Douglas 360°

Ace your courses with help from the Learning Centre

Douglas College students

By David Guedes, the Learning Centre

The Learning Centre is the peer tutoring and writing centre for Douglas College. We provide free tutoring and academic support for all Douglas College students. You can book tutoring sessions for help with:

  • Writing for all Douglas College courses
  • Course content for select first-year courses
  • Study skills to improve oral presentations, note-taking, study strategies, test preparation and time management 
  • English-language tutoring for written and spoken English language skills for Douglas College classes, provided by TESL-trained, professional tutors

Prefer online feedback on your writing? Submit your written assignments to an online writing tutor.

Visit us to win!

Now that the New West Campus library renovation is finished, we’re back in the library! Find us in N2105 during the first two weeks of the Winter Semester to enter a draw for a Tim Horton’s gift card!

General Studies student
“When a particular tutor wasn’t available, the Learning Centre would find another one to step in. Their approach, service and commitment has been so very sincere – they truly want to see me improve and succeed.” – Shavina Bhan, General Studies student

Who are the Peer Tutors?

Peer Tutors are students taking classes at Douglas or other post-secondary institutions. They are hired based on instructor recommendation, academic performance and more.

Interested in becoming a Peer Tutor? Here’s how

Find us

New Westminster, room N2105

Coquitlam, room A1040

Get the support you need to succeed

By Karen Chhabra, Ruth Fraser, Chelsie Letendre and Andria Wrench, Student Affairs and Services

We believe in supporting our students, both inside and outside the classroom. If you need help choosing courses, dealing with personal problems, improving your study skills and more, we’ve got the services to help you succeed.

Accessibility Services

Accessibility Services works with students to remove barriers related to learning disabilities, mental health issues, mobility impairments and sensory impairments. We work with you and your instructors to create an individual plan for accommodations and support. We can help plan for temporary, long-term, or intermittent needs. If you are anticipating or experiencing barriers to access, Accessibility Services can help with:

  • Exam accommodations
  • Reading, writing and studying technology
  • Note-taking assistance
  • Accessible course materials
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Applying for disability-related StudentAidBC grants
  • Building self-advocacy skills


College can be a stressful and confusing time, but you don’t need to face it alone. Douglas College counsellors are here to help you find ways to manage personal challenges, plan your future career and manage the pressures of college life. There are three types of counselling services offered to Douglas students:

Personal counselling can help you deal with personal concerns that may be affecting your studies or personal well-being. Counsellors work with you to explore what’s happening in your life and help you identify strategies to help. Topics you may seek counselling for include stress management, interpersonal relationships, building self-esteem, adjusting to college, managing anxiety, depression, coping with grief and loss, and more.

Career counselling helps you explore your academic and career goals. Learn about career planning and access resources to research different occupations, post-secondary programs and more.

Educational counselling and student advocacy Facing academic difficulties? Counsellors will help you understand your options and choose a course of action for a variety of situations, including academic probation, when course withdrawal is not possible, grade appeals and more.

Read more: Dealing with depression and releasing the pain – a Douglas employee’s personal journey

Indigenous Student Services

Indigenous Student Services strives to respond to the needs of all students who are Indigenous, First Nations, Metis or of Inuit backgrounds – this means status and non-status Natives from North America – so that they can succeed as self-directed, independent learners. The Indigenous Student Services centres at both campuses offer a number of services, including:

  • Culturally appropriate support services, activities and events at the College and in the community
  • One-to-one support with an Indigenous Student Advisor
  • Student assistants who offer peer mentorship and additional support
  • Information about funding options, bursaries, scholarships, awards and student loans
  • Assistance finding accommodations and child care
  • Access to a range of academic workshops
  • Opportunities to participate in and witness traditional cultural presentations

In addition to these services, the Indigenous Student Services centres provide quiet study spaces and information on Indigenous history and culture.

