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UVic Top 10 of 2022

What a year it’s been for UVic students, staff and researchers! In the tradition of UVic’s annual Top 10 newsmakers list, this year we celebrate 10 great stories of the year in four new categories.

This year, we highlight UVic's Top 10:

Even with new categories, there are countless stories, partnerships, videos and podcasts we could include in our lists—some of which appeared in past years’ lists, and others we’ll hear more about in future years. But as we clear out 2022 and jump into 2023, let’s celebrate and recognize each other’s great work together.

A kelp forest underwater.
UVic researchers are monitoring the effects of climate change on ocean ecosystems. Photo: Caitlin Best

Top 10 videos & podcasts

1. Taapwaywin, truth before reconciliation

A new podcast series hosted by Ry Moran on truth before reconciliation features deep conversations and analysis with Survivors, Elders, Knowledge Keepers and others. Taapwaywin calls on all of us to listen with our hearts as well as our minds.

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2. Oceans - solutions for climate change

With the Pacific Ocean at their doorstep, UVic researchers have a unique opportunity to investigate and protect our precious waters. They are documenting important issues—such as climate change—and working alongside partners to offer innovative solutions.

Watch the video

3. New role focuses on decolonizing psychological approaches

UVic is grateful to the family of Chief Mungo Martin, the world-renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artist, for the honour of the title of the Chief Mungo Martin Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health. The inaugural position is held by Emily A.P. Haigh with funding from a $1.5M gift by alumnus Bruce McKean.

Watch the video

4. New podcast aims to break the stigma of dementia

Call to Mind is a 4-part podcast series—and  2022 Webby Award honoree—hosted by nursing professor Debra Sheets in the form of audio diaries made with people with memory loss and their families.

5. UVic grads have a message for all new students

Live in the moment, enjoy your journey and embrace the UVic campus. These are some of the messages of welcome and advice from a few of our 2022 grads to all incoming students.

6. Checking your personal bias

Psychology professor Paweena Sukhawathanaku shares 5 tips on checking your bias and ways to create an environment that is more welcoming, inclusive and diverse.

7. Getting to know your brain

That Neuroscience Guy is a podcast hosted by Olav Krigolson about the neuroscience of everyday life. In a short UVic video—5 tips for better brain health—Krigolson talks about the impact of stress and anxiety on the brain.

8. UVic's economic impact in BC

As a proud partner in the Greater Victoria and BC economy, UVic works with governments, First Nations, businesses and non-profits towards economic and social prosperity.

9. New UVic student housing buildings showcase Passive House technology

UVic’s 2 new housing buildings will be the largest Passive House buildings in Canada, emitting 92% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional student housing buildings.

10. Return to campus

Here's to happy returns and new beginnings! Welcome back to those returning, and for those new to campus—a warm welcome as we return to UVic campus.

A photo colleage showing the same section of the UVic quad in four different seasons.
Four seasons at UVic. Photo: Ameera Azam
Performers onstage at the Indigenous Theatre festival
The cast of Jealous Moon. Credit: One Island Media

Top 10 partnerships of the year

1. From greenhouse gas to inert mineral

Scientists with the Solid Carbon project have shown that carbon dioxide can be removed from the atmosphere, injected into subsea basalt and safely mineralized into solid rock—potentially storing 15 years' worth of global gas emissions at just one possible site.

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2. 100,000 co-op work term placements

Co-op education brings UVic students together with hundreds of employers around the globe to build skills, capacity and foster the drive to succeed. This year, co-op celebrates 100,000 work-term placements since the program was established in 1976.

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3. Drug-checking program builds community

Responding to the overdose epidemic, a team of social workers, chemists, computer scientists and pharmacists partnered with health authorities and people who use drugs to establish Substance UVic, a street-front drug-checking project now in its second year of operation.

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4. Victoria Forum bridges divides

In August, UVic and the Senate of Canada co-hosted the 2022 Victoria Forum. One hundred speakers and 500 individuals connected to tackle difficult issues and discuss solutions for bridging global economic, social and environmental divides.

5. Theatre Festival focuses on language reawakening

In collaboration with the Hul’q’umi’num’ Language and Culture Society, Hul’q’umi’num’ Language Academy and other university partners, this fall’s Indigenous Theatre Festival at UVic’s Phoenix Theatre brought people together for performances, discussions and workshops, using theatre as a tool for language reclamation.

6. On the trail of (disappearing) mountain goats

Are mountain goats vanishing from the Great Bear Rainforest and beyond? A research collaboration between Kitasoo Xai'xais Nation, UVic and Raincoast Conservation Foundation demonstrates the importance of listening to those who have lived near wildlife for millennia.

7. Molson Prize for sociologist’s advocacy

Through a lifetime in academia and advocacy, Cecilia Benoit has been learning from and speaking up for the marginalized—midwives and sex workers, the unhoused and people who use illicit drugs—earning her this year’s Molson Prize. Her research philosophy is “think of people you interview as partners rather than subjects.”

8. Documenting a historical injustice

The Landscapes of Injustice initiative connected researchers from 17 Canadian universities with Japanese Canadian community groups and families, teachers, students, librarians, archivists and curators to document and retell the mid-20th century story of displacement and dispossession of 22,000 Japanese Canadians.

9. A tale of two telescopes

In a feat of synchronized spectroscopy, UVic astronomer Kim Venn co-led an international team that discovered a star cluster with the lowest concentration of metals ever observed—a sighting made possible by making 2 ground-based telescopes work together in a new way.

10. Catalyst for energy transition

UVic civil engineer Madeleine McPherson’s vision and research led to the creation of a new national centre that will help policymakers make the best decisions about how to remove carbon from energy systems.

