The landscape of higher education is changing. Students no longer need to be constrained by the four walls of a classroom in order to have a meaningful learning experience. Whether it’s through online classes or taking part in community-based learning projects, students are gaining the flexibility and the freedom to create the educational experience that’s right for them.
This style of learning is not new for our Faculty. In fact, we have been a campus leader in experiential learning for more than ten years. Our students are actively engaged in projects that take them out of the classroom and root them in the community. By immersing them in real-world situations, we give them the opportunity to apply their knowledge. As a result, they graduate with the skills required to make a positive difference, as well as a strong understanding of some of the most critical environmental and health issues we’re all facing, including food security, obesity and climate change.
Take the students in our LFS 450 class, for example. As part of a group project, these enterprising students helped to vastly reduce waste at an on-campus restaurant by introducing a recycling and composting system (see page 4). A simple change, but one that will have a positive effect on the environment. Not to mention on the students themselves. That sense of accomplishment – the feeling of having made a difference – is something I hope all of our students experience.
As a Faculty, we are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to support student learning. To that end, we are planning to build a new Farm Centre at the UBC Farm. This unprecedented learning and research facility will allow us to study and learn about developing safe and economically viable food systems. It’s an exciting project, one that will give our students another way to take their learning outside of the traditional classroom.
For more on the UBC Farm Centre – including how you can be a part of it – please visit: http://startanevolution.ubc.ca/projects/ubc-farm-centre/
Murray B. Isman, Dean
Faculty of Land and Food Systems