Call for Mix Proposals

UBC Mix is accepting proposals for Mix partnerships and Mix activities. Up to $500 start-up funding, consultation, planning support, and Mix matchmaking services are available for new Mixes and ReMixes.

Deadlines once per term, with a rolling deadline for submissions throughout the rest of the year.

Email Mix proposals and questions to: ubc-mix(at)interchange.ubc.ca

Please include the following information in your 1-page Mix proposal:

  • Mix partners’ names, departments, faculties, and contact information
  • Plans for Mix activity, Mix funds, and student participant evaluation

We especially welcome proposals for next school year!

About UBC Mix
UBC Mix partners instructors, students, and courses together to create an interdisciplinary atmosphere that enhances learning and broadens understanding.

How does it work?
Interested instructors can pair up and propose an idea to UBC Mix or contact us for help locating possible Mix partners. We help to connect like-minded instructors across disciplines and provide pairs with guidance, resources, and support to bring their students together for joint activities and projects.

What does a Mix look like?
Mixes are flexible, lightweight partnerships between two or more instructors and their students. There is a wide range of Mix formats. Here are some ideas:

  • Lecture swaps
  • Data mash-ups and mock-ups
  • Joint reading assignments
  • Joint writing assignments
  • Discussion sessions
  • Parisian salons
  • Formal debates
  • Community service learning projects
  • Student conferences and symposia
  • Field trips
  • Workshops
  • Guest speakers

What can Mix funding support?
Mix funding is adaptable to Mix partners’ needs and interests. Below are some possible uses for Mix start-up funding. Have another idea? Just ask!

  • Transportation
  • Event support
  • Honoraria
  • Topping up a TA’s salary
  • Supplies
  • Equipment rentals

How can UBC Mix help?
Contact the UBC Mix Student Coordinator by email at ubc-mix@interchange.ubc.ca with questions and ideas. The Coordinator can provide support in a number of ways:

  • Matchmaking between instructors
  • Brainstorming
  • Consultation
  • Room and equipment booking
  • Day-of event support
  • Connecting with resources

UBC Mix Wiki
Get involved in the UBC Mix community by adding your profile and ideas to the UBC Mix Community Portal.

UBC Mix is grateful for support from the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund, the Terry Project, and the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology


UBC Mix Community Portal

UBC Mix is pleased to announce the launch of the UBC Mix Community Portal on the UBC Wiki. At our Mixer event in April 2011, attendees suggested some ways to improve the communication side of the program. The general consensus: UBC Mix needed “technology for people to throw out ideas and look for people.”  At that event, the UBC Wiki was put forward as a possible platform. After exploring our options, we’ve worked in consultation with the UBC Wiki team to get the ball rolling on a community portal that will fill those needs.

On the Community Portal you can browse profiles for potential matches, create your own, check out examples of previous Mixes, access relevant scholarship and case studies, and most importantly, log in using your CWL to add and edit content! If the UBC Mix website is our storefront, we like to think of the Community Portal as the UBC Mix kitchen – a collaborative, creative space for sharing.

The simplest way to get involved is to create a profile. There are several ways to do it.  Depending on your comfort level with the UBC Wiki you can either use our template to create your own profile, or simply download and return a profile request form and we’ll do the rest. The portal contains instructions, examples and help pages.

We eventually envision populating the portal not only with profiles, but also with even more examples, case studies, advice and scholarly materials. We welcome your contributions to the portal. Either sign in and edit away, or contact us, let us know what you want to see, and we’ll work on a way to make it happen.

Finally, for folks new to the UBC Wiki, there is free, friendly support available. The UBC Mix Student Coordinator is always happy to help, so don’t hesitate to get in touch. As of summer 2011, she is even making “office calls” to help you get started. Simply email ubc-mix@interchange.ubc.ca to make an appointment. Also consider checking out the Learning Technology Institute (LTI) event listings at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT).  The LTI regularly includes Wiki workshops for all levels. Drop in Wiki Support Clinics are held in the CTLT Fraser River Room in Irving K. Barber Learning Centre every Thursday from 1:00-3:00.

See you on the Portal!

Quick links:

Photo credits: tin can by colindunn, portal logo by Lydia Jones (image credits: mosaic by RBerteig schematic by webtreats books by austinevan flowers by cobalt123 test tubes by Daniel*1977)


A different kind of teacher for a day

It’s not every day that university students get to learn about poverty, inequality, and the role technology can play in society from a homeless man.

