VIU Presents Eight Talks on Teaching in a World of "Alternative Facts"

Dr. Sonnet L’Abbé, left, and Dr. Melissa Stephens are co-organizing an event that brings people together to discuss the “post-truth” media climate and how it affects people as citizens, consumers and educators.

April 3, 2017 - 12:30pm

Teaching in a Post-Truth Era, a free event open to the public, explores the impact a mistrust of facts has on society from multiple perspectives

Oxford Dictionaries has identified “post-truth” as their 2016 Word of the Year, citing a “general decrease in the influence of objective facts on people’s opinions.”

On Wednesday, April 12, eight VIU professors and instructors with a wide range of different backgrounds will come together at VIU’s Malaspina Theatre to assess how the “post-truth” media climate is challenging their teaching and to offer strategies to counter the media onslaught of “alternative facts.”

Teaching in a Post-Truth Era is a series of eight TED Talks-style presentations, followed by discussions and questions. Themes range from exploring the compromised information environment in the digital age, to moving from critical thinking about facts to critical thinking about values. VIU’s Fulbright Canada Jarislowsky Visiting Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies, Dr. Roy Janisch, will also talk about truth and reconciliation through restorative justice.  

“This new era of media mistrust impacts teachers’ classroom efforts to instill knowledge and insist on reliable sources,” says Dr. Sonnet L’Abbé, a VIU Creative Writing and Journalism Professor and event co-organizer. “This event will explore what this new mistrust of facts means for us as citizens, consumers and educators.”

This panel is the first of an anticipated series of VIU events that will bring together speakers from across disciplines to address the current challenges to values of diversity, environmental responsibility and global citizenship.

“As sensational headlines and emotional arguments increasingly dominate our news media, I feel a pressing need to help students to develop their research skills,” says VIU Reference and Instruction Librarian Luke McLeod. “My talk will address how I changed my approach to teaching to help students identify fake news and expose its faults.”

Teaching in a Post-Truth Era will take place from 1 – 3:30 pm in VIU’s Malaspina Theatre (Building 310). A coffee reception in the theatre lobby starts at 12:30 pm.

For more information, please email the event’s co-organizers, L’Abbé and Dr. Melissa Stephens, a VIU English Professor, at and



Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6559 | C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews


SIDEBAR: List of Presenters and Talks

  • Fake news: The Compromised Information Environment in the Digital Age

     Dr. John Hill, VIU Faculty Association Coordinator, Writing Centre, former freelance journalist  

  • Truth & Reconciliation through Restorative Justice

     Dr. Roy F. Janisch, Fulbright Visiting Research Chair

  • Algorithmic Oppressions: Teaching with Digital Spaces

     Dr. Janis Ledwell-Hunt, Professor, Women’s Studies & English

  • Are the Humanities Responsible for the Post-Truth Era?

     Dr. David Livingstone, Professor, Liberal Studies & Political Studies

  • Information Literacy in the Post-Truth Era

     Luke McLeod, Reference and Instruction Librarian

  • Moving from Critical Thinking about Facts to Critical Thinking about Values

     Michele Patterson, Professor, Geography

  • #FakeTerrorismExpert: Academics and “Truth” Production

     Dr. Ann Rogers, Instructor, Political Studies   


  • “Alternative” Pedagogies in the Multicultural Classroom

     Dr. Paul Watkins, Professor, English

Tags: Teaching and Learning

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