Student Support Navigator

If you have experience in Ministry of Children and Family Development Care, alternative secondary education, or are a first-generation or mature student, a Student Support Navigator is here to provide outreach and guidance. They can assist with:

  • Familiarizing you with the campuses and services available
  • Applying for the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program and additional bursaries
  • Accessing counselling and mental health supports
  • One-to-one support with goal setting and tracking
  • Building connections to the community
  • Referrals to additional support services

Stagecraft grad creates high-end custom carpentry

By Carly Whetter, Foundation and Alumni Relations

Michael Young knew he wanted to work in the entertainment industry – he just wasn’t sure in what context.

“Originally it was because I thought I wanted to be an actor,” says the Stagecraft and Event Technology (SET) alum. “But I’ve always been good with my hands and enjoy making things. Stagecraft seemed like a logical step.”

Read more: How this Douglas alum is changing the face of education

The SET diploma program at Douglas College teaches students everything from lighting to stage management for TV, film and theatre. It was recommended to Michael by Paul Moniz de Sá, the Artistic Director of Theatre and Music at Granville Island’s Arts Umbrella.

Michael Young in his woodworking studio.
The future is wood. Michael in his studio in Burnaby.

“Paul thought it would be a good way for me to get a feel for the general entertainment industry, with a specific focus on theatre,” says Michael. “The program ended up laying the groundwork for my career.”

If you build it, they will come

After graduating from Douglas College, Michael took his skills to BCIT to complete his Red Seal journeyman’s papers in joinery and cabinetmaking. This certification built on the knowledge of his SET diploma, giving him an even deeper understanding of the materials and finishes he uses for his projects. “My goal was always to work towards getting my Red Seal, and once I had that credential, I would open up my own shop,” says Michael.

Instagram screenshot of Red Bull doors.

He did just that. Today, Michael owns and operates MJY Fabrications, a wood-based custom fabrication studio in Burnaby. His portfolio includes creative projects for corporate and luxury clients – from building a cooler-themed door for a Red Bull event, to re-panelling the interior walls at the Museum of Anthropology’s Haida House, to constructing a pair of oversized sunglasses for Clearly – and scenic sets for a number of local television, film and theatre productions. It sounds hectic, but Michael says the SET program prepared him well.

Instagram screenshot of Clearly sunglasses.

“In this industry there are a lot of projects that come quickly. The program also gave me a good understanding of how to cope with the situations I deal with in my day to day,” says Michael.

Giving back

As his business grows, Michael continues to look for unique projects that challenge him to learn new skills. Currently he’s working on a furniture line. “I’m excited to go back into the woodwork and cabinetry side of things and add the creative edge from the work I’m doing now. It’s bringing the two styles together in some ways,” he says.

Read more: An alum’s journey takes him from chemistry to clippers

Michael continues to give back by mentoring Douglas College SET students as a way to fulfil their work experience requirement. “There are a lot more opportunities behind the scenes in this industry. It’s great to support students just starting out.”   

Visit the Stagecraft and Event Technology page for more information regarding the program.

Semester in Spain gives student essential life skills

Visiting a new country is so much more than just inspiring travel envy on Instagram. It’s about exploring different cultures, languages and ways of life. It’s about challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone while experiencing life as a global citizen – things that will help prepare you for your future in a world that’s becoming increasingly globalized and interconnected.

Just ask Ainsley Girvan. Ainsley is a Criminology student who is finishing up a semester at UVic-UCC, in Barcelona/Vic, Spain, as part of a Douglas College exchange program. Here’s what she has to say about her experience:

Challenge accepted

The main reason I chose to go on exchange was to challenge myself to live abroad. I wanted to experience everything that came with being in a different country: language, culture, food, lifestyle, etc. I also figured that having this chance to live/study in Spain would never be offered again, so I had to take it while it was available!

Ainsley chills in Spain with a newfound pal.

