Celebrate Learning Week 2023

In the May edition of Edubytes, our guest editors are the members of the Celebrate Learning Week team. They share highlights, updates and resources from one week of events celebrating UBC’s teaching and learning community.

Between May 2-9, 2023, the Provost and Vice-President Academic at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan collaboratively presented the 14th annual Celebrate Learning Week (CLW). Celebrate Learning Week was hosted on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Syilx Okanagan Nation and the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) People. The focus of this year’s CLW was on the “Power of Place in Teaching and Learning,” and the planning committee invited UBC faculty, staff, and students as well as community partners to share connections between place, teaching and learning in relation to UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan.

During this week-long event, 990 attendees took part in 28 events, with contributions from faculty, staff, students, and community partners from both campuses.

In this Edubytes edition, we have highlighted a few of the sessions that took place during the week of workshops, information sessions, open-houses, and tours on both UBC campuses through in-person and online events. We encourage Edubytes readers to engage with the numerous session recordings, presentations, and other resources available on the Celebrate Learning Week 2023 Wiki page. You can also view more information about all the events on the Celebrate Learning Week website.


Bill Cohen – snk̓l̕ip’s power to make the world safe for the peoples to be: Coyote Stories so we can all have a future (UBC Okanagan Keynote)

Dr. Cohen was exceptional for the fourteenth annual Celebrate Learning Week keynote. He has strong community connections to the Okanagan Nation, making his session intimate and personal. Dr. Cohen is well respected among UBC Okanagan campus supporting higher in-person attendance. He highlighted that, while Indigenous people may not have an abundance of things to celebrate in relation to Western education, many beautiful projects are happening at UBC supporting Indigenous communities and epistemologies. Dr. Cohen used a method of storytelling to guide his keynote session; with his expertise on the topic, he kept the session engaging yet humorous. The Q&A session had informative and personal questions from different faculties and students.

Watch the keynote


UBC’s Respect Magazine: Power of Place

This student presentation (PDF) featured student editors and contributors to UBC’s RESPECT Magazine. The Magazine captures UBC students’ perceptions of equity, diversity, and inclusion through essays, interviews, multimodal, and interactive presentations. The Magazine’s third issue focuses on “The Power of Place” to align with the 2023 theme for Celebrate Learning Week.

Members of the student editorial team, that include Ximena Cayo Barrantes, Jiayi (Nancy) Lu, and Élise Machado, were joined by their faculty advisors, Anita Chaudhuri, and Rishma Chooniedas, to provide an overview of the Magazine’s history, goals, aspirations, and editorial process. Then, five invited panelists– Martin Dammert (Vancouver), Adishi Gupta (Vancouver), Harnaaz Grewal (Okanagan), Jeremy Mandy (Okanagan), and Ryan Smith (Okanagan) – shared their inspirations and insights related to their contribution to the “Power of Place” issue. They interrogated perceived notions of place through multimodal and diverse genres that reflect their interpretations of inclusive and equitable communities.

Watch the keynote


2023 TLEF + ALT 2040 Virtual Showcase

The Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF, established at UBC Vancouver in 1991) and Aspire-2040 Learning Transformations Fund (ALT-2040, established as the ALT Fund in 2015 at UBC Okanagan) serve as innovation engines for transforming UBC students’ learning experiences, improving curriculum, and advancing research-informed teaching practices at UBC and beyond.

The 2023 TLEF and ALT-2040 Showcase brought teams of faculty, students, and staff from UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan together to learn from one another and share outcomes and lessons learned on their innovative teaching and learning and curricular projects with the UBC community. 60 project teams took part in the event, presenting during the two-hour session and through posters that have been archived on the Celebrate Learning website. We invite everyone to visit the site and, we hope, make new connections with your colleagues!


CTLT Indigenous Initiatives Open House: What I Learned in Class Today

What I Learned in Class Today is an educational resource that documents both UBC student and faculty experiences, perspectives, and tools on navigating Indigenous topics in the classroom. The resource originated as an Indigenous student project in 2007 and was renewed in 2018 by the Indigenous Initiatives Team within the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. The project team shared project updates with the teaching and learning community on the recently developed resources, such as the Faculty and Student perspectives videos, articles, and other pedagogical tools. Later in summer 2023 the team will be launching the “What I Learned in Class Today Facilitator Toolkit and Guide.” To keep up to date with what is happening with What I Learned in Class Today, join the CTLT Indigenous Initiatives newsletter.


The Land Teaches Me

Krystal Withakay is a knowledge keeper and a WestBank First Nation community member, part of the Okanagan Nation. Krystal has strong connections to the land and community and facilitates events around the Nation. She did a phenomenal job explaining what being an ally for Okanagan people means. Krystal provided insight into contemporary Indigenous complexities, identities, and realities through sharing stories about her family, and her session was grounding, humbling, and informative.


UBC Okanagan’s Relationship with the Host Nation

Naim Cardinal, an Education Facilitator at the Indigenous Centre at UBC Okanagan, explained the history of UBCO regarding the relationship between the Okanagan Nation. This seminar informed our understanding of the role academic institutions played in colonialism. During the session, Naim highlighted how UBC and specifically the Okanagan campus, are working on fostering meaningful relations with the communities. This session should be strongly recommended for all new faculty and staff at UBCO. UBC’s historical and contemporary perspectives could help inform the practice of many instructors and staff members.


Closing Plenary Session: Working Alongside: Collaborative Pathways to Decolonize/Indigenize Teaching and Learning

Decolonization and Indigenization of teaching and learning is the responsibility of all members of the UBC community. The five panelists –Christian Isbister, Renisa Mawani, Laura Lukes, Muriel Kranabetter, and Alon Eisenstein –who were led in conversation by Christina Hendricks, highlighted activities, strategies, and approaches from across both campuses for beginning the work of decolonization and Indigenization. The discussion delved into questions such as: What are educators at UBC doing to decolonize and Indigenize curriculum and teaching practice, and what can be learned from their experiences? How do we work alongside one another, and share the load amongst Indigenous people and allies? How do we balance action with careful listening and reflection? Particular attention was given to how to approach decolonization and Indigenization with humility and a willingness to learn from mistakes, and how to take on those learnings as a basis for future work. It was a deeply moving and contemplative discussion, with thoughtful engagement and questions from participants.

See resources (PDF)

Enjoyed reading about Celebrate Learning Week 2023? Learn about other topics we covered in the May 2023 edition by reading the complete Edubytes newsletter. To view past issues, visit the Edubytes archive.

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