A new addition to our Student Services office, Kyle Nelson joined our Faculty in October 2011 as Community Based Experiential Learning Officer. A “big believer in the University’s role in building community capacity,” he will be a key player in strengthening and sustaining community based experiential learning (CBEL) opportunities for our students.
Nelson jointly reports to UBC’s Community Learning Initiative (UBC-CLI) and our Faculty. The UBC-CLI helps to integrate CBEL into academic disciplines and to ensure that meaningful community engagement opportunities are available outside the context of coursework as well.
“Students and faculty explore the theory inside the classroom. The students then connect with community partners for the purpose of co-creating a project based on the needs and priorities of the community,” said Nelson. “The hope is that the when the learning that emerges from these experiences is taken back to the classroom, it enriches the theory and informs its context.”
Two recent examples of the Faculty’s engagement through undergraduate courses include:
- FNH 473 students and Coast Mental Health co-creating a project looking at the role of nutrition as it relates to recovery from addiction.
- LFS 350 students and the Richmond Food Security Society collaborating on developing resources for urban farmers.
Nelson is excited by the “synergistic possibilities” when faculty members, students and community partners co-create projects and he dreams about how the University will be “transformed” with continued meaningful engagement with its community partners.
A UBC alum (BA Geography ’05), Nelson started working for the University on a part-time basis in 2002. Most recently, he spent two years as the Event Manager at UBC Robson Square, where he was awarded the 2011 President’s Staff Award for Emerging Leadership.