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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
May 25, 2015
Canadian Excellence

About the Instructors

Learn about our LALL instructors:

LALL Instructors

Robert Alexander

Robert was an associate professor and chairman of the philosophy department during his 20 years at Laurier. He has extensive experience teaching adults and has o?ered LALL courses on aging, medicine and science, criminal justice and philosophy. He currently works part-time for Home Instead Senior Care. 

Carolyn Arnason

Carolyn teaches music therapy in the Faculty of Music at Laurier. She has degrees in piano performance, social work and music therapy. She teaches and performs improvisation and is the co-ordinator of Laurier’s Master of Music Therapy program. Carolyn and her husband, Boyd McDonald, have performed numerous duet programs over the years. The chamber aspect of duet repertoire lends itself to the intimacy of Boyd and Carolyn’s house recitals, which have proven to be very popular.

Katherine Barber

Katherine, known as “Canada's Word Lady,” supervised the publication of two editions of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary and many other smaller dictionaries. She is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on Canadian English and is known to fans for her knack for making word histories lively and entertaining. Her other lifelong passion is ballet. She has taken classes for almost 40 years and has seen thousands of ballet performances worldwide. A popular “Ballet Talk” presenter for The National Ballet of Canada, she vivaciously communicates her love and knowledge of the art form while demystifying some intimidating aspects. She is sole proprietor of Tours en l'air, which takes ballet lovers on ballet-themed holidays around the world.

Loren Calder

Loren Calder holds both a BA and MA in Russian/Soviet studies from the University of British Columbia. He continued his education at the University of London in the School of Slavonic and East European Studies where he was awarded a MPhil for his dissertation, which has been widely published. Loren joined Laurier in 1960 when he began teaching Russian history and Soviet politics/foreign policy. He retired in 1994 as a professor emeritus. 

Adriana Casali

Adriana holds degrees in production engineering, business administration and communication. As a university professor in Brazil, she taught public relations and business administration for 15 years. Her main research interests include culture, society, globalization, internationalization and organizational communication. She has published several book chapters and articles in peer reviewed journals.

Blaine Chiasson

Blaine is a professor of modern Chinese history whose areas of expertise include Russian-Chinese history, Chinese minority policy and urban history, Asian military history and the history of the 1900 Boxer Rebellion. He is the author of several articles, one book and is working on two new projects — the ?rst on the evolution of Chinese minority policy, the other on the 1900-1902 occupation of Beijing. 

Oscar (Oz) Cole-Arnal

Oz taught the History of Christianity at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary/Wilfrid Laurier University for 31 years until his recent retirement. He holds two masters degrees (New Testament and European History) and a PhD in Modern European History. In his time period on the Laurier campus, he taught courses for both the Departments Religion and Culture and History. His publications include five books, eight chapters in books, over 20 academic articles, numerous pieces in popular progressive magazines and amateur astronomical journals and over fifty journal book reviews. 

Ernie Cosgrove

Ernie has been a member of the ?nance area of Laurier’s School of Business and Economics since 1981, and is also an adjunct professor in the School of Accountancy at the University of Waterloo. His interest in ?nancial planning began in the early 1990s, as he received both a CFA and CFP designation. He has taught several ?nancial planning courses at Laurier, UW and for the Canadian Securities Institute. 

Kenneth Dowler

Kenneth is an associate professor of criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University at Brantford. He has published several works on the influence of the media on public attitudes towards crime, which have appeared in the American Journal of Criminal Justice, Policing & Society, and the Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture. His work has also appeared in the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Police Quarterly and the Journal of Crime and Justice. Currently, he is completing a book on miscarriages of justice, titled Mean Justice: Lessons in Wrongful Convictions. He is also an expert on organized crime, as he teaches courses on both North American and international organized crime groups.

Gary Draper

Gary has been a librarian, book-reviewer and book collector. He currently teaches English at St. Jerome's University (Waterloo). He believes that reading and talking about books is a scandalously pleasurable way to earn a living. 

Roman Dubinski

Roman enjoyed a long career as a professor in the English department at the University of Waterloo and took early retirement in 1996. One of the more pleasurable activities of his retirement years has been the presentation of a variety of courses for LALL. These include a course on Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake and another on Brave New World and 1984. His most recent LALL course was on the theme of aging in contemporary fiction.

Normand Dutrisac

Normand received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor in Education from Queen’s University in Kingston and a Master’s degree in sculpture from the University of Alberta. He participated in several artist workshops and several exhibitions in the 1980s and 90s. He has recently retired from teaching at the secondary school level. 

Karljürgen Feuerherm

Karljürgen is an assistant professor in Biblical Hebrew and archaeology, with particular specialization in Akkadian (specifically early Old Babylonian) and the literature and culture of second millennium Mesopotamia. He holds a PhD in Akkadian language and literature (Toronto, 2004; minors, Semitic Linguistics and Sumerian), an MDiv. (Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, 1994) and a BMath/Computer Science (Waterloo, 1984). His dissertation topic was "Abum-waqar and His Circle: A Prosopographical Study," a study of economic and related documents from the city of Larsa under Rim-Sîn.

