McCalla Abstracts 2014-2015

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 2014-15 awards provide funding for 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 2014-15 McCalla Professors.

Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences

​ANDREAS HAMANN (Renewable Resources)

Andreas Hamann's focus during the tenure of the McCalla award is the development of distance learning and self-study modules for two statistics courses, an undergraduate course in experimental design and analysis, and a graduate multivariate statistics class. Lectures and labs will further be updated with material from current research by Dr. Hamann and his collaborators. The courses are subscribed by a broad audience including agriculture, forestry, bioscience, earth science and engineering students, including participants from Yukon College. Revisions to the courses are meant to make the learning material more broadly accessible and relevant to a diverse audience.

RHONDA BELL (Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science)

The teaching, research, and service activities in this McCalla Professorship will work together to promote healthy maternal nutrition and weights during pregnancy and postpartum. Dr. Bell plans to: 1) update materials about maternal nutrition during pregnancy and postpartum across the entire Nutrition and Food Science curriculum; 2) establish high quality research that helps health care providers promote healthy diets and weights to pregnant and postpartum women; and 3) work closely with three professional organizations that are developing materials important to healthy nutrition and weights in pregnancy and postpartum. Her efforts during this Professorship will contribute to timely improvements in maternal health in Canada and globally.

Faculty of Arts

YASMEEN ABU-LABAN (Political Science)

Dr. Abu-Laban's McCalla project seeks to create a textbook that addresses contemporary Canadian contributions to human rights. More specifically, the project will 1) develop a textbook on Canadian human rights expression for classroom use; 2) bring together relevant scholarly and policy documents, websites, and audiovisual materials, for instructional use in extant courses and to enhance the book project; and 3) provide a graduate student not only with funding, but teaching, research and publication experience, as well as mentoring in the profession. This project reflects key goals in Dare to Deliver (2011-2015).

Faculty of Business

ARMANN INGOLFSSON (Accounting, Operations and Information Systems)

Healthcare planners, retail managers, call centre managers, and many others face the challenge of selecting a capacity level (e.g. number of hospital beds, retail staff, or call centre agents) that strikes an appropriate balance or trade-off between cost and the length of patients' or customers' wait in a queue before service commences. I will develop case studies based on real situations for teaching capacity management to business students; develop software to simplify capacity planning calculations for students, practitioners, and researchers; and formulate and analyze mathematical models for capacity planning.

Faculty of Education

CHRISTINA RINALDI (Educational Psychology)

The McCalla activities are aimed at integrating research into teaching and assessing the engagement and learning experiences of undergraduate and graduate students in two separate courses in the Faculty of Education. The first project will document student learning (both on-line and face-to-face) regarding children's social and emotional development in a blended learning format using a combination of active, authentic/experiential and problem-based learning activities. The second project will evaluate an interprofessional school-based case collaborative learning experience involving students from four different professional programs. The research plan is to assess the different steps of the case learning approach.

Faculty of Engineering

PIERRE MERTINY (Department of Mechanical Engineering)

Polymer composites and multifunctional materials are increasingly the enabler for novel products with outstanding performance, versatility and cost-effectiveness. Examples are sensors, biomedical devises, and components for the energy industry. Dr. Mertiny strives to equip undergraduate and graduate students with the knowledge to understand such materials and subsequently engage in development and design work. He recently created the new course "Multifunctional Polymer-based Composites", which complements his course on "Design and Analysis of Composite Materials". Dr. Mertiny's McCalla program will involve the implementation of contemporary analysis and design software into these courses, which will enable students to work in an industry-relevant setting.

Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

PATRICIA MANNS (Physical Therapy)

This project will support the development and evaluation of e-learning modules for use in the neurological physiotherapy curriculum at the University of Alberta. The physiotherapy program now has campuses in Edmonton, Camrose, and Calgary, and the development of e-learning modules is an important strategy that facilitates the delivery of the same content, in the same way, at all sites. Despite the proliferation of e-learning options - research evidence to support their use is lacking. This project is one of the first to systematically evaluate the usability and effectiveness of e-learning modules in physiotherapy.

Faculty of Science


Understanding the nature of light and how it interacts with our environment is a fundamental component of science education and essential for the development of new light-based technologies. Current teaching approaches, however, typically use only visible light to demonstrate optical properties. This McCalla Professorship will establish a comprehensive teaching and research program to allow students to explore the nature of light across the electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to infrared to x-rays. The program will emphasize current optics-related research in the Department of Physics and the Faculty of Science, in time for the International Year of Light in 2015.

School of Public Health


Dr. Bubela's McCalla Professorship in Health Policy and Management cuts across disciplines to address the translation and commercialization of the innovative research conducted by faculty and students in Alberta. It's objectives are to (1) develop case-based training modules accompanied by instructor resources on the commercialization and translation of research for use in diverse faculties; (2) integrate research on the legal, ethical and social considerations for commercialization and translation of primarily publicly funded biomedical research; and (3) develop dissemination strategies for the modules, including online resources. The expected outcomes are four training modules.