McCalla Abstracts 2019-2020

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 2019-2020 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 2019-2020 McCalla Professors.

Alberta School of Business

EMILY BLOCK (Strategic Management and Organization)

The McCalla Professorship will build upon the foundation that I have built for the Alberta Business School which is to become the place where globally minded business scholars and students drive global change. Through a combination of teaching, scholarship and service, my vision is that The Frontiers of Business Initiative will serve as a forum and a launching pad for business development related projects that significantly impact underserved markets. I plan to use my McCalla Professorship to build trusted partnerships, human capital and reputation for impact and excellence required to grow this initiative.

Faculty of Arts


A Sounding Line is a continuation of the experiential dance, educational and performative research I have pursued since arriving in Alberta in 2008. The objectives are to work with an ensemble of professional theatre, dance artists and academics whom I have both taught and worked alongside in order to experiment with the translations of dance, spoken word, recorded text and live music through the lens of relational aesthetics: meaning how one thing put beside another can stir the soul. In old nautical language, a sounding line was a weighted line with distances marked off at regular intervals used to measure the depth of water under a boat. The question this research asks is how can dance/theatre/and music gain depth as storytelling devices through collective problem solving. It will also research the relationship between pedagogy to performance as experiential learning. This research is about how practice relates to performing and will create both a performance and performance scores that can be taught in classroom studio situations to artists of various disciplines.

Faculty of Engineering

ZAHER HASHISHO (Civil and Environmental Engineering)

The overarching goal of the McCalla professorship is to enhance the learning experience of students by offering interactive visuals, demos, and hands-on learning tools. This goal will be achieved through the following 4 objectives/tasks: 1) Integrating research and teaching in undergraduate and graduate courses; 2) Preparing demos of air pollution control processes and equipment; 3) Building interactive online tools for visualizing and modeling fate of toxic pollutants in the environment; and 4) Outreach activities to engage educators on-campus and off-campus and effectively communicate the outcome of the McCalla Professorship to a wider community. The McCalla professorship builds on successful educational strategies which I implemented in the past, but couldn't be extended or extrapolated without the support of this professorship.

Faculty of Extension


A one-week evaluation institute is being developed with a Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) grant, and will be piloted in June 2019 at the University of Alberta. This institute, UEval, is an innovative learning initiative that aims to: bridge theory with practice through experiential learning, and create a mutually beneficial co-learning space for students and community stakeholders. Through collaboration around stakeholder-informed cases (case-based curricula), students will gain an opportunity to practice evaluation in context, and community stakeholders will be supported with case-based learning directly pertinent to their organizations. The purpose of the McCalla Professorship project is to address university and community needs for innovative, experiential, and community-based evaluation learning. While the UEval provides a new model for university- and community-engaged evaluative learning, further research is needed to determine if this experiential model of learning is impactful for students, faculty and community, and can be used to inform future course development and programming. The McCalla award will support this research, to ultimately build high caliber evaluation capacity (i.e., knowledge, leadership, skills) within and outside the University.

Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation


Central to the act of coaching is planning. That is, for any coach, a daily concern must always be: What should I have my athletes do in practice today to advance our performance objectives? With that aim in mind, I developed KRLS 575, "Coaching 'Knowledges': Understanding the Social Dimensions of Performance Sport," for students enrolled in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation's (FKSR) Master's of Coaching (MCoach) degree to teach them how to design and implement training plans with an appreciation and awareness of the complex interface between knowledge, practice, and performance. More specifically, I created an assignment as part of my course based on Michel Foucault's (1995) analysis of disciplinary power for the students to learn how and why their training plans can lead to a number of unintended consequences such as athlete burnout, dropout, and underperformance (Lang, 2010; Mills, & Denison, 2013; Shogan, 1999). For the purpose of this project, I intend to continue (and expand) the work that my students do on their assignment through a community-based coach education program in order to, as expressed in the University of Alberta's strategic plan, For the Public Good, bridge the theory-practice divide that so often fragments shared university and community learning opportunities within professional settings such as coaching.

Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry


Postgraduate medical education (i.e. training after graduation from medical school) across Canada is transitioning from a primarily time-based model to more of an outcomes-based model called Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME) where learners are expected to demonstrate evidence of competence on various tasks. These defined tasks are called Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs), i.e., they are an activity than can be entrusted to the learner once there is enough evidence to support this judgment. The International CBME Collaborators published the core principles of assessment in CBME (Lockyer et al 2017). One of their key principles is that CBME involves a transition from Assessment of Learning to Assessment for Learning, with more formative feedback which is essential to developing competence. A second principle is that faculty development is needed to facilitate accurate faculty ratings (Lockyer et al 2017). The purpose of this McCalla Professorship project is first (phase 1) to understand the primary barriers and motivation to achieving an EPA observation both from the learner's perspective and from the teacher's. Second, (phase 2) we will then use the findings of this first part to help create a website where learners and teachers can access short, focused resources on demand.

Faculty of Nursing


My program of research focuses on improving nursing practice with older people. Older people are the largest demographic utilizing health care resources due to the increased incidence of chronic conditions with age. Thus, it is essential that nurses understand how best to work with this population. Yet, practicing nurses lack the knowledge and have negative perspectives about working with this population. My current study is examining how students are being socialized to be nurses within the context of negative social perspective of older people- known as ageism. Concurrently a PhD student (I am on the committee) is examining nursing faculty's perspectives about teaching students to work with older people. With funds from the McCalla professorship, undergraduate and graduate students will be engaged to build on this work as guides in developing learning activities and making suggestions of types of learning activities (e.g. gamification, simulation) that can be incorporated in courses throughout the baccalaureate-nursing program. Some of these innovative learning activities will be trialed, along with a pre- post survey of knowledge and perspectives toward older people, with a group of baccalaureate nursing students. The finding of this study will support decisions about which of the interventions to implement and which may need to be further developed.

Faculty of Science

KURT KONHAUSER (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) is ideally placed to engage with Indigenous communities because our expertise relates directly to the geological landscape and resource development that is happening in their traditional territories. I propose to organize a pilot Geosciences Education Outreach Program (GEOP) in conjunction with Indigenous community Elders, educators and government officials in Alberta to develop an approach to integrate Traditional Knowledge and traditional geology. Our goal is to instill enthusiasm about Earth Sciences amongst Indigenous students of all ages (primary to postsecondary), demystify 'the University' and, ultimately, increase the enrollment of Indigenous students in EAS and the Faculty of Science.