Campus Digest: Tech guru headlines education symposium

Internationally acclaimed education technology expert Michael Wesch headlines Making TIES @ Western, a day-long symposium Friday, March 8 in which more than 90 faculty, staff and students will demonstrate and share their innovations for teaching in higher education.

Topics for discussion at TIES (Technology In Education Symposium) include uses of social media, blended learning, instructional and eLearning technology tools, promoting online learning communities, information literacy and legalities and ethics of using teaching technologies. The symposium, organized by Western’s Faculty of Education, concludes with a reception featuring a panel of undergraduate students, who will share their own impressions of teaching technologies in their roles as 21st century learners.

With an aim to build a strong local community with a shared interest, TIES is open to all current and future Western faculty, as well as, staff and graduate students and colleagues at affiliated university colleges and Continuing Studies.

“The symposium will serve as a significant stepping stone as Western enhances its e-learning presence,” said John Doerkson, Western’s Vice-Provost (Academic Programs and Students), who chairs the eLearning Task Force at Western.

This inaugural event is co-sponsored by the Registrar’s Office, the Teaching Support Centre, Western Libraries, ITS and the Faculty of Education.

Free to the university community, the symposium is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, March 8 in the J.G. Althouse Faculty of Education building. Registration for the symposium is available on the Teaching Support Centre website, Free parking is available in the North and South parking lots at the Faculty of Education building.

For more information, visit the TIES website,, or contact

  • Mathematics professor Jan Minac has been awarded the 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award by the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS). The award recognizes sustained and distinguished contributions in mathematics teaching at the undergraduate level at a Canadian postsecondary education institution.
  • This spring, the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) Sustainability Committee will launch the first SOGS Sustainability Challenge. Inviting all Westerns students to submit their ideas, the competition centres on engaging the community at Western to raise environmental or social awareness, changing the way we use resources on campus and finding new initiatives to protect and improve our environment, on and off campus. For details, visit the SOGS website, Proposals are due April 1.
  • The paintings of Barbara Hyatt will be spotlighted at The Arts Project, 203 Dundas St., to honour the memory of this Western pioneer. The exhibition runs through Saturday, March 9, when a reception is scheduled from noon-2 p.m. Hyatt served as the coach of the women’s tennis team, and was also a faithful member of Hags and Crones of London Ontario, a feminist reading group boasting several Western faculty and staff as members.
  • Formerly referred to as the Service Centre and/or Work Control Centre, Facilities Management’s central hub for inbound calls and service requests recently adopted the title Client Services. “With our new name, we are literally putting the ‘client’ first,” said Tracey White-Lockwood, administrative officer. “The transition will take some time and in the end will feature new processes for engaging our clients.” Client Services is available at ext. 83304.
  • Two recent research reports issued by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario have put postsecondary teaching effectiveness.
    A Western-authored report into teaching-assistant training programs at Western discovered a program enhanced with significant intercultural components has a positive impact on the development of international graduate students – not only as teachers, but also as graduate students. Bridging the Gap: The Impact of the ‘Teaching in the Canadian Classroom’ Program on the Teaching Effectiveness of International Teaching Assistants was authored by Debra Dawson, Nanda Dimitrov, Ken Meadows and Karyn Olsen, all of Western.
    A second report, The Role of New Faculty Orientations in Improving the Effectiveness of Postsecondary Teaching, Part 2: College Sector, called for increased collaboration and sharing of best practices between colleges and universities as well as more incentives to encourage and reward innovation in teaching and learning. This report builds on the findings of a previous study, The Role of New Faculty Orientations in Improving the Effectiveness of University Teaching.
  • Brescia University College reached out through the Great Firewall of China by using the Chinese social media site Sina Weibo, This initiative has helped Brescia to engage with prospective students, current students and their parents. The overall goal is to increase international recruitment, retention, and student satisfaction for Chinese students.
    Though popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked in China, it is still possible to reach this demographic using social media.
    Brescia launched its Weibo account in September 2013, with help from Rongjing Ma, a current fourth-year international student from China, who is studying management and organizational studies at Brescia. Ma translates, exchanges and facilitates conversation to users in China as well as current Chinese students at Brescia.
  • Western PhD candidate Chad Harris has been selected as a finalist for the I.I. Rabi Award in Basic Science of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. Harris will be given the opportunity to give both a 20-minute talk and a poster/paper on his topic, A new approach to shimming: The dynamically controlled adaptive current network.
  • Western Psychology professor Stefan Kohler has been awarded the Alzheimer Foundation London and Middlesex Premier Research Grant, a $100,000 grant (over two years) to support research, personnel and supportive infrastructure. Kohler is a member of Western’s Brain and Mind Institute.
    His project, Delusional misidentifications in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, explores the neurological impairment caused by dementia that leads to patients believing well-known people (often the primary caregiver) have changed identity. Kohler is investigating changes in physiological arousal, which is normally a part of recognizing a family member, that leads to this misidentification in the sufferer. His findings could offer guidance to caregivers and strategies for intervention in its development.
    Supported by the Alzheimer Foundation London and Middlesex, this program primarily promotes overall scientific excellence and relevance to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Up and over

WrestlingPaul Mayne, Western News
University wrestlers from across the country converged on Western this past week for the CIS Championships at Alumni Hall. Western came away with five medals, including gold for Illya Abelev and Steve Takahashi, silver for Brianne Barry and Josh Proctor and bronze for Kevin En. Pictured above, Western’s Larrissa D’Alleva took care of Concordia University’s Linda Morais in their opening round match. D’Alleva would go on to finish fourth.