One research assistant (RA) position for the 2020/2021 academic year for 172 hours with a possible addition
of 47 hours. The RA will work with Profs. Naoko Ellis and Anne Murphy in gathering data relevant to develop a
transdisciplinary graduate course.
Sept 1, 2020 - Aug 31, 2021
Initial phase: 172 hours at $32/hr including benefits
Possible extension: 47 hours at $32/hr including benefits
Transition to a low carbon economy is one of the greatest challenges societies have ever faced. The
transformative change required for this transition necessitates knowledge production not only from
technological innovation and infrastructural realignment, but also building social and cultural narratives about
what this future will look like. Young leaders of tomorrow tell us that it is not more technical solutions or facts
that they need to learn about climate change. They seek to realize ways to imagine a future that is different
than the trajectory of the current “burning” world. This course offers graduate students the opportunity to come
together from diverse disciplines and examine their assumptions, views and values, and actively participate in
building narratives and imagining a future together.
The proposed new course will be facilitated by Murphy (ARTS) and Ellis (APSC) to foster rich conversations
and engagement in recognition that the transformation required for transition necessitates not only
technological innovation, but also the building of new social and cultural narratives and representations about
the nature of our world and what it will take to change it. We will engage the imagination to consider what such
a future might look like, where such issues are understood, addressed, and lived. We will develop a
“workshop” course model where grad students develop case studies in different cultural and temporal locations
to explore the resources (natural, scientific, cultural and imaginative) that can transform the human relationship
with the earth.
Under Objective A, several steps are proposed to collect data from those involved in transdisciplinary (TD)
research at UBC. We ask the RA to take a lead in conducting this aspect of the project.
A1: Identify graduate students and faculty supervisors who are engaged in TD research. Initially, we will start
with IRES and ISGP and then extend to other units. Solicit past participants of the re-imagining PhD
Symposium and Public Scholars Initiative to participate in the survey.
A2: Work with the Collaborative PhD Working Group to identify approaches to pedagogy that promote
A3: Build an online survey on Qualtrics to address the respondent’s: general awareness of interdisciplinary or
transdisciplinary research; perception on the barriers, enablers, and benefits of TD research; views on enabling
skills that support their TD research; and sense of how TD research fits into their personal and professional
A4: Analyze survey data and summarize in a report. Share results with Sustainability Fellows.
A5: Identify key learning outcomes for the proposed course based on the survey analysis
A6: Articulate research questions around TD learning (decide if we will do this