The Hub AU Accolades! Celebrating awards and achievements of our community

A roundup of awards and achievements by Athabasca University faculty, staff, students, and alumni

At Athabasca University (AU), we find inspiration in our students’ journeys toward reaching their highest potential so they can help transform the communities in which they live and serve. We are equally proud of the work of our researchers, who are tackling important challenges in our communities and beyond, and of the efforts of all team members who support AU’s mission.

Do you know a member of the AU community who deserves a high five? Submit an accolade!

Shawn Fraser elected to national board

Dr. Shawn Fraser, dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, has been elected to the board of directors of the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies.

Dr. Shawn Fraser portraitThe association provides leadership and fosters community and collaboration among Canadian universities that deliver graduate education. In his new role, Fraser will advocate for and represent Canadian graduate education locally, nationally, internationally.

Fraser was one of four new members elected to join the board of directors. The others include Dr. Robin Hicks, dean of graduate studies at the University of Victoria, Dr. Effrosyni (Faye) Diamantoudi, dean of graduate studies at Concordia University, and Naima Samuel, a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo.

Read more about the announcement on the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies’ website

Former board chair wins architecture award

Congratulations to former AU board chair Vivian Manasc of Reimagine Architects for winning Best in Sector Sustainability Solutions/Approaches at the 2023 AsTech Awards!

Manasc is a long-time supporter of AU and our RAIC Centre for Architecture. In fact, she was instrumental in the creation of the Bachelor of Science in Architecture at AU. In 2012, she was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University.

Grad and Saskatchewan teacher wins history honour

André Boutin-Maloney (Graduate Diploma in Distance Education ’07, Master of Education ’13) has won Canada’s most prestigious award for teaching excellence in history.

Boutin-Maloney, a teacher at Bert Fox Community High School in Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask., won the Governor General’s History Award for Teaching Excellence. The award recognizes his project, Finding Common Ground: A Treaty Walk (and Roll) of Fort Qu’Appelle.

Boutin-Maloney and his students created a digital, self-guided walking tour of Fort Qu’Appelle, in Treaty 4 Territory, to educate and provoke reflection on the complexities of Canada’s colonial history. The students conducted research, interviewed local Knowledge Keepers and Elders, and explored historic sites in their community. They selected significant locations and created stories and a multimedia tour using geographic information system (GIS) technology.

Watch Bountin-Maloney talk about his project

MBA grad named ‘Most Admired CEO’

Curtis Stange (Master of Business Administration ’00) has been named Canada’s Most Admired CEO by Waterstone Human Capital.

Stange, president and CEO of ATB Financial in Alberta, won the award in the enterprise category. The awards honour top CEOs who recognize culture isn’t just connected to performance.

In his role with ATB Financial, Stange leads a team of more than 5,000 team members who collectively serve 800,000 clients and business owners. In a recent interview with The Hub, the Edmontonian credited AU for serving as a “springboard” for his career.

“I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today without my MBA.”

Read the full profile of Stange in our Open for Alberta series

Prof. celebrated for use of drones in research

Dr. Frédérique Pivot, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology, won the 2023 Pip Rudkin Individual Achievement Award from the Aerial Evolution Association of Canada.

The award is given to an individual who dedicates their time to making significant contributions to the association and industry, as well as helps shape Canada’s unmanned and remotely piloted vehicle systems landscape.

Pivot is a physical geographer who specializes in remote sensing, including the use of drones. Through her work in advanced observing systems, she monitors changes over time and space in the Earth’s surface parameters and processes.

Dr. Frédérique Pivot holding a drone in front of a table in the middle of a snowy field in winter

Renewal of UNESCO Chair in Open Educational Resources

Dr. Rory McGreal‘s appointment as UNESCO Chair in Open Educational Resources has been renewed until 2027.

Rory McGrealMcGreal is responsible for promoting the use and reuse of free, openly licensed educational content institutionally, nationally, and internationally, particularly in developing countries. Both UNESCO and the International Council for Open and Distance Education support the use of open educational resources (OER) as being essential for the achievement of the UNESCO sustainable development goal 4: education for all.

McGreal has delivered OER seminars, keynote presentations, and conducted workshops in more than 60 countries.

Grad’s business among Canada’s top-growing companies

An MBA grad’s health-care startup has been recognized as one of the country’s fastest-growing companies by the Globe and Mail.

Kris Stewart (Master of Business Administration ’06) is CEO of Advanced Home Care Solutions. The Kelowna-based company provides professional staff to residential-care and acute-care facilities in B.C. and Ontario.

Advanced Home Care Solutions landed in 12 spot on the Globe and Mail’s top-growing companies list. The ranking is based on three years of revenue growth with Advanced Home Care Solutions generating $5 million to $10 million in 2022.

Grad recognized as global HR leader

Deborah Maynard (Master of Business Administration ’13) has received international recognition for her contributions to the human resources profession.

Maynard, the chief human resources officer for Coast Mental Health in B.C., was named one of Human Resources Director’s 100 Human Resources Leaders to Know for 2023. The global ranking features the best in the HR sector from North America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia-Pacific, and the United Kingdom.

Read more about the top 100 list

MBA grad named to Encora board of directors

AU MBA grad Reece Tomlinson

Reece Tomlinson. Photo courtesy: RWT Growth

Reece Tomlinson (Master of Business Administration ’11) has been named to the board of directors of Encora, a Kelowna-based engineering company.

Tomlinson, founder and CEO of Saône Capital and RWT Growth, has advised on more than $1 billion in transactions across 12 countries and multiple industries.

“Joining the Ecora team is a privilege,” Tomlinson said in a news release. “I am excited to contribute to a company that not only shows impressive growth and potential but also maintains a strong commitment to social responsibility and community development. I look forward to being part of Ecora’s journey in making a positive impact in the engineering and environmental sectors.”

Researchers to investigate design solutions to accessibility challenges and healthy aging in rural Alberta

Researchers with AU’s RAIC Centre for Architecture have been awarded $200,000 from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation to study design solutions to accessibility challenges and healthy aging in rural communities.

Dr. Henry Tsang, an associate professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology and a registered architect, is leading an interdisciplinary team that’s collaborating with Sundre Hospital Futures. The group will develop policy and strategies to improve accessibility of residential and commercial properties with a focus on the aging population in rural communities.

According to the research team, built environments in rural communities are not suited to accommodate the needs of people with health challenges, including seniors and those with chronic diseases and disabilities.

“There is a dire need and demand for accessible and universal design within residential and public spaces to accommodate aging-in-community, community health, and the network of medical and health-care services required,” said Tsang.

The research is being funded by the Alberta Real Estate Foundation’s investment grant program. The AU research team includes Tsang as co-principal investigator, Dr. Douglas MacLeod, Veronica Madonna, Dr. Trevor Butler, Dr. Gina Martin, Dr. Janelle Baker, Dr. Tobias Wiggins, and Dr. Vive Kumar.

a senior uses hand rails to walk down stairs
Image: Sasirin Pamai/Getty Images

Researcher part of team looking help teens avoid vaping

Dr. Gina Martin, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Health Disciplines, is part of a research team that is exploring ways to help prevent teens from getting sucked into e-cigarettes and vaping.

Martin is co-principal investigator on a Canadian Institutes of Health Research-funded study that will engage youth through social media about e-cigarette and vaping use. The aim is to help teens avoid nicotine addiction amid high rates of vaping.

A 2022 study found that 14% of teens aged 15 to 19 and 20% of those aged 20 to 24 have vaped in the last 30 days. That compares to just 4% of Canadians 25 and older.

The research team was awarded $695,000 from CIHR for the four-year study.

a close-up view of a person using a vape
Image: 6okean/Getty Images

Funding to advance research that will accelerate genomics-informed nursing

Researchers in the Faculty of Health Disciplines have received funding for a trio of studies that will improve our understanding of how to accelerate genomics-informed nursing to support patient health.

Genomics involves the study of all genes (the genome) and how they interact with the environment to affect health and disease risk. Genomics research has led to advances in technology and treatments that are improving health care.

Dr. Jacqueline Limoges, Dr. Kathleen (Kate) Leslie, and Dr. April Pike (Memorial University Newfoundland) are co-leading a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-funded study to generate policy recommendations for the safe and equitable integration of genomics into nursing practice and education for cancer care. The team includes international collaborators and researchers from across Canada.

Limoges and her team also received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Genome Canada, and Genome Alberta for a study to investigate genomics-informed nursing strategies that will promote equity.

This research team includes researchers from the University of Victoria, Memorial University Newfoundland, and Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.

AU post-doctoral fellow Dr. Patrick Chiu and Limoges are co-leading a CIHR-funded planning and dissemination grant with Leslie and researchers from across Canada. The initiative will involve facilitated discussions with nursing regulators, professional associations, educators, patients, and health-care professionals. The goal is to create a framework to guide the implementation of safe, equitable, and interdisciplinary genomics-informed health care and research.

a nurse comforts a patient who is in a hospital bed
Image: simon2579/Getty Images

Heritage Resources Management director wins international award

Dr. Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo, an associate professor and director of AU’s Heritage Resources Management program, has won an international award.

