Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.74
Liaison Mike Wilson
Submission Date Dec. 13, 2023

STARS v2.2

University of Victoria
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Camille Lauridsen-Hoegh
Sustainability Intern
Campus Planning and Sustainability
"---" 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:
UVic offers field schools that go beyond traditional classroom learning. These experiential programs combine community engagement with hands-on exploration, fostering a deeper understanding of sustainability in social, economic, and environmental contexts. Students undertake tangible projects and produce outcomes that are shared at conferences, with local council, and in academic publications. These field schools provide a valuable opportunity for practical learning and meaningful impact.

Anthropology Field Schools

Historical Ecology and Coastal Archeology Field School: Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, students learn archeological field techniques, environmental and cultural history, and ecological analysis from local First Nations, professional archeologists, and marine ecologists. They conduct independent research projects and present their findings to First Nations communities, the Bamfield Marine Science Centre, and relevant organizations.

Community Based Research in Anthropology (Anth 395): introduces students to Community Based Research (CBR) methodology, Students learn about the history and principles of CBR and explore its application in various thematic areas such as community health, First Nations research, youth engagement, and environmental issues. Emphasis is placed on practical research skills and community engagement, preparing students for applied anthropology work.

Cuba Ethnographic Field School: Students have the opportunity to spend 30 days in Cuba, immersing themselves in the culture and conducting ethnographic research. They learn research techniques, including data collecting, observations, and interviewing, while experiencing the rich history and social background of the country. Students create original media projects such as audio-visual films or graphic novels, based on their experiences.

Earth and Ocean Science Field Schools

Earth Science Field School: This field school offers a comprehensive introduction to geological fieldwork and the regional geology and tectonics of Vancouver Island. Students participate in up to a two-week course, during which they engage in various activities such as mapping, traversing, drawing sedimentary logs, and sampling. The field school not only provides practical training but also meets the academic qualifications required by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) for ‘Geology’ and ‘Environmental Geoscience’ designations. It is an opportunity for students to gain valuable field experiences and deepen their understanding of Earth sciences.

Environmental Studies Field Schools

Ethnoecology Field Methods: This compressed formatted field course takes place at TI’ches (Chatham Island) and focuses on developing fundamental and advanced field skills relevant to outdoor scientific work. Students learn wilderness navigation, surface surveying, ethnobotany, field mapping, and more. They collaborate with Lekwungen Coast Salish elders and community members, actively contributing to research projects with the Songhees Nation.

Galiano Island Field Study: This course is taught on the site of the Galiano Learning center, 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 undergraduate and grade students, and teaches students about regenerative and restorative designs for ecological and social resilience.

Permaculture Field School: This field school is hosted on a functioning permaculture homestead and educational facility on Cortes Island. 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 are visited and learned from, including old growth and second growth temperate rainforest, clearcuts, and both marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Value of Chains of Terroir–Driven Food Systems: Students embark on a transformative journey to Angers, France, where they delve into the world of terrier-driven food systems. This immersive field school lets students explore farms, businesses, and interact with renowned experts in regional and sustainable food production. Developed in collaboration with Ecole Superieure d'Agriculture, this comprehensive program delves deep into the concept of terrier and its profound impact on the culinary landscape.

Cultivating Alternatives to the Dominant Order: Students explore the theory and practice of autonomous and collective ways of living, learning, buildinding, and making decisions. Based on Denman Island, this unique field school offers workshops, engaging discussions, and hands-on activities. Students learn and practice consensus-based decision-making to self-organize collective activities.

Salmon Ecology and Environmental Policy on Vancouver Island: This course travels up Vancouver Island to explore the conservation situation of salmon and the ways to address their declining population. We will meet with local practitioners to understand the changing environmental, ecological, political, and historical aspects of salmon and how various interests in this space interact and conflict. Students visit wild salmon rivers, interact with harvesters and First Nations groups, see hatchery and farm operations and speak with government officials and scientists.

Urban Ethnoecology: Students use an ethnoecology lens to explore intersections between people and places in urban environments. The class visits and works with urban agriculture, urban forests and green spaces all across victoria.

Reconciliations, Ecology, and Place-based Law: Students explore the structure 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 the law and policy. The class works in collaboration with Nuu-chah-Nulth Nations to support their environmental priorities.

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 designated for undergraduate students who are interested in being leaders in the fields of ecological sustainability and social equity. Over the course of sixe weeks, students in this interdisciplinary leadership program travel, live, and learn on both sides of the border on the Salish Sea.

