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Letters to the editor


Three cheers for the scholarly graphic novel

Thank you, Cailynn Klingbeil, for writing about these innovative examples of diverse knowledge engagement (“Research reimagined,” May-June 2023) that have emerged from doctoral research across disciplines of study from across Canada!

Michele Jacobsen
Dr. Jacobsen is a professor with the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.

More perspectives on ableism needed

What an insightful and long overdue feature (“Ableism in the academy,” May-June 2023). It would be great to see it expanded into a series by disabled faculty, staff and students in Canada who can shed much urgent light on ableist practices, and ways of resisting and transforming them. Ableism is also gendered, classed, racialized and colonialized. We need intersectional perspectives on ableism and we have much expertise to offer.

At the University of British Columbia, for example, scholars and activists have called on administration to strike a task force to identify barriers; offer more than a consumerist service model; create serious disability studies programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels; hire a Canada Research Chair in disability studies with community outreach commitments; and fund scholarships and professorships in disability studies. Previous projects at UBC have similarly called on senior administrators to learn from and listen to its own disabled faculty, staff and students to move anti-ableism into spaces of transformation and equity.


A win-win initiative

This initiative impresses me (“Ontario Tech kinesiology course combats ageism,” May-June 2023). The goals are straightforward but significant, and the means of achieving them are proactive and low-risk for the participants. And I can imagine that most outcomes will be positive for both the older and the younger participants. Hats off to the instructor, Shilpa Dogra, for taking such a positive, inclusive, invitational way of bringing these groups together and for making campus resources accessible to the community. It is often these “simple” outreach steps that make the most tangible differences. I hope other campuses adopt this approach: it truly is win-win.

Alison Preece
Dr. Preece is a professor emerita in the faculty of education at the University of Victoria.

Feedback is key when students partner with faculty

The relentless focus on pedagogic innovation is now starting to put huge pressures on institutional resources without any credible evidence of improvements in learning (“Co-designing the curriculum,” March-April 2023). It sure has a nice feel-good aura to it.

There are simpler ways of improving the curriculum, teaching techniques, learning assessments and feedback into ongoing improvements. The most basic teaching course will show that students are partners in all aspects of teaching and learning. So, the only question left is how to make that partnership functional. One of the simplest ways of making it functional is improving the student- and peer-evaluation of teaching, and the integration of that feedback into next year’s teaching.

Baljit Singh
Dr. Singh is vice-president, research, at the University of Saskatchewan.

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