Welcome to our newest faculty and staff

It is our pleasure to welcome 6 faculty members and 7 staff to the Humanities community, and to bid a fond farewell to 1 retiree.

We are delighted to celebrate the next step in each of these individuals’ journey by sharing with you these brief summaries of their work and interests.

Newly Hired



trevor van damme
Trevor Van Damme (Greek & Roman Studies)

Limited Term Assistant Professor Trevor Van Damme recently completed a SSHRC post-doctoral fellowship with the Department of Greek & Roman Studies before accepting his current position.
His research examines urban resilience, social inequalities and technological change in post-collapse societies, with a specific focus on Greece in the 12th through 6th centuries BCE.

Project URL: https://ebapexcavations.org.

Q: What is your favourite way to unwind at the end of a long day/week?
A: "I enjoy cooking and reconnecting with nature."

imageLoren McClenachan (History / Environmental Studies)
Associate Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Climate and Ocean History Loren McClenachan is jointly appointed in History and Environmental Studies, but History is her home department. Arriving at Humanities via Colby College in Waterville, McClenachan is a transdisciplinary scholar working at the juncture of natural science, humanities and social science. Her work integrates historical perspectives into marine conservation to increase ocean sustainability, productivity and equity.

Personal URL: https://mcclenachan.weebly.com/

Q: What is your favourite way to unwind at the end of a long day/week?
A: “Time outdoors with my family.”

ann-elise lewallenann-elise lewallen (Pacific and Asian Studies)
Associate Professor ann-elise lewallen joins us from the East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies department at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on critical Indigenous studies, environmental justice, energy policy and transcultural Japan-India relations through centering practices like Traditional Ecological Knowledge and counter mapping as modes of knowledge production and restorative justice.

Project URL: Healing Forests, Healing People

Q: What has continued to inspire you throughout the pandemic?
A: “The creative responses Indigenous communities have drawn upon in using traditional medicines and ancestral knowledges as modes of healing.”

simi kangSimi Kang (Gender Studies)
Assistant Professor Simi Kang completed two postdoctoral fellowships prior to her arrival at UVic: the UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in UC Santa Barbara’s Asian American Studies Department (2020-21) and the Mellon Sawyer postdoctoral fellowship on Food & Water Justice in Carnegie Mellon University’s History Department (2019-20). Her areas of expertise include critical feminist praxis and pedagogy, and community-based ethnographic research with a specialization in environmental racism and forced migration. Simi’s work is grounded in interdisciplinary, decolonial literature as written by Indigenous, Black and Asian feminist Scholars of Turtle Island.

Personal URL: www.simikang.org

Q: What are you reading right now?
A: “For fiction, I'm reading Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies. My current non-fiction book is Juliana Hu Pegues's Space-Time Colonialism.”

loren gaudetLoren Gaudet (Academic & Technical Writing Program)
Assistant Teaching Professor Loren Gaudet joins us from the School of Journalism, Writing and Media at the University of British Columbia. Her research specializes in rhetoric, health humanities and writing studies, with ongoing projects that focus on Open Education Resources (OER), critical digital pedagogy and the rhetoric of Lyme disease in Canada.

Q: What is your favourite way to unwind at the end of a long week?
A: “Being in the park with my family.”

peter dietschPeter Dietsch (Philosophy)
Professor Peter Diestsch was a member of the Université de Montréal's Département de Philosophie for more than 15 years before arriving here at the Faculty of Humanities. His research focuses on economic ethics, with a focus on income inequality, tax justice and the normative dimensions of money.

Personal URL: https://peterdietsch.openum.ca/

Q. What has continued to inspire you throughout the pandemic?
A. “That we can change the patterns of our behaviour as a society when we need to.”


kristina wallaceKristina Wallace (European Studies)
Program Coordinator Kristina Wallace joins us from UVic’s Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). In her current she coordinates the Department of European Studies’ academic program (including the European Union Study Tour and participation in the West Coast Model EU) and the Jean Monnet EU Centre of Excellence research cluster.