But Danse Crowkiller, who has lived over half of his days and nights homeless, seemed like a perfect guest speaker to Catherine Douglas, who teaches an economics class on poverty and inequality.

“I found him very insightful,” said one of Douglas’ economics students, Catherine Aragon, after listening to Crowkiller describe why he chose to reject government financial assistance.

After months of being coaxed into applying for social assistance, Danse finally agreed to try it out only to be put in an $850 apartment infested with bedbugs. The pressure to depend on a system some First Nations people view as an extension of colonialism is a theme that comes up in the final version of Danse’s documentary, The Purpose of Life is Rice … Wink.

Danse Crowkiller on his usual spot on Commercial Drive. Photo by Laura Bucci Handmade

Douglas wanted to offer Crowkiller, a Native carver, financial support in return for visiting her class. UBC Mix, which financially and logistically facilitates interdisciplinary mixing, stepped up to help her accomplish this and also encouraged the opportunity for Crowkiller’s words and insights to impact a wider audience.

Douglas opened up her class to students from applied science, partnering with Carla Paterson’s course on technology and development. The pair are already brainstorming ways they can mix their classes together in the future with the help of UBC Mix.

The audience, made up of students from different academic disciplines, spent most of the hour asking Crowkiller questions.

“What do you want to change the most in your life?” one student asked.

“I never said I did,” Crowkiller replied without a pause.

“You’re happy?” the student responded.

“I am happy. I like carving,” said Crowkiller who earns most of his money through wood carving, “but an apartment would be nice.”

Douglas’ economic class was developed with a Community Service Learning component, which integrates classroom theory with hands on action within a community. Students are partnered up with community organizations and learn about societal problems and solutions from people experiencing these issues firsthand. Community Service Learning initiatives, where students are engaged in community action, hold a wealth of potential for future UBC mix partnerships.

Exploring new classroom experiences, such as having Crowkiller speak from personal experience about poverty – an issue that some students only learn about through statistics – is important for giving students a personal connection to what they are learning about and how they want to affect the world.


Sustainable Mixes Beneath the Surface

A UBC Reads Sustainability last spring highlights the potential for deep interdisciplinary mixing on campus. UBC Reads Sustainability events bring in different authors well-versed in issues of sustainability. Students and professors from across disciplines then get the opportunity to participate in a common conversation.

On February 3rd, 2011, author David R. Montgomery spoke to a theatre packed with an interdisciplinary audience about his new book, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations.

Montgomery brought together a little history, a little archeology, a little science, and a little sociology, to illustrate how our relationship with soil has evolved.

In the days of Ancient Greece, soil was a mystery, deified as a fertility goddess. It was later viewed as a means to living – as something to be worked, to store chemicals, and to be used as an industrial commodity. Only recently has soil been examined as an ecosystem.

“If we are to sustain life on top we must reinvent life in the bottom,” he said. “We can no longer treat soil like dirt.”

Soil is eroding around the world faster than it is being replaced, Montgomery said, largely due to exploitative agricultural practices that only take into account short term growth. Agriculture that preserves the soil over the long run, such as organic farming, is in contrast called alternative agriculture.

photo credit: David Montgomery book cover

The different lenses with which Montgomery brought his topic to life shows how interdisciplinary the topic of sustainability can be. And this theme could be an excellent starting point for new mixes on campus.

There is great opportunity for professors and students to form partnerships through speakers brought in by UBC Reads Sustainability.

Maybe there is a particular author several professors or students want to hear from and a common assignment could bloom out of it. If people from different disciplines are showing up at the same place to hear the same topic, there’s a chance to jump further into that common conversation and really engage with each other though that common interest.

There are, no doubt, a few sustainable mixes germinating beneath the surface, waiting to be brought to life.

photo credit: Sujin Jetkasettakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Statistics and Zoology Partnered Up for Term 2!

Agnes Lacombe’s biology students generate new data every single semester. That was good news for John Petkau’s statistics students looking for real-world data to challenge their hard-learned skills. This pairing offered all the students an opportunity to work with upcoming experts in their field and to produce professional quality results.

What’s really striking about this pairing is that there was absolutely no compromise in course material. Both sets of students gained much more. The biology students focused on developing their research questions and interpreted the results while the statistics students saw unadulterated data sets and the sorts of real world questions that their skill sets can help answer.

