Indigeneity, accessibility and a few other themes to start your academic year
And so it begins, another academic year. Wherever you spent the bulk of your summer – in the field, in the archives, in the lab – I hope you also had some time to unwind with friends and family. To welcome you back, we have a fun feature on memorable teaching moments supplied by some of this year’s 3M National Teaching Fellows. Often in such “aha” moments, teachers find they learn as much from their students as the students do from them.
Our other two main features this month are a behind-the-scenes look at a university maintenance department, with Université Laval serving as our guide; and an explainer on university homestay programs, where families open their homes to international students, giving these students not just a roof over their heads but an opportunity for a mutual cultural exchange. The latter was the final piece written for us by our staff writer Anqi Shen, who announced in the spring, after three years with us, that she was leaving to go travel the globe. We wish her well. Ms. Shen was also responsible for compiling the memorable moments feature.
Elsewhere in this issue, I wanted to note that two of our stories in the Nota Bene section are about reconciliation: one on a couple of truly inspiring and award-winning programs at Thompson Rivers University that aim to improve the academic outcomes of Indigenous students; and the other on a commitment by Canada’s faculties of medicine to improve health outcomes for Indigenous communities. It’s no coincidence having at least two stories on reconciliation in the same issue, as universities continue to demonstrate their commitment to answering the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.
Accessibility is also an important topic, and we again have two related stories in this issue: in our Campus section, we report on the new Canadian Accessibility Network opening at Carleton University; and in Nota Bene, we report on the struggles by students with visual impairments to procure accessible electronic textbooks and other learning materials. It’s a timely reminder that barriers remain for various groups claiming their right to postsecondary education.