Step out of your comfort zone

Having the time, space and energy to figure out who I am has been the most rewarding aspect thus far. I’ve met insanely amazing people from all over the world who are now lifetime friends. I haven’t personally experienced that at Douglas; I never stopped to really talk to the person next to me or bothered making new friends. But when you’re in a new place, you have no choice but to branch out. I’ve learned that I have to put myself in uncomfortable positions in order to make friends and even order food!

Read more: How the Italy field school changed this Creative Writing student’s life.

If this is what an exchange program looks like, sign us up!

Not lost in translation

The language barrier was the most challenging aspect of my exchange. I knew that Barcelona/Vic was in Catalonia and that they spoke Catalan. However, I didn’t even bother to consider that menus, street signs, emails and conversations would be in Catalan. Barcelona is very touristic, so almost everything is in English and most businesses have English speakers. But not in Vic! Things are primarily Catalan and most people don’t speak English.

An education in adaptation

At Douglas, I study Criminology; however, in Spain (Vic), that program doesn’t exist. I took it as an opportunity to explore a different program: Business and Communications. I’ve taken classes like Conflict Resolution, Internal Communications and Spanish and Catalan. Learning two new languages undoubtedly will be valuable, and Conflict Resolution will help in whatever career I choose. Every class and every day, I’ve been able to take something positive and apply it in some way, shape or form towards my education! 

One of the highlights for Ainsley was making new buds aka “insanely amazing people” from around the world.

The benefits are huge

My dream job would be to work for the Government of Canada. If I could become a diplomat or some sort of government official that would be amazing! But I would also consider working for the Red Cross, regardless of what path I end up choosing. Living in Spain has been extremely beneficial for either career. Catalonia is experiencing deep political issues. There have been countless strikes, protests and demonstrations. There was a week in October when Catalonian leaders were sentenced to 13 years in prison, and classes were cancelled. I’ve gained more knowledge of Spain’s political conflicts and struggles, the history of their languages and a clearer understanding of their lifestyles. Now, I can tell future employers that I studied abroad in a country where I didn’t speak the language. I’ve developed tools for how to learn more effectively, how to better work in groups and how to communicate with people who don’t speak my language.

Read more: Thinking of studying abroad? You could be eligible for up to $5,000 in scholarships

Now it’s your turn

I highly recommend everyone do a semester abroad! It will be the most rewarding experience you will ever have, from meeting new people, to seeing different places and tasting new foods, it will all be worth it. I know it sounds  basic, but it’s so true! I’ve tried amazing Catalan dishes that I might never find in Canada and I’ve seen breathtaking beaches in Ibiza, Mallorca and along the Barcelona coastline. But the biggest thing I could never have gotten by staying in Coquitlam would be meeting my newest and closest friends from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, France, Brazil, Austria and many other places around the world!

Ready to take on the world? Discover all your study abroad options at Douglas College, including exchanges, field schools and summer programs.

Good grades got this student $5,000 a year in scholarships

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications

Helena Chima always knew she wanted to be a scientist. She also knew it would require a solid education – and a little help paying for school from Financial Aid.

After researching her options, she decided Douglas was the perfect place to begin her education. “There are multiple reasons I chose Douglas – small class sizes, more one-on-one time with professors and the fact that I received the President’s Entrance scholarship, which meant all my time at Douglas was paid for.” 

Registered students: Apply for Douglas College awards, scholarships and bursaries for the Winter Semester by Feb. 1.

Douglas offers 16 entrance scholarships valued at up to $5,000 a year. Recipients who keep their grades up can renew their scholarships every year to a maximum of four years. That means you could potentially receive $20,000.

Applications are open for entrance scholarships and awards for 2020/21. Apply by March 2.

Helena graduated with an Associate of Science and transferred her credits to SFU to finish a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Physiology. From there, she’ll go to medical school to complete her education.

Got questions about how you can get help paying for school? Our Financial Aid office has information about scholarships, bursaries and awards you may qualify for, as well as advice regarding student loans and grants.

Financial Aid Advisors are also available on a drop-in, first-come, first-served basis. Appointments are roughly 30 minutes in length and can be used to discuss your student loans – financial aid options, appeals, fee deferrals, budgeting and more!

