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Faculty: In Their Own Words – Dr. Rachel Krause

Dr. Rachel Krause, Assistant Professor of Biology, has taught at CMU since 2015.

What are you teaching right now that you’re most excited about?

A first-year course called The Evolutionary and Ecological Revolution. Part of the course is based in the Assiniboine Forest. We had a field trip out there with naturalists from the city, and now students are spending the whole semester in the forest, thinking about it and learning about it individually. I spend a lot of time in the forest because I want to know what’s going on there, too. I love that going to the forest is part of my curriculum.

What are you researching and writing?

I’m finishing a project in Panama on food security and child growth. I also have an ongoing collaboration in Panama on wildlife parasitology and human health, and I recently started working with a research scientist with fisheries and oceans here in Manitoba, working on the Carmine shiner, which is a threatened species in the province. It’s a little, tiny fish that is found in a few rivers here. We’re doing a study of parasites in the fish, and also looking at how parasite infection influences metabolic rate and sensitivity to temperature changes, kind of with climate change in mind.

What you are reading for enjoyment?

During the school year, I tend to just read fun things, so I’m reading a P.D. James murder mystery right now. Something with “Murder” or “Blood” in the title—I don’t remember. (laughs)

Where or how do students give you hope?

They care. Many of them are really invested in connecting the things they’re studying to the other parts of their lives. To me, the things that I teach matter, so to see students pick up on that and try to work it into how they live their lives is really rewarding for me.

Do you have any interesting projects underway in the broader community or church?

I’m part of a project spearheaded by Jobb Arnold, Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution Studies at Menno Simons College. This project brings together youth from a couple of Winnipeg high schools that have a lot of Indigenous and newcomer youth. The youth learn about climate change, but really, the intention is to build community, and build connections and relationships. Jobb teaches conflict resolution, so he’s all about building resilient communities in the face of something like climate change. I went along with them on a field trip to Shoal Lake 40 to talk about water stewardship. It’s been a lot of fun to be a part of that, and to use my expertise as an ecologist to help facilitate a part of this larger network of learning for these youth.

What saying or motto inspires you?

A few years ago, I heard a sermon and the speaker made a comment about how it’s OK for us to be imperfect, because that gives people around us the permission to be imperfect. I’m trying to embrace that as part of my mentorship to students. For them to see me as imperfect gives them permission to be themselves and not have to be perfect, either.

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Face2Face: On Campus – Community in Conversation Uncategorized Video

Face2Face | Why Beauty Matters: Radical Amazement, Spirituality, and the Ecological Crisis (video)

Nature has the power to draw us into her beauty, to inspire feelings of wonder and awe, to connect with our spirit. Sadly, our approach in this technological age is too often the opposite, seeing nature as a tool to be used, a resource to be consumed. In a time of ecological crisis what we may need, more than anything else, is a change of posture.

The phrase “radical amazement” comes from the Jewish rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, whose work represents one strand of Jewish environmentalism. He has argued that the root of the environmental crisis lies in the way that we have changed our posture toward the natural world—from awe, wonder, and amazement to detachment, control, and manipulation.

Mathematician Dr. Tim Rogalsky, biologist Dr. Rachel Krause, and engineer Randy Herrmann take us on a fascinating ‘guided tour’ into the wonder of nature. See with new eyes and stand in awe of the hidden beauty of flora, fauna, and land.

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Scientists to explore why beauty matters at upcoming Face2Face discussion event

Three scientists will take audience members on a guided tour into the wonder of nature at Canadian Mennonite University’s next Face2Face community discussion.

Titled, “Why Beauty Matters: Radical Amazement, Spirituality, and the Ecological Crisis,” the discussion will feature Dr. Tim Rogalsky, Associate Professor of Mathematics at CMU; Dr. Rachel Krause, Assistant Professor of Biology at CMU; and Randy Herrmann, an engineer who works at the University of Manitoba.

The event happens Wednesday, November 2 at 7:00 PM at Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.). Admission is free, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Face2Face Poster“All three of us are going to introduce things that we study within our disciplines that can be fairly easily understood and that are just totally amazing,” Rogalsky says, adding that his talk will explore spiral patterns found in flowers, and what we can glean from this natural display of beauty.

The phrase “radical amazement” comes from the Jewish rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who has argued that the root of the environmental crisis lies in the way that we as humans have changed our posture toward the natural world—from awe, wonder, and amazement, to detachment, control, and manipulation.

In 1955, Heschel wrote, “As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind. Humankind will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation.”

“Seeing nature through eyes of radical amazement may be exactly what our world needs today,” Rogalsky says. “It is also precisely the natural posture of the religious person… Science has the power to explain. Religion has the power to inspire. Inspiration has the power to galvanize people to action. The presentations (on November 2) will attempt to bring all of that together.”

He adds that for each of the scientists who will present, scientific inquiry is an act of worship that helps them connect to God. Some people think about science as being a dry, boring process, when in fact, it’s the exact opposite: Scientific inquiry is a creative act that reveals how interconnected everything in the natural world is.

“Scientists are uniquely positioned to reveal (the) beauty (in our world),” Rogalsky says. “I want people to be inspired by the beauty we can’t always see, but that we can investigate.”

Started in 2013, Face2Face is a series of conversations organized by CMU, designed to engage the community on a wide variety of current events and issues at the intersection of faith and life.

“Why Beauty Matters” is the second of four Face2Face events CMU is scheduled to host during the 2016-17 school year. For details, visit cmu.ca/face2face.

