issues and experts

SFU experts available for back-to-school season

August 28, 2023

As students embark next week on a new academic year, faculty at Simon Fraser University are available to share their expertise on various related topics:


AI in the Classroom

STEVE DIPAOLA, professor, School of Interactive Arts & Technology                   
Expertise: Artificial Intelligence (AI), AI ethics, AI for social good, AI bots and character agents, AI and art, digital fine art, virtual reality and augmented reality, digital art

TERRI GRIFFITH, professor, Beedie School of Business
Expertise: Using new technology tools in the classroom; the shift to helping others adjust to its use; building bridges to AI opportunities


LARA AKNIN, associate professor, psychology
Expertise: Happiness, generosity, kindness, the importance of social relationships for well-being, including making new friends at school

LUC BEAUDOIN, adjunct professor, education
Expertise: Use of technology to improve focus while studying, tips for better sleep, understanding and regulating perturbant emotions. sleep onset and insomnia

TERENCE DAY, adjunct professor, geography
Expertise: Legacy of the pandemic and its impacts on postsecondary education 

NEHA SHIVHARE, visiting assistant professor, education
Expertise: Using mindfulness techniques as a tool to deal with back-to-school anxiety

TAMMARA SOMA, assistant professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management (planning and program); research director, Food Systems Lab
Expertise: Food system planning, healthy food in schools including a project with partners at Farm to School BC and the Coalition for Healthy School Food


ANDREY PAVLOV, professor, finance
Expertise: Housing shortages and affordability challenges in the rental housing market for students, B.C. and the Canadian economy, interest rates and inflation

Issues in Education

DAN LAITSCH, assistant professor, Dean, Faculty of Education
Expertise: Educational policy, social foundations of education, policy formation; termination of letter grades for students in Grades 4 - 9


INNA STEPANIUK, assistant professor, education
Expertise: Inclusive education K-12, teacher learning for inclusive education, systems change for inclusive K-12 schooling

Programs & Courses: Solving Society's Challenges

MAHDA JAHROMI, lecturer, School of Sustainable Energy Engineering
Course: Renewable Energy Systems (SEE 476
Learning about cutting-edge energy conversion systems—wind, solar, tidal, hydrogen and fuel cells. Attracts students with a passion for renewable energy; is in high demand with class capacity added for the upcoming term.

SAMI KHAN, assistant professor, School of Sustainable Energy Engineering
Course: Carbon Capture (SEE 475), Students study designs for the next generation of sustainable carbon capture systems, design a carbon capture plant and visit related facilities.

LYANA PATRICK, assistant professor, and faculty teaching fellow, health sciences
Course: Indigenous Experiences of Health (HSCI 220) examines the impacts of colonization in Canada and continuous efforts of Indigenous communities to assert their own practices of health and well-being.

ANDREA REIMER, Instructor, dialogue and civic engagement, Climate Action (Andrea will be unavailable for comment on Tuesday, Aug 29 )
Course: Climate Action Certificate (Continuing Studies)
New this semester, the program is for those seeking to learn more about climate justice, climate leadership, building community resilience and developing environmental solutions.

NIENKE VAN HOUTEN, senior lecturer, director, undergraduate programs, health sciences 
Course: Indigenous Experiences of Health (HSCI 220) (see above)

Teaching: Innovative Approaches to Education

ELINA BIRMINGHAM, associate professor, education
Creating smart technology using artificial intelligence (AI) to support autistic children, youth and adults who experience decreased sound tolerance (sound sensitivity project); improving the university experience of autistic SFU students (the Autism Mentorship Initiative ); exploring how autistic individuals visually interpret information in their environments (eye tracking & social attention research)

JON CORBETT, instructor, School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT)
nehiyaw-Metis computational artist exploring Indigenous forms of expression through “Indigitalization,” currently developing a new programming language and integrated development environment (IDE) based on the Cree language and on Métis culture called Cree# that allows for programming in Cree keywords, concepts, and metaphors. His classes weave together Indigenous culture and western computing technologies.

ANA MARIA NAVAS IANNINI, assistant professor, education
How informal science education settings are currently committed with social responsibility, civic agency and public engagement efforts around contemporary socio-scientific issues. 

SUZANNE SMYTHE, associate professor, Adult Literacy and Adult Education
Adult literacy, digital equity, and community-based learning. Her current research program explores new technologies, literacies, and digital justice in community-based adult learning settings.

VANCE WILLIAMS, professor,chemistry
The beauty of chemistry: how art can help make science accessible to students and the general public, using striking visuals of crystals captured through a microscope. Williams, a chemist and photographer, gives the first in a series of SFU’s free, public Café Scientifique presentations on the topic September 26.


MELISSA SHAW, SFU  Communications & Marketing 
236.880.3297 | 

Simon Fraser University
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