EDST 513: Current Issues in Higher Education has a special topic for 2017: Campus Environments. The course hashtag for social media is #CampusEnvironments.
We begin by acknowledging that we are on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam First Nation.
Campus Environments is a unique graduate course that considers the campus as a “field of study” to understand how learning and knowledge production are shaped in and through the higher education environment, and introduces how the campus can be read as a “text” of institutional history, policy, and values.
The course invites students to envision and contextualize the landscape of higher education through Critical Place Inquiry (Tuck & McKenzie, 2015) and interactive, outdoor learning methods. Critical Place Inquiry “takes up critical questions and develops corresponding methodological approaches that are informed by the embeddedness of social life in and with places, and that seeks to be a form of action in responding to critical place issues such as those of globalization and neoliberalism, settler colonialism, and environmental degradation” (Tuck & McKenzie, 2015, p. 2).
Three themes guide the course: Reception, Embodiment, and Attachment. These themes are discussed in relation to student development theories and conceptualizations of campus environments from the higher education research literature. A central question guides the course: What might we do differently in higher education if we put place first? Re-positioning place might, for example, reorganize our thinking about the aims and goals of higher education, student-centredness, and the relationships that form in and through the campus itself. A focus on the place might also provide opportunities to view the campus as an integral source of knowledge for higher education, not just a site of research and teaching. In addition, recentering place in this discussion brings forward ecological questions–that is, the environment in relation to “campus environments” and climate in our talk of “campus climate.” Furthermore, by focusing on embodiment within the campus, we might situate ourselves as educators in relation to the “student body” in a particular place and time.
Tuck, E., & McKenzie, M. (2015). Place in research: Theory, methodology, and methods. London: Routledge.