MATH: the bigger picture

At Quest, math isn’t just about memorizing equations and numbers —  it’s about seeing the bigger picture.

Richard Hoshino, award-winning Quest Math Tutor, speaks on his Quest experience, and how mathematics relates to everyday life through communication and problem-solving skills.

Also featured is Quest student and member of the Leaders in Elite Athletics & Performance Program, Jeneva Beairsto, for her creative and valuable Keystone project. Jeneva addressed the issue of travel fare inequality by creating an optimal pricing formula that will be implemented by the Vancouver transit system.

Video created by Quest student Ben Grayzel




Richard Hoshino’s Adrien Pouliot Award

Accepting his award, Richard Hoshino presented four of his favourite math problems, and shared stories of how they lead to authentic mathematical experiences for both high school students and undergraduates. He presented four key problem-solving strategies that enable mahematicians and educators to impact others’ lives.

Read the story here.

Dr. Darcy Otto, professor of philosophy at Quest University Canada, will deliver the 32nd annual Woods Memorial Lecture on Nov 30 at 7 p.m. in the Phillips Lecture Hall located in the Hoyt Science Resources Center. Otto’s lecture, “The Promise of Quantum Computing,” is open to anyone interested in learning more about quantum computing. No knowledge of mathematics or quantum physics is needed to attend.

“Quantum computing is a very timely topic,” added Dr. Robert Knop, associate professor of physics at Westminster College. “In the next few years, you will be seeing more and more news stories about it.”

During his lecture, Otto will lead a conversation on the quantum computing technology currently revolutionizing the computing industry. Otto’s lecture will provide insight into how quantum computers can possibly perform tasks such as cracking some of the most widespread encryption schemes; mapping the interactions between molecules; searching enormous databases; or even discovering how to play the perfect game of chess.

In addition to being a professor and published author, Otto is researching the limits of computation and how those limits are challenged by quantum computing as a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon. At Quest University, Otto teaches courses in mathematics, computer science and philosophy. He has published papers that apply formal logic to questions in metaphysics and he also published a translation of Socrates’ speech in Plato’s Symposium.

The Woods Memorial Lecture honors Dr. Robert M. Woods, professor of physics at Westminster College from 1947-1972. The Woods Memorial Lecture is made possible by a gift from the Woods family that has been supplemented over the years by gifts from friends and alumni.

For more information, contact Doreen Matune at or 724-946-7284.

Read the whole story here

Wildfires Aren’t Just a Land Thing

Marine ecologist Dr. Tse-Lynn Loh, a Quest visiting tutor in the Life Sciences, contributed to an article on the impact of wildfires on marine life. The article, published on the Oceana blog, discussed how smoke and ash that billow from a blaze can change water quality in streams, rivers, and oceans, and could have major effects on marine ecosystems.

On September 1, 2017, the Canadian Mathematical Society announced that Dr. Richard Hoshino is the recipient of the 2017 Adrien Pouliot Award for significant and sustained contributions to mathematics education in Canada. Founded in 1945, the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) promotes the advancement, discovery, learning and application of mathematics. Richard is the youngest mathematician to have received this prestigious award in recognition of individuals “who have made significant and sustained contributions to mathematics education in Canada.” Adrien Pouliot was the second President of the CMS and was described as a world-class ambassador for science and mathematics and a great educator.

Richard’s colleague Dr. Glen van Brummelen, himself a 2017 National Teaching Fellow, noted that the award is essentially a national lifetime achievement award and that Richard has been “one of the most valued people in the Canadian mathematics education community” even before coming to Quest. Prior to his arrival at Quest in 2013, Richard was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo (2010-2012), and was a mathematician with the Government of Canada (2006-2010), leading the mathematics and data exploration section at the Canada Border Services Agency. He has published 28 research papers across numerous fields, including graph theory, marine container risk-scoring, biometric identification, and sports scheduling.

