New Tory Chair explores the North
Written By: Ryan Smith
2002-03-25In Aberdeen, Scotland, Dr. Mark Nuttall has been in the habit of watching TV at midnight to check the temperature in Edmonton, Alberta. The recent cold snap in Western Canada caught his attention, but it has not deterred him from coming to the University of Alberta as planned. Currently a professor at the University of Aberdeen, Nuttall will join the U of A faculty next year as the school's second Henry Marshall Tory Chair, it was announced today.
Nuttall doesn't mind the cold weather, which isn't surprising considering his life's work has focused on the culture of indigenous people and the environment in the North; in particular, he has focused on the sustainable utilization of living marine resources in the Arctic and North Atlantic. A social anthropologist, Nuttall is the editor of the Encyclopedia on the Arctic and one of the lead authors of a report on Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) for the international Arctic Council.
"North issues are generic issues that have global relevance," Nuttall said. "North issues are human issues and environmental sustainability issues. The North is an indicator of the state of health of the planet as a whole."
"Dr. Nuttall is a pre-eminent social scientist who has published widely in his field, and we are very happy to have him as one of our lead authors," said Dr. Gunter Weller, a climatologist at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and the executive director of the ACIA project.
"My plans are to develop and build multidiscipline research programs across a broad range of fields at the University of Alberta...I think the potential at the U of A is remarkable. There are already a number of world-class researchers in this field at the U of A, and I'm looking forward to working with them."
Nuttall received his doctorate from the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge and joined the department of sociology and anthropology at the University of Aberdeen in 1995. Dr. Nancy Lovell, chair of the U of A department of anthropology, believes Nuttall's appointment at the U of A will add to the U of A's reputation as an institution of excellence in the field of Arctic studies.
"[Nuttall's] ability to interact and collaborate bodes well for the expansion of Northern studies across the entire university and for our ability to attract and retain outstanding faculty and students," Lovell said.
The Tory Chair is intended for "outstanding individuals who by their presence will enhance the reputation of the University of Alberta and who can provide leadership and experience for the strengthening of teaching and research in specific disciplines at the University." The chair is named after the university's first president. There is one other Tory Chairholder at the U of A, Dr. Isobel Grundy, professor of English.
This article originally appeared in ExpressNews.