Have You Met … Oliver Rossier?

Meet Oliver, Director, Office of Research in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Oliver Rossier

Have you met Oliver Rossier, Director of the Office of Research in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities? Spend a few minutes getting to know him better.

What is your first U of A memory?

My first memory is exploring North Campus on bicycles with junior high friends. I grew up in rural Alberta and moving to the city was a bit jarring, so I found exploring our beautiful campus very relaxing even as a youth. I’ve continued to explore campus ever since, we share so many interesting places, like the Walk of 7 Ponds, UAlberta Self-Guided Tour, UAlberta observatory and museums.

What’s something your coworkers don’t know about you?

Having celebrated Mother’s Day not too long ago, it’s a good time to make sure my coworkers know that I think I have the cutest mom. I think I get my sense of optimism from my mom who is a painter at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts. She says I was born smiling, but honestly - look at this grin - who wouldn’t be smiling back?!

What’s your favourite distraction?

I’m fascinated by an ancient Asian strategy game called Go. I like a lot of board games, but for me the game of Go is unique; the rules are as simple as checkers, but the strategies can be much more complex than chess. We have really strong connections to Go at U of A with the team that developed the penultimate Go program.

If you were enrolling in one course, program or degree right now, what would it be?

Something to help preserve and revitalize civil society. We have so many great programs at the university, but I’m so busy right now I can’t imagine studying at night again!

What’s a weird pet peeve you have?

I find it very frustrating that people don’t pull over when emergency vehicles are near… it’s so simple to just put your hazard lights on and pull over — someone’s life might depend on it!

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?

We have so many challenges right now, but we’re not the first or last to have to navigate challenges. If I could invite anyone to dinner I would invite Mahatma Gandhi and Gordon Hirabayashi to chat about how new generations might organize to combat racism and build better racial equality in Canada.

If you could see any live performance tomorrow, what would it be?

Right now, I’d love to see any Oilers game live. Normally, I’d be happy to see anything by Cirque du Soleil — they are gravity defying!

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

I might tell my 18-year-old self to buy real estate earlier. Edmonton was so much more affordable decades ago.

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

Origami paper! I learned how to fold origami birds when I lived in Hokkaido, Japan many years ago and I’ve found it to be both soothing and a simple way to pass on a smile. Folding origami can be a metaphor for our ability to use our attention to make something positive. For example, we can take a piece of scrap paper or a gum wrapper and make an origami bird to help someone smile on a difficult day.

What three words describe your U of A experience?

Respect, learning and resilience.

Dr. Simon Otto, Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health

About Oliver

Oliver Rossier is the Director, Office of Research in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Oliver is a U of A alumni, with a BA in History and Political Science and a MA in Communications and Technology. He has more than 20 years of post-secondary administrative experience, mostly facilitating various sizes of research projects. Oliver has also served on the University of Alberta Board of Governors and Senate, as well as several other local and national committees. Fun fact: Oliver is only ichi nensei (Grade 1) in Japanese, but can fold an origami bird behind his back!