Campus Life

PUBlic Professor Series spawns a spinoff

Although Faculty of Arts & Science professors could be labelled serious, scholarly types by day, the occasion of the University of Lethbridge’s 50th anniversary has given them a reason to have a little fun while still imparting their knowledge.

The PUBlic Professor Series: 5-Minute Edition, is designed to showcase the diversity of research interests within the Faculty in an entertaining format. Each of 10 professors will have five minutes and a maximum of 15 PowerPoint slides to do a presentation on their research. The slides will automatically advance every 20 seconds, requiring the speaker to keep pace.

“After five minutes is over, I’m cutting them off,” says Dr. Kevin McGeough (BA ’96), a U of L geography professor and moderator of the event. “That makes it fun because there’s a kind of panicked element to the presentation. It’s especially fun for professors because we’re not known for being concise in our comments. That lightning-fast approach makes it interesting for people to watch.”

The professors who have agreed to participate include Dr. Jay Gamble (English), Dr. René Barendregt (Geography), Dr. Sergio Pellis (Neuroscience), Dr. Ute Kothe (Biochemistry), Dr. Omar Rodriguez (Modern Languages), Dr. Jennifer Copeland (Kinesiology), Dr. Janay Nugent (History), Dr. Locke Spencer (Physics), Dr. Maura Hanrahan (Native American Studies) and Dr. Hillary Rodrigues (Religious Studies).

“One of the things we’re looking for is that these research presentations be of interest to the public and to people who aren’t specialists in the area of expertise,” says McGeough. “That matches the University’s liberal education approach where we have all sorts of different disciplinary backgrounds and we all contribute to a larger conversation.”

McGeough has some experience with the format from a session he participated in at an event hosted by the U of L Faculty Association. He has a few tips for his colleagues who’ll be participating.

“Talk quickly, have a sense of what you want to say before you get up there and pick your slides well. If you lose track of where you are, good slides can cue you to get back on track or find a new track to go down,” says McGeough.

The PUBlic Professor Series: 5-Minute Edition is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. in B756 University Hall. McGeough says the event will be informal and people are welcome to drop in on the session even after it’s started.

“We especially hope that alumni will come and experience this event. This will be a fun way to spend the afternoon,” says McGeough, adding everyone is welcome to attend.