Inanloo Dailoo received the International Achievement Award from the International Council of Museums Canada. The award recognizes her two decades of national and international experience in heritage conservation theory and practice.

Related: Heritage conservation leaders converge in Alberta

AVP research joins ACCRU executive

Congratulations to Dr. Andrew Perrin, associate vice-president of research, who has joined the executive of the Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities (ACCRU) as its western universities representative!

AU associate vice-president of research Dr. Andrew PerrinThe alliance brings together small- and medium-sized comprehensive universities from across the country. Their work contributes to a vibrant, recognized, and equitable research ecosystem in Canada.

Perrin’s new role involves connecting with peers to coordinate research strategies and priorities. In particular, he will build and maintain relationships with universities in Western Canada to ensure the activities and engagements of ACCRU reflect contributions and opportunities from these members.

AU is one of four comprehensive and academic research universities in Alberta.

Management grad powers her way to championships in Mongolia

Congratulations to Shauna Hammer (Bachelor of Management ’23), whose powerlifting prowess earned her a bronze medal on the international stage.

The resident of Unity, Sask., competed in the IPF World Masters Powerlifting Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, held Oct. 8 to 15. Hammer placed sixth in her age and weight class in overall competition and earned a bronze in the bench press.

“I have so many memories and have grown from the experience. I am especially grateful to friends and family who have supported me emotionally and financially to make my first international competition a reality,” Hammer wrote in an article published on

Related: HR pro and powerlifter raises the bar with Bachelor of Management degree

Athabasca University Bachelor of Management Class of 2023 grad Shauna Hammer during a powerlifting competition
Image: Evan Porter Media, Nyshe Media

Research project looks at immersive, explorable digital worlds

Dr. Jolene Armstrong, an associate professor of comparative literature and English, received funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council for a research project that explores the use of digital media in creating immersive, explorable digital worlds.

The Digital Imaginations and the Decameron Storyworld is a research-creation project that aims to show how digital media can engage a social and political imaginary based on creativity, equity, community and shared world building. The project will involve generating new knowledge and engaging audiences through the design of immersive exploratory digital worlds for the web or in VR headsets.

The Decameron 2.0 (WebGL, 2022) has the navigational functionalities of a video game but its closest cousins are the art gallery, archive, story anthology, film festival, and edited collection. The world holds a body of 100 collaboratively created works that test the boundaries between philosophically speculative, archival, poetic, and storytelling modes, using audio, text, video, photographs, music, and algorithmic generation.

AU grad and staffer elected to executive of Alberta Municipalities

Two-time AU grad Erin Stevenson (Master of Arts – Interdisciplinary Studies ’16, Bachelor of Professional Arts, Communication Studies Major ’08) has been elected to serve on the board of directors of Alberta Municipalities, the advocacy group that represents cities, towns, villages, summer villages, and specialized municipalities in the province.

Stevenson, a councillor in the City of Spruce Grove, was elected as a director – cities up to 500,000 for a two-year term. She is also AU’s marketing manager and has been with the university since 2013.

MBA grad wins pitch competition for water startup

Anthea Sargeaunt (Master of Business Administration ’13) won Best Startup Pitch at Watervent, an international event for water entrepreneurs, investors, utility and industry leaders, and more.

Sargeaunt is CEO of 2S Water, which uses data from sensors to protect drinking water. The Edmonton-based company works with companies in the mining, oil and gas, pulp and paper, municipal, and other sectors.

Watervent was held Oct. 10 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Junior hockey players score academic honours

Two Quebec Major Junior Hockey League players who are studying at AU have been named Scholastic Players of the Month for October.

Joshua Fleming, a goalie with the Acadie-Bathurst Titans, and Luke Woodworth, a centre with the Drummondville Voltigeurs, both received the honour. Fleming and Woodworth are studying business and management, respectively.

Good luck with your studies—and hockey seasons!

Related: Preparing for life after hockey

AU welcomes first SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Conrad Scott was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship—the first in AU’s history.

“It is an incredible honour to have been awarded Athabasca University’s first-ever SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship,” said Scott, an environmental humanities scholar. “I look forward to engaging with AU’s vibrant intellectual community over the next couple of years.”

His research at AU explores how changes in the environment due to human-caused climate change and other environmental shifts will affect nature and our relationship with it in the future.

The project will look at things like futuristic stories, recent scientific research, and discussions about the environment. He will focus specifically on how the plants and animals in the Cascadia region in the Pacific Northwest of the United States might change.

Scott’s fellowship started Sept. 1 and runs until Aug. 31, 2025.

New NSERC funding for research

Two AU researchers have received funding through the National Science and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Discover Grants program.

Dr. Faria Sana, an associate professor of psychology with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, received $99,460 over five years for her project to study the role of making mistakes on learning, memory, and attention. Sana notes that historical research has emphasized eliminating or minimizing errors in training situations. However, newer research has found that making mistakes while learning helps with memory. Her study will look at whether pretesting—taking a test before learning new information—leads to stronger recall of pretested information.

Dr. Chris Glover, a professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology, received $295,000 over five years to study the impact of climate change on freshwater animals and their habitats. By studying Arctic grayling, northern crayfish, and water fleas, Glover hopes to better understand the impact of environmental pressures associated with climate change such as rising water temperatures and reduced oxygen. The findings will help inform conservation management strategies for at-risk and invasive species.

AU Press wins two industry awards

Athabasca University Press titles won two accolades at the 2023 Alberta Book Publishing Awards.

Memories and Landscapes book coverMemory and Landscape: Indigenous Responses to a Changing North, edited by Kenneth L. Pratt and Scott A. Heyes, won Scholarly and Academic Book of the Year.  The book was also recognized for Book Design recognizing the work of cover designer Marvin Harder and interior book designer Natalie Olsen.

“Featuring stunning photographs of the landscape, the themes of this book—climate change, land and loss, as well as the resilience and ingenuity of Indigenous Peoples—could not be more timely, nor deserving of recognition and attention,” said Megan Hall, interim associate vice-president of learner experience at AU.

Two AU Press titles were also shortlisted for awards. Grieving for Pigeons: Twelve Stories of Lahore by Zubair Ahmad and translated by Anne Murphy was shortlisted for Trade Fiction Book of the Year. Natalie Olsen was also recognized in the Book Cover Design category for her work on Little Wet-Paint Girl.

Read about all the winners on the Book Publishers Association of Alberta website.

Elder in Residence Dr. Maria Campbell wins literary award

AU Elder in Residence Dr. Maria Campbell has received the 2023 Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence from the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild.

Athabasca University Elder in Residence Dr. Maria CampbellCampbell, an acclaimed writer, filmmaker, playwright, and teacher from Gabriel’s Crossing/Batoche, Sask., received the award Sept. 27. The award honours a Saskatchewan writer who has written a substantial body of acclaimed literary work and has had a significant impact on writing in Saskatchewan.

“Maria Campbell is a towering figure in the Métis and writing communities of Saskatchewan,” the jury wrote.

“In a career that has spanned half a century—bookended with the groundbreaking memoir, Halfbreed, first published in 1973 and republished in 2019—Campbell has been … instrumental in elevating Indigenous voices in the arts in Canada. She has been an inspiration to many Indigenous writers, especially Indigenous women, and continues to advocate for their stories to be told and heard.”

Read the full article

AU welcomes new leaders

AU welcomed two new members of the university’s senior leadership team.

Jennifer PascoeJennifer Pascoe joined AUSept. 12 as vice-president of University Relations. She has devoted her career to working in public relations, communications, marketing, and stakeholder engagement, with a focus on strategy development alongside integrated and inclusive leadership. Pascoe joined AU after serving as associate vice-president of strategic communications at the University of Alberta.

Pauline SmeltzPauline Smeltz also joined the senior leadership team as chief human resources officer. Smeltz started working at AU in 2019 as deputy chief human resources officer and later assumed the role of interim chief human resources officer. She has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors where she specialized in organizational and workforce transformation, organizational culture, labour relations, and change management to improve performance and growth. Her new role took effect Aug. 29.

MBA student a rising star

Marie-Pier Davis, a current Master of Business Administration student and operations manager at McCormick Company, won a Star Women in Grocery Award from Canadian Grocer. The award recognizes ​​women who have demonstrated expertise, innovation, and leadership in the grocery industry.

Read a Q&A to learn more about Davis’s career.

Three-time grad presents at IEEE conference

Wes SauderWes Sauder, a three-time AU grad, presented his research at the 2023 IEEE Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Sauder (Master of Business Administration ’07, Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics ’18, Master of Science in Information Systems ’23), is a data architect at Hydro One in Ontario. He presented his research into using AI to generate facial expressions.

“Think of it like a painting palette, where instead of capturing every potential expression you may need, just collect the ones that are most common. Then use that as training data to generate new synthetic generative facial expressions,” Sauder explained in a recent Hub article.

Read more about Sauder’s work on The Hub

MBA grad wins HR industry award

Louise Taylor Green (Master of Business Administration ’12) was honoured with a lifetime achievement award for her work in the human resources industry.  Green, the former CEO, corporate secretary, and director of the Human Resources Professionals Association, received the O.C. Tanner Award for Lifetime Achievement in the HR Industry at the 2023 Canadian HR Awards.

