Birds, Anyone?

Teaching in the Marshes: VIU’s Bird Banding Classroom

Presented by: Eric Demers, Biology

Learning happens everywhere at VIU, not just in the classroom. For faculty member Eric Demers and his volunteer students, learning is happening at West Buttertubs Marsh, early in the morning, before many of us are even out of bed. Eric is a member in VIU’s biology department and a bird bander. His passion for providing learning opportunities for students, along with his passion for birds, has turned into a rich co-curricular opportunity for students and the community.

From April-October, you can find Eric and his volunteers setting up nets, catching and banding songbirds, collecting data, and releasing them back into the sky, all at the break of dawn.

Eric and his students are inviting faculty, staff, students, and anyone else who would like to join to visit his bird banding station on Thursday, May 25th at 9am (map of meeting place to be provided).

This is a fantastic opportunity to come out and see first-hand the inspiring work being done by faculty and students here at VIU, or rather, just off-campus.

Eric and his students want to share this experience with as many people as they can, and contribute to the community’s understanding of birds and the ecosystems that exist right here in Nanaimo.

Wear good outdoor footwear. Bring binoculars if you have them. If you’re lucky, you might be able to release a bird yourself. Find out more about the project at their website:

Date | Thursday, May 25

Time | 9:00 – 10:30 am

Location | Meet location to be sent to participants a few days prior

Questions | | Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Specialist | Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning

May 25, 2017 – 9:00am to 10:30am

JHAP online

Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy

Vol. 5, No. 5 (2017): Gilbert Ryle: Intelligence, Practice, Skill
Special issue edited by Juliet Floyd and Lydia Patton.
Table of Contents
Volume Introduction: Gilbert Ryle on Propositions, Propositional Attitudes, and Theoretical Knowledge
Julia Tanney

Ryle’s “Intellectualist Legend” in Historical Context
Michael Kremer

Skill, Drill, and Intelligent Performance: Ryle and Intellectualism
Stina Bäckström, Martin Gustafsson

Ryle on the Explanatory Role of Knowledge How
Will Small

ISSN: 2159-0303

Special Issue – Informal Logic: Reason & Rhetoric in the Time of Alternative Facts

Informal Logic invites submissions for a special issue on “Reason & Rhetoric in the Time of Alternative Facts”. This issue aims to analyze, explain, and critique instances of argumentation connected to the campaign, election, and presidency of Donald Trump, as well as associated issues such as the concept of “post-truth” emerging from the Brexit campaigns. We believe that argumentation theory can help in forming answers to some of the questions that events around the new U.S. president open-up.

Trump has adopted a distinctive approach to argumentation that is especially worth studying now that it is stemming from the highest political office in the United States. In terms of both form and content, the written and verbal argumentation coming from the current president, as well as official White House communications—including the website—constitute rich material to engage argumentation scholars. Equally interesting are, for example, issues surrounding the way the press deals/dealt with and reacts to the new president and the argumentative and rhetorical choices made by his adversaries during and after the presidential campaign.

This issue of Informal Logic welcomes contributions from both theorizers and practitioners in the expanding field of argumentation studies, including, but not limited to, scholars in Informal Logic, Rhetoric, Pragma-Dialectics, Communication Studies, and Critical Thinking.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

●            Argument Schemes in White-House Communications

●            The (In)Effectiveness of Trump Speeches

●            Comparisons of Contemporary and Past Instances of Whitehouse Argumentation

●            Governmental Multimodal Argumentation

●            Fallacies, Blunders, and False News

●            Post-truth Premises and Conclusions

●            Trump, Clinton, and Ethos

●            Audiences in the Presidential Campaign

●            The Ethical Dimensions of Public Argument

●            Trump and the News

●            Quantitative Studies on Argumentation around Trump

●            Trump and the Virtues of Argument

●            Trump as a Diplomat

●            Using Trump to Teach Critical Thinking

Submitted papers must present original research that has not been published and is not currently under review with any other journal. All submissions will be double-blind peer reviewed and selected based on the paper’s originality, significance, relevance, and clarity of presentation. The deadline for submissions is the 1st of September, 2017.

Author Guidelines:

Submissions should be between 5000 and 7000 words (without notes) and prepared for blind review by while following the Informal Logic formatting template available at:

Please also include a separate cover with an abstract and author identifying information.

Submissions should be sent as a PDF or Word document to:

Deadlines: (these are cut-off deadlines; extensions are not possible):

Paper submission deadline: September 1st, 2017

Accept or decline decisions announced:  December 1st , 2017

Revised papers due: February 1st , 2018

Publication: Informal Logic, 28.1, March, 2018

RIP, Dr. Richard Arnold


Dr. Richard Arnold died on May 4, 2017.

I first met him shortly after he arrived at VIU. My wife and I had him over for a welcome to Nanaimo dinner. Richard was a good man. An environmentalist, a scholar, a teacher, a poet. We sometimes met on or near Mount Benson while hiking. Students wrote of Richard: The best English teacher I’ve every met, would like to introduce him to every body. And, Richard is a very interesting prof, and his assignments are usually pretty good. He often has interesting anecdotes to go along with his lectures. He is a super committed environmentalist, and this showed up a lot in his topics during class. Tough but fair grader. 

The Dean of Arts and Humanities sent this email to VIU people:

Dear colleagues,

It is with profound sadness that I inform you that Richard Arnold, an instructor in VIU’s Arts and Humanities faculty, died May 4, 2017.

Richard was a member of the English department for 25 years. He was a devoted teacher who always said that he was most interested in helping students develop a “voice” – not only in the classroom, but in life. Richard’s success in this regard is evidenced by the many students who have expressed their admiration and respect for him.

Born and raised in Alabama, where he spent many summers exploring the natural world around him, Richard became an enduring environmentalist. His Ph.D. dissertation was titled “Conservation and Uses of Nature in the writings of Thoreau, Muir, and Abbey.”

Richard frequently shepherded his students out of the classroom, onto the trails, and into the woods, believing that all human success ultimately is related to what we know of, and how we treat, our natural environment. One reviewer of a collection of Richard’s poems stated that “his poetry demands . . . our acceptance of responsibility for what is becoming of the natural world.” Many people at VIU will remember Richard for the countless hikes he organized to the summit of Mount Benson.

Richard was a gentle soul – a good colleague, a loyal friend, and a dedicated father to his two children. Our thoughts are with his family – we wish them peace and comfort during this difficult time.

There will be a celebration of life later this summer, and those details will be conveyed once they have been confirmed.

You will be missed.


Foundational philosophy

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)
For a class project, 11th grade physics students Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA) created a one-page infographic inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills. The booklet includes suggestions on what questions to ask, what traps to avoid, specific examples of how the scientific method is used to test pseudoscience and paranormal claims, and a how-to guide for developing a class in critical thinking.

Get the infographic here.