Dec. 10, 2020

A model of collaborative and community-based learning

Recent publication about the Ecofeminism course's experiential and immersive learning opportunities

Collaboration. Interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Experiential activities. Inclusivity and community building. These are all elements of the innovative Ecofeminism block week course developed by Joe Kadi, Gender and Sexuality Studies (formerly Women’s Studies) program coordinator.

Joe Kadi and co-authors Lynn MacCallum, Polly Knowlton Cockett and Rachelle L. Haddock have published an account of the unique teaching and learning style of the Ecofeminism course in “The Growing Seed: Ecofeminist Values in Classroom, Campus, and Community” (Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning Journal, Fall 2020).

Joe developed and first taught the Ecofeminism experiential learning course as a block week course in August 2018. The article integrates the narratives of a group involved in the first iteration of the course: Joe Kadi as instructor, (then) Women’s Studies student Lynn MacCallum, as well as collaborators Rachelle L. Haddock with the Office of Sustainability, and Polly Knowlton Cockett, a community volunteer who is also a sessional instructor with the Werklund School of Education.

The 2018 Ecofeminism course integrated the KAIROS Blanket Exercise about Canada’s colonization of Indigenous nations; a collaboration with the city to volunteer at The Whispering Woods, a local nature area; and a campus sustainability tour of UCalgary’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings, ecological landscape and community gardens. Each element of the course, including Braver Space classroom guidelines for a positive and respectful learning environment, incorporated messages of inclusivity.

The Ecofeminism course is a model of collaborative course design for educators of any discipline interested in incorporating “inclusivity communal learning, hope, and community engagement in classrooms with an aim of advancing sustainability.” The article presents a kind of road map for anyone “interested in applying similar collaborative and/or experiential methods, whether in formal or informal educational settings.”

With this course, Joe demonstrates the importance and value of transdisciplinary collaboration, inclusion and community partnership in course development. It is a creative and concrete model for educators.

We’re pleased to be offering Ecofeminism as WMST 420 in a block week format during the Summer 2021 term, and again as a 2021 Fall block week course. Please keep an eye out for the course as soon as registration opens, as it’s high demand and will fill quickly.