Mike Fich

Mike has been a faculty member at the University of Waterloo since 1986. He received a BSc from Waterloo in 1978 and his graduate degrees (MA, 1981 and PhD, 1983) from the University of California, Berkeley. During the past decade much of Mike’s e?orts have been devoted to astronomical instrumentation projects. He is also working on new projects that are still in early stages of development, involving a variety of space satellite missions.

Ilse Friesen (retired)

Ilse had been o?ering courses on European and Canadian art, religious art and women in art at Laurier for many years. She has served as the co-ordinator of the ?ne arts program at Laurier and has been widely published. Her Fall 2013 course was Ilse’s ?nal LALL course as she has returned to her home country of Austria.

Isaac Friesen

Isaac and his wife lived in Beni Suef, Egypt for two-and-a-half years before being evacuated during this summer’s unrest. During their stay, they taught English while living completely immersed in Egyptian society. Their time coincided with the brief and unique period when the police state lifted, thus Isaac was in constant dialogue with a broad cross-section of society about a number of important issues. Fluent in Arabic, Isaac has completed an MA in history and will undertake doctoral studies in middle eastern history next fall.

Bonnie Glencross

Bonnie is an assistant professor in the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies at Laurier. Bonnie studied at the University of Toronto where she received her BSc, MA and PhD (2003) in anthropology and produced her doctoral thesis on skeletal injury patterns and lifetime fracture risk in prehistoric hunter-gatherers from Indian Knoll, Kentucky. 

Gordon Greene

Gordon is a cultural historian and he is former dean of music at Wilfrid Laurier University. He has taught music history and directed various choral groups for many years, and has been o?ering a variety of courses for lifelong learning groups since his retirement.

Susan Johnson

Susan has taught economics at Laurier, Guelph, Carleton and Harvard. Her research interests focus on how changes in legislation affect the formation of unions. Professor Johnson is recovering from several strokes that occurred in early 2011. She is using this course as an opportunity to prepare for full-time teaching. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, playing the piano and volunteering at her church.

David Lamble

David was a high school chemistry teacher for 35 years prior to his retirement. Beginning in 1978, David began a banding study of tree swallows. His interest in birds expanded to include all species found in southern Ontario. By 1986, he was a master bander — one of only 100 in Canada. His major studies have now expanded to include bobolinks, snow buntings, ducks as well as his favourite bird — the tree swallow. Since 1978, he has banded approximately 175,000 birds of 185 species. 

Deena Mandell

Deena has been a full-time faculty member at Laurier since 1998, teaching in the Faculty of Social Work andin previous LALL offerings. She also loves movies. In recent years, she has been instrumental in establishing programs at the Faculty of Social Work to support full inclusion of graduate students educated in non-North American cultures and in languages other than English. She has been twice nominated for university teaching awards. 

Boyd McDonald

Boyd, a native of Saskatoon, studied piano with Lyell Gustin and composition with Murray Adaskin. His graduate years were spent in Paris studying with Nadia Boulanger. After his New York debut as winner of the Leschetizky Debut Prize, he toured extensively in Europe and North America. His recordings include works with Paul Pulford, Willem Moolenbeek, Guy Few, Joseph Petric, Alain Trudel as well as his own compositions. He continues to perform, record and compose as a professor emeritus at Laurier. 

Douglas McCready

Douglas completed his undergraduate degrees in economics and political science and then enrolled in the London School of Economics and Political Science (England). After ?nishing his MSc, he married and returned to Canada where he obtained his PhD and began teaching. Douglas taught for Laurier from 1969 to 2009 and he is now professor emeritus. Although retired, his current research involves the use of a trace minerals to help AIDS patients in Africa. 

Ted McGee

Ted is a professor emeritus of the English department at St. Jerome’s University and an adjunct professor of the University of Waterloo. His major area of teaching and research is Shakespeare (on page and stage); as a result of this work, he has a quasi-legitimate claim to his place on the Education and Archives Committee of the Board of the Stratford Festival. His ongoing research includes early records of theatre at court, an edition of Othello and a study of the controversies surrounding The Merchant of Venice at the Stratford Festival.

Rose Murray

Rose is an internationally known food writer, cookbook author, broadcaster and teacher. She has been published widely in magazines and newspapers such as Canadian Living and The Globe and Mail. Rose has appeared on radio and television stations across the country including the CBC and CTV and acted as resident cook of the CTV Kitchener’s noon news. A contributor to over 40 books, Rose is author of 12 cookbooks, two of which (Hungry for Comfort and Canada’s Favourite Recipes) have won gold in the National Culinary Awards.  