New CIHR grant to study impact of climate change on teens

Dr. Gina Martin, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Health Disciplines, has received new funding to further her research into the impact of climate change on the mental health of teens.

Martin is leading a team of collaborators to better understand how climate change—and specifically extreme weather events—affects adolescent health and well-being. The team will look at relationships between extreme weather events and health outcomes, and how they differ based on the type of event and factors such as age, gender, socio-economic status, race, and community connection.

The $125,000 in funding is part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research catalyst grant.

Watch to learn more about Martin’s research

Researcher recognized with early career award

Dr. Veronica Fynn Bruey (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences) has received the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA) Distinguished Academic Early Career Award.

The award recognizes an academic staff member who through research or scholarly pursuits has made outstanding contributions to the wider community beyond the university.

Convocation 2022 wins best virtual event

AU’s Convocation 2022 won Best Virtual Event at the 2023 Esprit Awards! It’s the 2nd time the university has won the award for its convocation celebrations after winning for Convocation 2020.

The awards are organized by the International Live Events Association and recognize the most outstanding live events in the industry each year.

MBA grad leads Indigenous learning institute

Beverley Roy (Master of Business Administration ’16) has been appointed president of Kenjgewin Teg. The accredited educational institute offers a flexible adult learning environment that supports students on a variety of academic and career pathways.

Roy is a member of the M’Chigeeng First Nation on Mnidoo Mnising (Manitoulin Island) and a proud Anishinaabe-kwe of the Anishinabek Nation. In addition to an MBA from AU, she is a doctoral student in higher education at the University of Toronto. Her 25-year career includes more than a decade of experience in the Indigenous post-secondary sector at Kenjgewin Teg.

Read more about Roy’s appointment

Writing for Wellbeing

Dr. Reinekke Lengelle, an associate professor of interdisciplinary studies in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, has co-edited a new book, Writing for Wellbeing: Theory, Research, and Practice.  The book explores “the landscape of writing for wellbeing and demonstrates the transformative power of writing in a wide arrange of contexts.”

Dr. Veronica Madonna giving a talk at George Brown College

Architecture prof. presents on mass timber construction

Veronica Madonna, an assistant professor of architecture in the Faculty of Science and Technology, spoke about the health and carbon benefits of mass timber construction at a recent seminar at George Brown College in Toronto, Ont.

Madonna shared her research on the topic at the Brookfield Sustainability Institute Mass Timber Seminar.

Her talk focused on 2 prototype building designs in Ontario: a mass-timber primary school and a modular living quarters for northern Ontario.

MBA grad named executive-in-residence at U of T

Matt Jamieson (Master of Business Administration ’16) has been named executive-in-residence at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Jamieson is CEO, president, and director of the Six Nations of Grand River Development Corporation, and previously served as director of the Indigenous Innovation Initiative at Grand Challenges Canada. He was 1 of 2 Indigenous business and community leaders appointed executives-in-residence.

Grad a STEM role model

Denise Pothier (Master of Business Administration ’18) was named a role model for younger leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). A vice-president at Stantec with a background in chemical engineering, Pothier was featured in a STEM role model campaign by See it • Be it • STEM it. The initiative seeks to empower girls and young women to pursue their interest in STEM.

a young student holds a model of a molecule

Grad named international student of impact

AU alum Walter Alvarez-Bardales (Bachelor of General Studies ’18) has been an International Alumni of Impact by ApplyBoard. The program celebrates international students who studied in Canada and have gone on to make a positive impact in the world. After earning a bachelor’s degree from AU, Alvarez-Bardales, from Guatemala, went on to earn a master’s from Cape Breton University. Today, he is a doctoral student at Royal Roads University.

Architecture grad wins award

Salam Yousef (Bachelor of Science in Architecture ’19) has won the 2023 College of Fellows Centennial Fund award from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Foundation. The award recognizes intern architects wishing to promote the value and image of the architecture profession.

Top 40 under 40 in health-care philanthropy

Courtny Vandervelde (Bachelor of Management ’14) has been named one of North America’s top young professionals in health-care philanthropy.

Vandervelde, director of major gifts with the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation in Toronto, Ont., was named to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s top 40 under 40 list.

Read more about Vandervelde’s career

Top 50 women leaders of Montreal

Poonam Madan (Master of Business Administration ’19) has been named one of Montreal’s top 50 women leaders under 50.

Madan, director of global sustainability at Gildan apparel, was recognized by Women We Admire, a professional women’s network.

June accolades!

Congrats, Class of 2023!

Congratulations to the 1,957 newest members of AU’s alumni community! The Class of 2023 is the largest in the university’s history with graduates from all 10 provinces and 3 territories in Canada, and 31 countries around the world! If you missed the ceremonies, we have you covered.

Class of 2023 infographic

That’s a wrap on Athabasca University Convocation 2023!

AU’s Governor General’s medal winners

Speaking of the Class of 2023, here’s an extra shoutout to 2 top-notch grads! Michelle Monkman (Master of Nursing ’23) earned the 2023 Governor General’s Gold Medal as AU’s top graduate student, while Denys Pushenko (Bachelor of Arts ’23) received the silver medal given to the top undergraduate student.

Michelle and Denys head shot in front of a blue banner

Read more about the Governor General’s medal winners

Convocation earns 2 industry awards

Convocation wouldn’t be the memorable experience it is without a dedicated team of talented AU staffers. In fact, AU staff won 2 industry awards for their efforts in ensuring Convocation 2022 was a resounding success.

AU won gold in the Special Events/Online Commencements category at the 2023 Council for the Support and Advancement of Education Circle of Excellence Awards.

AU also won the Award of Excellence in Communications Skills for Special and Experiential Events at the 2023 International Association of Business Communicators Edmonton Capital Awards.

Congratulations to everyone involved in making convocation celebrations so memorable for the AU community!

An AU staffer working behind the scenes at Athabasca University convocation in June 2022

Grad working to improve Indigenous health care

Dr. Wayne Clark (Doctor of Education in Distance Education ’20) has taken on several roles to help advance the health of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Clark, who is Inuk, was named Indigenous Peoples Champion by the Accelerating Clinical Trials Canada Consortium, where he also serves as a member of the organization’s operating committee. The consortium is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and allows researchers to assess the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, treatments, and therapies in Canada, including for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.

Clark is also executive director of the University of Alberta’s Wâpanachakos Indigenous Health program.

Dr. Wayne Clark with a view of the Walter Dale Bridge in Edmonton in winter

Related: AU alum distinguished in service to the Inuit community

New funding for mental health and substance use policy research

Dr. Kate Leslie, an associate professor in the Faculty of Health Disciplines, has been awarded $150,000 to study mental health and substance use workforce planning. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research-funded project will help shape policy and could lead to a pan-Canadian strategy for mental health and substance use health workforce.

Leslie us working closely with several organizations, including the national policy partner of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She explained that access to mental health and substance use health providers plays a critical role in supporting Canadians. Since the pandemic, however, access to these providers and services has “fallen further behind what people in Canada need.”

“There is a critical need for policy research to support the development of a pan-Canadian mental health and substance use health services workforce strategy,” Leslie said.

hands loosely clasped together in reflection

Related: Mental health and substance use health workforce needs policy attention

Funding to improve understanding of water flow

Dr. Scott Ketcheson, a professor and Canada Research Chair in Hydrological Sustainability, has received $75,000 in new funding to support his research into how water moves between forests, wetlands, and streams in northern Alberta.

Funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leadership Fund, Ketcheson is studying hydrological processes in headwaters at Stony Mountain near Fort McMurray, Alta. He has established a headwater research observatory and uses advanced wireless networks and technology to measure water flow.

Related: Q&A with Dr. Scott Ketcheson

MBA grad takes command of Royal Military College of Canada

Brig.-Gen. Pascal Godbout (Master of Business Administration ’14) has taken command of the Royal Military College of Canada.

Godbout joined the Canadian Forces as a communications and electronics engineering officer and earned his commission in 1995 after graduating from the  Collège militaire royal de St-Jean. He has commanded teams across Canadian Forces facilities and operations in Kingston, Borden, and North Bay, Ont., Afghanistan, Cold Lake, Alta., and Yellowknife, N.W.T. He has also served at NORAD headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Godbout’s passion for lifelong learning includes a master of arts in defence management and policy from the Royal Military College of Canada, in addition to his MBA from AU. He has also taught as an instructor at several Canadian Forces facilities.

cover of How Education Works

Prof. publishes new book about how education works

Dr. Jon Dron, a proessor and associate dean of learning and assessment with the Faculty of Science and Technology, has published a new book through AU Press. In How Education Works: Teaching, Technology, and Technique, Dron proposes “a new theory of education whereby individuals are not just users but co-participants in technologies—technologies that are intrinsic parts of our cognition, of which we form intrinsic parts, through which we are entangled with one another and the world around us.”

Learn more about Dron’s book

AU poll earns media relations award

An AU poll that probed Canadians’ attitudes and expectations of post-pandemic work and life has earned an industry award for media relations.
AU’s omnibus poll, Flying the Pandemic Coop, earned bronze for Best Use of Media Relations (Under $50,000) at the 2023 Canadian Public Relations Society Toronto Ace Awards. The award recognizes the work of the university’s contractor, Edery & Lord Communications, and members of the communications team.

