Work Integrated Learning in the classroom: Q&A

Geography 331 students: Jessica Smith, Donovan Toews and Connor Fleming

On November 21, Jessica Smith, Donovan Toews and Connor Fleming took part in a student Question-and-Answer session about the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) component in Dr. Stefania Pizzirani’s Geography 331: Environmental Assessment and Management course.

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is a process that combines theory and practice to prep students in both the academic and work setting. Each university or college uses its own terms to explain this type of learning. For instance, the College of Arts uses both WIL and experiential learning interchangeably.

Essentially, WIL allows students to more easily transition from school to work. Approximately, 65% to 70% of post-secondary students take part in some form of Work Integrated Learning during their studies. To learn more about Work Integrated Learning in the College of Arts, visit the website and/or contact our Practicum and Internship Coordinator: Elise.Goertz@ufv.ca.

Here’s what three geography students had to say:

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Students win 3rd prize at Singing Contest

On November 16, Hanna Młotkowska and Constance de Bruin from the Modern Languages Institute represented UFV Arts and won third prize in the final round of Chinese Bridge BC – Mandarin Singing Contest held at the UBC School of Music.

Student contestants (individuals/groups) from 9 universities and colleges in BC performed 22 shows in total. Only one spot was assigned to the first, second, and third prizes respectively.

Read moreStudents win 3rd prize at Singing Contest

Working together to build peace

On October 29, students, staff, faculty and community members came together to discuss peacebuilding efforts locally and globally with area directors Cesar Flores and Lizzette Miranda from the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

“It’s very important to see faculty, students and people from the community interested in this big topic because there are realities that the world is facing,” said Flores.

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New School of Creative Arts has successfully launched

As of Friday, September 27, 2019, UFV College of Arts’ new School of Creative Arts (SoCA) has successfully launched.

The new cultural hub was featured in Academica Top Ten and The Abbotsford News. The school combines departments in theatre, visual arts, art history and media arts with the end goal of creating a centre for creative innovation in the Fraser Valley. Dr. Heather Davis-Fisch is the school’s new director. She was previously the department head for the theatre program from 2016-2019.

Read moreNew School of Creative Arts has successfully launched

Criminal Justice Students at the United Nations and Western Society of Criminology

Recently Amanda McCormick, UFV Criminology and Criminal Justice Director, travelled to New York with BA (Criminal Justice) student Lauren Kempers and Master of Arts (Criminal Justice) student Caleigh West to present at the United Nations 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Amanda and the students presented their research project on increasing women’s access to civil protective orders in domestic violence. They gained valuable feedback from the event organizers, the International Police Executive Symposium (IPES) and the Women’s United Nations Resource Network. Subsequently they were also invited to attend and present at the IPES session in Belgrade this summer 2019.

Read moreCriminal Justice Students at the United Nations and Western Society of Criminology

John Belec awarded the 2019 J. Alistair McVey Award for Teaching Excellence

Congratulations to John Belec, UFV Associate Professor in the Geography and Environment department. John was recently awarded the 2019 J. Alistair McVey Award for Teaching Excellence by the Canadian Association of Geographers.

“The purpose of the J. Alistair McVey Award for Teaching Excellence is to recognize a geography instructor known for the quality of their teaching. This is in recognition of the central importance of teaching excellence in geographic education. The recipient is intended to be a teacher in a university, college or secondary school in BC or Alberta. This award is named after Alistair McVey, a well-known and highly-respected geography instructor in the BC college system for more than 35 years” (CAG).

Read moreJohn Belec awarded the 2019 J. Alistair McVey Award for Teaching Excellence

North Korea’s Current Economic Situation and Global Peace Workshop

The UFV College of Arts and the Department of Economics recently held a workshop on “North Korea’s Current Economic Situation and Global Peace”, moderated and organized by Dr. Bosu Seo.

The workshop aimed to inform Canadian mainstream society about North Korea’s fluctuating economic situation and its impact on countries around the world, including
South Korea, USA, China, Japan, and Canada. The guest speakers included Dr. Yvon Dandurand (Professor Emeritus, UFV Criminology & Criminal Justice and Ex-United Nations Office Drug and Crime Lead consultant) and Mr. Shin, Tae-Young (Representative, The National Unification Advisory Council Vancouver Chapter).

Read moreNorth Korea’s Current Economic Situation and Global Peace Workshop

Mapping Ancient Flood Deposits in the Langley Bog: A Student Research Program

Jonathan Hughes

Dr. Jonathan Hughes, UFV Associate Professor, Geography and the Environment, 2018 

“When I first got to UFV in 2006, retiring professor, Don Tunstall, had left this box of Kodachromes on my desk,” says UFV associate professor Dr. Jonathan Hughes, a bio-geographer and paleoecologist in the department of Geography and the Environment.

First used in the 1930s, a Kodachrome is a 35 mm slide used for professional colour photography. “I started looking through them thinking these are kind of interesting” says Hughes. Hughes discovered that the Kodachrome slides had originally come from a local farmer during the 1948 flood, who had recorded images and field notes of damaged properties in the Matsqui and Hatzic areas.

Read moreMapping Ancient Flood Deposits in the Langley Bog: A Student Research Program

You May Be Wrong, But You May Be Right: Exploring Biases with Sven Van de Wetering

“People who think they’re always right are almost always wrong. People who are always willing to consider the possibility they’re wrong tend to be right much more often,” says associate psychology professor Sven Van de Wetering.