Photo Credit: Breakmould


Arts One and Science One Mix It Up Over Supper

Arts One and Science One may seem like a conventional pair. Both programs inhabit the 3rd floor of Irving K. Barber, both are composed of incoming freshmen students, and both programs focus on interdisciplinarity. They’ve got a lot in common, except for spending time together. UBC Mix decided to change that.

When UBC Mix first approached Christina Hendricks, the director of Arts One, she was very open to the idea. “We spend all our time together on this floor, but the students are so focused on their courses and projects that they don’t really talk to one another,” she confided. It wasn’t hard to get Gordon Bates, the director of Science One on board. Then Fok-Shuen Leung and Brandon Konoval took the lead and organized the first of what we can only hope will be many dinner lectures.

Arts One and Science One students joined together on November 5th, 2010, at the Social Lounge and Dining Hall at St. John’s College. The evening began with a lecture by Kishor Wasan, director of the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative. Students then enjoyed supper at communal long tables with conversation flowing in Oxonian style. This certainly sounds like our tastiest Mix partnership!

Photo Credit: alumroot


ASIC 200: Global Issues in the Arts and Sciences

[The following is a reprint of an article from the UBC Sustainability website. ASIC 200 is taught in part by Allen Sens, one of our UBC Mix supervisors. The course embodies all the values we look for in a good Mix project!]

Although the arts and the sciences may seem like completely different worlds, one course at UBC is bringing them together and crossing faculty boundaries to offer students a rich and integrated academic experience.

ASIC 200: Global Issues in the Arts and Sciences is one of only a few courses at UBC that belongs to both the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science. The course is taught by one instructor from the sciences and one instructor from the arts and welcomes an equal number of arts and science students every year, resulting in a true mix of ideas in the classroom.

“When a student comes to UBC we compartmentalize them right away. For the most part they either go into arts or science and there’s not a whole lot of academic interaction, and in fact, there may be none for some of our students. I think the real value of the course is reinforcing the need for that integration,” says Dr. Allen Sens, ASIC 200 Instructor and Senior Instructor in the UBC Department of Political Science. He specializes in international conflict and conflict management.

The course has been running for four years and focuses on providing students with an interdisciplinary, and broad, perspective on global issues that empowers them to become engaged citizens.

“Most of the global issues that we face, such as climate change, genetically modified organisms and global poverty, are really grounded in both physical and life sciences and the social sciences and humanities. In other words, to understand the nature of these challenges you have to know, or be literate, in both the arts and sciences,” Dr. Sens says.

ASIC 200 is one component of The Terry Project which was created by Dr. Sens and co-instructor Dr. David Ng, a geneticist and Senior Instructor at the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC. Terry, as it’s affectionately called, offers students a multi-level exploration of global issues through an integrated speaker series, a website and the course.

“The Terry Project really is an umbrella, if you like, for a set of activities that try to enhance interdisciplinary science and arts teaching and learning at UBC,” says Dr. Sens.

In the classroom, students participate in lectures, two lab experiences and a group project, with both Dr. Sens and Dr. Ng present at every session. Dr. Sens says this team teaching model makes for an interesting discourse.

“I think there’s value in that the material isn’t compartmentalized. I am there if any issues come up on a social sciences and humanities side while Dave is lecturing about the physics of climate change, for example. On the other hand, Dave is there to answer any science-related questions that arise out of a discussion on the politics of climate change, so having both of us in the classroom reinforces the integrated nature of the material.”

With so many global issues to explore across two disciplines, Drs. Sens and Ng designed the course to focus on select global issues—and to meet the learning needs of all students, which is an ongoing challenge. “When designing the course, I think the biggest challenge we faced was focusing on what the absolute need to know material was,” Dr. Sens says.

“The second challenge we faced was an awareness that a lot of the science material might be quite familiar to many science students, but unfamiliar to arts students. We also noted that the reverse would be true, so the challenge for us as instructors was, how can we make sure that we’re teaching at a level that doesn’t bore one half of the class, but is over the head of the other half of the class?  I’m not sure we’ve ever achieved that perfect balance, but I think we’ve gotten better.”

The ultimate goal of the course is to open students’ eyes to new ideas and perspectives. “All that we’re really after is that awareness, since we can’t give them all the material in second year,” he says. “What we’re giving them is this tool that says, be aware that in virtually anything you decide to go on to do, there’s going to be a science and an arts dimension to it, and you need to be alert to this and know where to look and where to go to get information on both dimensions.”