Jan Narveson

Jan is the president (and all-purpose person) of the KW Chamber Music Society, which is nearing its 2000th concert in the 40 years it has been presenting concerts. Jan retired from the University of Waterloo in 2004 and has delivered a variety of courses for LALL.

Wilhelm Nassau

Wilhelm was born in Austria and has degrees in fine art, photography and electronic engineering. He has worked as a freelance photographer and documentary filmmaker in Europe. In 1959, he was invited by the CBC to come to Canada where he worked on various projects. In 1969, while working for ABC in the US, he was invited to come to Laurier to open a film program and to found the audio-visual department. While at Laurier, he obtained a masters degree in archaeology. He is also the recipient of an Honourary Doctoral degree from Laurier.

Leslie O’Dell

Leslie is a professor in the Department of English and Film Studies where she teaches courses on Shakespeare, film and dramatic literature. Her professional theatre and film career includes acting, directing and writing projects. She was the Shakespearean Textual Consultant at the Stratford Festival for 15 seasons; currently she offers specialized classes to the acting company and assists occasionally on individual productions. 

Jan Overduin

Jan has toured the world playing the organ and has been published extensively. In 2003, he retired from Laurier as the university organist and chair of the organ and church music department. 

Jack Pasternak

Jack is a geneticist/molecular biologist who received his masters degree from the University of Toronto in 1961 and doctoral degree from Indiana University in 1965. He taught genetics and related subjects to both undergraduate and graduate students throughout his teaching career in the Department of Biology at Waterloo, where he is now a Professor Emeritus. His publications include over 100 research articles and three books.

Peter Russell

Peter has recently retired from his role as the curator of the Earth Sciences Museum at the University of Waterloo. The university designated him honorary member (1999) for his work in public awareness of science, for which he also received the 2004 Geological Association of Canada EWR Neale award. In 2012, Peter received the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement. Peter is an author, geologist and teacher who was instrumental in founding UW’s Earth Sciences Museum and the Waterloo-Wellington Children’s Groundwater Festival.

Jerry Salloum

Jerry is a retired geography teacher and has been a part–time faculty member at Laurier since 1988. He studied anthropology, education and theology at the University of Toronto and then earned a graduate degree in physical geography at Laurier. He is currently focused on the Arctic’s sea ice regime and the manner in which atmosphere, ice and ocean are responding to the in?uences of climate change. 

Bob Sharpe

Bob is an associate professor of geography and environmental studies at Laurier where he has taught cartography, geographic information systems and urban geography for over 25 years. Most recently he has been leading geographically inspired walking tours throughout Waterloo region that are designed for students at all levels. He holds a PhD from York University. 

James Skidmore

James holds a BA in French and German as well as a MA and PhD in German (Princeton). He is the former chair of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Waterloo, and is currently an associate professor of German. 

Warren Stauch

Warren has been retired since June 1999 after a 30-year career in education. He has organized and led many local field trips and has developed a series of slide presentations related to the geography and history of the region. For over 30 years, Warren has acted as a step-on guide for the local tourism department, taking visitors on tours during the summer and the annual Oktoberfest celebrations. As a result of this, he has formed a travel-education company providing information to visitors and residents of the Waterloo region.

Elmer Thiessen

Elmer moved to Waterloo in 2007 after having taught philosophy at Medicine Hat College in Alberta for 36 years. He continues to teach part-time in Canada and overseas. Elmer received his PhD from the University of Waterloo in 1980. He has published numerous articles and book reviews, both in professional journals and religious magazines. 

Andrew Thomson

Andrew holds a BA and MA (Laurier) and a PhD (Waterloo). He has extensive experience teaching Canadian history, both in general survey courses and in more focused studies of Canadian business and French Canada. He currently teaches at Laurier and the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Gary Warrick

Gary has an honours BA in anthropology (McMaster), an MA in archaeology (Simon Fraser) and a PhD in anthropology (McGill). He worked for 10 years as regional archaeologist with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and accepted a teaching position at Laurier’s Brantford campus when it opened in 1999.

Jim Weldon

Jim has been a full-time member of the Department of English and Film Studies at Laurier since 1986. He has served as the chair and graduate officer of the Department of English and Film Studies, the co-ordinator of Laurier’s Medieval Studies Program, and the president of the Canadian Society of Medievalists. He enjoys enriching the lives of other people through the study of literature, especially poetry. 

Don Wilson

Don was born in Co. Fermanagh, in northern Ireland and studied modern languages (French and German) at Trinity College (Dublin), where he obtained his BA and PhD. He has taught in the West Indies and the UK before coming to the University of Waterloo in 1970. He chaired UW’s Department of French Studies for nine years. After taking early retirement in 1996, he was awarded the title of Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government. Since then has been pursuing a part-time career-cum-hobby as a literary translator and has translated books by authors from around the globe.