About CMU

A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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General News News Releases

CMU announces new Environmental Studies major

Canadian Mennonite University is pleased to announce the creation of a new Environmental Studies major, which will launch in fall 2016. The interdisciplinary, four-year Bachelor of Arts degree will draw on the fields of science, social science, and humanities.

“Environmental studies is by nature interdisciplinary,” says Dr. Rachel Krause, Assistant Professor of Biology. “It looks at economic, biophysical, political, and private spheres and how they fit together in the natural world.”
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With a foundation in natural sciences, students will gain knowledge of the underlying scientific principles and processes required to understand environmental issues such as climate, soil and water systems, nutrient cycles, and ecology.

“Students will have a foundation in natural sciences such that they can understand the ecology and the science of the issues we face relevant to the environment,” says Krause.

Through incorporating courses in the social sciences, students will gain an understanding of how economic, political, and social structures interact with the environment and inform how natural resources are used.

“Environmental issues always have a natural science component, but they also impact communities and populations,” says Dr. Ray Vander Zaag, Associate Dean of International Development Studies. “To work in the broad field of environmental studies, you need to have understandings in both areas.”

The humanities component addresses the question of how areas such as literature, philosophy, and theology can contribute to understanding problems and visualizing solutions.

“Students will be equipped with the tools to enter the challenging new realities that face our future and cross the boundaries of science and social science,” says Dr. Gordon Zerbe, Vice President Academic at CMU. “We’re very pleased we have the capacity to deliver this kind of program.”

Three new ecology courses are being developed that will offer lab and field research methodologies and will be implemented over the next few years. With the addition of these courses, students interested in education will be able to attain a teachable in biology.

The interdisciplinary nature of the degree will allow students to personalize their studies according to their interests, drawing on the many courses CMU offers that are directly or indirectly relevant to environmental studies. A practicum component will provide students with the opportunity to integrate knowledge and practices related to the field.

Graduates may pursue careers with agencies and non-profit organizations working in areas such as conservation or resource management, or pursue graduate studies in related fields.

To learn more about CMU’s new Environmental Studies major, visit: cmu.ca/environmentalstudies.

About CMU

A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

 

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General News News Releases

Canadian Mennonite University announces three new faculty appointments

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is pleased to announce three new faculty appointments.

Rachel Krause and Matthew Pauls will join CMU’s main campus faculty as Assistant Professor of Biology and Assistant Professor of Music, respectively. Jobb Arnold will join the faculty of Menno Simons College (MSC), a college of CMU, as Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution Studies.

All of the positions are tenure-track, and each person will begin work in time for the 2015-16 school year.

Gordon Zerbe, Vice President Academic at CMU, says he is pleased to have Krause, Pauls, and Arnold join the university.

“I’m excited about the way they will make their own unique contribution to CMU’s faculty culture and our programs,” Zerbe says. “They all fill in gaps in our program, and at the same time, they each bring something fresh and new.”

Zerbe adds that with these new hires, CMU has 31 full-time faculty members, 93 per cent of whom have earned PhDs.

“As evidenced by CMU’s number one ranking for academic quality in the recent CUSC survey of Canadian universities, we are dedicated to academic excellence,” Zerbe says. “Each of these professors brings an academic quality and background that will enhance our already robust interdisciplinary-minded faculty. They will provide our students with exciting new learning opportunities and expand the institution’s scope of research.”

About CMU’s new faculty:

Matthew PaulsMatthew Pauls is a CMU alumnus currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Western Ontario. Pauls’ speciality is Voice Performance and his research focuses on Argentine Art Song, a body of repertoire that is virtually unknown in the greater performance and scholarly communities.

An accomplished baritone, Pauls has performed as a featured soloist with ensembles such as the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Paraguay, Windsor Symphony, Canadian Chamber Choir, Winnipeg Singers, Guelph Chamber Choir, Windsor Classic Chorale, and the Windsor Symphony Chorus.

“The way that CMU makes an intentional effort to create a caring, supportive environment that really helps encourage intellectual and interpersonal growth in terms of relationships was one of the reasons I wanted to come back and be a part of the community again,” Pauls says. “I’m excited to be part of students’ experience at CMU and to try to make their experience as good as the one I had.”

Rachel KrauseRachel Krause recently completed her PhD dissertation at the Institute of Parasitology at the McGill School of Environment at McGill University, and will defend it next month. For her doctoral research, Krause looked at how the health of preschool children in extremely poor rural communities in Panama has been affected by their families’ participation in a food security intervention based on agricultural development.

Krause’s background in ecology and environment has also led to broad experiences ranging from salmon habitat evaluation and restoration in her native British Columbia, to parasitism and pollution studies of fish in the St. Lawrence River.

Krause says she was impressed by the community she experienced during a campus visit while applying for the job.

“I get the sense that at CMU, there’s a strong desire to collaborate formally and informally across disciplines, which I love to do,” Krause says.

Jobb ArnoldJobb Arnold holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queen’s University and has research expertise in the comparative study of post-conflict cultures. Arnold specializes in genocide studies, the dynamics of social movements, and the role of aesthetics and public emotion in community building practices.

Arnold has a background in conflict studies theory and social psychology. His doctoral research took him to Rwanda and Northern Ireland.

Arnold’s research and teaching is motivated by a concern for social justice. He has taught in Conflict Resolution Studies, Development Studies, and Psychology departments.

“MSC has been a ground-breaking institute in developing Winnipeg’s reputation for progressive and engaged scholarship in the areas of conflict studies, human rights, and intercultural reconciliation,” Arnold says, adding that MSC’s core values of peace, service, and justice lie at the heart of much of his work. “I look forward to upholding these values and furthering the causes of peace and social justice in all my activities.”

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over about 900 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2