduced their labs in the Department of Psychology, covering exciting new research from attachment styles to mindfulness and the psychology of altruism. Kino Zhao from the Department of Philosophy discussed her research on the philosophy of “grit," while new Indigenous Studies professor Zoe Todd highlighted the importance of fish as community members in the Red River watershed. Finally, Genevieve Lebaron, the new director of the School of Public Policy, brought attention to the growing rates of forced labour in global supply chains.
The rapid-fire talks were followed by project presentations from two Shadbolt Fellows. Andrea Hoff presented on her multimedia series of linked animations titled Drawing Beyond Inclusion. Wanda John-Kehewin introduced her project on lateral violence and shared a preview of her forthcoming graphic novel, Visions of Crow.
During an intermission in the foyer, Eldon Yellowhorn read an excerpt from his award-winning book Sky Wolf’s Call detailing a Blackfoot creation tale, “The Story of Poia.” Dean Weldon also introduced the FASS Associate Deans, including Kate Slaney, Jennifer Spear, Steeve Mongrain, and Lara Campbell, under whose tenure as 2021-22 Dean (pro tem) the year’s FASS accomplishments were primarily achieved.
The inaugural FASS unit highlight was presented by the Department of Gerontology. Program chair Habib Chaudhury and professors Andrew Wister and Theodore Cosco presented department highlights and introduced the Gerontology Research Centre; while new Gerontology professor Theresa Pauly presented her research on healthy aging.
Genevieve Fuji Johnson from the Department of Political Science delivered the event’s keynote presentation, speaking to the diversity gap in leadership pipelines at Canadian universities. The keynote speech additionally covered her forthcoming graphic novel Join Us Beneath the Red Umbrella (co-authored with Kerry Porth), an educational tool about sex work and the sex worker rights movement.
Following a closing address by Dean Weldon, the audience ascended the auditorium steps to the foyer to enjoy wine and canapés accompanied by live piano music. FASS Forum’s overall atmosphere was one of reinvigoration, as multiple faculty speakers expressed feeling humbled and newly impassioned by their colleagues’ research and presentations. FASS Forum 2023 imbued the spirit of interdisciplinarity and a renewed sense of collaborative opportunity that resounded among the 27 departments represented by FASS.