The definition of “decolonization” is contextual and relational, and it holds multiple meanings (de Oliveira Andreotti et al., 2015; Battiste, 2013; Smith, 2012), but it is seldom associated with the term “love.” This article explores how creating “ethical spaces” (Ermine, 2007) for engagement with Indigenous partners and community organizations has helped Bachelor of Child Studies (BCST) students at Mount Royal University (MRU) to understand the deeper meaning of decolonization and its connection to love in the context of academic and professional practices. During the 2021/22 academic year, four students collaborated with their professor and a community partner, Wee Wild Ones (WWO), a nature-inspired school, on decolonizing the organization’s early childhood education curriculum. The teachings of Elders and knowledge holders at MRU and within the wider community challenged the students’ understanding of decolonization and shifted their focus from an efficiency driven, goal-directed project approach towards building authentic relationships rooted in love, respect, and inclusivity. This article explores the meaning and role of love in the context of student-community partnerships, decolonization work, and scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) practice.
Student success, particularly for students from marginalized populations, depends on a number of co-existing factors, not the least of which are a sense of belonging and the institution’s focus on inclusion. This article showcases the lessons learned from a professional learning community (PLC) for faculty, staff, and students, which was intentionally designed to create awareness of these issues and the need for courageous conversations to support change. The article discusses one particular PLC, a form of virtual “book club,” which occurred during the Fall 2021 semester (September–December). This PLC was focused on Anthony Jack’s text The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, published in 2019, and encouraged a unique dialogue on student experience, co-facilitated by a team who critiqued aspects such as race, class, and first-generation status from different vantage points in higher education.
This article is an exploration of our efforts to develop an Indigenous Science Course at Mount Royal University (MRU) located in Mohkinstsis within the Ancestral Lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy the Territory of the Treaty 7 signatories Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, Tsuut’ina, Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Wesley Nations and the Metis Nation Region III. The authors are an Indigenous environmental scientist and recent MRU graduate (Nikita), a settler assistant professor (Collette), and an Indigenous assistant professor (Joshua). We engage here as an enactment of research as ceremony (Wilson, 2008). We draw on Metissage storywork to spark meaning making of our experiences in seeking to contribute to the Indigenization of our University (Archibald, 2008). We believe that the stories we share have the potential to open up interpretive possibilities for those interested in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as Reconciliation (Hill, 2022) and decolonization and Indigenization of post secondary education more broadly (Battiste, 2013). Through storytelling we endeavor to push for change in sharing the hopes, complexities, tensions, and frustrations we encountered.
Designing experiential student exercises or course modules can be a daunting task for faculty members. Often, not knowing where to begin is a barrier that causes instructors to avoid developing meaningful, high-impact student exercises grounded in experience. Yet, we know that these can be incredibly powerful and transformative pedagogies. The Experiential Learning Map (ELM) is a curricular planning tool that instructors, learning consultants, or students can use to storyboard and develop an experiential lesson. Modelled after best practices in business model ideation, and informed by research about experiential learning, the ELM provides instructors with an easy-to-use curriculum planning tool. The ELM is designed to be flexible. Instructors can scale the pedagogy from a single-class interaction to a multi-session pedagogical arc. The ELM's value is that it provides instructors with a simple, iterative planning tool that can be used to scope and scale a learning experience.
Many post-secondary institutions have implemented students-as-partners frameworks to redefine traditional educational practices and value students as co-creators of knowledge. The aim of this study was to investigate the degree to which students are working as partners and co-creators of knowledge with faculty and staff, versus replicating traditional hierarches. Herein, we undertook a multi-methods study consisting of a secondary analysis and a survey of one cohort of the student-as-partners program at McMaster University, as well as qualitative interviews. We found that some languages practices replicated traditional hierarchies, which was reflected in the degree to which partners contributed intellectually to the work undertaken. However, we also found meaningful shifts in practices occurred over the course of working collaboratively to foster more equitable partnerships. Herein, faculty and staff bore the responsibility of sharing power with student partners, but the blurring of professional and personal boundaries complicated the ethics of partnership.
The enhancement of science literacy is a long-standing educational goal of liberal education programs. We conducted a mixed methods study to investigate undergraduate students’ attitudes towards science and engagement with science, with specific interests in students’ program (science vs. nonscience), level of study (junior: first and second year vs. senior: fourth year and higher), and changes over the duration of a single general education science literacy course (pre vs. post). Data were collected through an online questionnaire (n=272) and semi-structured interviews (n=8). We found that self-assessed science literacy was higher in students at the end of the course compared to at the beginning, in senior students compared to junior students, and for science students compared to nonscience students. Interest in learning about science topics was high overall, but did not increase over a single general education science literacy course or in senior compared to junior students. Belief in pseudoscience was also high overall, including in senior and science students, groups in which we expected pseudoscience belief to be lower. Views about science were generally favourable but were not improved by the science literacy course. This work highlights the need to align science curriculum with students’ interests while differentiating science from pseudoscience topics. Findings demonstrate the importance of engaging nonscience majors, who may have less intrinsic interest in science topics and can hold less favourable views about the value of science in their lives. As the last time when most students are formally exposed to science concepts and methods, undergraduate education is critical to promoting individual and societal science literacy.