Related: New study uncovers culture-shift across the nation as people prepare to fly the pandemic coop

A male doctor puts a band aid on a senior woman's arm after he administered the COVID-19 vaccine injection. They are both wearing a protective face mask to protect themselves from the transfer of germs.

Alumni appointed to Deputy Ministers’ Council

AU alumni Christopher McPherson (Master of Business Administration ’23) and Susanne Stushnoff (Master of Business Administration ’15) have been appointed to Alberta’s Deputy Ministers’ Council.

McPherson was appointed deputy minister of Alberta Jobs, Economy and Trade. Since joining the Government of Alberta in 2014, he has served in several senior leadership roles, including managing a historic amount of cabinet business during more than 4 years as deputy clerk of executive council and deputy secretary to cabinet. He has also held assistant deputy minister roles in economic policy, operations and machinery of government, and strategic communications.

Stushnoff was appointed acting deputy minister of Justice. She joined the Government of Alberta in 2006 and has served as senior counsel, appropriate dispute resolution before becoming the registrar of the Court of Appeal of Alberta. In 2014, she joined the legal services division as civil crown counsel; in 2022, she became the division’s assistant deputy minister.

Ciro Panessa

Nurse practitioner named CEO of Northern Health

Ciro Panessa (Post-Masters Diploma – Nurse Practitioner ’11) has been appointed president and CEO of Northern Health in British Columbia. The health authority provides health care to about 300,000 people in northern B.C.

Panessa has worked in leadership roles provincially in blood-borne pathogens and chronic diseases. Most recently, he was chief operating officer of Northern Health’s northwest region. He assumes the top leadership role on Sept. 5.

Read more

MBA grad soars in new leadership role

Jonathan Burke (Master of Business Administration ’07) has been appointed president and accountable executive of Blackcomb Helicopters. In this role he will lead the company’s growth strategy in British Columbia and Alberta.

In addition to his MBA, Burke has 30 years of industry experience and is a commercial helicopter pilot with an Airline Transport Pilot rating, the highest possible certification.

Read more

a row of helicopters on the ground with a mountain in the background

May Accolades!

AU to award honorary degrees

Two of the newest members of the AU community are being recognized for their work in academia, mental health advocacy, and collaborative architectural design. At convocation on June 16, 2023, honorary degrees will be presented to Wanda Dalla Costa, a respected Indigenous architect who promotes collaborative design with Indigenous communities across North America, and Dr. Austin Mardon, an Edmonton-based academic and mental health advocate.

Athabasca University's 2023 honorary degree recipients, mental health advocate Dr. Austin Mardon and Indigenous architect Wanda Dalla Costa

Read more about 2023 honorary doctorate recipients

National award for IDEA Lab

IDEA Lab, AU’s ground-breaking virtual space that uses cloud computing to power research, has won a National Prize at the Canadian Association of University Business Officers 2023 Quality and Productivity Awards. The prize, awarded May 10, recognizes IDEA Lab as a “strong enabler of excellence in digital transformation.”

“Athabasca University is open and digital in everything we do—and that includes our transformative approach to research and tackling important global challenges,” said Dr. Andrew Perrin, associate vice-president of research. “Technology is the catalyst that allows IDEA Lab to harness the power of people, processes, and cloud infrastructure so that our researchers can work in new and innovative ways.

illustration showing digital connectivity

Read more about IDEA Lab

Map the System finalist to rep AU at Oxford

Karen Fletcher is 1 of 6 Canadian post-secondary finalists who will compete at the global Map the System student competition, held this summer at Oxford University.

Fletcher, a Bachelor of Science, Major in Applied Mathematics student and former AUSU president, earned a spot among the finalists for her presentation, Leaks in the Pipeline: Barriers to Student Success in the Post-Secondary System.

“The post-secondary system in Canada centres ‘traditional students’ who can study full time at conventional universities without needing to miss class,” says a summary of Fletcher’s presentation. “This excludes people who live far from a university, who have caregiving responsibilities, who have to work full time and those who have medical needs requiring many appointments, among others.”

Map the System is a global competition initiated by the University of Oxford’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. It challenges students to use a systems-thinking approach to demonstrate a deep understanding of a pressing social or environmental challenge.

AU’s Map the System event was co-hosted by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association.

CBC names architect an Asian changemaker

CBC Calgary is celebrating Asian Heritage Month by highlighting the work of several prominent Asian Changemakers in Calgary, including Dr. Henry Tsang, assistant professor of architecture at AU!

Tsang spoke about culture and heritage, and how architecture can promote and preserve the heritage of ethnic communities in Canada.

“No matter if it’s Asian communities or other ethnic communities, it’s important that culture is expressed through the architecture of their buildings,” he said. “I think it’s important for immigrants who come to Canada to be able to preserve their culture and their roots.”

Watch on CBC Calgary

Skyler Todd head shot

Repping AU at 3MT regionals

Fresh off winning AU’s Three Minute Thesis competition, Master of Counselling student Skyler Todd represented the university at western regionals. Todd presented their thesis, What are you having?”: The lived experiences of gender creative parents, at the 3MT Western Regional Competition, held May 25 at the University of Saskatchewan.

Todd spent the bulk of their studies learning how to best support gender non-conforming people in counselling. Their thesis work was influenced by their own pregnancy and wanting to know how to proactively support their child’s gender health.

“How can I parent a child knowing they can be any number of gender identities?” Todd said.

Read more about Todd’s research

Congrats, professors emeriti!

Dr. Pamela Hawranik and Dr. Cindy Ives are earning a well-deserved retirement, and with it, the title of professor emerit.

Hawaranik was AU’s first dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and deeply committed to creating and growing graduate education.

“Students and faculty worked together to create an innovative and unique graduate education that was online and recognized nationally and internationally,” Hawaranik wrote in a message to staff. “Our students competed and were successful in receiving national and international awards.”

As a professor emerit, Hawaranik plans to “continue to advance graduate education and scholarship and strengthen the reputation of AU as a research university.”

Ives’s 40-year career kept learning “at the centre of my practice as an open educator,” she wrote.

“I made opportunities to share and apply this perspective in my roles as director of the Centre for Learning Design and Development, associate vice-president academic learning resources, and interim vice-president academic. I believe that learners have the right to supportive, respectful teaching presences, accessible course resources, and engaging activities that afford opportunities to self-regulate, structure, and demonstrate learning that is relevant to their personal and professional needs.”

AU at Alberta Mathematics Dialogue

AU was well represented at the 20th annual Alberta Mathematics Dialogue, held May 4 to 5 in Calgary. On top of co-organizing the conference, several AU researchers presented research:

  • Andrei Afilipoaei, Bachelor of Science, Applied Mathematics Major student
  • Mojtaba Aghajani Delavar, post-doctoral fellow
  • Junye Wang, Campus Alberta Innovation Program Chair in Computational Sustainability and Environmental Analytics
  • Angela Beltaos, academic coordinator
  • Martin Connors, professor
  • Gustavo Carrero, associate professor
Athabasca University at Alberta Math Dialogue
From left to right: Andrei Afilipoaei, Dr. Junye Wang, Dr. Mojtaba Aghajani Delavar, Dr. Angela Beltaos, Dr. Gustavo Carrero, and Dr. Martin Connors.

Congrats on inspiring careers!

Two long-time members of the Faculty of Health Disciplines are enjoying well-deserved retirements: Dr. Sherri Melrose and Donna Clare.

Melrose is wrapping up a 40-plus-year career in nursing education. She started at Foothills Hospital School in 1980 and continued at Mount Royal for 6 years before joining AU in 2005.

During her 21 years with AU, Melrose has been an outstanding teacher, course developer, and course leader. In 2011, Sherri received the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing’s prestigious Award for Excellence in Nursing Education. She received nominations for the Brightspace Innovation in Teaching and Learning Award in 2017 and for the Distinguished Academic Award with the Canadian Association of University Teachers in 2018.

Melrose is now an adjunct professor at AU.

Clare started her nursing career in British Columbia before coming to AU in 2005 as a student. Donna graduated from the Master of Nursing – Nurse Practitioner program in 2007 and was hired as an academic coordinator in 2010.

Clare has been a passionate advocate for the role of nurse practitioners in Alberta. She served on the executive team of the Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta, including a stint as president from 2010-12. In 2014, Clare founded the Alberta Association of NPs in Private Practice, which provides networking and education opportunities for nurse practitioners in private practice from across the province.

April accolades!

MBA grad appointed VP at MacEwan University

Lara McClelland (Master of Business Administration ’13) has been appointed vice-president of university relations at MacEwan University. With more than 25 years of progressive leadership experience, she has held executive positions with the Government of Alberta, NAIT, and the University of Alberta.

Read the announcement from MacEwan University

AU MBA grad Lara McClelland
Lara McClelland. Image: MacEwan University

Student to represent AU at Map the System

Karen Fletcher will represent AU students at the upcoming Map the System Canadian regional competition. Map the System is a global competition initiated by the University of Oxford’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. It challenges students to use a systems-thinking approach to demonstrate a deep understanding of a pressing social or environmental challenge.

