PUBlic Professor Series: Panel Discussion

Join geography professor, Dr. Hester Jiskoot, and a panel of experts in their fields for a thought-provoking conversation:

“How do we communicate science and policy around climate change?“

March 28, 2019  |  7 – 9 p.m. | Students' Union Ballrooms - University of Lethbridge


PUBlic Professor Series: Panel Discussion


Free. Everyone welcome. No RSVP required. Space is limited. Hot drinks and pastries served.

In a democratic society like Canada’s, public debate on important social issues is an important part of citizenship. When the social issues involve scientific evidence and knowledge, universities become a particularly important venue for public debate and understanding regarding the issues in question.

Climate change is one such issue. It is a large issue of looming importance, an issue involving significant social changes, and an issue where science matters a lot. How big is the problem, what are its many dimensions, and how likely are different policy options going to work in trying to address the many different dimensions of this problem?

Part of understanding climate change comes from understanding what the study of glaciers can tell us about it. Following on from last PUBlic Professor Series talk of the season, on this particular topic, this panel discussion opens up a further forum for public discussion. Panelists include scientists, with scientific knowledge to communicate, policy makers, with social knowledge to connect together with the relevant scientific knowledge, and a philosopher, who worries about how science works and why we need to take it seriously in social decision making.

Panelists will pull from their individual area(s) of expertise and citizenship to discuss a topic that has everyone, from world leaders, to scientists, to family and friends, talking.

Moderated by: Dr. Craig Cooper, Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science

Emcee: Dr. Michael Stingl, Department of Philosophy


Dr. Jiskoot earned her BSc and MSc in Physical Geography (University of Amsterdam) and PhD in Glaciology (University of Leeds) and has been at the U of L since 2002. Her main research interests are in Glaciology and Arctic & Alpine Processes, but she also engages in local Geology. Hester is a world expert on glacier surging and glacier-environment-climate interactions and in developing and analysing global glacier inventories. Since 1991, she has been a member and leader of glaciological expeditions to Greenland, Svalbard, Iceland, the Canadian Rockies, Alaska, and the Himalayas. Hester is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and an NSERC University Faculty Award recipient. Currently Chief Editor of the IGS' Journal of Glaciology and Annals of Glaciology, she has previously served her regional to global academic communities in various executive and editorial roles, often wearing multiple hats at the same time.

In her Glaciology & Geoscience Lab, Hester and her research students use fieldwork, remote sensing, data analysis, and computer modelling to study glaciological processes their interactions, while developing novel methods to tackle outstanding and new problems. Hester approaches her teaching and research as a world citizen and Homo Universalis, and values teaching and mentoring through experiential learning with a firm theoretical background in a liberal arts environment.

Dr. Gruninger was born and raised in Lethbridge Alberta. He attended the University of Lethbridge and graduated with a BSc (Honours) in Biochemistry with great distinction in 2004. He had many opportunities to work in the lab throughout his undergraduate degree which is when he realized that he wanted to pursue a career in research. His PhD work was conducted in the labs of Dr. Brent Selinger and Dr. Steven Mosimann, and he was awarded a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Lethbridge in 2009. His PhD studies applied biochemical approaches to characterize the molecular basis of enzyme activity of several rumen phytases. Dr. Gruninger then went on to complete a post-doctoral fellowship from 2009-2012 in the lab of Dr. Natalie Strynadka at the University of British Columbia where he used structural biology to probe the basis of beta-lacta antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria.

Dr. Gruninger has been working for Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada as a post-doctoral fellow (2012-2016), a Research Biologist (2016-2019) and Research Scientist (current) at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre. The focus of Dr. Gruninger’s research is to apply a combination of “-omics” based techniques and protein biochemistry to better understand the microbiology of ruminant microbes and how the rumen microbiome influences feed efficiency, animal health and enteric methane emissions.

Iitoomsao’kaasii convocated from the Lethbridge College with her Renewable Resources Management diploma, and subsequently, completed her undergrad at the University of Lethbridge, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in environmental sciences.

During her post-secondary education, Diandra worked as a junior forest ranger crew leader, forestry technician, and wildlife technician, experiencing nature and its wildness first-hand. As a Blackfoot woman, she aimed her studies on Traditional Ecological Knowledge and the importance of conserving and protecting native environments from an ecological and spiritual perspective.

Diandra currently serves the Kainai First Nation as the Climate Change Coordinator; through her training in classical western science, the projects Diandra works on aim to braid Traditional Knowledge into climate change policy in both climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Following training at the universities of Alberta, Calgary and Toronto, and fellowships in Bristol, UK, and Tromso, Norway, Dr. Stewart Rood has been a faculty member at the University of Lethbridge for three decades and has been a Killam Research Fellow and the Board of Governors Research Chair in Environmental Science.

His studies investigate the impacts of river damming, flow regulation and climate change on river ecosystems and floodplain forests, with an emphasis on conservation and restoration of riparian cottonwoods.

He has served as an environmental consultant to agencies across western North America that build and operate dams, working towards developing river regimes that promote socioeconomic prosperity and environmental sustainability.

Shannon Frank has been the Executive Director of the Oldman Watershed Council for the past 8 years and in that time OWC has become a leader in effective citizen engagement strategies. Shannon will bring a perspective from the front lines of place-based behaviour change programs. She will share OWC's experience researching and understanding people's values and identity, in order to make complex and difficult topics meaningful to local people.

Shannon has a Bachelor's of Environmental Science Degree from the University of Lethbridge and has over ten years of experience applying social science principles to environmental education programs.

Dr. Bryson Brown is a professor in the Department of Philosophy, who joined the University of Lethbridge in 1986. His research is focused on logic and the philosophy of science, and he teaches those subjects along with courses in the history of science and some other areas of philosophy. Bryson studied philosophy as an undergrad at Trent University before earning a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.  

After serving for about five years as a patient representative on the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review, Bryson now volunteers with Alberta Health Services as a public member of the Provincial Advisory Council on Cancer. Following up on with that work, he is currently a member of a large group working to develop a proposal for a similar process to gather and review ‘real world evidence’ of the effectiveness of oncology drugs.

Join us for a great night of conversation and discovery!

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