English Instructor “brews dissent” in new book on craft beer and medievalism

What do craft beer and medieval life have in common? Quite a lot, according to English Instructor Noëlle Phillips. Her first book, Craft Beer Culture and Modern Medievalism: Brewing Dissent, to be published at the end of this month, explores the correlation between these two not-so-distant topics.

Original text from ARC Humanities Press blog

By Noëlle Phillips, Instructor, English Department

More than a reason to crack a cold one

Individuals volunteering to “help with research” was a common response during my two years of researching, writing and editing my book, Craft Beer Culture and Modern Medievalism: Brewing DissentI confess, the topic did make a good excuse for trying new beers and new breweries as I educated myself more comprehensively about the craft beer community, its values and its pleasures. I’m not one to decline a good brew, and I enjoy making my own (in tiny one-gallon batches) on my stove.

For some, the good-natured laughter at my book’s subject may indicate an understandable skepticism – unconscious or not – about the legitimacy of craft beer culture as an area of academic inquiry by an English professor. Because I’m not writing about beer from the position of a cicerone (like a sommelier, but for beer), a brewmaster or a business owner; instead, I’m writing as an academic – as a medievalist, more specifically. So what am I doing writing about modern beer? Short answer: the cultural sway of medievalism. Long answer: let me tell you.

From Chaucer to Czech lager

In my academic career thus far, I have published and presented on 14th- to 16th-century Middle English literature, book production and paleography. These 200 years of literary history were a time of rapid cultural change, at the end of which writers attempted to separate the “now” in which they lived from the “then” of the Middle Ages. It was common for early 16th-century editors and printers, for example, to describe the medieval texts they were publishing as “ancient,” even though they were written just a century or so before. “Ancient” precedence in these texts provided a rhetorical foundation that lent legitimacy to such movements as the Protestant Reformation.

This resistance to separating one’s own time from the medieval period, while still appropriating the Middle Ages to one’s own ideological ends, never stopped. The adaptation, recreation, re-imagining and appropriation of the concept of “the medieval” in post-medieval eras is called, in academic circles, medievalism. Medievalism surrounds us: we see it in films, architecture, comics, story tropes, clothing, clichés and – yes – food and drink.

You are what you drink

One’s choice of drink is a powerful marker of class and personal identity; consider the quick, unconscious (or not) judgments we might make of someone after hearing a drink order. Whiskey neat? A glass of milk? Coors Light? Decaf Earl Grey? Coffee with five tablespoons of sugar? An imperial stout produced by a local brewery? White wine with ice? Drinking, whether or not the beverage is alcoholic, is often a social activity and therefore entails a kind of social performance. It can be a defining feature of your public persona. Beer in particular embodies an unusually wide range of social and class identities. So when a significant subset of the beer industry uses medieval models to define or attribute value to its product, we can assume that the idea of the medieval carries cultural and economic power in this context.

The medieval marketing of craft beer

Medievalism is a compelling marketing strategy in the craft beer industry, particularly in North America, whose culture of patriotism balances a nostalgia for a European past with a pride in its “New World” independence. The colonial tone here is not accidental; indeed, the colonial underpinnings of medievalism in general are inescapable, as one of my book’s chapters explores in more detail.

A beer label featuring a beer-brewing monk.

Medievalism is multivalent in the craft beer industry, emerging in breweries and beers named after monks or other medieval figures, as well as in less obvious forms, such as the narratives spun about craft beer founders. The knight errant of medieval romance did not disappear with the last hand-copied parchment manuscript; he re-emerges in modern storytelling and in the valorization of entrepreneurship.

The neolocalism of many craft breweries – their focus on local origins and attachment to place – becomes in “medievalized” breweries a sort of neotemporalism, in which European becomes local and medieval becomes origin (although brewing actually originated in North Africa and the Middle East). Medievalism in craft breweries says less about historical fact, and more about what we, as modern North American drinkers, value.