Fletcher, a Bachelor of Science, Major in Applied Mathematics student and AUSU president, won AU’s first-ever Map the System competition for her submission Leaks in the Pipeline: Barriers to Student Success in the Post-Secondary System. In it, Fletcher identifies ways to help students experiencing difficulties in post-secondary education. Recommendations include changes to government policies, re-evaluating disability requirements, and revamping the curriculum to prioritize essential knowledge and skills required for student success.

AU’s Map the System event was co-hosted by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association.

Map the System Canadian finals run May 10 to 12. Winner(s) represent Canada at the global finals in July.

Map the System graphic

New study will examine impact of forestry herbicide on Indigenous tea

Dr. Srijak Bhatnagar, a researcher and assistant professor of computational biology and microbial ecology in the Faculty of Science and Technology, has received $250,000 in federal funding to lead a study on the impact of glyphosate on Labrador tea. Dr. Janelle Baker is co-principal investigator.

Labrador tea is a traditional food and medicine consumed for generations by the Sakawiyiniwak (Northern Bush Cree). As part of an ongoing partnership with Bigstone Cree Nation, Bhatnagar is studying the impact of glyphosate on the tea plants and surrounding soil. Glyphosate is an herbicide used in reforestation to eliminate competing broadleaf plants and shrubby heathers.

Bhatnagar will work with a team of Traditional Knowledge Keepers of Bigstone Cree Nation and identify microbes present on plants found in sprayed and unsprayed locations. These microbes can be used as markers to determine the health of tea plants.

“We know from other plants that the herbicide affects the microbial community of the plant that in turn can negatively affect the health of the plant,” he explained.

The funding was part of the New Frontiers in Research Fund 2022 Exploration grant, overseen by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Related: How microbes can help us protect the environment


AU partners with Shad Canada

AU instructors will share their expertise with high school students across the country this summer thanks to a partnership with Shad Canada. The Shad program provides 1 month of learning opportunities for high-achieving Grade 10 and 11 students focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math with an entrepreneurship component. Historically a place-based program, this year Shad is offering a virtual alternative called ShadAnywhere.

Related: High school students across Canada benefit from AU STEAM expertise

student learning to code on a computer

Interim associate dean appointed

Dr. Gwen Rempel has been appointed interim associate dean of research and graduate programs with the Faculty of Health Disciplines. Rempel, a professor of nursing and health studies, takes over for Dr. Steven Johnson, who is interim dean of the faculty.

March accolades!

Business students win at case competitions

Two teams of AU Faculty of Business students took home first and third place at recent business case competitions in Calgary.

Team Interstellar won first at the Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition, held March 16 to 18 at Bow Valley College. The team provided Red Iron Labs with innovative solutions to grow within the virtual reality industry. The team included Bachelor of Commerce students Angel Kassem, Kealey Scott, and Jing Fei Feng, and Bachelor of Management, General student Trudy Slaght.

Team TASK Consulting won third at the CPA Education Foundation Business Challenge, held March 1 to 3. The team included Angel Kassem, Sang Lim, Kealey Scott, and Trudy Slaght.

4 Athabasca University business students pose for the camera after competing at a business case competition
Team TASK Consulting members Angel Kassem, Sang Lim, Kealey Scott, and Trudy Slaght.

Related: 4 reasons to enter a student business competition

Health students sweep 3MT competition

Three students from the Faculty of Health Disciplines won first, second, and third place at AU’s annual Three-MInute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Master of Counselling student Skyler Todd took home first for their thesis, “What are you having? The lived experiences of gender-creative parents.” Jasmine Sheikh, a peer from the same program, placed second, while Master of Nursing – Generalist student Danica Nolette came in third.

Related: 3MT archives on The Hub

Transgender girl and non-binary teen friends doing their homework.

Grant to fund regional aging centre

Tammy O’Rourke, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Health Disciplines, has received $250,000 in funding from the Canadian Frailty Network. The grant will fund the development of a regional centre for healthy aging.

O’Rourke’s Health Aging in Northern Alberta project involves partnering with community organizations led by Sage Seniors Association in Edmonton. Their work will help create a framework that allows Sage to share knowledge and build capacity for seniors’ centres in northern Alberta.

Happy senior woman contemplating at home

Architecture prof. a WISE leader in STEM

Veronica Madonna, an assistant professor in the RAIC Centre for Architecture, graduated from the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Planet 2022 cohort.

WISE Planet strives to create a diverse, inclusive, equitable and just society by training women and other underrepresented groups in STEM to be change leaders equipped to address the major, shared challenges our societies face.

The 1-year change management program offers online and experiential learning in personal leadership, systems and cultures, design for disruptions, and regenerative design.

Watch an interview with Madonna

MBA grad appointed head of AHS

Mauro Chies (Master of Business Administration ’08) has been named president and CEO of Alberta Health Services (AHS). Chies had been serving in an interim capacity since April 2022. The health-care leader previously spoke with The Hub about AU’s impact on his life and career.

“I needed the flexibility, as I had a young family at the time. I couldn’t quit my job, as I needed to continue working full time,” he said. “I decided that me and Athabasca University were a good fit.”

Related: Online MBA opened doors for health-care executive

Grads honoured with Queen’s medals

Margaret Wing (Master of Business Administration ’07) and Sharlene Rutherford (Master of Business Administration ’20) have been honoured with Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medals for their work in supporting the health of Albertans.

Rutherford was recognized for her work as president and CEO of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, specifically as a champion of women’s health and research.

Wing earned the accolade for her work supporting pharmacists in the province. She is CEO of the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association, which promotes the values of pharmacists in supporting and optimizing the health of Albertans.

The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medals were created to recognize Albertans for their significant contributions to the province.

Indigenous research influences art exhibit

Research about the impact of natural resource extraction in northern Alberta on wild berries has inspired the work of an Alaskan artist.

Dr. Janelle Baker, an assistant professor of anthropology, published the paper, Do Berries Listen? Berries as Indicators, Ancestors, and Agents in Canada’s Oil Sands Region, in 2020. The title is a nod to the work of Elizabeth Povinelli and Julie Cruikshank, whose respective research asks if rocks and glaciers listen.

Baker works with Indigenous communities in northern Alberta to study the impact of industrial development on wild foods, including berries.

In her paper, she recalls fondly early childhood memories of picking berries with her grandparents, who are of settler and Métis ancestry. She explores the idea that berries can listen. Her sakâwiyiniwak (Northern Bush Cree) research collaborators and teachers believe that berries are semiotic agents that listen to how you speak about and to them, and respond accordingly.

Baker’s work influenced the work of artist Katie Craney, who opened an exhibit, for a moment, we exist together, for a moment, at the Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska. Craney’s multi-sensory work explores the idea of berries and glaciers listening and is influenced by artists research, writers, musicians, and others.

Grad appointed university chancellor

Harriet Thornhill (Master of Business Administration ’04) has been appointed chancellor of Tyndale University for a 3-year term. Thornhill is an experienced business leader with extensive leadership and experience with RBC. Tyndale University is a Christian university in Toronto.

Architecture prof. inducted into RAIC College

Dr. Henry Tsang has been inducted as a fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) College. Tsang, an assistant professor of architecture in AU’s RAIC Centre for Architecture, is 1 of 26 fellows announced this past March.

Fellowship recognizes RAIC members for their contribution to research, scholarship, public service, or professional standing to the good of architecture in Canada, or elsewhere.

Architecture boot camp nominated for award

An architecture boot camp for high school students run by AU’s RAIC Centre for Architecture and Edmonton Public Schools has been shortlisted for an international award.

The dual-credit high school architecture boot camp has been nominated for an Institution Award at the UIA Architecture and Children Golden Cubes Awards.

The boot camp allows students to explore a potential career in architecture. They learn about practical examples of architectural design through activities and projects.

The Golden Cubes Awards honour people and organizations that help children and young people develop a better understanding of architecture and the built environment.

Related: High-school students excel in dual-credit course

Vivian Manasc, Principal with architecture firm Manasc Isaac and chair of AU's Board of Governors, gave students a tour of her downtown studio.
Vivian Manasc, principal with architecture firm Manasc Isaac and former chair of AU's Board of Governors, gave students a tour of her downtown studio.

New book about Indigenous well-being

Dr. Leslie Main Johnson, a professor emerit of anthropology at AU, and Dr. Janelle Baker, an assistant professor of anthropology, co-edited Walking Together, Working Together: Engaging Wisdom for Indigenous Well-Being.

The collection takes a holistic view of well-being and includes Indigenous approaches to healing and Western biomedicine. This book, recently published by the University of Alberta Press, “will be of interest to scholars in Indigenous Studies, medicine and public health, medical anthropology, and anyone promoting care delivery and public health in Indigenous communities.”

Authors of book on pioneering women academic leaders present for IWD

Alumni Dr. Norine Wark (Doctor of Distance Education ’19) and Dr. Susan Bainbridge  (Doctor of Distance Education ’13) spoke about their book, The Encyclopedia of Female Pioneers in Online Learning, for International Women’s Day.

