Discussions on pedagogy often overlook a challenging reality that instructors face: a diversity of disciplines within their classrooms that complicates the process of teaching if the professor wishes to constructively and empathetically address the multiple diversities within a student body. Teaching at a small, largely undergraduate university in Canada, we teach in the fields of Environmental Sustainability and Environmental Planning for students interested in careers in these fields as our primary responsibility. However, we have been challenged to consider how to adapt our teaching philosophies/ methods to address the fact that we have students in our classes from a range of disciplines outside of our courses and from outside our own disciplines: foresters, nurses, social workers, planners and other professionals, in addition to the more strictly academic disciplines, who make up a rapidly increasing percentage of our class enrolment. Such diversity in the student body in our classrooms speaks to a growing interest among our students. While environmental planning and sustainability are not seen as a requirement in their degree programs, the students themselves are demonstrating a commitment to solutions in these challenging arenas. How we support this interest in, and the need for leadership in these fields, across diverse disciplines, while meeting the primary responsibility for content for students in our programs, has been an ongoing challenge. We have turned to developing a pedagogy of practice that enables a grounding in the tenets and precepts of our disciplines within a context that calls to students to understand how the critical questions under discussion can be addressed in their own professions and in collaboration with those in other. Our presentation/paper will focus on pedagogical perspectives and teaching practices that create innovative engagement and collaboration among students from across the university and across a range of disciplines and perspectives.
Theresa Healy has been a Lecturer in Environmental Planning & Gender Studies, UNBC since 1994. Her teaching focus is on community development with specialties in citizen engagement/public participation, qualitative research methods, and participatory / community based research. She uses experiential learning opportunities with community based partners in the courses she teaches, including classes in Public Participation, Mediation and Negotiation; Indigenous Planning. She is interested in innovated and collegial approaches to teaching. She is a member of the National Advisory Board Farm to School Canada, Evaluation Project; Everyone at the Table PG Collective; the Provincial Advisory to the PEACE Project; a Co-applicant on You talk, we listen: advancing health economics methods for rural and remote health research by gathering local communities’ knowledge and experiences in health care decision making.” (Michael Smith Research Foundation, 2020-2022) and a Co-applicant on Nature for all: A barrier free Canada through standards-based practice project (SHHRC Partnership grant 2021-2023).
Annie L. Booth is a Professor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia (Canada). Her research interests include Indigenous community resource management, environmental ethics, sustainability initiatives of all sorts and animal-human studies. Her teaching includes ethics, public engagement and environmental citizenship and the students she teaches range from doctoral students to first year and from sciences to professional degrees and to social sciences and arts. Her teaching interests are very much focussed on student engagement, building critical thinking and analytical skills and allowing students to learn about learning. She is a Registered Professional Planner in the province of British Columbia.