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Home » EUC Teaching & Learning Update - Winter 2023

EUC Teaching & Learning Update - Winter 2023

Welcome to the Winter 2023 edition of the EUC Teaching & Learning Update, with highlights of what is going on in the classroom and beyond at York’s Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change.

Experiential Education

Experiential Education, broadly defined as any type of hands-on learning, can be subdivided into several areas.

Classroom Focused EE

Classroom Focused EE includes guest lectures, field trips, role plays, labs, simulations, and other hands-on activities combined with structured reflection to provide student with purposeful reflective exercises that encourage them to refer on their experience in relation to content and theories learned in their course.

Community Focused EE

Community Focused EE involves EE activities in partnership with community partners. There are 3 sub-groups:

Happens within the classroom, community partners are invited in the classroom to present pre-defined challenges to be explored and analyzed. This includes providing students with scenarios, situations or challenges describe by the community partner in which students apply their developing knowledge and reflect on how the actual experiences informs their learning.

Takes form as an applied independent research study or thesis. The project is co-created between the course director and community partner. The project should involve and be relevant to the community partner where it is collaborative and action oriented.

Students engages in activities within the community (outside the classroom), providing real-life situations for students to apply their developing knowledge and skills. This provides students with awareness of the value of civic engagement.

Work Focused EE

Work Focused EE involves students applying knowledge gained from their program and courses into the workplace through course base placements, program based placements, internships or co-op programs.

Cross Campus Capstone Classroom (C4) Experience, students from EUC join interdisciplinary teams of students from other Faculties to work with community partners on

The Project Commons is a library of projects that are available for instructors to bring hands-on projects into their classrooms. There is funding available to students to execute their projects.

Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada) has grants to support curriculum-focused Work-Integrated Learning, and EUC faculty members have won several of these awards.

worker installing a solar panel

The ENVS/GEOG 4001 Internship course gives academic credit for a work placement to students typically in their final year of study.

In the Honors Thesis program, senior undergraduates work on a thesis with a faculty supervisor, providing an experience with research to undergraduate students.

The Las Nubes Field Courses take students to Costa Rica to learn about a wide range of topics including tropical ecology and sustainable agriculture at York University’s Las Nubes Eco-Campus and in local communities.

The Dean’s Changemaker (DCM) positions offer students paid employment through our faculty’s experiential education spaces. In these positions, students have an opportunity to be involved in teaching and research activities to lead the creation of their Change Projects. This is an initiative students take on to improve work efficiency, solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity at their site. All projects are presented at the semester Dean’s Changemaker Exhibit.

The upcoming CUSMA Field Course will include students from York, as well as from Mexico, traveling to both sites to look at social and environmental impacts of the free trade agreement governing North America. 


Academic Innovation Fund (AIF)

Awarded to Steve Tufts & Rick Bello for the development of the Bruce Peninsula Field Course.

2022 NSERC Undergraduate Research Awards
Trevor Doe: on understanding the historical, cultural, and political relevance of Indigenous Treaty Rights.
Madison Downer-Bartholomew on quantifying boreal forest fire boundary gradients.
Randelle Adano on assessing the Holocene paleoenvironmental history of Lake Scugog.
Ashraf Hutchcraft on cormorant sourcing of anthropogenic nest material in Tommy Thompson Park.
Claire O'Hagan on testing a rapid laboratory method for tracking permafrost thaw slump activity.

Calvin Lakhan

The 2022 Dean’s Changemaker Awards

Julia Urban - ZigZag Gallery, presented by Andil Gosine
Baillie Weiderick - Waste Wiki, presented by Calvin Lakhan

Teaching & Learning at EUC

Like other institutions York is developing learnings from the period of emergency remote delivery. How do we decide which courses should be online – synchronous, online – asynchronous, and in-person?

Last year, EUC participated in the HYFLX pilot program with ENVS 1400W offered as a HYFLX course. In a HYFLX course, lectures are simultaneously offered in person and online and students have the choice each day about which mode they wish to participate in.

UN Hack: “is a community event for all undergrad post-secondary and grade 11 & 12 high school students to come together for an unforgettable weekend to try and solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.” This experience provides students with an opportunity to explore how they can address important global issues and develop a solution to help build an implementation plan.

YU Prep is a series of pan-university offerings for incoming students who want to better prepare for their university programs by taking a series of asynchronous online modules in the summer. EUC created a series called “How to Win at University” with participation from EUC’s subject librarian, several instructors, and current students.

Reminder & Deadlines

We are beginning to look at EUC’s joining the York-wide co-op degree. Lassonde has it, LAPS is moving towards getting it, and I have been in meetings with Career Development about EUC participating in it. At a future meeting I will present what that model is in detail and present some of what is happening at other faculties. 

If you have T.A.s this term please make sure you fill out and send in your signed workload agreements.

Please send us your syllabi!
 We are working on a system (from the retreat) where we can search them and look at individual parts (like learning objectives, reading lists) to aid in curriculum planning.

We are looking to revive the Undergraduate Thesis Prize