The book is described as the 1st volume to explore the lives and scholarship of women who have prominently advanced online learning.

Their presentation was part of the Flexible Learning Association New Zealand webinar, delivered in partnership with ODLAA Open Distance Learning Association of Australia.

Watch their presentation

Accountants honoured with career awards

Stephen Bergstrom (Master of Business Administration ’04) has been named a fellow of CPA Alberta. Fellowship is the profession highest honour in the profession, granted to members who have “rendered meritorious service to the profession or whose career achievements or achievements in the community have brought honor to the profession.”

CPA Alberta also recognized Amy Richards (Master of Business Administration ’12) and Leonard D’Silva (Master of Business Administration ’20) with Early Achievement Awards.

The award recognizes chartered professional accountants who have had their accounting designation for 10 years or less and have made noteworthy contributions or achievements as leaders or volunteers in their communities or within the profession.

MBA alum talks about work in non-profit sector

Helen Knight (Master of Business Administration ’17) spoke about her career in the non-profit sector in a recent interview with CIO Online. Knight is president of her own consulting company for non-profit leaders and boards, and strategic projects director for Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda.

Watch the interview

Dentist and MBA alum awarded honour

Dentist Lex Vides (Master of Business Administration ’19) received a Merit Award from the British Columbia Dental Association at the organization’s 2023 Tooth Fairy Gala. The award recognizes significant volunteer contributions and dedicated service to advance the purpose of the dental association.

February accolades!

Celebrating academic excellence

AU’s General Faculties Council honoured Dr. Lorraine Thirsk and Dr. Wonita Janzen with 2023 Academic Excellence Awards.

Thirsk, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Health Disciplines, received the Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision, which recognizes excellence in advising, monitoring, and mentoring graduate students engaged in project, thesis, or dissertation work.

“My vision for AU students is that they leave our programs with the confidence to be leaders in their communities and workplaces, a willingness to challenge themselves with new ideas, and a compelling drive to address current and future issues in society,” said Thirsk.

Janzen, a tutor with a background in rehabilitation medicine, received the President’s Award for Tutoring/Mentoring Excellence. The award recognizes excellence in instruction to students by AU tutors and academic experts.

“My goal is to encourage a desire for life-long learning and a confidence to tackle new and difficult challenges,” said Janzen. “My vision is to equip AU graduates with critical thinking skills, knowledge, and character to support and lead in our health-care system and society.”

Dr. Lorraine Thirsk (left) and Dr. Wonita Janzen (right)
Dr. Lorraine Thirsk (left) and Dr. Wonita Janzen
Dr. Jeff Zabudsky

Grad appointed president of BCIT

Dr. Jeff Zabudsky (Master of Distance Education ’99) has been appointed president of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

Zabudsky joins BCIT after serving as provost of American University of Bahrain in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and as CEO of Bahrain Polytechnic. He also held president roles at Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning and Red River College Polytechnic.

“BCIT plays a critical role in economic and community development throughout British Columbia and I am privileged to be entrusted with the responsibility of leading BCIT into this next era of growth,” he said.

Commitment to Calgary youth earns Queen’s medal

Denise Blair (Master of Business Administration ’10) has been honoured with a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for her work supporting at-risk youth in Calgary.

Blair received the medal in February for her work as executive director of the Calgary Youth Justice Society. The not-for-profit provides support to at-risk youth and offers them opportunities that would divert them from criminal behaviour.

The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medals were created to recognize Albertans for their significant contributions to the province.

Related: Building business acumen in service to community

Researcher part of team awarded funding to study greenhouse gas

Dr. Eduardo Ordonez-Ponce is part of a team of researchers that received a $4-million grant through Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Climate Action and Awareness Fund.

The Net-Zero Action Research Partnership, led by Dr. Amelia Clarke of the University of Waterloo, will support Canadian municipalities in monitoring, measuring, and achieving their greenhouse gas mitigation goals.

The aim is to ensure emissions reduction projects, policies, and programs align with Canada’s national reduction commitments.

Grad earns distinguished alumni honour

Marni Panas (Bachelor of Health Administration ’15) has been named one of NAIT’s most distinguished alumni.

A well-known human rights activist, Panas was awarded the Edmonton-based polytechnic’s Distinguished Alumni Award. She earned 2 credentials from NAIT, in management and computer systems technology, before her studies at AU. Today, she is a diversity and inclusion leader at Alberta Health Services.

“Working in a place where my role is about removing as many barriers as possible so people can bring their whole selves to their work environment, and for patients and families to be able to bring their whole self into their health-care experience, it is a privilege to be able to do the work that I do, ” Panas said.

Related: Degree of Confidence: How one AU grad found her authentic self

Sociology student shares story of addiction recovery in CBC column

Chris McBain says harm reduction saved his life, and without it, he wouldn’t be on the path to a sociology degree at AU.

McBain wrote about his experiences with injection drugs and addictions treatment in a recent column for CBC. The article is part of a series called The Way Out: Addiction in Alberta.

“When I was at my most vulnerable, volunteers with a needle distribution service in Edmonton gave me hope, and helped me navigate the complex road to recovery. Without harm reduction I wouldn’t have found the path to life,” McBain wrote.

“There’s a lot of anger and rhetoric around this today. Policy makers, advocates and many others are polarizing recovery versus harm reduction. But they’re not mutually exclusive. They’re both essential.”

Read McBain’s article on CBC 

Athabasca University sociology student Chris McBain

Authors of book on pioneering women academic leaders present for IWD

AU alumni Dr. Norine Wark (Doctor of Distance Education ’19) and Dr. Susan Bainbridge  (Doctor of Distance Education ’13) spoke about their book, The Encyclopedia of Female Pioneers in Online Learning, for International Women’s Day.

The book is described as the 1st volume to explore the lives and scholarship of women who have prominently advanced online learning.

Their presentation was part of the Flexible Learning Association New Zealand webinar, delivered in partnership with ODLAA Open Distance Learning Association of Australia.

Grad talks leadership, equity, and innovation in interview

Jan Bradley (Master of Business Administration ’19) spoke about her work as chief information technology officer with the City of Calgary in a new interview with CIO Online.

Bradley joined the publication to talk about her work in supporting diversity, equity, and inclusivity in technology.

“We as women have to teach ourselves and support ourselves to be proud of who we are, speaking our voice,” she said.

Watch the interview

Dying to be Seen book cover

Alum publishes book about saving medicare in Canada

Cathy MacNeil (Bachelor of Health Administration ’15) has published a new book, Dying to Be Seen: The Race to Save Medicare in Canada.

A registered nurse since 1976 with experience in health administration and management, MacNeil’s book outlines how public health care is under attack. In the book, she offers a glimpse of what Canadians can expect to happen if we decide not to intervene now.

“For average Canadians, it is a call to arms to save Canada’s universal, egalitarian medicare program from sliding into the cruel, profit-driven system that bedevils their neighbours to the south,” MacNeil’s website states.

MBA grad takes helm of B.C. builder

Philipp Gruner (Master of Business Administration ’17) has been appointed CEO of Paradigm Building Solutions, a homebuilder and manufacturer of sustainable building products. He joins the B.C.-based company with more than 20 years of leadership and corporate management experience in the construction, energy, hospitality, and consulting sectors.

December and January accolades!

Jubilant for Queen Elizabeth II medal recipients

Two members of the Athabasca University (AU) community have been honoured with  Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medals.

Dr. Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo, associate dean of strategic initiatives in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, received the medal for her ongoing commitment to advancing heritage conservation education in Alberta. Dailoo is director of AU’s Heritage Resources Management program and the Historical Resources Intern program. Alberta Culture Minister Jason Luan nominated Dailoo and presented her with the medal.

Marni Panas’s (Bachelor of Health Administration ’15) advocacy has helped change human rights legislation in Alberta and Canada to protect 2SLGBTQ+ communities from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley nominated Panas and presented her with the medal.

The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medals were created to recognize Albertans for their significant contributions to the province.

Athabasca University professor Dr. Jon Dron

New associate dean learning and assessment

Dr. Jon Dron will lead a number of initiatives across the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) to enhance assessment, course design, learning-outcome assessments, and the student experience in his new role as associate dean of learning and assessment.

Dron has previously served in leadership roles within the faculty and shared his expertise across the university as part of the re-imagining assessment work led by the provost’s office.

“Jon brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this role, with both his research and teaching in online pedagogy,” said Dr. Shauna Zenteno, dean of FST. “Congratulations Jon, and we look forward to working with you!”

Architecture prof. guest curator of art collection

Dr. Henry Tsang, an assistant professor of architecture, is the guest curator of a new AU art exhibit: The Vernacular Architecture of Canadian Towns: People and Habitat in Rural and Regional Communities.

Vernacular architecture is defined as a style of construction specific to a geographical place using traditional rudimentary building techniques and styles. These buildings are often not designed by architects. They reflect trial and error over generations—and the know-how of the local community.

The exhibit includes images from AU’s art collection and includes grain elevators, farmyards, cottages, winter habitats, Indigenous houses, and main streets.

