Profs-in-Spaces is a UBC wide project that seeks to increase meaningful engagement between students and professors outside of the classroom. Since fall 2016, the Chapman Learning Commons has been part of the Prof in Spaces community, embedding professors’ office hours on level 3 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

The office hours take place in a shared space alongside other academic support programs–Science Peer Academic Coaching and Kinesiology Peer Academic Coaching. The intention is that multiple academic supports delivered by a combination of professors, TAs, and student leaders, will lead to innovation in holistic approaches, learning support, and interdisciplinary dialogue.

You’re studying in Irving between classes anyways, so why not come by and speak to a prof? Regardless of the classes they are teaching, our Prof in Commons welcome students from any discipline to stop by.

Office Hours & Events

Profs in the Learning Lounge


Dr. Neil Armitage
Neil did all his studies in Europe, attaining a Bachelors and Masters degree from Uppsala University, and a PhD from Manchester University in the field of cultural cosmopolitanism. Neil is a Lecturer in Sociology at UBC, and this will be his third year as a Prof-in-Commons. In the space, along with TAs, he holds his office hours for SOCI 102 and SOCI 200. When the weather permits, Neil can be found wandering campus with students and fellow profs on a #profwalk, and when not, instructing students how to knit a waterproof toque during ‘Knit n Knatter’. He enjoys going for runs, swimming, and walking his puppy, Polly.


Photo of Simon Bates

Dr. Simon Bates
Simon Bates is new to the Learning Commons this year, and will be hosting not-in-an-office hours for his Physics 117 course here each week. His main role on campus is as Associate Provost, Teaching and Learning, with responsibilities that span teaching enhancement, new program development and working to implement teaching and learning priorities from the new UBC Strategic Plan. Outside this role, he is happiest on 2 wheels, or spending time with his horses (and is easily distracted into discussing these!)


Dr. Paul Carter
This is Paul’s first year as a Prof-in-Commons and he will be holding office hours for CPSC 103 and APSC 160. He is keenly interested in student learning, especially when it comes to Computer Science! He also enjoys photography and travel.



Dr. Pam Kalas
Pam is originally from the South of Switzerland and studied biology at the University of Geneva, about five hours West of her hometown. Although for her Master’s she would have really loved to do research on the genetics of dogs, she settled for fruit flies. In 2000, she moved to Vancouver to do her PhD (where she also used the fruit fly as a model organism), and after graduating just never left. Pam has taught a number of courses in the Biology and Science One Programs since 2009, including BIOL121, BIOL140, BIOL234 and 334, BIOL 335, BIOL 337, BIOL463, and the biology component of Science One. She is also an Integrated Sciences mentor and, since last summer, the director of the Combined Major in Science Program. What Pam likes the most about her job is the interaction with students. In Pam’s words “I find that I  learn from them as much as they may learn from me!”


Dr. Amy Scott Metcalfe
Amy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies in the Faculty of Education. Her research focuses on higher education in Canada and the North American region, including critical approaches to internationalization, academic labour and mobility, and critical policy studies in education. She is an active landscape photographer. See her photos on Instagram @100views and her full bio on her website.


Dr. Katja Thieme
Most of Katja’s day-to-day work with students is teaching them how to build a research project and how to write in research genres. As a genre theorist, she see genres everywhere. In her research she’s particularly interested in how written genres are mobilized in the service of political movements–from petitions, open letters, requests for meetings, to parodies, performances, and hunger strikes. She’s also very interested in how different academic disciplines use research writing (like grant proposals, journal articles, blog posts) differently depending on their different disciplinary or political motivations. Right now, she’s intensely studying how scholarship in the field of trans studies is asserting itself. Whatever it is you study, she always likes to hear about your experiences of how learning and teaching works in that discipline!


Dr. Steve Wolfman
Steve is new to the Prof-in-Commons team but excited to continue his recent trend toward larger and larger spaces to replace the ‘office’ in ‘office hours’. He’ll be teaching CPSC 103 and CPSC 311 this term. Along with having taught a dozen or so different computing courses, Steve also studies computing education, raises one pre-school and one pre-teen girl, plays board games, cooks, bikes, and wears many T-shirts with wolves on them.