Geography Field Schools

Clayoquot Sound Field Semester: This semester-long experiential learning opportunity takes place in the living ecosystem of Clayoquot Sound. Through interrelated courses, students deepen their understanding of cultural and environmental processes, exploring relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Engaging with not-for-profit organizations, businesses, and governments, students make meaningful contributions and build connections with the local community.

Field Studies in Ecological Design: In this field course, students will learn and apply a breadth of skills and knowledge drawing from climate impacts, resilience theory, community mapping, terrestrial, aquatic, landscape ecology, hydrology, design thinking, and sustainability science. The class learns from community partners and indigenous elders in respectfully and contextually designing in “right relationship” with the Earth. Activities include: land-based learning of designing with ecologies, learning from micro- and mesocosms, understanding ways of knowing/experiencing/relating with natural, social, cultural, and spiritual capital, multi-scale local and externalized impacts from the backyard to the landscape.

Karst Geomorphology Field School: Karst refers to the landscapes and underground systems that form due to dissolution of soluble rocks via chemical weathering. This course has been designed to introduce students to the abundant karst landscapes on Vancouver Island. Students will examine how karst forms, and the geomorphology, hydrology, geology, and biogeography of two specific karst landscapes in differing geologic units to compare formation processes. Students will also examine karst conservation topics.

Koeye Field School: Indigenous Knowledge, Science and Resource Management: The indigenous Knowledge, Science and Resource Management Field School is based at the remote Koeye River Lodge in Heiltsuk Territory. 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 natural resource managers.

Mapping With Drones Field School: Students will take part in field and lab exercises exposing them to various sensors, platforms, and field equipment necessary for a photogrammetric SfM survey. During the field camp portion of the course taking part at Cowichan Lake, a final group project will provide students an opportunity to take part in planning, acquiring, and analyzing drone imagery for their selected field site.

Mountain Meteorology: This field school has been designed to provide students with an immersive opportunity to understand the physical processes of meteorological phenomena in mountain environments. Measuring and monitoring of snowpack, extreme weather, and climate in coastal mountain ranges will be prominent course themes, along with challenges associated with alpine tourism operations due to weather and climate extremes and hazards.

Indigenous Conservation and Sustainability, Oneida Feild School: The Oneida Field School (Indigenous Knowledge, Mapping, and Resource Management) is based on the Oneida Territory, where students will camp around the nation’s Longhouse. The class is offered in partnership with the Oneida Nation in order to both map and outline strategies for conservation and management of an environmentally sensitive area for the nation. 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 Oneida watershed to interact with its natural features as well as with Knowledge Holders, scientists, and other community members.

Field Studies in Physical Geography: The nature of scientific research in physical geography is examined through field and laboratory techniques. Includes a week-long field camp where basic approaches, methodologies and techniques are used to prepare a series of reports based on field data and collected samples.

Sustainable Cities Field School: Students will connect with activists, urban planners, scholars, and other engaged individuals, learning about Europe’s cultural geography and particularly the challenges and opportunities for building socially, and ecologically sustainable and resilient cities. Travel takes place by train, bus, ferry, bike, and local transit to various sites of interest. Most days involved structured activities (e.g. guided field trips, hands-on workshops, discussions) with time available for individual exploration and group reflection.

German and Slavic Studies Field School

I-Witness Field School: This field school focuses on the memorialization of the Holocaust in Central Europe and its relevance in contemporary society. Students delve into the study of antisemitism, racism, religious intolerance, homophobia and the stigmatization of marginalized communities. Through immersive experiences, participants develop a deeper understanding of these issues. Upon their return to Canada, students actively share their experiences through formal presentations and discussions, engaging with campus, high schools, and the local community.

Law Field Schools

ĆELÁṈENEȽ: A Field Course in the Re-emergence of W̱SÁNEĆ Law: This immersive course takes place in the W̱SÁNEĆ community on the Saanich Peninsula, incorporating local field trips to mountains, rivers, and a 3-night camping excursion on the Gulf Islands. The focus is on understanding W̱SÁNEĆ People’s own laws, their generation, and continuity. The course explores the colonial relationship and power dynamics between W̱SÁNEĆ and Canadian legal traditions, examining the key opportunities and challenges for revitalizing W̱SÁNEĆ law. A key objective is to develop a collaborative community-based legal education model. Throughout the seven-week duration, students engage with W̱SÁNEĆ community members, learning and applying W̱SÁNEĆ ;aw to community-driven projects of importance.

Website URL where information about the institution’s immersive education programs is available:
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