Dr. Jason Pearson is clearly excited. “I think this has a shot of being a legacy project. We want to inspire creative thinkers. This may sound cliché, but if we can teach students to learn through exploration, we empower them to change the world.”
Dr. Pearson is a member of UPEI’s Student-as-Scholar (SaS) group. Inspired by the vision laid out in UPEI’s Strategic Research Plan, the SaS group is exploring exciting new ways to expand undergraduate student research opportunities across their entire education.
“We know this is already happening in pockets around the university,” says Dr. Pearson. “We’d like to make this type of learning a more formal hallmark of UPEI. We have an opportunity to engage students through research and exploration rather than by sitting them in a lecture theatre.”
The UPEI SaS group hosted a successful set of workshops earlier this spring and brought together faculty, staff, and students in a dialogue.
“It was really exciting,” says Dr. Pearson. “We had excellent facilitation for the workshops by Dr. Mick Healey and Dr. Sue Vajoczki. They helped us discover that much of what we’re looking for is already happening informally on campus. Together, we came up with 250 ideas that we could all implement into the learning environment. The innovation is already here.”
The next set of workshops begin the morning of June 25. Dr. Pearson calls this a review and primer for those who haven’t been involved in the discussion until now. That afternoon, the committee is hosting an event called Swap Shop: Dialogue on Engaging students.
From June 26 to 28, there will be a series of half-day workshops on designing inquiry-based courses.