It is this basic conundrum that Van de Wetering wanted to explore in a course he’s designing — one that looks at ideological biases from a psychological perspective. Heuristics, Biases and Critical Thinking, will be available in Winter 2019 and Van de Wetering sat down with the College of Arts blog to talk about his inspiration for this new offering.

“We know a huge amount about how we, as human beings, fool ourselves,” says Van de Wetering. In fact, he says, there is no shortage of psychological literature on the topic and he recently found a book that listed 99 different biases, which he says isn’t even complete.

What isn’t discussed as much is how to recognize these biases in your own thinking and how to account for this not only in research, but in day-to-day discussions.

One of the things that led him to the topic is a recent crisis in his field of social psychology, where liberal thinkers have been accused of shutting out their more conservative-minded colleagues. Van de Wetering was at first determined to do some research into this question, but eventually he and his research assistant, Flora Oswald realized that what social psychologists really need is more help identifying their biases from the outset. He considered developing a workshop for his peers, but decided that those who chose to attend such a program were probably already aware of the need to take other perspectives into account.

“Maybe, what I need to do instead, is catch them young,” he told himself.

Fortunately, Van de Wetering, who has been teaching psychology at UFV for 20 years and has access to a new crop of students every semester, is in a good position to do this. Encouraged by Oswald, he came up with a 13-week course in about 20 minutes. Still he wasn’t sure how interested students would be in the idea of studying their own prejudices and biases, so he offered a prototype in winter 2018. The response, he said, was overwhelming.

Moving away from the typical lecture format, Van de Wetering asked students to do a great deal of reading ahead of time and then to spend class time discussing real-world issues through the lens of various biases. Issues like: should there be a ban on pit-bulls? (an interesting topic, but one Van de Wetering says he’ll probably never use again, as it was too inconclusive.)

Van de Wetering also made it clear from the outset that the students would have input into the way the class ran.

“Just about my first line . . . was ‘I am not the only smart person in the room. I’m counting on you guys to help me figure out what it is we’re actually doing to think critically in this course,’” he said.

Students, he says, loved being so involved. “I think I’ve touched a nerve – I think I’m offering something that they really, really want: relevance and an active role in the overall design of the course.”

With algorithms constantly directing content on our social media channels to things we’ve shown interest in before, Van de Wetering thinks a class about biases is particularly relevant today.

“If you are actually seeking the truth, having people echoing your prejudices back to you is not a good thing,” he says. “You want people to challenge you even if it turns out that they’re ultimately wrong.”

A Few Examples of Cognitive Biases

  • Confirmation Bias: Favoring information that conforms to your existing beliefs and discounting evidence that does not conform.
  • Halo Effect: Your overall impression of a person influences how you feel and think about his or her character. This especially applies to physical attractiveness influencing how you rate their other qualities.
  • Self-Serving Bias: The tendency to blame external forces when bad things happen and give yourself credit when good things happen. When you win a poker hand it is due to your skill at reading the other players and knowing the odds, while when you lose it is due to getting dealt a poor hand.
  • Narrative bias (from Van de Wetering): The tendency, when one has embraced a narrative that can be used to explain a certain group of facts, to ignore facts and possibilities that do not cohere with that narrative.

 

 

UFV History Instructor, Dr. Ian Rocksborough-Smith, featured at Illinois Press Book Exhibit

Dr. Rocksborough-Smith, a sessional faculty member in UFV’s History department, holds his newly published book Black Public History in Chicago at the University of Illinois Press book exhibit on April 12, 2018.

What did you do?

“This is my first book. It represents nearly ten years of archival and oral history research from my PhD studies through my early years as a history instructor at UFV (2013-present). It focuses on how black Americans, many of them school teachers in Chicago, used public history projects to engage with struggles for civil rights and citizenship over the middle decades of the 20th Century. These projects included things like curriculum reforms for public schools, local history organizations and societies, and efforts to build museums and institutions, like the DuSable Museum of African American History – which is alive and well today. For my research, I was very fortunate to interview the now deceased founder of the DuSable Museum, Dr. Margaret T.G. Burroughs, who is considered an artistic and cultural icon of 20th Century Chicago and especially its African American community. I am thankful for all the support I received from UFV History Department colleagues and associates over the years as well as colleagues at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, where I have also taught.”

What’s next?

“My primary research interests include the study of late 19th and 20th Century United States history, urban studies, and histories of race, religion, and empire in the Atlantic world. In particular, my future work will continue to look at how local and public history methods can help to uncover these aspects of the past, particularly in cities like Chicago which became almost “laboratories” for how the “modern” North American city evolved. Currently, I am working on a new project about how white Catholic liberals engaged in anti-racism in the 1950s in northern U.S. cities like Chicago. Indeed, many North American cities became the site of successive immigration of Catholic Europeans over the early decades of the 20th Century and I am fascinated with how these groups on the one hand experienced discrimination themselves but came to in turn discriminate against black Americans and other people of color who moved to the city.”

“I am excited to be returning to teach as a LTA history instructor with UFV. In the courses I have been privileged to teach here, I have learned a lot from my students who are deeply engaged in local issues in the Fraser Valley community as well as global issues of significance, such as the forces that have given rise historically to developments like Brexit or the current presidency of Donald Trump. I’m particularly excited to be teaching a new course on Populism in America (History 396Q), which looks at the ways populism has informed American political culture from the administration of Andrew Jackson through the present.”

Dr. Rocksborough-Smith sits on a panel at the Organization of American Historians in Sacramento.