Q: What is your favourite way to unwind at the end of a long day/week?
A: "I’m really enjoying getting into gardening: researching different plants and then trying to keep them alive!"

lydia toorenburghLydia Toorenburgh (UVic Tri-Faculty)
As the first Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator for UVic’s Faculties of Humanities, Science and Social Sciences, Lydia’s work is at the forefront of UVic’s Indigenous Plan and on the front lines of Tri-Faculty efforts to decolonize and Indigenize. Lydia is Cree-Metis of mixed settler and Dutch immigrant descent.
Previously she worked as UVic’s Indigenous Student Recruitment Officer before joining the Tri-Faculty, where she now provides support, advocacy and social and cultural programming for Indigenous students.

Q: What is your favourite way to unwind at the end of a long day/week?
A: "Through the pandemic, I have had more time to practice my traditional beadwork. I have really grown as a beader and am beginning to take on longer and more challenging projects. I am very excited to get back on campus, back at the kitchen table, and back in circle to continue to learn and share these sacred skills."

anna rutherfordAnna Rutherford (Pacific and Asian Studies)
Assistant to the Chair of Pacific and Asian Studies (PAAS) Anna Rutherford joins the Faculty of Humanities from Treasury Services at UVic. In her current role she provides administrative support to the PAAS Chair, faculty and students.

Q: What is your favourite way to unwind at the end of a long day/week?
A: "Coming home to a very excited puppy that’s always happy to see me and spending time with my family!"

deborah ogilvieDeborah Ogilvie (English)
As Receptionist and Undergraduate Secretary, Deborah Ogilvie is responsible for supporting undergraduate students and faculty in the Department of English. Prior to this, she worked at UVic’s McPherson library.

Q: What has continued to inspire you throughout the pandemic?
A: "My MA Essay and TA and RA work provided some light for me during the pandemic. The English department has long felt like home to me and I’m grateful to remain a part of it. The pandemic also allowed time with my son at home that I wouldn’t have otherwise had, and I’m thankful for that."

michelle hohertzMichelle Hohertz (Desktop Support Services, University Systems)
Now the Desktop Support Analyst for Humanities, Michelle joins us from Maria Montessori Academic where she instructed students in Applied Design, Skills and Technologies (ADST) and supported the school’s technology needs. In her current role she is responsible for the Faculty’s 350+ faculty and staff computers. Her hobbies include User Experience (UX) design, lego and thrifting.

Q: What are you reading right now?
A: "The Code Breaker by Jennifer Doudna and Gene Editing and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson."

sarah-louise decrausazSarah-Louise Decrausaz (Dean’s Office)
Currently the Humanities’ Research Coordinator for a limited term, Sarah-Louise was an Assistant Teaching Professor in UVic’s Department of Anthropology prior to her arrival here. In her current role she helps our faculty prepare funding applications to expand their innovative and exciting work.

Q: What is your favourite way to unwind at the end of a long day/week?
A: "A cheeky gin and tonic and the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race."

kaitlyn berryKaitlyn Berry (Humanities Computing and Media Centre)
Already a Graduate Secretary and Web Administrator in Philosophy, Kaitlyn has taken on an additional role as the Office Administrator of the Humanities Computing and Media Centre (HCMC), where she will coordinate activities in the share lab space, maintain HCMC websites, and support other administrative and financial activities.

Q: What are your current hobbies?
A: "Reading philosophy, speculative fiction, Russian lit., vegetable gardening, and wandering bookshops, forest paths and city streets."

Recently Retired

dave mckercherDave McKercher (Linguistics)
A Continuing Sessional Lecturer since 2006, Dave completed a BEd, French Language Diploma and MA at UVic during his 25 years on campus. During that time he taught more than 4800 students in approximately 125 courses (including the ever-popular LING 110: Language and Thought, which he taught 26 times). He sat on the executive of the sessional lecturer’s union (CUPE4163) and served as its president for 3 years, organized the Linguistic Department’s Research Forum for 8 years, and was on the University Safety Committee for over 6 years.

Dave received his PhD at Stanford University in 2001. His areas of teaching and research include semantics, child language acquisition, language and cognition, psycholinguistics, syntax and morphology.

Martha McGinnis, Chair of Linguistics, adds that “we are very sorry to see Dave go and we wish him all the best in his retirement - which I understand he’s already enjoying tremendously!”

We thank Dave for his 15+ years of service at the University of Victoria!