Monks vs Vikings: Analysing beer brands

My book is therefore not a history of beer, nor is it an economic analysis of beer or a method for making it. It is, rather, an exploration of how beer is represented and talked about, both in the Middle Ages and in the post-1980 craft brewing “revolution” in North America.

A beer label featuring a stoic Viking.

In my profession, I analyze texts; in this case, beer culture is my text. Through evaluations of branding choices, comparisons with macro beer companies (such as Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, producer of Budweiser, Miller and hundreds of other brands), and interviews with craft brewers, I evaluate the cultural work that the craft beer industry does when it deploys medievalism. How is monkish branding different from Viking branding? How does the structure of tasting rooms reinforce historical re-imaginings? Why are there so few women in medievalized beer branding?

How white supremacy uses medievalism

These were all interesting inquiries, but that last question moved me into areas that were less comfortable and pleasant. The craft beer industry in North America, despite its welcoming nature, remains very white and very male. How does medievalism help to sustain this lack of diversity, and can we change this?

My penultimate chapter attempts to tackle this challenging question by examining the alarming appropriation of medievalism by various white supremacy movements, and the implications that this has for a very white, masculine industry that often identifies the Middle Ages as its origin point. Indeed, anyone who adapts, uses or teaches the Middle Ages must acknowledge how this field has been weaponized and de-historicized in order to exclude and harm marginalized people. We need to openly talk about this in order to resist it. This difficult chapter in my book is but one brief and inadequate intervention; I hope there will be many more.

Intoxication and why it matters

After its analyses of monks, Vikings, nuns, alewives and white supremacy, the book invites the reader to slow down in a final chapter about intoxication and why beer matters. I thought it worth considering why and how inebriating drinks have always, for millennia, been meaningful to us, both metaphorically and physiologically.

The power of craft beer is not just in its unique taste and local attachments; it can loosen the tongue, expand the mind, and lower inhibitions. It can be revelatory. It can also, however, lead to wildness, stupidity and violence. Medieval writers grappled with the contradictory effects of alcohol just as we do. But beer in its manifold forms can be a magical drink, one that electrifies the senses and solidifies bonds of friendship. In some ways, medievalism in the craft industry acknowledges beer’s longevity.

Beer has more depth, taste, and spirit (pun intended) than we give it credit for, and it deserves serious attention. Having said that – yes, I still enjoy doing the research.

Dora the self-care explorer

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communication

From a near-death experience at birth to a tumultuous time as a young adult, life hasn’t always been easy for Dora Kamau. But the Psychiatric Nursing student overcame her challenges and transformed the lessons she learned into the creation of a thriving self-care community called Bliss Your Heart, where she helps other women on their journey to self-discovery through workshops and events.

With graduation around the corner, we took a moment to talk to Dora about Bliss Your Heart and what she plans to do once she completes her Psychiatric Nursing degree.

Tell us about yourself

I’m a fourth-year Psychiatric Nursing student with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan. Outside of the academic realm, I am the founder of Bliss Your Heart – a flourishing women’s community here in Vancouver – a self-care and wellness artist, and a meditation and mindfulness facilitator.

What led you to Psychiatric Nursing?

As a child, I was very imaginative and I loved to role play. For whatever reason, I gravitated towards playing a nurse, particularly for all my toys or for my clumsy older brother who was always getting hurt. Although at a young age I was drawn to nursing, as I grew older, I realized guts and gore weren’t something I was passionate about. I was however, extremely interested in human nature and how we interact with ourselves and our environment. Both interests led me to complete a degree in Psychology, but I realized after graduation that I wanted to be in a more hands-on profession; psychiatric nursing was the best of both worlds!

What do you plan to do after graduation?

To be honest, I’m at a crossroads right now, where I have my entire nursing career ahead of me, but I’ve also created another path for myself in the community with the work I do.