Richard is a former Mathematics Olympian and has coached the students representing Canada at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). He recently penned a novel The Math Olympian aimed at young people as a way to reach and inspire even more students. He frequently visits high schools to give public talks, and has reached thousands of students in British Columbia over the past four years. He has also led numerous professional development workshops for high school math teachers, and has organized or keynoted math education workshops and conferences throughout Canada. Hoshino is an active member of the Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group (CMESG), and will be the local organizer for the next CMESG meeting, to be held at Quest in June 2018.

For more information about Richard’s award, please see the press release from the Canadian Mathematical Society.

What determines the success of a conservation protected area? Current student Elijah Rempe Cetas examined this question through a Quest Summer Fellowship with Social Sciences tutor Dr. Maï Yasué. In a literature review, they found that projects with at least one intrinsically motivating component were three times more likely to meet the socioeconomic or ecological goals of the protected areas. Their co-authored paper earned Elijah Conservation Biology’s 2016 Rising Star Award, which recognizes outstanding student researchers and communicators. “This really is a testament to what a student can produce through the very close working relationship/mentoring that Quest students receive from faculty,” said Maï.

The paper, “A Systematic Review of Motivational Values and Conservation Success in and around Protected Areas,” was published in the journal Conservation Biology.

After the announcement, current student Parker Carruthers had an opportunity to chat with Elijah.

Parker Carruthers: Starting off, tell us about your background, where did you go to high school, what are your research interests broadly?

Elijah Cetas: I was born in Tucson Arizona, but grew up in Portland, Oregon. I went to public school at Cleveland High School. I’ve always been interested in local politics. I grew up in a very progressive family where my mom always took me to protests. In high school I got really interested in the contract negotiation that was going on with the teachers’ union of the public school at the time. I got interested in how people could work autonomously as teachers vs. a public-school system that was trying to enforce tests and things like that. And that was something that I thought about with the research too.

PC: So building on that, could you expand more on your prior engagement with educational activism?

EC: After Occupy came to Portland, there was a big movement in Portland. In my junior year I joined the student union that had just formed. It was a group of students who were activists and were interested in doing student politics by going to demonstrations, and holding our own demonstrations against standardized testing in particular—just trying to represent the student voice.

My senior year was when this contract negotiation came around. And that year the teachers presented a contract to the board that basically said, “these are the schools Portland students deserve”—that was like their catchphrase. They were really interested in trying to negotiate things like the amount of tests students had to take in Portland public schools, the way teachers’ hours are structured, and the way in which teachers had the ability to design their own curriculum.

So we as a student union saw in that message something really exciting, which was that school isn’t about testing and it’s not about a pre-designed curriculum, it’s about student and teacher autonomy. We got behind the teachers and helped in the contract negotiation. In the course of that year we demonstrated and held walk outs, which we had done in the last year as well. We created forms for opting out of standardized testing, and we went to the school board and testified against the school board management.

PC: And that was in your junior year—what ended up coming out of that?

EC: That was in my junior through senior years. The final contract was much better than the proposed contract by the management. We didn’t win everything we wanted, but it went really really well. And for a while after that there was a strong group of students who had become interested in politics and had become active. It was just kind of a fire-y little movement for a while, so that was cool to see.

PC: So switching from that, how did that bring you to Quest? Or what brought you to Quest, rather?

EC: I came to Quest because I wanted to go to a small liberal arts school; a place where students could figure out their own course and work closely with mentor figures. I always wanted to do the humanities, but I wanted to be in a place where we could be intentional with our own education and what kind of community we want to be a part of.

PC: Felt like a good fit?

EC: I came up and did an interview, and I remember telling the admissions officer at the time about my experience in high school, and she said, “Quest is the kind of school where people can think about some of the things that you’re thinking about.”

PC: So talking about educational activism, and your research interests now, what can you say about your paper, “A systematic review of motivational values and conservation success in and around protected areas,” that won Conservation Biology’s 2016 Rising Star award? Maybe breaking that up, tell us about your paper first.