One of the incentives for taking the course is that science students can take it to satisfy their lower-level arts requirement, and arts students can take it to satisfy their lower-level science requirement, but Dr. Sens says the course offers much more than just academic credit.

“I think students come out of ASIC 200 with the most important message, which is that you don’t have to be an expert in arts if you’re a science student, and you don’t have to be an expert in science if you’re an arts student, but you’ve got to be familiar with how these worlds are important when it comes to the big global issues of our time.”

Story by Madelen Ortega, Sustainabiltiy website writer, Article reprinted from http://sustain.ubc.ca/teaching-learning


UBC Reads Sustainability

We’re very excited to be a partner with UBC Reads Sustainability. This is an exciting program that brings well-known authors on the topic of sustainability to our campus to engage in a campus-wide discussion.

Why the emphasis on reading? We want to have an informed discussion that starts before the guest speakers appear and lasts well after the microphone goes silent. Sustainability matters to all of us and we want people to read how it matters to others and to think critically about how it matters to themselves.

UBC Reads Sustainability is all about engaging students and faculty from all disciplines to ensure that we’re all thinking about a sustainable future.

Past Speakers

David Korten: Creating a Real Wealth Economy for a Just and Sustainable Future (followed by book signing)

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, Wednesday, Sept 29th, 2011 – Victoria Learning Theatre, Irving K Barber Learning Centre, UBC

Stewart Brand: Rethinking Green

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, Tuesday, Oct 5th, 2011 – Multi-purpose Room, Liu Institute of Global Issues, UBC

Michael M’Gonigle: Planet U

7:30pm-9:00pm, Friday, March 4th, 2011 –  Room A101, Buchanan Hall, UBC

David Montgomery: You Don’t Know Dirt

12:15 pm – 2:00 pm, Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 – Victoria Learning Theatre, Irving K Barber Learning Centre, UBC

Click here for more about a UBC Reads Sustainability Mix story!

Photo Credit: bjornmeansbear


Announcing our first partnership for 2010/2011

UBCmix is pleased to announce our first 2010/2011 partnership with PHIL335A Power and Oppression taught by Sylvia Berryman and SOCI430 Civil Society in Theory and Practice taught by Thomas Kemple.  Both courses are part of the UBC Global Citizenship Term Abroad (GCTA) program in Guatemala. The courses will take place during an intensive 6-week period during May and June in 2011.

Tom and Sylvia are coordinating a strong academic program based on important global issues such as poverty and social justice, civil society organizations and the impacts of global disparities on vulnerable societies. Guatemala is certainly one of the countries where further academic study of these topics can have a large impact.

This exciting Mix opportunity will include shared course readings and student presentations drawing on topics from both classes. Students will also be required to undertake a service-learning component with local development organizations in Guatemala. In the past these have included volunteering in a local elementary school, working on a water purification project, helping in a worm composting project, and participating in the work at a coffee and macadamia nut plantation.  The GCTA program combines rigorous academic study with experiential and service learning and travel. You can’t ask for a better or even more complete Mix project!

The program is open to all UBC students and has previously taken a mix of students from both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. Students are required to submit an application for the program and will take both courses. While there are no prerequisites, students can expect significant reading and the chance to engage with local families. Previous knowledge of Spanish is also not required, but students will be expected to accept the challenge of communicating across language barriers. The instructors are aiming to accept about 20 students into the program.


Classes available for partnership

Summer has finally arrived in Vancouver, but we’re still hard at work looking for potential partners here at UBCmix. We’ve recently added a new Profiles page to our website where departments interested in a Mix partnership can describe their idea in a bit more depth [edit 6 July 2011: Profiles and more are now available on the UBC Mix Community Portal]. Take a look and see if any of them suit your own course and interests.

For instance, Statistics is avidly looking for other undergraduate and graduate classes with sets of quantitative data. Do your students collect original data sets? Or are your students  looking to work with previously collected data sets but lacking the skills for deeper analysis? Maybe you should contact us about setting up meeting with Statistics. They’ve got the skills to take your students research to the next level.

Microbiology is also looking for a few good classes to Mix things up. Are you teaching a class in the sciences and interested in exploring an aspect of ecological genomics? Or do you have students with good reporting, writing, or presentation skills and want to see how they can use them to further discourse in an outside discipline? We’ve got a world-class instructor in microbiology who is all about interdisciplinary discourse.

We’re working on other projects too. Contact us to see if we’ve already got a partner for you!

Photo credit: gnackgnackgnack