In my ideal world, I’d love to connect mindfulness and psychiatric nursing, creating a platform for nurses that promotes mental well-being, mindfulness and self-care. But first, my plan after graduation is to travel and continue working in women’s wellness and addictions. One day I hope to attain my master’s and PhD, but for now, I really want to explore the world, see what it has to offer and use my travels as a way to inform my nursing practice.

Let’s talk a bit about Bliss Your Heart – what inspired you to start this project?

Bliss Your Heart was birthed from my yearning for more meaningful and intentional connections and conversations in my life. There was an eight-year period of my life that was filled with trauma, hurt and pain, and though I was able to remove myself from that life, I still carried this narrative of shame and guilt. I felt I couldn’t speak or share my story with others, out of the fear that nobody would be able to relate to or understand what I had experienced. So I decided to create a space for other women like me, to gather and hold space for one another, where we could silence shame by having powerful conversations about self-love, self-care and mental health.

Supporting others through psychiatric nursing and your work with Bliss Your Heart must be tiring – what motivates you to keep going?

The power of community and sisterhood that I’ve witnessed since I started Bliss Your Heart. To hear and listen to others who’ve been impacted by the work I’ve done reminds me that what I’m doing matters. I also recognize the power that my image, as a young black woman in wellness, has. I know how inspiring my position can be to other young black females, and this also motivates me to continue doing this work.

What also inspires me is how normalized stress and burnout is in nursing culture. Yes, we all experience stress, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be accepted as a societal norm. I’m inspired to make a change so that our nursing practice not only places a high emphasis on providing the best patient care, but ensures we as nurses are also being taken care of.

How do you practise self-care?

By meditating and resting, which requires discipline and consistency. I have a morning routine that starts at 4:30am and includes some type of movement, meditation and journaling. I also have a nighttime routine that includes turning off my electronics, changing the colour of lighting in my home and using a lot of aromatherapy before I sleep.

The way I practise self-care is informed by three values that I live by: acceptance, accountability and vulnerability. So the actions I take to maintain my well-being and care for myself are a result of self-acceptance, personal responsibility and my ability to do what’s right over what is comfortable.

What’s your advice for other Psychiatric Nursing students on how to succeed in the program?

Be clear on what you want out of the program, create a self-care system that works for you, sleep, stay organized and be prepared, find your niche in the program and research or get curious about specific topics in that field that spark your interest.

It’s also important to keep yourself surrounded by peers, family and friends who can support you on this four-year journey!

Want a career that matters? Become a psychiatric nurse. Attend an upcoming info session to learn more about the program.

Three-day training program will help you find work after graduation

Tired of being asked what you are going to do when you’re done school? Getting constantly interrogated at family gatherings by a relative asking for “a life update” can cause unnecessary anxiety. Avoid the stress, awkwardness and repetitive conversations by being prepared and attending the intensive Career Boot Camp on Dec. 17-19 in the Anvil Office Tower, rooms 910 & 911, from 9am–3pm. This workshop targets soon-to-be and recent grads, but it’s open to any student or grad who wants to start building their career path. Thus, the next time your aunt or uncle ask you, “what’s next?” you can give them a proper answer.

What’s in it for you?

You will:

  • Learn to identify and articulate your strengths
  • Learn how to write effective resumes and cover letters
  • Strategize your job search
  • Build your personal brand with LinkedIn
  • Practice your networking skills
  • Develop your emotional intelligence and leadership skills
  • Gain exclusive admittance to our employer panel on trends in job recruitment

Still not convinced? Read what Career Coach Katelin Wood has to say about the Career Boot Camp:

“Career Boot Camp will give you the strategies to job-search better, faster, and stronger. We’ll play games, there’ll be food and prizes, and you’ll get tips on how to tap into the hidden job market,” says Wood. “80 percent of jobs are never posted!”