EC: So I got interested in this paper when [Social Sciences Faculty Tutor Dr.] Maï [Yasué] proposed the idea to a number of students. I knew that I didn’t want to study conservation per-say as a major focus at Quest, but I was really interested in this research proposal. The study that Maï and I did was a systematic review, a literature review essentially, but one where you use the articles as data points. You code them and use them to see what those codes say, essentially.

And what she wanted to look at was intrinsic motivation versus extrinsic motivation. We hadn’t figured out how to look at conservation in greater detail than, but what I saw in that research proposal, and what interested Maï, was this question of “to what degree does autonomy, and to what degree does self-determination matter when it comes to the success of a conservation area?” And in my head the same question was “to what does it matter when it comes to the success of education and public high school education?” Because it’s essentially the same problem, where if you have a conservation issue, and you can figure out a really good incentive scheme to get people to conserve, and can enact it in every place, then it seems like you can just run this program, and the conservation area will be successful.

But there’s this question of “to what degree should you have local participation? To what degree does that matter for preserving ecosystems?” In the same way that in what way does it matter that teachers have autonomy over their curriculum?

PC: So it’s much broader.

EC: I was drawn to that question, and I think just trying to see, to kind of put to the test, some of the things that I believed almost dogmatically in high school were true. Like, “yes, teachers should have self-determination.” “Yes, local people should determine their relationship to a national park.” But we didn’t know that in data, and literature was conflicting, and that was what was really exciting about the whole thing. And I think just trying to answer questions that are something that you believe to be true but yet are vague and don’t appear in data very easily. I think those are really interesting to try to put into data.

PC: And obviously it was successful. You did this in the summer, so that was as a Summer Fellow. Could you maybe talk a little bit more about your experience as a 2015 Summer Fellow and what that meant to you as a student?

EC: I had just finished my first year, and I was pretty exhausted. We had a two-week break, and then came back in the beginning of the summer for the Summer Fellows Program. I started a little bit early. We had a conference that we wanted to go to in June, and I worked really hard that first month and got a lot done. We got a lot of our data, made a poster for the conference, and went to the conference. That was kind of a turning point for summer because from then on it was about finishing the data and writing the thing.

It was interesting because at Quest we don’t get to work on things for any length of time. It was strange to sit with one research problem for weeks and weeks, but I think it was really meaningful. It was challenging too to stay on top of your work and your research when it’s just so big that you’re trying to do a little bit every day.

PC: Where do you start to chip away?

EC: Exactly, but that was really meaningful as a first year to try to figure that out. It was also wonderful being around other students doing research projects. That was inspiring because most of them were doing Keystone work (there were a few other first years) and they were really excited about it and passionate, and we would have great conversations just talking about it. It was great.

PC: And that has to be valuable as a first year too, talking to those experienced students and getting that insight over the summer.

EC: It was huge. I could learn from them, and listen and hear about what they were researching and about their process. By the end of the summer, hearing other people present, you realize, “these people have done a ton.” And then you’re like, “I’ve done a ton.”

PC: What class are you in currently? We just finished a block, what are you moving into for the last block of the year?

EC: I’m in “What is Life?” I’m just finishing my Foundation courses. I took six Foundation courses this year, I believe, because last year I took two. And the rest, Concentration courses. “What is Life?” I took “Bio BC” last block, and that was interesting in relation to this project—to the Summer Fellows, because I spent so much of that summer reading about people talking about ecology, and interpreting the way people talked about ecology, but not having actually having done any ecology myself.

Studying ecology was interesting, I’d never thought about it really.

PC: And future courses? What is next year looking like as far as coursework goes?

EC: Next year I’ll be taking all Concentration courses. I want to take “Creative Writing” in fall block. I wanted to take “Ancient Philosophy,” but it doesn’t seem to be on the course slate. I want to take “Colonialism and Colonial Identities” with André [Lambelet, Humanities Tutor (History)]. For fourth block, I don’t remember the last one.