He Loves His Sister by Jim Logan

Student represents Canada in speed skating

Wren Acorn was among 121 student athletes and 10 short-track speed skaters who represented Canada at the 2023 FISU Winter World University Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Acorn, from Yellowknife, N.W.T., competed in the 1,000-metre and 1,500-metre speed skating events, and the women’s 3,000-metre relay. The relay team narrowly missed the podium with a 4th-place finish.

“Lake Placid ran an awesome event and they set us up super well. We got to watch a hockey game, played some pond hockey and watched some long-track speedskating,” Acorn told Northern News Service Limited Media.

Wren Acorn (front) represented Canada at the 2023 FISU Winter World University Games. Image: Antoine Saito/Speed Skating Canada

Nursing grad takes on hospital leadership role

Leanne Weeks (Master of Nursing ’20) has been appointed vice-president of clinical and chief nursing executive with the Royal Victoria Health Centre in Barrie, Ont. Weeks’s experience includes more than a decade in health-care leadership, including 6 years in acute care and 4 years as operations director of surgery and maternal, newborn, child, and youth programs.

“I’m excited about this new opportunity and thrilled to be a part of Royal Victoria Health Centre’s plans for the future which will change the landscape of health care in this region,” Weeks said.

Alum digs into leadership role at mining firm

Roger Lemaitre (Master of Business Administration ’11) has taken on a new executive leadership role as vice-president and head of mining at Jourdan Resources. Lemaitre is a professional engineer and geologist with more than 30 years of experience in senior and junior mining companies.

October and November accolades!

AU launches refreshed brand

Athabasca University (AU) is always evolving to meet the learning needs of Albertans and Canadians. That’s why AU has refined our brand identity to better reflect our next-generation online experience and our anyone, anywhere, anytime advanced learning.

The newly refreshed brand, which launched Oct. 24, shifts the focus of AU’s story as Canada’s Open University. That means we’re open to anyone with a desire and commitment to learn. AU removes barriers to create better tomorrows for everyone.

Read more about AU’s brand refresh

woman using laptop with Athabasca University logo

Canada Research Chair renewal

Dr. Mickey Vallee has been renewed as Canada Research Chair in Community, Identity, and Digital Media.

Vallee was first awarded his tier 2 Canada Research Chair in 2017. His research program focuses on sound and recording technologies and how they can help understand a range of biology-related topics, a field known as bioacoustics.

The tier 2 research chair renewal was part of a $139-million federal investment in the Canada Research Chair program announced in November.

Related: Q&A with Mickey Vallee, Canada Research Chair in Community, Identity, and Digital Media

Photo of Dr. Mickey Vallee

AU grad named IT ‘Woman of the Year’

Claudette McGowan (Master of Business Administration ’11) has been named Woman of the Year at this year’s Women in IT Summit and Awards.

McGowan is a nationally renowned cybersecurity expert and entrepreneur. She won the award, which goes to a woman who has demonstrated the highest degree of IT excellence, innovation and leadership over the last 2 years.

Until recently, McGowan was an executive with TD Bank but has since gone on to found her own startup, Protexxa, a business-to-business cybersecurity platform that leverages artificial intelligence.

The Women in IT Summit and Awards recognize and celebrate women, allies, and businesses across the country, highlighting their contributions to the technology industry.

Related: ‘Elevate security now,’ cybersecurity expert advises leaders in open learning

Claudette McGowan
Book cover: Diet, Health, and Prevention

New book about diet, health, and prevention

Dr. Norman Temple, a professor of nutrition in the Faculty of Science and Technology, has published a new book: Diet, Health, and Prevention. The book explores the big picture of how improved health can be achieved across the population through a healthier diet. The work will “appeal to anyone with an interest in diet and health, both those with and those without a background in nutrition,” Temple explains.

Related: 5 healthy-eating tips for the holidays

IDEA Lab earns innovation nod

IDEA Lab, AU’s cloud-based virtual research space, won the Regional Innovation Award at the 2022 ASTech Awards. The awards recognize the best in science, technology, and innovation in Alberta.

The IDEA Lab team includes Dr. Andrew Perrin, associate vice-president of research, and research office colleagues Paul Daniels, MacKinley Darlington, and Stacey Leavitt, with support from AU’s IT team led by vice-president, Jennifer Griffin Schaeffer.

IDEA Lab was developed in partnership with Amazon Web Services and RONIN and ​​represents a first-in-Canada approach to virtual research.

Related: IDEA Lab: Redefining Research

Laurie Wang
Image: Cooper and O’Hara

MBA student among Edmonton’s top 40 under 40

MBA student Laurie Wang is among Edmonton’s top 40 under 40, according to Edify magazine.

Wang was recognized for her work with Legal Aid Alberta in making justice more accessible to everyone. She is executive director of people, culture, and communications.

“I’m able to work with some of the greatest lawyers in the province.” Wang told Edify. “But for me, joining Legal Aid was really about strengthening democracy.”

Read Wang’s profile

Professors publish new AU Press titles

AU faculty Dr. Jon Dron and Dr. Angie Abdou will publish new works through AU Press’s spring 2023 offerings.

Abdou has 2 new titles through AU Press. She contributed to Edmonton author and former AU writer-in-residence Joshua Whitehead’s Indigiqueerness: A Conversation about Storytelling, which releases in April 2023. Evolving from a conversation between Joshua Whitehead and Angie Abdou, Indigiqueerness is part dialogue, part collage, and part memoir.

Abdou and Dr. Jamie Dopp of the University of Victoria also co-edited Not Hockey: Critical Essays on Canada’s Other Sport Literature. With the aim of prompting reflections on and discussions of the boundaries of sport, contributors explore how literature engages with sport as a metaphor, as a language, and as bodily expression. The book launches in May 2023.

Dron’s new book, How Education Works: Teaching, Technology, and Technique, looks at education, learning, and teaching through a technological lens. It focuses on the parts we play in technologies, from language and pedagogies to computers and regulations. The book launches in May 2023.

Related: Knowledge for everyone: How open access expands the reach and impact of the university press

Former staffer publishes new book

Former AU staffer Emma Pivato has published a memoir, And Along Came Alexis.

The retired psychologist and disability advocate wrote about raising her youngest daughter, Alexis, who was born with multiple disabilities, including blindness, an intractable seizure disorder, and spastic quadriplegia. The book describes the story of her life to date from her mother’s viewpoint: its victories and setbacks, its grim moments and its funny moments.

Online Learning Consortium honours retired professor

Dr. Terry Anderson, a professor emeritus and past Canada Research Chair in Distance Education, received a 2022 Class of Fellows Award from the Online Learning Consortium.

The honour recognizes “outstanding qualification, experience, contributions, and leadership in online learning, said Mary Niemiec, a member of the organization’s board. “These experts are leading the way in online learning.”

The Online Learning Consortium is a collaborative community of higher education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences for the  modern learner.

Prof. earns nods for urban design

Dr. Henry Tsang, an assistant professor in AU’s RAIC Centre for Architecture, earned an honorable mention at this year’s City of Calgary Mayor’s Urban Design Award.

Tsang’s work on the Japanese Cultural Centre in Calgary was recognized in the Conceptual Theoretical Urban Design Category. The project previously earned several other design awards.

The Mayor’s Urban Design Awards celebrate the work of Calgary urban designers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, planners, and artists.

Tsang also earned a 2022 American Institute of Architects Canada Design Award – Honourable Mention for the same project. These award recognize best practices, innovative thinking, and design excellence in the work of AIA Canada members.

Related: Dr. Henry Tsang wins Canadian Architect Award of Excellence

Dr. Henry Tsang with an urban design award

Business associate dean honoured by alma mater

Dr. Simon Segué was among several graduates of the École Supérieure des Sciences Économiques et Commerciales-Douala, in Douala, Cameroon, who were celebrated for notable achievements. Segué, an associate dean and professor in the Faculty of Business, was recognized as a pioneer in education for his “exemplary academic career” and for the leadership roles including serving as editor-in-chief of the Journal of African Business and president of the Academic of African Business and Development.

September accolades!

AU opens new Indigenous art gallery, memorial garden

A new memorial garden and art gallery at Athabasca University’s (AU) campus offer spaces for quiet contemplation and reflection to remember the lives lost and Survivors of Canada’s residential school system.

AU’s Indigenous unit, Nukskahtowin, which means meeting place in Cree, hosted the Sept. 27 opening of the Linda Bull Memorial Garden and Bertha Clark-Jones O.C. Art Gallery. The garden honours the legacy of the late Linda Bull, O.C., who was Cree and one of AU’s first Indigenous academics, while the art gallery is named after Bertha Clark-Jones, O.C., a Cree-Métis who devoted her life to advocacy, in particular for Indigenous women and children.

Read more: Nukskahtowin opens Linda Bull Memorial Garden and Bertha Clark-Jones O.C. Art Gallery

people at the opening of the Linda Bull Memorial Garden

VP honoured as emerging entrepreneur

Jennifer Schaeffer, vice-president of information technology and chief information officer, was honoured as an emerging entrepreneur at the 2022 Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Awards.

Schaeffer won the award for her efforts as founder of online learning company Onlea, which produces flexible, mobile-friendly, interactive learning courses, educational experiences, and assessment solutions.

