McCalla Abstracts 2010-2011

The McCalla Professorships, named after the first Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, provide faculty members with an opportunity to explore and implement strategies integrating their research and teaching. Recipients, nominated by their Faculty, are outstanding academics who have made significant contributions to their field of research, teaching and learning. The 2010-11 awards provide funding for teaching release, and research and teaching initiatives. These awards are tenable at the University of Alberta.

The following is a brief description of the work being conducted by the 2010-11 McCalla Professors.

Faculty of Arts

LINDA TRIMBLE (Political Science)

Dr. Linda Trimble's project has two interrelated goals. The first is to write a book entitled Mediating Leadership: Women Prime Ministers and the Press. By employing content and discourse analysis to compare newspaper and television coverage of New Zealand Prime Ministers Helen Clark and Jenny Shipley with equivalent reportage of their male counterparts and competitors, the monograph explores the impact of gendered stereotypes and assumptions on media representations of political leadership. The second goal is to develop course content and pedagogy for teaching political science research methods, particularly qualitative methods such as discourse analysis. In addition to incorporating this material in undergraduate and graduate-level courses, Dr. Trimble will design and lead a methodology workshop for Political Science graduate students, provide opportunities for graduate student publishing, and give presentations to the Department and the discipline as a whole on teaching research methods.



This project focuses on the value of peer education in one-on-one and small group settings by means of its theoretical underpinnings. Following pedagogical strategies of peer education and their use in Writing Centre practices and Team-Based Learning, this research will generate, first, a description of current best practices for the training of Writing Centre peer tutors with a focus on faculty engagement with Writing Centres, and, second, new strategies for scaffolding learning in the contextualization of texts in the senior literature classroom. Mixed methods will be used to collect, synthesize and disseminate information about effective practices for the Writing Centre and the English classroom. Outcomes will include poster and seminar presentations, informational pamphlets, and articles in newsletters and scholarly journals.

Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry


Dr. Jonathan White is a surgical educator who is committed to exploring and enhancing the way that Medicine is taught and learned. The McCalla Professorship will allow him to pursue his research in three main areas of innovation: team-based interprofessional assessment, online learning presence (wikis/podcasts) and the use of narrative in medical education. By developing new ways of assessing medical students, investigating the impact of new technologies in teaching and learning, and exploring the use of storytelling in medical education, Dr. White will enhance the ways in which we teach and learn Medicine at the University of Alberta.



This teaching project seeks to increase the writing capacity of nursing students to better articulate what it is like to nurse. The project objectives include a) create a learning opportunity for students to acquire interpretive writing skills, b) provide students with a way to articulate the experience of nursing practice, c) instill the need for critical interpretive thought, and d) explore how to make this project sustainable within the nursing curriculum. Students undergoing their final nursing practicum with Aboriginal peoples, people in palliative care, or working in an international setting will be invited to participate in this teaching project.

Physical Education and Recreation


Being physically active is the most important choice we can make toward a healthy life. The benefits of regular physical activity are far-reaching for females but for some, there are potential risks for select musculoskeletal injuries. Physical activity programs lacking a physical literacy foundation may increase the risk of injury and reduce lifetime involvement in physical activity. Dr. Harber's McCalla will explore the impact of physical literacy on injury reduction and overall health in females. Findings from this research will help 1) create a new course for undergraduate students, 2) educate parents, teachers and coaches about positive physical activity practices, and 3) develop guidelines for school- and community-based sport and recreation.

Faculty of Science

GREG GOSS (Biological Sciences)

The University of Alberta, as a top tier research university, offers undergraduate students the opportunity to perform relevant novel research at the undergraduate level. The McCalla Professorship will be used to update and/or replace some of the experimental laboratories in the Comparative Physiology Course in the Department of Biological Sciences. These new undergraduate labs will integrate modern experiments and techniques into our teaching in time for the move into their new facilities in CCIS in fall 2011. The ability to offer these high calibre opportunities highlights the University of Alberta's commitment to integration of teaching and research.

MICHAEL LI (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences)

The McCalla Professorship will provide Dr. Michael Li with release time for him to concentrate on an array of activities in research and teaching development. He will collaborate with faculty members at the School of Public Health to create a new interdisciplinary course, Mathematical Modeling in Public Health Sciences, for students from both Science and Public Health Sciences. This endeavour will draw on his research expertise in mathematical modelling and research expertise in epidemiology at the School of Public Health, and create a unique learning experience for students through integration of research and teaching.


The Faculty of Science has developed and implemented one of the most unique and comprehensive Interdisciplinary Science courses (spanning seven departments) at the first year undergraduate level (Science 100). One of the main objectives of this application will be the development and implementation of new interdisciplinary projects and labs for a portion of the course and better integration of the research activities at the University of Alberta into the first-year interdisciplinary science experience. The McCalla year will allow for the fulfilment of these objectives and advancement of Dr. Sydora's research on magnetic field energy conversion processes.