PC: You don’t need to have your whole schedule memorized. That’s perfect.

EC: I think broadly I want to take exciting, fun, classes. “Creative Writing” I’m really excited for in particular.

PC: And just stepping back, what’s your Question?

EC: My Question is “How do we Know Ourselves?” but lately in my head it’s become “What is the Meaning of Progress?”

I made it “How do we Know Ourselves” because I had no idea what I wanted to study in the humanities except that I wanted to look at literature, history, and philosophy all kind of bundled together. So I asked, “How do we Know Ourselves?” and now I’m interested in the 19th century, and thinking about what makes the modern identity, and what is the modern sense of self, and where does it come from? I think one of the big ideas of modernity is the idea of continual progress, and I’m interested in literature that’s relating to that.

PC: Just to wrap it up here, tell us something about yourself that we not know.

EC: Oh, I really love comic books.

PC: What sorts?

EC: I love Neil Gaiman, and I love Hellboy comic books a lot.

The Squamish Chief published an article on Elijah’s accomplishment.


Beakerhead is a self-described “smash up of art, science and engineering” at the “intersection where ingenuity lives”. Quest recently hosted one of Beakerhead’s signature offerings, a four-day intensive Science Communications course taught by Jay Ingram, one of Canada’s most well-known science broadcasters, and expert guest faculty. The goal of the immersive program was for participants to begin with a rough draft of a science-communication project and emerge with a piece or script ready to pitch. Participants ranged from graduate students to established academics hailing from five Canadian provinces. The first day involved art work, improv, and personal story sharing to help loosen any inhibitions and get the creative juices flowing. Sessions on crafting the pitch and understanding the structure of different forms of scientific writing provided conceptual frameworks, and participants refined their pieces through intensive one-on-one writing and editing sessions with faculty. The final presentations were an energetic and entertaining demonstration of the power of creativity unleashed. Physical Sciences tutor Dr. Steve Quane presented his video script, and Mathematics tutor Dr. Richard Hoshinopresented a final draft of an op-ed piece that he successfully published the following week. One of the highlights of the course was the keynote presentation, where Jay Ingram spoke about his 30 years in science communication across radio, television, and print. The talk was attended by approximately 50 members of the Quest community.

President and CEO Mary Anne Moser co-founded Beakerhead with Jay Ingram, beginning with a two-week immersive Science Communication Program at the Banff Center. With its vibrant integration of arts and sciences, it is no coincidence that founding Life Sciences tutor Dr. Annie Prud’homme-Genereux, and current tutors Dr. Negar Elmieh, Dr. Marjorie Wonham, and Dr. Richard Hoshino, are alumni of that program.

What it truly means to be gifted

Quest’s very own Mathematics Tutor Richard Hoshino composed an opinion editorial titled “What it truly means to be gifted,” that was published in The Toronto Star. Richard proposes that through authentic mathematical experiences, students develop confidence, creativity, and critical-thinking skills.

Read more…

Elijah Rempe Cetas: 2016 Rising Star

Third-year Quest student Elijah Rempe Cetas has been honoured for his conservation research. Elijah was a Quest Summer Fellow at the end of his first year during which time he researched and wrote the proposal. The manuscript was written in collaboration with Quest Social Sciences Faculty Tutor Maï Yasué.

Elijah received the 2016 Rising Star Award from the science journal Conservation Biology for a manuscript titled,A Systematic Review of Motivational Values and Conservation Success in and around Protected Areas.” Congratulations to Elijah and Maï  on their contribution to Conservation Biology, one of the highest impact factor conservation journals.

“This really is a testament to what a student can produce through the very close working relationship/mentoring that Quest students receive from faculty,” said Maï, who served as faculty host for Elijah’s fellowship.