Serhy Yekelchyk speaks at a rally at the BC legislature in Feb. 2022.
Yekelchyk addresses a large crowd of Ukraine supporters outside Victoria’s Parliament Buildings, Feb. 2022. Photo: David Furlonger

Top 10 newsmakers

1. Thrust into the spotlight by war

UVic professors Serhy Yekelchyk and Tamara Krawchenko have been at the forefront of efforts to build support for Ukraine and fight disinformation since Russia’s spring invasion—holding teach-ins about the conflict and appearing in national and international media including CNN and the Wall Street Journal. A profile of Yekelchyk also appeared in the June issue of the Ring.

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2. Estuaries a tool to fight climate change

Temperate river estuaries are more effective at capturing and storing greenhouse gases than young coastal forests and may sequester carbon for centuries, if not millennia. This news caught the attention of The Globe and Mail, CHEK News, Vancouver Sun, Canadian Press, Times Colonist, Global TV and CTV News.

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3. Adopting & sticking to new healthy lifestyle behaviours

2022’s most-read Conversation Canada article by a UVic researcher was health psychologist Ryan Rhodes’ article—published in English and French— about how to achieve our health and exercise goals.

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4. Blood ban & oral history archive

Nathan Lachowsky responded to Canadian Blood Services’ recommendation to remove restrictions on blood donations based on sexual orientation for CBC News, The Toronto Star podcast This Matters, and Canadian Press. On World Aids Day, Lachowsky also discussed In My Day, a play based on the UVic research project and oral history archive.

5. UVic prof’s film wins 2 Sundance awards

Chase Joynt's Framing Agnes was honoured at its Sundance premiere in 2022. Joynt was interviewed by CTV-VI on piecing together stories of 5 gender non-conforming people involved in a famous UCLA study that ultimately excluded them from published research and, thus, the historical record.

6. New interactive website for Witness Blanket

The Witness Blanket, a large-scale art installation which stands as a national monument recognizing the atrocities of the residential school era, was created by UVic’s Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices Carey Newman. Capital Daily, Saanich News, Global TV and CTV News picked up the latest thread of news on Newman and this collaborative project.

7. Alcohol guidelines & warning labels

New guidelines for reducing health risks from alcohol were released this year. In one of the year’s most-read UVic contributions to The Conversation Canada, CISUR’s Tim Stockwell wrote an explainer about the science behind the updates and advocated for standard drink and health warning labels.

8. Canada’s first trans woman Rhodes Scholar

One of 11 young Canadians, UVic grad Julia Levy is the first trans woman chosen for the prestigious Rhodes scholarship. The Vancouver Sun published a Canadian Press story, which was picked up by 158 other outlets, while CBC News ran its own feature story.

9. Loss of freshwater threatens ecosystems

Civil engineering PhD candidate Xander Huggins wrote a well-read analysis piece for The Conversation Canada identifying global freshwater basins which are most likely to be impacted by water scarcity and proposed viable solutions to protect ecosystems and communities.

10. Curbing Canadian forest fires & cutting emissions

Research by Carly Phillips of the UVic-hosted Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions links climate mitigation to forestry practices. She shows that Canada’s wildfires could release up to 12 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2050 unless the nation invests in better fire prevention measures.

The first graduating class of the JID program onstage at UVic convocation
A special recognition ceremony was held in April for the JD/JID grads. Credit: UVic Photo Services

Top 10 signs of a brighter future

1. First UN leadership training centre opens on NA's west coast

The United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR) and UVic have established the first accredited International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders (CIFAL) on North America's west coast: CIFAL Victoria.

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2. UVic ranked 2nd globally for climate action

The 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings put UVic at the forefront of climate action and working to sustain life on land—2 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals measured in these university rankings.

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3. New student housing & dining project takes shape

When completed, UVic’s new student housing and dining project will provide almost 800 student housing spaces, a new dining hall, classrooms and an Indigenous student lounge—all within a green building footprint. As well as providing space in response to a regional housing crisis, the new buildings meet Passive House and LEED standards for sustainability and energy efficiency.

Read the story

4. West Shore campus announced

As part of a first-of-its kind partnership between South Island institutions, UVic will offer first- and second-year programming at a new West Shore campus, which is expected to open in fall 2024.

5. UVic as a catalyst for social & economic development

The UVic BioInnovation Hub opened in September, as part of a series of community-based hubs connected to UVic’s broader Innovation Network to tap into a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving.

6. Accelerate innovation & spark solutions

UVic has opened an exciting new site in Victoria’s downtown core to accelerate collaboration and entrepreneurship. KWENCH is a modern and innovative workspace providing free programming to support venture exploration and early-stage startups in a community-based innovation hub.

7. The world’s first graduating class of Indigenous law

This June, 23 students graduated with the world’s first law degree to combine the study of Indigenous and non-Indigenous laws. They are prepared to make an impact in areas of law including Indigenous governance, criminal law, environmental protection, intellectual property, family law and child protection.

8. UVic to deliver world’s first custom MBA in Advancing Reconciliation

Gustavson School of Business is set to deliver the world’s first custom MBA in Advancing Reconciliation, reflecting UVic’s commitment to advancing truth, respect and reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples. The MBA, developed in partnership with the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, is expected to launch this spring.

9. New program in Indigenous nursing

A first-of-its-kind master’s degree in Indigenous nursing was formed this year as a multi-university collaborative partnership. Co-led by UVic’s Lisa Bourque Bearskin, the program—which is expected to launch in 3 years—is being designed to meet the unique needs of Indigenous Peoples living in rural and remote areas.

10. A new tradition of courtesy & respect rekindled

By following Coast Salish protocols, the installation ceremony of Chancellor Marion Buller extends a new era at UVic that began in 2021 when President Kevin Hall requested permission from the local First Nations to work on the territory.