Deputy provost recognized for leadership in digital education

One of AU’s senior leaders has won an international award for leadership. Anne-Marie Scott, deputy provost for academic operations, received the Award for Leadership in Digital Education at the Association for Learning Technology’s 2022 ALT Awards.

The awards celebrate and reward excellent research and practice and outstanding achievement in learning technology. Scott currently serves as co-lead of AU’s Integrated Learning Environment project (ILE). The ILE will combine all aspects of online learning and learner support into a single, integrated ecosystem that’s flexible, scalable, and based in the cloud.

Related: AU’s new Integrated Learning Environment will transform learner experience

New micro-credential in health economics

AU has received $330,000 in provincial funding to develop a micro-credential that will help health professionals and others better understand the impact of their work and decision-making, including the benefits and costs to patients and the health-care system.

PowerED™ by AU and the Faculty of Health Disciplines will develop the 4-course micro-credential in partnership with the Institute for Health Economics in Alberta.

“Health economics is every health professional’s business,” said Dr. Alex Clark, dean of the Faculty of Health Disciplines. “It’s important for Canadian society to focus on health economics as well as health professionals. When it comes to effective health care, we have to think not just about benefits but about costs. That way we can work with government and decision-makers to ensure Canadians get the best, and also the most sustainable health care.”

Read more

A healthcare professional reads a medical document during a meeting with a group of colleagues.


Bucking Conservatism book cover

AU Press wins at Alberta Book Publishing Awards

Two AU Press titles were recognized at the Alberta Book Publishing Awards.

Scholarly and Academic Book of the Year

Regime of Obstruction: How Corporate Power Blocks Energy Democracy, edited by William K. Carroll (University of Victoria).

Regional Book of the Year

Bucking Conservatism: Alternative Stories of Alberta from the 1960s and 1970s, edited by Leon Crane Bear (University of Lethbridge), Larry Hannant (University of Victoria), and Karissa Robyn Patton (Vancouver Island University).

“We are filled with pride when our authors receive this kind of recognition,” says Megan Hall, director of AU Press. “A book is the culmination of countless hours spent writing and revising and then doing it all over again! Awards like these acknowledge the commitment and dedication our authors have to making a great book with us.”

Congrats, Canadian Academy of Nursing Fellows!

Two AU nursing professors have been named 2022 Fellows of the Canadian Academy of Nursing. Dr. Margaret Edwards and Dr. Debbie Fraser of the Faculty of Health Disciplines were both inducted into the 2022 class—the highest honour for Canada’s nursing leaders in clinical practice, education, administration, research and policy.

Edwards, a registered nurse, was the founding vice-president of the Alberta Association of Nurses and a former dean at AU. Under her leadership, the Faculty of Health Disciplines developed 3 online master’s programs, which removed barriers to higher education for thousands of nurses.

Fraser, also a registered nurse, is an associate professor at AU with more than 40 years of experience in neonatal intensive care. She became one of Canada’s first neonatal nurse practitioners, a role she still holds at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg.

Learn more about this year’s fellows.

July and August accolades!

AU podcast earns national nod

AU’s limited series podcast, Go the Distance, has been nominated for a Canadian Podcast Award.

Go the Distance is among 5 podcasts nominated for Outstanding Branded Series. The podcast features the stories of 10 AU students and alumni who have discovered the transformative effect of online learning.

The Canadian Podcast Awards celebrate outstanding podcasts produced by Canadian podcasters, editors, and producers. Winners will be announced online in September.

Listen to Go the Distance on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and more.

Happy birthday, AUSU!

Celebrate like it’s the ’90s! The Athabasca University Students’ Union (AUSU) celebrated its 30th anniversary with a retro-themed party this past July.

The undergraduate student body was founded on July 16, 1992, and became AUSU 2 years later. When it was created, it was the first students’ association in the world created to serve the needs of distance education students.

Grads publish book on pioneering women academic leaders

AU alum Dr. Norine Wark (Doctor of Distance Education ’19) and Dr. Susan Bainbridge (Doctor of Distance Education ’13) have written a new book, The Encyclopedia of Female Pioneers in Online Learning.

The book is described as the first volume to explore the lives and scholarship of women who have prominently advanced online learning. It details 30 pre-eminent female academics, including some of the first to create online courses, design learning management systems, research innovative topics such as discourse analysis or open resources, and speak explicitly about gender parity in the field.

Wark won the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal in 2019, given to the AU graduate student with the highest grade-point average. She was interviewed about her experience for Convocation 2019.

Bainbridge is a contract instructor with AU.

Alum earns tenure

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Opara (Doctor of Business Administration ’14) who earned tenure from Texas A&M University.

In a note to his peers in the DBA program, Opara expressed gratitude for the “important contributions to his success made by members of the AU Faculty of Business and the DBA program.”

Opara will be part of a panel discussion about careers in post-secondary education for DBA graduates at the annual DBA orientation in September.

Interview explores professor’s memoir

Dr. Meenal Shrivastava, a professor and coordinator of political economy and global studies, was recently interviewed by the New Books Indian Religions podcast about her 2018 book, Amma’s Daughters: A Memoir.

In the book, Shrivastava uncovers the history of the female foot soldiers of Mahatma Gandhi’s national movement in India in the early 20th century. She weaves together written accounts with archival research and family history, and in doing so, gives voice and honour to the hundreds of thousands of largely forgotten or unacknowledged women who, threatened with imprisonment for treason and sedition, relentlessly and selflessly gave toward the revolution.

Amma’s Daughters: A Memoir was published by AU Press.

Listen to the interview

French professor publishes poetry

Dr. Evelyne Gagnon, an associate professor of French literary studies, has published a new collection of poems, Incidents (et autres rumeurs du temps)—Incidents (and other rumors of the century). The book debuted on Aug. 30 from Montreal-based publisher Le Noroît.

AU education reaches new heights

Learning at AU just reached new heights thanks to a new partnership with the (ALPA).

ALPA is the world’s largest airline pilots union, representing more than 65,000 pilots at 40 carriers in Canada and the United States. Thanks to a new agreement with AU, ALPA’s members can take advantage of the flexibility of AU’s online learning model so they can enroll in programs or courses from anywhere in the world. The agreement means that members do not have to pay application fees and are charged Alberta tuition rates.

“ALPA strives to find resources that strengthen the position of its members and their families in all aspects of their lives. Our partnership with Athabasca provides the opportunity for better positioning personally, professionally and financially for those we represent,” said Capt. Bill Couette, ALPA vice-president of administration.

“Athabasca University takes pride in removing barriers to university education so that our learners can pursue learning at any time and from anywhere in the world,” said Michael Shouldice, manager of partnerships and collaborations. “Educational partners like the Air Line Pilots Association, International, allow us to deliver on our mission so that our learners can succeed at any stage of their lives and careers.”

The 5-year agreement also includes one-on-one support for ALPA members who need assistance with applications or registration.

Learn more

airplane taking off

June accolades!

Congrats to the class of 2022!

You did it. You finally did it! Congratulations to all 1,872 graduates in AU’s class of 2022! If you missed it, AU celebrated the successes of our newest grads throughout the month of June with stories, video, profiles, and tips for future graduating years. You can also test your knowledge of the class of 2022 and AU with this fun quiz!

Check out grads featured during #AthaU22

Take a bow, Governor General’s Academic Medal winners!

A special congratulations go out to Dr. Debra Dell and Danica McKinnon, who were awarded the Governor General’s Academic Gold and Silver Medals, respectively.

Dell (Doctor of Education in Distance Education ’22) earned the gold medal as AU’s top graduate student. She now plans to further her work as a leader and educator in addictions counselling.

Read Dell’s story

McKinnon (Bachelor of Management ’22) earned the silver medal as the top undergraduate student. She won the award after an 8-year break from school.

Read McKinnon’s story

Debra Dell and Danica McKinnon
Debra Dell (left) and Danica McKinnon.

Mother-daughter grads featured on CBC Radio

It’s not every day that members of the same family pursue a university degree in the same program at the same time. But to do it twice is exceptionally rare.

Juanita Marshall (Master of Counselling ’22) and her mother, Natashia Marshall (Master of Counselling ’22) spoke to CBC Radio in Edmonton about their experiences as AU students.

Listen to their story

The Marshalls - Juanita, Sarah Jane, and Natashia
Left to right: Juanita Marshall with daughters Sarah Jane Marshall (class of 2020) and Natashia Marshall (class of 2022).

Related: Mother-daughter duo graduate university together—for a second time

7 research projects awarded $3.8M in grant funding

Seven research projects involving AU researchers were awarded a combined $3.8 million in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) through grant awards announced on June 16.

Dr. Andrew Perrin, associate vice-president of research, says AU’s success in securing funding shows that Athabasca is on the rise as a research university.

“More important than that, our researchers are exploring and solving grand challenges through their work,” Perrin says. “From racism to climate change to the impact of the pandemic to privacy, architecture, and inclusion, AU academics are advancing knowledge in areas that are crucial to understanding our past, accounting for the present, and projecting a better future.”

Share your accolade!

Are you an Athabasca University team member, learner, or grad? Tell us about your award, grant, new book, or other praise-worthy achievement.