Read More…

Photo: Quest University student Elijah Rempe Cetas / Squamish Chief

Digging Up the Past Symposium

On Sunday, April 2nd, Quest University Canada had the privilege of hosting faculty and graduate student speakers from Canada, the United States, and Europe to discuss their interdisciplinary approach to the field of Egyptology. The program included snapshots of research and career path presentations with faculty presenters, a coffee break for networking, and interactive workshops with the graduate student presenters. All presenters had the opportunity to go up the Sea to Sky Gondola in the morning (in uncharacteristically sunny April weather), and the faculty presenters were also given a tour of Quest and given the chance to ask questions about our curriculum and program.

During the research presentations, there were some recurring themes and words of wisdom for students at the start of their academic journeys. Many speakers, including Dr. Pearce Paul Creasman of the University of Arizona, spoke of how their professional careers are in fields that they discovered after their bachelor’s degree was already complete. Dr. Angus Graham of Uppsala University gave the advice “dance less, read more” – in other words, work hard for what you want and your future will be bright. Finally, all speakers spoke about the value of experience. Dr. Leslie Ann Warden of Roanoke College was on a dig as an undergraduate student, and she was placed in the “pottery tent” to draw, something she was unsure she was interested in. However, this experience led to her passion in utilitarian pottery, which is her research focus to this day. Dr. Judith Bunbury of Cambridge University agreed to a master’s degree doing fieldwork in Turkey, without knowing where Turkey was exactly. Now, she continues to do fieldwork in collaboration with Dr. Graham. The lessons that your career does not have to be linear, to be passionate about what you do, to continue to be curious and ask questions, and if an opportunity presents itself you should feel empowered to take it are invaluable to Quest students.

The idea for the symposium was that of our President, Dr. Peter Englert, and Dr. Thomas Schneider, Professor of Egyptology and Near Eastern Studies at the University of British Columbia, both of whom spoke at the event. Hopefully, collaborations such as this will continue to provide our students with access to internationally renowned researchers and continue to raise the profile of Quest University Canada and our incredible students.


On the 25th of March, Quest University Canada hosted its first TEDxQuestU event on campus. The four-hour long event was a platform for sharing ideas that add value to the world while creating an atmosphere that fostered intellectual exploration and collaboration. The event was spearheaded by a team of 15 students led by this year’s organizer, Okong’o Kinyanjui, and featured a diverse set of speakers composed of eight students, a faculty member, and an external speaker.

For six lengthy months, these speakers intricately prepared their talks around this year’s theme, “Quest-ioning the norm,” with the assistance of committed speaker team members; Nicole Zanesco, Eluti Danzig, Sarah Chudleigh, Nritya Mala, and Megan Morgan. The quality of each talk was representative of a summation of hours of complex research, deep reflection, and rich authenticity that spoke to the soul. Some talks provoked emotion, others expanded our field of knowledge and others offered critical approaches to dire situations.

In her talk, “Can education help erase ignorance as an excuse for racism and discrimination?” we listened to the powerful words of Eliyana Stern, an exemplary 14-year-old activist from Squamish, who’s narrative is not only imprinted in our minds, but has sprung some to action. Jasmine Aimaq’s talk, “Finding the exit to your box,” took us on an emotional rollercoaster that ended with deep insight and a new lens through which to look at the world. Student speakers such as Stuart Lantz, “Why does believing in free will matter?”; Alex Gillespie, “When does motivation become procrastination?”; Benjamin Sandler, “What can we learn from the fake news debate?”; and Johannes Bodendorfer, “Of rifles and schoolbooks: Where do liberal arts and the military meet?”; opened serious dialogue with humour. And other speakers like Leena Lamontagne-Dupuis, “Are the poor lazy?”; Max Notarangelo, “How can we make science probably accurate?”; Maria-José Araujo, “An invisible refugee crisis, why are we not listening?”; and Daniel Herrmann, “How can we have better conversations?”; made complex problems in the world way easier to understand.