Also on hand will be Career Coach Shannan Laing, who will conduct an advanced approach to job seeking. She adds that participants will get to learn how to work smarter and faster so that they can land interviews. “The workshop is based on the book ‘The 2-Hour Job Search’, by Steve Dalton. It’s an opportunity to think outside the box when it comes to applying for jobs strategically and efficiently by using tools such as Excel, Google and LinkedIn to target potential employers,” she says. “Over the three days, we will discuss ways that you can prioritize ‘target’ employers, how to contact employers and recruit advocates to provide support and internal referrals. This process will help you develop an organized and focused job search plan, resulting in more interviews.”

Don’t miss out! Register for Career Boot Camp at CareerHUB. There’s limited space.

Questions surrounding a predatory ground beetle moves Biology instructor to conduct further research

By Marie Del Cid-Luque, Marketing and Communications

Studying insects is a unique interest that perhaps most of us don’t share. But for Douglas College Biology instructor Robert McGregor, a passion for insects has led him to dig up more information on an invasive ground beetle. Unusual to the West Coast, this predatory beetle has sparked questions as to how it got it here, why it’s here and the impact it could have on local ecosystems.

Bug-in’ around

During the 2018 Fall Semester, McGregor and his students came upon Nebria brevicollis at the Coquitlam Campus. This beetle is a newer species in Western Canada with no prior history on this coast, except for one recent recording of this specimen found at the University of British Columbia in 2015.

“This species is a very recent introduction to Western Canada” said McGregor. “I had trap catches from Coquitlam and now have confirmed three sites where the beetle occurs. We found about 40 of the new species, many from a site just south of the Coquitlam Campus.”

Nebria brevicollis.
Photo credit: Jim LaBonte, Oregon Department of Agriculture

A bug’s life

The beetle’s origins are European and until recently, it’s been found outside of Canada near Salem, Ore. and in Seattle, Wash. McGregor thinks the beetle may have moved north on its own, as it can fly. He said the beetle is invasive, as it can live in different habitats, but that it’s also beneficial.

“This is an insect that fulfills an important ecosystem function, in that it eats various small invertebrate organisms. It’s not a potential pest, but a predator.”

But from an ecological standpoint, Nebria brevicollis could interfere with native species. Potentially threatening their existence which is concerning, noted McGregor.

“My suspicion is if we sample in more disturbed places, we will find more of them. My interest right now is to find out how extensive this thing is.”

Taking over the west

McGregor explains that a group of beetles found at UBC were collected in 2015 and sent to Ottawa to the Canadian National Collection of Insects, for identification. The IDs were not done until now (four years later) and only one Nebria brevicollis beetle was found.

Biology instructor Robert McGregor onsite at the Coquitlam Campus checking for beetles

“What we have done here at Douglas is a more extensive sampling program showing that populations are in Coquitlam at several locations. Our work is proceeding to determine where the beetle is established in B.C.”

However, the UBC beetle is significant because it predates the first collection from Douglas College by three years. This means that the Nebria beetle has been here in B.C. longer than suspected.

Don’t belittle the beetle!

Studying ground beetle communities has been an ongoing project for McGregor and the Douglas College Institute of Urban Ecology because of their relation to human disturbance and climate change.

“Our research can be used by city staff to see long-term trends and changes resulting from introduced species, human disturbance and climate change,” said McGregor. “They are really interesting organisms because they are biological indicators. You can use them to look at environmental disturbance of various kinds, for example, in agriculture or in urbanization.”

The discovery of this beetle shows how important research is in order to better understand unusual animal behaviour.

“To most people, a beetle is just a beetle, but finding a specimen like this Nebria can have significant implications for insect biologists. This find highlights not only the importance of Rob’s research, but also the involvement of our students in research projects,” says Brian Chapell, Dean of Science and Technology at Douglas. “The discovery of this beetle in southwestern B.C. is an interesting and important find.”

Fall 2019: A semester in photos

From hosting events like Global Engagement Days and Tech Week, to getting out the vote for the 2019 federal election and our men’s soccer team winning the PACWEST Conference Championship, Fall was a busy time. As we head into the holiday season, we reflect on this semester – in photos.