McCalla Abstracts 2013-2014

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 2013-14 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 2013-14 McCalla Professors.


Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences

SYLVIE QUIDEAU (Renewable Resources)

Humans rely on terrestrial ecosystems for food, energy, timber and water. The sustainability of these ecosystems depends on the interactions and feedback mechanisms between soils, the biotic components (microbes, vegetation and wildlife) and human activities. Stable isotopes provide an unrivalled approach to probe into ecosystem components, and the inter-linkages between them. The McCalla Professorship will be used to develop interactive activities and lecture content for teaching: “Stable Isotopes in Terrestrial Ecosystem Science”. This class will provide our students with the technical abilities and critical thinking skills needed to understand ecological processes and elemental fluxes of importance for ecosystem sustainability.


Faculty of Arts

MARGRIET HAAGSMA (History and Classics)

Margriet Haagsma’s focus during the tenure of the McCalla award is writing and editing Kastro Kallithea I: Urban Survey and City Planning, the first monograph of the Archaeological Project at Kastro Kallithea in Greece. This well preserved ancient city has been surveyed and excavated by a team of University of Alberta students and staff in order to increase our knowledge regarding ancient household economy and social organisation during this period. From its onset the project made integration of research teaching and learning a priority and several (former) graduate students will contribute to this planned volume. Dr. Haagsma will also develop a senior level course on Hellenistic city planning.


Campus Saint-Jean


Culture reflects the fundamental institutions of society and contributes to different perceptions, attitudes and therefore behaviours in economic activities across countries. Recent research implies that crosscountry differences in values, beliefs, norms and behavioural patterns established in people’s minds and reflected in culture provide explanations for cross-country differences in financial practices. Building on this research, award-winning Professor Sadok El Ghoul will create material for a new course that will help develop a better understanding of the role of culture in shaping corporate and investor behaviour in financial markets and support the development of “cultural finance” scholarship.


School of Business

PETER POPKOWSKI LESZCZYC (Marketing, Business Economics and Law)

The objective of the current project is to study giving behaviour and the motivations for giving. Our focus will be on the decision to donate and the amount to donate for different types of giving; for straight donations and for joint giving, where purchases are bundled with donations to charity. We focus on what influences giving, in particular, the impact of involvement with the charity. We will also study the effectiveness of corporate social responsibility initiatives (e.g., willing to pay for products where part of revenue is donated to charity) that have become a major component of business strategy and marketing education.


Faculty of Science

CHARLES DORAN (Mathematical and Statistical Science)

Computational mathematics software has recently become sophisticated enough to permit an experimental path to results in pure mathematics. Professor Doran has made spectacular use of this approach in recent research at the interface between Algebraic Geometry and String Theory. Tools developed for these investigations will be adapted for graduate instruction, in a live online course on “Calabi-Yau Geometry” available to students across Canada. He will also develop and teach a new 400- level course on this “computational = experimental” route to research in mathematics: “Computing in Mathematics: Research via Experimentation.” Critical use will be made of free open-source computational mathematics software.