Moreover, who can forget the witty comments of our MCs Josh Visser and Nicole Zanesco, in addition to the serene musical interludes by Mitchell Schaumberg. And the lovely smiles of logistics team members like Aria Ciccia, Oliver Rothenberg, and Katriona Mccoll, who’s beaming faces greeted all at the welcome desk. The event designs by Emily Glasberg established a convivial atmosphere and captured the attention of the masses. And the event would not have been possible without the assistance of Rikki Logan and Barbara Fernandes’ comprehensive documentation of finances, proactive budgeting, and innovation with limited resources. The quality background marketing and filming done by Arlette Akingeneye, Michael Geuenich, Parker Carruthers, and Jacob Tracy speaks for itself. Of course Adrienne Dalla-Longa, Alejandro Casazi, and Katherine Crowshaw deserve more than enough thanks for going out of their way to provide assistance.

The fact that the event successfully sold all tickets by the end of the first week showed us the demand and anticipation for the event by the Quest community and beyond. Next year we will welcome a much larger audience with more exciting surprises. We hope to see you there!

The live stream of the event can be found on the TEDxQuestU Facebook page.

Professionally edited videos of each talk will be released later in May on TED’s official website

We are thrilled to announce that as part of our President’s Lecture Series, Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith will give a public talk at Quest University Canada on Monday, March 20th at 7pm in the Multipurpose Room.

Dr. Tuhiwai Smith, author of the bestselling book Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, is Professor of Education and Māori Development, Pro-Vice Chancellor Māori, Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development, and Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. She is Chairperson of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM) International Research Advisory Board and Principal Investigator on the NPM Project “In Pursuit of the Possible: Indigenous Well-being.”  

This event is a free event and open to the general public.

Please click here to listen to Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s podcast.

For more information please visit:


Effective March 9, Dr. James Byrne, Humanities Tutor (History of Science), has been ratified by the Academic Council and approved by the Board of Governors as interim Vice President and Chief Academic Officer. James brings a wealth of experience to the position through his leadership roles in the Academic Council, Admissions and Financial Aid Committee, and Rhetoric Program.

Several weeks ago, third-year Quest student Parker Carruthers had an opportunity to sit down with James to discuss his new role, his background, teaching at Quest, what his Question would be, and other interesting facts.

PC: Let’s start with your background. Tell us about where you’re from, etc., and what brought you to Quest.

JB: I came to Quest from Princeton, where I had been teaching in their writing program for five years. I received my PhD from Princeton, so I was there for at least 10 years or so altogether. And when I was on the market the year I ended up coming here I didn’t really know anything about Quest.

PC: What year was that?

JB: I started at Quest in 2012. So, this would have been fall of 2011 when I was applying. The job ad sounded like I fit very well with what Quest was looking for—a historian of science, and also someone who could teach in the Foundation Program and someone who could teach the Rhetoric class. Since the classes I’d been teaching at Princeton were mostly quite small classes of about 12 students each, I thought that what I do would translate well here.

I looked into Quest because I hadn’t heard anything about it, and I found there had been an article on Quest in the New York Times, and this was around the time David Helfand first did his Ted talk. So, I found a lot of information that sounded great. But what really sold me on Quest was when I came out for my on-campus interview.

When I gave my sample class, I was really impressed by the way the students, who didn’t really have any reason to jump in and participate or be enthusiastic about it, engaged. I think I was in one of Fei Shi’s [Arts and Humanities Tutor] Identity and Perspectives classes, and I came in and did the first day of my Chivalry and Feudalism class that I was teaching at Princeton at that point; which is a different version of the Chivalry and Feudalism class that I offer here.

The students were really super enthusiastic; we had a great conversation. I gave them a little text to read and talk about, and I thought it was all really exciting. And then I also really connected with the faculty that I met here. When Quest offered me the position I accepted it right away.

PC: That’s a great story. So, moving on a little bit more here, into your specific research interests which you mentioned a little. Explicitly, what do you do, and what are you into, and maybe why are you into it too?

