Changes mark 25 years of teaching

by Stephen Forgacs

Staff writer

Every now and then, History Prof. George Egerton hears from people he taught when he first came to UBC in the 1970s. Some of those students, now in the employ of the Canadian Foreign Service, have gone from studying history and foreign policy to being very much a part of it.

"When I first came to UBC we would teach up to the Cuban Missile Crisis," he says, adding that at that time few historians could predict the demise of the Soviet Union, and fewer still the speed with which the collapse finally came.

"You can see continuity, you can make predictions, but the course of events is always surprising."

Egerton, and Plant Science/Zoology Prof. Judith Myers, are two of 46 UBC faculty members who join the Quarter Century Club this year. Club members all have 25 or more years of service at UBC.

Egerton, who teaches courses in 20th Century History, Canadian Foreign Policy, and the Great Powers of the 20th Century, mentions the Internet and the arrival of technology-based information networks as a significant change for professors and students alike.

On sabbatical until July 1998, Egerton is working on three projects, including the creation of a web site, to be linked to the United Nations library site in Geneva, containing graphic and documentary information and interpretive scholarly articles on the League of Nations. He is also continuing to offer a course to 50 students through distance education using e-mail.

Myers, who came to UBC in 1972 with a cross appointment in Plant Science and Zoology, is quick to point out the increase in the number of female faculty members that she's witnessed since she arrived.

"When I started I was the only woman in the department," she says. "Now there are five of us."

A recent front page of UBC Reports, which featured UBC President Martha Piper and Vice-President, Student and Academic Services, Maria Klawe, both accomplished academics in senior positions, brought home the fact that times really have changed, she says.

In 1972, Myers, who still works out of the same office in one of UBC's oldest buildings, began investigating the "alien invaders" she says threaten Canada's agriculture, forestry and quality of life. Knapweed, purple loosestrife, European craneflies, and winter moths are just a few of the exotic pests Myers and her graduate students attempt to control through the introduction of natural enemies. She now has 21 years' worth of data on tent caterpillar population alone, and has just witnessed the third peak in the 10-year caterpillar population cycles.

"Probably the most important thing though, is that I'm really happy here," she says.

This year's new members will be inducted on Oct. 9 in the Graduate Centre Ballroom: William Ovalle, Anatomy; James Shelford, Animal Science; Tissa Fernando, Patricia Marchak, Richard Matson, James Powell, Kenneth Stoddart, Anthropology and Sociology; Elliott Burnell, Chemistry; Francis Navin, Civil Engineering; Shirley Sullivan, Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies; Michael Seelig, Community and Regional Planning; Donald Mosedale, Kenneth Slade, Shirley Wong, Continuing Studies; Jonathan Kesselman, Donald Paterson, Economics; Billie Housego, Educational Psychology and Special Education; Murray Elliott, Educational Studies; Edward Jull, Electrical Engineering; Jerry Wasserman, English; John Vanderstoep, Food Science; David Ley, Geography; Ana Gomes, Hispanic and Italian Studies; David Breen, George Egerton, W. Alan Tully, History; Anthony Dorcey, Kenneth Hall, Institute for Resources and Environment; Joost Blom, Law; N. L. Schultz Baldwin, Library; David Ingram, Linguistics; John Walsh, Mathematics; Frederick Dill, Stephen Wood, Medical Genetics; Raymond Thompson, Nursing; James Axelson, Donald Lyster, Pharmaceutical Sciences; Birger Bergerson, William McCutcheon, Physics and Astronomy; Judith Myers, Plant Science; Hans Fibiger, Psychiatry; Tannis MacBeth, Peter Suedfeld, Psychology; Ian Cleator, Surgery; Peter Loeffler, Jerry Newman, Theatre, Film and Creative Writing.