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Science professors receive grants for teaching and learning projects with indigenous focus

Science professors receive grants for teaching and learning projects with indigenous focus

Congratulations to Professors Tamara Kelly, Paula Wilson, and Amenda Chow and Pamela Sargent for receiving grants from the Indigeneity in Teaching & Learning Fund (ITLF), provided by the Office of the Vice Provost Academic, York University. The goal of ITLF is to encourage faculty members to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in York’s teaching and learning.

The following projects were funded in the Faculty of Science:

Discussions on Indigenizing the Science Curriculum

Tamara Kelly

Led by Biology Professor Tamara Kelly, this project will be a one-day conference that will explore ways to Indigenize the science curriculum. It will form part of the Faculty’s response to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and The Indigenous Framework for York University: A Guide to Action. Currently, Indigenization of courses within FSc is low for various reasons. A key outcome of this conference will be to raise awareness of what Indigenizing the curriculum might mean in the context of science programs and courses, and to consider concrete examples. An additional desired outcome is that faculty members, staff, and students will be inspired to reflect on how we might better ensure that our courses and departments are welcoming and supportive to Indigenous community members, and that our programs not only recognize, but also weave Indigenous scholarship and perspectives into our programs.

Improving Student Supports for Indigenous Science Students

Paula Wilson

Led by Biology Professor Paula Wilson, this project will focus on learning more about the Indigenous student experience within the Faculty of Science, with the long-term goal of improving academic and social supports for Indigenous science and engineering students. Bethune College offers academic support services and leadership opportunities for science and engineering students, with a special focus on first year transition and first year experience. But it is unclear if Indigenous students use the services, if they feel welcome and included in the community, or how they can be better supported. The findings from this project will be used to improve programming in two thematic areas: to explore and/or establish new ways of supporting Indigenous undergraduate students through Bethune programming, share findings with faculty and graduate students, etc.; and to contribute to a more inclusive campus environment that values the plurality of Indigenous knowledge and scholarship.

Exploring the Interplay Between Indigenous Art and Mathematics

Pamela Sargent
Amenda Chow

Led by Professors Pamela Sargent and Amenda Chow in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, this project will be a series of workshops featuring local Indigenous artists who use mathematics in their artistic works. The workshops will be conducted in collaboration with University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics and topics will include bead work that requires mathematical concepts such as counting, logic and patterns, or illustration that uses symmetry, geometry and tessellations. There is also mathematics in such forms as indigenous storytelling, language and music. The workshops will be experiential and engaging with hands on fun educational activities. They will provide all participants with concrete connections between the discipline of mathematics and Indigenous knowledge and culture, and examples of how Indigenous knowledge can be incorporated into the mathematics curriculum. The workshops will be open to all members of the York University and University of Waterloo community and Indigenous communities.