JB: I’m a historian of science, and my interest in the history of science really goes back to my undergraduate days. I started my undergraduate career as a math major. I originally wanted to go into finance, but I met investment bankers in New York, and I decided, “Maybe this isn’t for me.” I also started doing history classes because I had always been really interested in history and really enjoyed that. One of the professors that I had, who ended up being one of my advisors at Columbia, is a historian of science and economic life. He was really excited to have me because I had a math background, so I could understand some of the technical stuff.

PC: Sort of an in-between almost.

JB: Yes, I got really excited about it and I ended up doing a double major in history and math and doing my senior thesis on a medieval introductory textbook to optics. I really enjoyed doing that, so I applied for grad school in history of science, got accepted, and continued from there.

My specific areas of research are broadly medieval and early-modern science. My big research project right now is I’m working on finishing up a book on how astronomy was taught and practiced at medieval universities.

PC: And when you say medieval, what age/time are we looking at?

JB: For me, kind of broadly 1200–­1500. That’s the period I mostly cover in the book, for example. And more recently I’ve also been moving my research interests a little bit later. I’m interested in looking at some things that are not only European, but also looking at places that Europeans travelled to. And then I’m especially interested in looking at rural forms of knowledge about nature.

There’s been a lot of work recently on early-modern science looking at the role of craftspeople, artisans, engineers, and their contributions to the history of science. But those are all very urban-focussed studies where people are mainly looking at cities that were important in European trade networks. But this is still a period where the great majority of Europe is rural. And there actually is a lot of concern about understanding not just traditional ways of doing agriculture, but of trying to manage things in a more efficient or rational way. I’m interested in looking at that and then at how that kind of knowledge spreads around and interacts with other cultures’ knowledge of rural things as Europeans go on to have colonial encounters around the world.

PC: That’s fascinating. Switching gears now, what is the role of the Chief Academic Officer, and what does this new position mean to you?

JB: Broadly, I’m the person who’s responsible for overseeing academics at Quest. I’m not the dictator of academics, we have an academic council that is responsible for setting a lot of our policies or approving changes to the curriculum. My role is to administer academics; to make sure that we’ve got a full slate of courses to teach, and we have faculty to teach them, and the policies we have surrounding academics are administered fairly for both faculty and students. And to generally make sure that the needs of faculty are being met, that the academic needs of students are being met, and that academics at Quest are functioning well.

I’m excited about starting this position.

PC: How long ago did you come into it?

JB: This is my third week I think, maybe fourth, it hasn’t been very long. I’m definitely new to the position and still learning the ropes. I had been interested in thinking about academic administration as a possible career direction, so this seemed like a good opportunity when it arose. I’m excited to see what I can do in the position, how it works for me, and how it works for Quest.

PC: Here at Quest, what courses have you taught? And if you could have your dream course, what would you like to teach?

JB: I teach a lot of courses at Quest. I teach Rhetoric, and I’ve taught every milestone except for Question. I teach Cornerstone and Rhetoric both pretty regularly. I’ve taught Keystone before but it’s not one of my regular milestones.

And then I teach a course in every area of the humanities Foundation. In Texts I have Divine Comedy, in Culture I have Peasant Cultures, and in Scholarship I have The Scientific Revolution.

And then my current Concentration courses are Slavery, Democracy, and Capitalism, which looks at slavery in the Trans-Atlantic world. I have Chivalry and Feudalism, which is a kind of medieval social and political history course, a little bit of cultural history too. I was supposed to teach Science, Exploration, and Empire for the first time in April, but I had to unfortunately cancel that course so I could fulfil my duties as CAO. And I have History of Evolution which is a look at the sort of early 19th through mid-20th century ideas about biological evolution.

I think that’s my current set of concentration courses.

PC: And then the dream course?

JB: That’s a good question. I really like all the courses that I teach now. There are a few things I would really like to do. One thing that I think would be really great would be to work with Court [Ashbaugh, Director of Labs,] and team-teach a course on historical experiments.

PC: So not only biological processes but also getting into physical sciences and things like that?

