Before the application of research, before the patent, ethics review, donations or grants, there is a person with a desire to discover. They embark into the unknown, making inquiries, investigating what has been and inquiring into the possibilities by asking why not? Through their research, they uncover new truths that result in our lives, and our world, being changed for the better.

Herewith, a spotlight on the Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) in the UBC Faculty of Arts who are collectively contributing to UBC’s standing as a leading research university.

Canada Research Chairs


L-R (standing): Christina Laffin, Kiley Hamlin, Jiaying Zhao, Ayesha Chaudhry, Sheryl Lightfoot, Carla Hudson Kam, Geraldine Pratt
L-R (sitting): Shaylih Muehlmann, Amin Ghaziani, Christianne Hoppmann, Daniel Justice

When the University of British Columbia opened its doors in 1915, making do with temporary facilities beside the Vancouver General Hospital, the Faculty of Arts and Science was one of three inaugural founding faculties, along with the Faculty of Applied Science and the Faculty of Agriculture.

It wasn’t until 1963, after the intense growth that followed the Second World War, that Arts and Science separated its two core disciplines, each becoming its own individual faculty.

Since then, the trajectory of growth of the UBC Faculty of Arts has been nothing short of astonishing. Now the largest faculty at UBC, with nearly 14,000 undergraduate, 1,800 graduate students, 780 faculty members and 370 staff — its influence is felt far beyond what is traditionally considered the ‘arts’ (performing, creative). Today, leading scholars in the faculty’s myriad disciplines work across 25 academic departments, institutes and schools spanning the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Creative and Performing Arts. Courses range from psychology, geography and political science to English literature and critical Indigenous studies. Added to this, a gallery, museum, theatres, a performing arts centre, and concert venues, and the Faculty of Arts today bears little resemblance to its inaugural beginnings.

Among the world-class faculty contributing to UBC’s overall stature as a leading research university, are twenty-four Canada Research Chairs whose research in the humanities and social sciences is shaping a new era in the Faculty of Arts.

The federally funded Canada Research Chairs Program was created to “achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences.” Those who are granted a Chair at a qualifying Canadian university are charged with the immense task of improving “our depth of knowledge and quality of life” as Canadians.



The Faculty of Arts is immensely proud of its 24 Canada Research Chairs, a diverse and extremely accomplished group of scholars who have contributed to cementing UBC Arts’ reputation both as the most research-intensive Faculty of its kind in Canada and an engine of social and cultural innovation and impact.“
Gage Averill, Dean of the UBC Facualty of Arts


L-R: Shaylih Muehlmann, Jiaying Zhao, Amin Ghaziani, Amin Ghaziani, Ayesha Chaudhry

L-R Left: Shaylih Muehlmann, Jiaying Zhao, Amin Ghaziani, Amin Ghaziani, Ayesha Chaudhry
L-R Top Right: Christina Laffin, Sheryl Lightfoot, Christianne Hoppmann, Daniel Justice, Carla Hudson Kam, Geraldine Pratt
Bottom Right: Kiley Hamlin

L-R: Christina Laffin, Sheryl Lightfoot, Carla Hudson Kam, Daniel Justice, Christianne Hoppmann, Geraldine Pratt Kiley Hamlin

Top L-R: Shaylih Muehlmann, Jiaying Zhao, Amin Ghaziani, Amin Ghaziani, Ayesha Chaudhry
Middle L-R: Christina Laffin, Sheryl Lightfoot, Carla Hudson Kam, Daniel Justice, Christianne Hoppmann, Geraldine Pratt
Bottom: Kiley Hamlin

The evolution of the UBC Faculty of Arts has been fuelled by a thoughtful, critical response to our rapidly changing society. Indeed, it could be argued that the people who will best lead us in making sense of our modern world can be found in the humanities. The breadth of research among the CRCs in the UBC Faculty of Arts shows that they are uniquely equipped for the job.

With a renewed global focus and bolstered by CRCs, the UBC Faculty of Arts offers students from more than 100 countries the opportunity to be part of an exciting new chapter, led by leading scholars setting the bar for excellence in their fields and attracting the best and brightest to work and learn alongside them.

In a world where societal changes are swift and the way forward is not always clear, those working with and within the UBC Faculty of Arts are collectively shining a sharp and purposeful light into the future.

Learn more about the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP) at UBC.


Behind the scenes, it was an afternoon of networking for the CRCs as some caught up with friends while others met for the first time. The view from UBC’s Orchard Commons was the ideal backdrop to highlight these leading UBC scholars.

Thank you to Liz Bell Agency: Anya Ellis, Cheyenne Hoffman, Melanie Neufeld, Araceli Ogrinc, Luisa Rino.

Thank you to Ivan Yastrebov, Residence Life Manager, Orchard Commons.

Story team: UBC Brand and Marketing — Paul Joseph, University Photographer; Farhan Hussain, Video/Photography Production Assistant; Margaret Doyle, Digital Storyteller; Adrian Liem, Manager, Digital Communications; Mark Pilon, Communication Designer, Web and Motion; Jamil Rhajiak, Digital Communications Specialist; Lina Kang, Web Coordinator; Matt Warburton, Manager, Graphic Design.

Published: May 2018