News & Events

Brian Harder Honours Day Conference

Although there are many opportunities to interact with professors and students in the honours program, there is one special event at the end of the year that helps to bring everything together. This is the Brian Harder Honours Day Conference in April, at which students formally present plans and reports of the research they plan to do or have done. On that day, third-year students give a 10-minute oral synopsis of their thesis proposal. Fourth-year students give a visual presentation of their research findings in a poster format. Professors and deans across campus are invited to attend. Families and other personal supporters are welcome. The conference is an excellent opportunity to discover the different things happening in the department, to discuss your own views about psychological topics, and to have fun.

Brian Harder

The Honours Day Conference is named after Brian Harder, a former student. Emerging from a small rural community and influenced by the Mennonite Brethren, Brian began his academic career at the University of Alberta in 1984. In his second year he majored in Drama, which likely reflected his continuing interest in creativity and creative expression. After his second year, Brian decided to travel for a year. He frequently sought out situations he knew would challenge his personal philosophies and resourcefulness; so he undertook the journey alone. He visited Europe and the Middle East and was particularly enamored of Turkey. In 1987 he entered the psychology undergraduate honours program and graduated with first class standing in 1989. He married Joan Fitzpatrick in July of that year. He began his graduate studies at the University of Alberta in September 1989 and was studying dreams and the psychology of self with Professor Don Kuiken.

Brian died in July 1990 of a brain aneurysm at the age of 28. Many were shocked at Brian's untimely death. However, Brian knew he was at risk; he had already survived one aneurysm a number of years earlier. But Brian chose to live life in a way that was most meaningful to him. He was a thoughtful and contemplative individual, as much a philosopher as a psychologist. He often chose to ask the most difficult questions both of himself and of others. As a consequence, he encouraged others to think deeply about those things that matter most.

Brian Harder Honours Day Conference

Date: April 13, 2017

Time: 9:30am - 3:45pm

Location: CCIS 1-430 & 1-440

Keynote Speaker

Paul VaseyDr. Paul Vasey from the University of Lethbridge. His research concerns cross-species and cross-cultural research on non-conceptive sexuality.  

Keynote Address: Third gender males & their impact on heterosexual mating systems

In many cultures, worldwide, more than two genders are recognized. In such places, individuals exist that are perceived as being neither men, nor women. Instead, such individuals are recognized as “third” genders. Dr. Paul L. Vasey works in two such cultures. Since 2003, he has conducted research in the south Pacific island nation of Samoa, where feminine, same-sex attracted males are recognized as a third gender, known locally as fa’afafine. Since 2015, he has worked concurrently in the Istmo region of Oaxaca, Mexico, where feminine, same-sex attracted males are recognized as a third gender, known locally by the indigenous Zapotec as muxes. In this talk, Dr. Vasey will examine how the presence of third gender males in the local environment influences the sexual psychology of men and women. His discussion will highlight a previously underappreciate pattern of mate acquisition—inter-sexual mate competition—which has implications for sexual selection theory.

Conference Schedule

9:30am Oral Presentations - 3rd Year Psychology Honours Students
10:45am Coffee Break
11:00am Keynote Address: Dr. Paul Vasey
12:00pm Lunch / 4th Year Poster Presentations
1:30pm Oral Presentations - 3rd Year Psychology Honours Students
2:30pm Coffee Break
2:45pm Oral Presentations - 3rd Year Psychology Honours Students


The conference program can be read here.

Previous Brian Harder Conferences