June 28, 2024

Institutes for Transdisciplinary Scholarship appoints 16 academic co-leads

New appointments will support expanding transdisciplinary scholarship at UCalgary
A group of people sit in a conference room
William Ghali, vice-president (research), speaks to the Institutes for Transdisciplinary Scholarship fall 2023 gathering at UCalgary. Adrian Shellard, for the University of Calgary

Sixteen UCalgary faculty members have joined the Institutes for Transdisciplinary Scholarship (ITS) as the inaugural cohort of academic co-leads for a three-year term. The addition of academic co-leads to ITS will foster enhanced collaboration within and beyond the campus community to create new approaches to tackle today's urgent issues.

The new positions support a priority of the University of Calgary's Strategic Plan, Ahead of Tomorrow: to expand transdisciplinary scholarship. These roles demonstrate institutional dedication to cultivating a collective approach to societal challenges and opportunities by facilitating transdisciplinary collaboration, co-creation, and knowledge transformation informed by multiple perspectives. 

“The academic co-leads that have been selected to join ITS are an exceptional group of scholars who will collaborate with the campus community on high-profile initiatives. They will establish connections with both new and ongoing transdisciplinary projects on campus and facilitate the integration of knowledge across communities and disciplines,” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). "It gives us great pleasure to announce their appointments. We are pleased to welcome these 16 scholars to ITS, all of whom will be essential in fostering a team effort to address the complex issues facing society.”

The 2024 cohort of ITS academic co-leads represents a broad range of expertise and experience. They will each work alongside a dedicated senior specialist in one of the five ITS areas of focus — Cities and Societies; Digital Worlds; Energy Futures; Health and Life and Democracy, Justice, and Sustainability — which were formed through extensive consultation with the UCalgary community. 

The development of the UCalgary academic co-lead position was led by the offices of the Vice-President (Research) and of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), along with Dr. Steven Bryant, academic lead, ITS. 

"A major step forward in transdisciplinary scholarship at UCalgary is the appointment of new academic co-leads. We now have more ways to bring researchers together to collaborate with colleagues and the community at large. We want to learn from one another by sharing stories from those actively engaged in transdisciplinary scholarship; the learning will provide crucial insights into how to deal with some of the most complex issues of our day," says Bryant. 

The incoming academic co-leads were selected following a December 2023 call for expressions of interest about ideas for research collaborations, transdisciplinary topics of scholarship, proposed activities or events, and knowledge mobilization plans. A number of strong applications were received, and the academic co-leads were chosen following an extensive selection process. 

“We are now in a stronger position to increase research collaborations across campus and be a leader in transdisciplinarity and its frameworks,” says Ghali. 

The inaugural cohort of UCalgary ITS academic co-leads at the University of Calgary is:

Cities and Societies

  • Dr. Victoria Fast, PhD
    Associate professor, Faculty of Arts, Department of Geography  
  • Josh Taron, MArch
    Associate professor, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
  • Dr. Ajwang’ Warria, PhD
    Associate professor, Social Work

Digital Worlds

  • Dr. Marina Gavrilova, PhD
    Acting associate dean (research), Faculty of Science
  • Dr. Mohammad Keyhani, PhD
    Associate professor, Haskayne School of Business
  • Dr. Tyler Williamson, PhD
    Associate professor, Cumming School of Medicine 

Energy Futures

  • Dr. Sabrina Perić, PhD
    Associate professor, Faculty of Arts, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
  • Dr. Douglas Robb, PhD
    Assistant professor, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
  • Dr. Gregory Welch, PhD
    Professor, Faculty of Science

Health and Life

  • Dr. Elena Di Martino, PhD
    Professor, Schulich School of Engineering 
  • Dr. Jenny Godley, PhD
    Professor, Faculty of Arts, Department of Sociology
  • Dr. Nicole Letourneau, PhD RN
    Professor, Faculty of Nursing

Democracy, Justice, and Sustainability 

  • Dr. Aleem Bharwani, MD
    Professor, Cumming School of Medicine
  • Dr. Tonya Callaghan, PhD
    Professor, Werklund School of Education 
  • Dr. Patrina Duhaney, PhD
    Assistant professor, Faculty of Social Work
  • Dr. Marjan Eggermont, PhD
    Professor (teaching), Schulich School of Engineering

To learn more, please visit the Institutes for Transdisciplinary Scholarship academic co-leads webpage

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