JB: Yes to recreate some things. As you get further and further into the 20th century, some things would take too much elaborate technology to do, but a lot of 17th, 18th, and 19th century experiments could be done in our labs. I would really like to do something where it was a combined science and history course where we both re-enact the experiments and try to understand them as they related to exploring scientific theories and then put them in a historical context.

That’s something I would definitely like to do.

PC: That would be a blast.

JB: One of the things this position means is I teach quite a bit less frequently than I would if I were just a member of the faculty. For me the hardest thing about the position is that I really like teaching, and going down to maybe one or two classes a year instead of six is a big change.

PC: A big shift absolutely. This is sort of a fun question, tell us something about you that we may not know. This could be a hobby, sport, extracurricular, maybe an instrument you play, really anything.

JB: Hahaha okay, I don’t play any instruments, well at least. I’m kind of a nerdy guy, so I’m an avid Dungeons and Dragons player. I don’t know people might be interested in that. I have typical kind of nerdly hobbies. And then I ski, and I also cook a lot.

PC: What is the best meal you’ve cooked recently?

JB: For my birthday, my partner got me a couple of the stone bowls that you serve bibimbap in, and I’ve been using those to make bibimbap in…

PC: Ohh a little bit of Korean?

JB: Yes, it’s been really tasty. They’re the bowls you get pretty much at restaurant quality, so…

PC: I’m jealous. To wrap up, if you were a student, what would your Question be?

JB: I usually say, “Where did modern science come from?”

PC: And where would you go with that, where would you take it?

JB: Because I’m a historian of science, I’m interested in what are the things that happened or what had to happen to get to the modern scientific method.

PC: Great. That’s it! Thanks so much, James.

JB: No problem.

Steve Quane / Mountain Life

Quest University Canada tutor Steve Quane was featured in an article published in Mountain Life. In the article, “Playing with Matches: Piecing Together the Geological Puzzle of the Sea-to-Sky Corridor,” Dr. Quane took participants of an adult-education course through the reasoning scientists would use to draw conclusions about the geological history and composition of the Stawamus Chief. A large glacier over two kilometres high did, in fact, occupy the entire valley, meaning that the Chief was at one time deep beneath it. The group also ventured north to the Tantalus Range overlook and Brandywine Falls to examine and learn about the geological makeup of these areas as well.

Read the entire article at:

Political Psychology: New Explorations
Routledge Press

I-Chant Chiang, Quest Executive Vice President and Social Sciences Tutor, is one of the editors of the recently published Political Psychology: New Explorations from Routledge Press. We interviewed I‑Chant to discuss her new book.

Q: Congratulations on the publication of your book. Can you explain what an edited volume is and what your role was in the publication?

IC: An edited volume is a collection of papers from many different authors. The other editors and I created a list of people to invite to contribute, then helped the authors improve their papers, and gave the book an overall thematic arc. Each editor also contributed a chapter and helped write an introduction to give the contributions context.

Q: What questions were you interested in answering with this volume?

IC: The field of political psychology is relatively new, so we were interested in the basic question of what is currently going on and if researchers were simply applying existing psychological theories to the political world or if there was original, basic research being done. The answer to our question was “yes;” we found that all of the papers were original research that advanced the field and contributed to our understanding of human behaviour in a political context.

Q: What did you learn from the publication process?

IC: The diversity of approaches to the question of how people behave in the political world was something I came to appreciate. Some people used model-based research, while others were more experimental. Some researchers conducted interviews, while others did less invasive observations. I learned that all of the methods added something significant to our overall output.

Q: Did any new questions arise at the end of the project?

IC: Yes, the notion of whether the trends we are seeing are cyclical or are they responses that change as history keeps changing. One chapter about the 9/11 attacks suggests that there is a sort of cyclical “normal” state to which people return. However, the developments with the new President in the United States might signal different kinds of change depending on new circumstances. It is definitely something to pay attention to in the field.

Link to press: