Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 80.17
Liaison Mike Wilson
Submission Date May 5, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Victoria
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer at least one immersive, sustainability-focused educational study program that is one week or more in length?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused immersive program(s) offered by the institution:
At UVic, learning doesn't just happen in the classroom. Field schools offer unique experiential learning that can take you out of the classroom in order to explore new heights. The field schools also include an essential community-engagement component that is often unavailable in a classroom setting. Many students produce tangible products and outcomes in the form of legacy projects, which they may go on to present at local and regional conferences, to local council members, and even have them published in journals. The following field schools are designed to enhance student understanding of sustainability in the social, economic and environmental realm.

Anthropology Field Schools

Historical Ecology and Coastal Archaeology Field School: Travelling to the west coast of Vancouver Island to do research at ancient First Nations settlements, students learn archaeological field techniques and environmental and cultural history from Tseshaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations, professional archaeologists, and marine ecologists at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. Students attend regular fieldtrips, labs, seminars, and lectures introducing them to Indigenous history and the analytical potential of ecological data obtained from archaeological sites. During the last week of the course, students will conduct independent student research project reports. These reports will be edited and presented to the Huu-ay-aht, Tseshaht First Nations, the Bamfield Marine Science Centre as well as (BC Archaeology Branch and Parks Canada) upon completion of the course.

Anth 395 Community Based Research in Anthropology: This course introduces students to the theory and methods of Community Based Research (CBR). The course begins by providing students with a history of CBR, defining its principles and the implications of CBR approaches for research ethics. The final weeks of the course will cover thematic areas relevant to the use of CBR as a methodology from an anthropological perspective (Community Health, research in First Nations communities, research with youth, environmental issues, and evaluation). Emphasis is placed on the practice of community-based research and facilitation skills to support community engagement, within the context of applied anthropology. Students are provided with the opportunity to apply what they have learned as they engage with community organizations.

Cuba Ethnographic Field School: This field school offers students a unique opportunity to explore research techniques such as data collection, observation, participant observation, interviewing and theoretical reflection while being immersed in a different linguistic and cultural context. Students spend 30 days in Cuba to learn about the culture through ethnographic anthropology, as they witness the shifting beliefs and cultural patterns of a country with a very rich history and social background. Students produce original media projects based on their experiences, from audio-visual films, to graphic novels.

Earth and Ocean Sciences Field Schools

Earth Science Field School: An up to two-week field course in and around southern Vancouver Island during which the students will be introduced to geological fieldwork (mapping, traversing, drawing sedimentary logs, sampling, recording field notes) and the regional geology and tectonics of Vancouver Island. It is also required to meet the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) academic qualifications for both their 'Geology' and 'Environmental Geoscience' designations.

Education Field Schools

UCC-UVic Summer Institute on Diversity, Indigeneity and Cultural Complexity: https://www.uvic.ca/international/assets/docs/Brochure2018%20UVic-UCC%20Summer%20Institute.pdf
Students will explore the roles, responsibilities, and impact they have as teachers in the transmission and transformation of culture in a diverse and culturally complex society. Topics of study will include different conceptions of justice as they relate to education and learning, relations of power and privilege in school and community settings, intersectionality, and the effects of global systems on local communities. Working in groups in community settings facilitated by faculty mentors, students will participate with community members in Indigenous and arts-based service learning projects that promote reciprocity and self-reflection.

Environmental Studies Field Schools

Biodiversity and Conservation: The course is designed to allow students to gain understanding of ecological methods, biodiversity science, and current conservation and restoration topics in coastal, marine, and terrestrial biodiversity. The majority of the course is taught outdoors around the Hakai Beach Institute through field trips, laboratory exercises like a shore crab capture-mark-recapture exercise, and student-led research projects.

Community and regional coastal-marine conservation: This 5-day intensive field course aboard the schooner, the Passing Cloud, will give students first-hand experience of the issues facing coastal and marine conservation at a community and regional scale.

Ethnoecology Field Methods: The class is offered at Tl’ches (Chatham Island) and is a compressed format field course designed to provide students with both fundamental and more advanced field skills necessary for a career working outside in the sciences. Skills include wilderness navigation and travel, surface survey, ethnobotany and plant identification, tree increment boring, field mapping, subsurface testing, soils and sediments analysis, note-taking, and photography. This class involves both Lekwungen Coast Salish elders and community members, and the students’ field work actively contributes to a collaborative research project with the Songhees Nation.

Galiano Island Field Study: The course is taught on the site of the Galiano Learning Centre, which has a focus in ecological restoration. The partnership with the Learning Centre also gives students an opportunity to learn about community-based restoration. The course is offered for senior undergrad and grad students and teaches students about regenerative and restorative designs for ecological and social resilience.

Permaculture Field School: The field school is hosted on a functioning permaculture homestead and educational facility on Cortes Island, BC. Students will learn skills and techniques related to the establishment and maintenance of agroecology, perennial polyculture, animal husbandry, plant propagation, natural building, and the implementation of small-scale water and energy systems. Cortes Island offers a rich variety of ecosystems that we will visit and learn from, including old growth and second growth temperate rainforests, clearcuts, and both marine and freshwater aquatic ecosystems.

Peru Field School on Economy and Ecology: During this two week field school, which takes place in Lamas, Peru’s Andean-Amazon region, students will learn first-hand from local communities living sustainably in their environment. Students will engage with and learn about indigenous Quechua principles, and will contribute to community regeneration through hands-on service-learning projects that promote agricultural biodiversity, sustainable action, and right livelihood.

Redfish School of Change: As a Redfish student, you work alongside local educators, serve community groups, and engage with experts in the fields of environment and social justice. It is designed for undergraduate students interested in being leaders in the fields of ecological sustainability and social equity. Over the course of six weeks, students in this interdisciplinary leadership program travel, live and learn on both sides of the border in the Salish Sea.

Geography Field Schools

GEOG 391: Food in the City: This course targets students concerned with social justice, ecological sustainability, and good food, who were also concerned with finding a livelihood that aligns with their values. In an intensive two-week period the students learn about problems with the current food system and have the opportunity to develop a business growing food sustainably in the city through engaging classroom discussions, local field excursions, and getting their hands dirty at a local urban farm.

Ahousaht Field School: This field school is based in Ahousaht, within the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This course explores the concept of organism-centric biogeography, using whales as a case study. In turn, concepts of marine ecology and niche space will also be explored. Drawing on long-term data sets and recent research, the application of acoustics to ecology will be explored. This builds on a more traditional approach to biogeographical study, adding layers of understanding of habitat use of marine mammals.

Clayoquot Sound Field Semester: The Clayoquot Sound Field School semester provides students the opportunity to learn in a living ecosystem and community ‘laboratory’ outside of a traditional classroom setting. Our vision is for an engaging, semester-long experiential learning opportunity, built around a sequence of interrelated courses that promote deeper understandings of cultural and environmental processes and the complex relationships between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and non-human communities in Clayoquot Sound. Through each course, and in particular the foundational community-based conservation course, students will connect with not-for-profit organizations, businesses, and governments (municipal, provincial, federal, and Indigenous), learning from these partners and, moreover, making meaningful contributions in return. Our vision is that we leave with rich memories, a transformative learning experience, and a positive local legacy.

Indigenous Knowledge, Science and Resource Management: This land-based educational experience weaves together Indigenous Knowledge and science in the context of natural resource use and management. Designed to be highly experiential, the course gives students time and opportunities in the Koeye watershed to interact with its natural features as well as with Knowledge Holders, scientists, and other community members.

Sustainability Field School- Urban Europe/ Cascadia: The travel-study program focuses on innovation in urban sustainability and, more generally, cultural geography following an exciting itinerary through Western Europe. En route, students meet with activists, urban planners, scholars, and other engaged individuals, learning about Europe’s cultural geography and particularly the challenges and opportunities for building economically, socially, and ecologically sustainable and resilient cities.

Tanzania Field School: Tanzania provides an internationally recognized array of natural resources, conservation areas and initiatives within a rapidly expanding population and challenging development context. The Tanzania Field School provides an exceptional experiential education opportunity for UVic students. The travel-study program focuses on conservation and development in predominantly rural environments and engaging with local people. The program is mean to challenge student perceptions and thinking about conservation, development and Africa.

German and Slavic Studies Field Schools

I-Witness Field School: https://onlineacademiccommunity.uvic.ca/iwitnessfieldschool/about/
The purpose of the Field School is to explore the ways in which the Holocaust is memorialized in Central Europe and to build an understanding of how the lessons of the Holocaust are relevant in today’s world. Students in this course have the opportunity to acquire a deeper understanding of antisemitism, racism, religious intolerance, homophobia and the stigmatization of the mentally and physically disabled communities. Upon return to Canada, participants share their experiences through formal presentations and discussions on campus, in high schools, and with the local community.

Law Field Schools

ĆELÁṈENEȽ: A Field Course in the Re-emergence of W̱SÁNEĆ Law: https://www.uvic.ca/law/assets/docs/pcisFall2018/201809%20343E%20WSANEC.pdf
This intensive place-based course will be taught in the W̱ SÁNEĆ community on the Saanich Peninsula and will include a number of trips to local mountains, rivers, and a 3- night camping trip on the Gulf Islands. This course is focused on W̱ SÁNEĆ People’s own laws, and the ways in which those laws are generated and carried forward. Consideration will also be given to the colonial relationship and power structures between the W̱ SÁNEĆ and Canadian legal traditions, as well as the opportunities and barriers this creates for the revitalization of W̱ SÁNEĆ law. A principal purpose of the course will be to develop a collaborative community based legal education model. During seven weeks of the course students will work under the supervision of W̱ SÁNEĆ community members in learning and applying W̱ SÁNEĆ law to community-based projects identified as important by the W̱ SÁNEĆ community.

Field Course in Environmental Law and Sustainability: http://www.bamfieldmsc.com/education/prospective-students/courses/detail/environmental-law-and-sustainability
This course explores the structures of policy and law that shape environmental governance on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and how the Indigenous communities and ecosystems of the west coast of Vancouver Island shape law and policy. The goal is to understand the complex socio-ecological and legal structures – both Nuu-chah-nulth and Canadian – that underpin the overlapping jurisdictional and governance systems in the region. The central themes that anchor this course are the geography of the west coast, ecosystem-based management, and aboriginal rights and title. Students will have the opportunity to develop collaboration and teamwork skills through a team project. Each student’s final project will be in support of research defined by staff of First Nations so that the primary output of the course will support Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nations with their environmental priorities.

Website URL where information about the institution’s immersive education programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
More Field Schools with an immersive experience that is sustainability focussed can also be found at: http://bcfieldschools.weebly.com/2017-courses.html (scroll down to University of Victoria section).

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.