Top stories of 2015 | Work of Arts
Top stories of 2015 | Work of Arts

Top stories of 2015

A look back at an incredible year in the Faculty of Arts

It’s been one for the record books here in the Faculty of Arts. We welcomed new students to campus, celebrated our distinguish alumni, cheered on our latest graduates at convocation and held a very special birthday party for the Old Arts building.

We demonstrated our global impact, influenced the conversation around the value of an Arts education and reached a major milestone: 50,000 Arts alumni around the world.

It was a year full of exciting and inspirational stories of students, staff, faculty and alumni making a difference on campus and in the community.

Here’s a look back at some of 2015’s most popular stories from our website and Work of Arts Blog, in no particular order:



Alberta Mayors Naheed Nenshi and Don Iveson with Chair of Political Science, Lois Harder; Photo by Ed Ellis

1. 10th Annual Hurtig Lecture with big city Alberta mayors draws big crowd

Nearly 700 people packed the Myer Horowitz Theatre on Oct. 21 to hear Arts alumnus and Edmonton mayor Don Iveson and Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary discuss their hopes and plans for the future of Canadian cities. They shared important insights into local government and kept the crowd in stitches. Over 1,000 people tuned in to the event live streamed on the Faculty of Arts website while #Hurtig15 was trending nationally on Twitter.


2. 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School

Perverse professional lessons for graduate students: that’s the aim of a clever new book, 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School, written by Kevin Haggerty, a professor of sociology and criminology, and PhD schoolmate Aaron Doyle from Carleton University.  57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School draws attention to the common mistakes students make and offers advice on how to avoid them.


3. Video game MOOC boasts new mod: online exams

Our popular MOOC made headlines once again this year: online exams are now offered to all students and The Last Mile, a prison program helping to bridge the gap between incarceration and freedom for prisoners in California, added the course to its curriculum.


4. After Oil Public roundtable draws large crowd; explores vital energy transition issues

Over 200 concerned citizens turned up at the sold-out After Oil event at the Art Gallery of Alberta to engage in big picture thinking about the importance of energy and how Alberta can prepare for an energy transition. ATB Chief Economist and Arts alumnus Todd Hirsch hosted the event, alongside guest speaker Jennifer Jacquet – an environmental studies professor and author of Is Shame Necessary.



Crystal Ren

5. Economics grad Crystal Ren carved her own path to success in the business world

Recent grad Crystal Ren came out of the Faculty of Arts Work Experience Program (AWE) with a position as a business analyst with ZCL Composites, a major oil and gas company. Ren is one of our 50,000 Arts grads to watch. Her plans include getting a graduate degree in psychology or economics, and starting her own business.


6. Psychology student breaking the stereotypes of disabilities

Honours program student Daniel Ennett starred for two seasons in Telus Optik’s documentary series Invincible, which explores the challenges faced by Canadians with disabilities. Now he’s turning his focus to grad school where he’ll research attributional theory in relation to people with disabilities.


7. EFS prof becomes a Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists

Keavy Martin, Associate Professor in English & Film Studies and an established scholar of Indigenous literatures and literary theory in Canada, became a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists on November 27th in Victoria.


8. Arts alumna crafts bronze version of two UAlberta visionaries

Two-time Faculty of Arts alumna Barbara Paterson (’57 BA (specCert), ’88 BFA), a well-known Canadian sculptor, installed her latest creation—The Visionaries—at the University of Alberta on September 24. Paterson confessed the piece, which may be her last public work of art, is one of her favourites.


ArtsBuilding-WOA version

“Old Arts” Building; Photo courtesy of University of Alberta Archives #69-97-846d

9. “Old Arts” Building turns 100

For a century, the Arts Building has reflected the ideal of an arts education. Now, it inspires a new leadership initiative – the new Peter Lougheed Leadership College (PLLC). Not only has the “Old Arts” Building – as it’s become known – embodied the very essence of academic pursuit at the U of A, it is the symbolic home to the 50,000+ Arts graduates of the last 100 years.


10. Deaf actor breaks down barriers in Studio Theatre debut

Deaf actor and Poli Sci alumnus Connor Yuzwenko-Martin raised awareness of the deaf community with his performance in the U of A Studio Theatre production of Tribes by Nina Raine. In order to make his performance possible, a couple of generous sign language interpreters from NICA Consolidated volunteered their time to assist in rehearsals.


11. Preserving Ukrainian religion in the Prairies, one church at a time

As part of an in-depth series on the Arts-based KIAS Cluster Grant research projects, we profiled “Sanctuary: the Spiritual Heritage Documentation Project” and its team of researchers, led by Modern Languages & Cultural Studies professor and Kule Chair of Ukrainian Ethnography Natalie Kononenko. The Sanctuary project team records and documents Alberta’s historic Ukrainian churches  – 600 across Alberta so far.



Lianne McTavish; Photo by David Ford

12. The Making of a feminist figure girl

Art history professor Lianne McTavish turned her research lens on herself as she transformed into a physique competitor, and then wrote a book about it.  Feminist Figure Girl: Look Hot While You Fight the Patriarchy (SUNY Press) chronicles her experience and explores the lessons she learned from it.


13. Faculty of Arts alumni award winners 2015

Each year during the annual Alumni Awards ceremony, the University of Alberta recognizes outstanding alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the community and continued the University’s tradition of excellence. This year, the prestigious list included nine Faculty of Arts alumni who are excelling in their fields.


14. Arts student at the helm of UAlberta’s award-winning paper The Gateway

The Gateway‘s managing editor for 2014/15,  Arts student Kate Black, found confidence and purpose in the newsroom. In her time at the student newspaper, Black brought home three John H. McDonald Awards for Excellence in Student Journalism from the Canadian University Press and penned what she calls her “legacy” piece, a popular op-ed on the best places to poop on campus.


15. A master of her art

Recent Music grad and winner of the Northern Alberta Concerto Competition Kendra Heslip is off to Bowling Green State University to continue her performance-based studies. Before she jetted off, Heslip shared her experiences with us about studying the saxophone in the Department of Music.


Bonus Content:

We’re fortunate in the Faculty of Arts to have a talented and creative community willing to contribute to our blog. Here are a couple of popular guest blog posts from the Work of Arts this past year.


Credit Megan Stewart

Alex Migdal; Photo by Megan Stewart

16. Alex Abroad: Living la dolce vita

Alex Abroad was a popular mini-series by guest blogger Alex Migdal, an Arts student attending the spring term at the Faculty of Arts School in Cortona, Italy.  The series  – all about his experience living and studying in Cortona – is an excellent snapshot of what this study abroad program has to offer.


17. Film Review Summer Series: Big Game

During the summer blockbuster season, local film writer and Arts alumnus Paul Matwychuk (’93 English & Film Studies, ’98 LLB) blessed the Work of Arts blog with his “hidden gem” reviews. This one, about a Finnish thriller titled Big Game and directed by Jalmari Helander, proved the most popular blog post of the year.

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