McCalla Abstracts 2018-2019

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 2018-2019 awards provide funding for research and teaching initiatives at the University of Alberta.

The following is a brief description of the work being conducted by the 2018-2019 McCalla Professors.

Alberta School of Business

KYLE MURRAY (Marketing, Business Economics, and Law)

The field of marketing is in the midst of a dramatic transition from mass communication to personalized experiences.  To a large extent this is being driven by advances in technology that have sparked a move away from mass media messaging aimed at a large passive audience towards interactive personalized communication.  A similar pattern is playing out in university classrooms around the world as technology has provided professors with the opportunity to enhance traditional lecture methods using new means of communication.  Building on Dr. Murray’s prior research, the McCalla Professorship will allow him to apply blended learning methods to MBA teaching to bring the digital world into the classroom and the classroom into the digital world.

Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences

ROBERT GRANT (Renewable Resources)

Understanding complex ecosystem responses to changing climates, soil quality and land use practices increasingly relies on process-based ecosystem models that integrate basic principles from diverse scientific disciplines, including biochemistry, physics, biology and biometeorology, into a single mathematical framework.  My research program is intended improve this understanding by constructing and testing a comprehensive mathematical model (ecosys) of natural and managed ecosystems.

Faculty of Arts

JANA GREKUL (Sociology)

My teaching and research have always been about bridging the worlds of academe and community.  At the centre of my teaching and research is a desire to unravel common, taken-for granted assumptions about groups of people (i.e. eugenicists, gang members), ways of doing things (i.e. exploring new pedagogies), and systems and bureaucracies (i.e. the criminal justice system) in a way that privileges the voices and experiences of those who are typically marginalized.  Over the years, this approach to research has influenced my teaching and has led me to push the boundaries of traditional pedagogy and my own comfort levels to experiment with experiential and project-based learning, most recently in my upper level undergraduate Sociology of Punishment course.
 I am in the process of developing a new research program, one that explores women's reintegration post-incarceration.  This shift in research focus brings with it a desire to re-imagine an upper level undergraduate seminar course on Women and Crime that is project-based and involves community groups.

Augustana Faculty

LARS HALLSTROM (Social Sciences)

Drawing from a combination of teaching release, travel funds and research assistance, the McCalla Professorship will enable me to achieve three goals related to my research on how different pedagogical structures and approaches (and particularly a dilemma-based, discursive pedagogy) can capitalize upon the reality that as a contested, multilayered and multifaceted subject, sustainability provides rich opportunities for critical thinking and transformative learning (UNESCO, 2014).

Faculty of Education

GEORGE GEORGIOU (Educational Psychology)

What I propose here is to further improve the learning of my undergraduate students in EDPY 458 (Assessment and Programming of Children with Reading Difficulties) by incorporating a field experience in their course during which they are expected to implement effective reading strategies to poor readers in schools.  A Chinese proverb says: "Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand".  The proposed project involves the students in the world of reading interventions and allows them to better understand the nuances of reading instruction.

Faculty of Engineering

AMY KIM (Civil and Environmental Engineering)

I propose a new graduate class in transportation network modeling, where I can bring my research directly into my classroom through a reversed pedagogical approach of application first followed by the presentation of mathematical models.  I will use a model of the Alberta highways and air transportation network developed as part of my ongoing project with Alberta Transportation.  I will also consider usage of a (cycling) network model of downtown Edmonton developed as part of my ongoing project with the City of Edmonton.  The usual pedagogical approach is to present the theory/concepts/mathematics first, then illustrate these concepts through small toy examples.  I want to flip this approach around by getting students to use the network model first, then introducing the concepts afterwards.  We will use the network to do numerical calculations and assess results, then present the concepts behind the calculations, for several major categories of ideas introduced.

Faculty of Extension

Mary Beckie

Increasingly, government, industry and non-profit organizations in Canada are realizing the importance of engaging communities in the development of policies, programs and initiatives that they are affected by.  The need for expertise in community engagement (CE) is growing but there is a lack of professional education programs in Canada.  The purpose of this project is to conduct research and develop my knowledge and skills in blended learning in order to design an innovative, accessible and practice-based CE certificate for working professionals.  This project will be informed by research with a diverse range of professionals and agencies involved with CE, and will build on my knowledge of CE, community-based research, program development and experiential/practice-based learning.

School of Public Health


Though the McCalla Professorship I propose to apply my both my research which frames systems for health in the Arctic, and approaches for research that include two eyed seeing, to aspects of my teaching and northern practicum orientations of students within the School of Public Health.  I am teaching the Introduction to Health Promotion Research – SPH 503, Foundations of Public Health Research – SPH 555. In addition,  I am assisting with student public health practicum placements in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.  The practicum experiences encompass a placement with a northern organization that addresses public health issue.  The experience is designed to be reciprocal where students can gain experiences from a host organization to build on their theoretical teachings with practice. In turn practicum placements can support an organization’s capacity to execute or evaluate population and public health initiatives.

Faculty of Science

ELENI STROULIA (Computing Science)

The advancing wave of Internet-of-Things technologies offer great promise towards supporting the delivery of high-quality, personalized, heathcare services through Smart Homes.  The objective of my McCalla project is twofold.  First, I will design a multi-perspective modeling framework to enable the efficient deployment of the Smart-CondoTM platform, minimizing the required human activities necessary and, consequently, lowering the cost of the adoption of the platform and increasing its potential for real-world impact.  Second, I will develop a new version of my Internet-of-Things course, focused on the requirements, methods, and technologies relevant to Smart Homes as technological platforms for supporting healthcare.  This work will advance the state-of-the-art in technologies for supporting the functional independence of seniors, and, more generally, frail individuals, enabling them to live in their homes, in sustainable communities of people enjoying high-quality of life.