Jannik Eikenaar and Jonathan Verrett, assistant professors of teaching in the UBC Faculty of Applied Science, have been named the augural recipients of the Marshall Bauder Chairs in Experiential Learning and Leadership.
Over the next three years, they will strive to create and deliver “a superior experiential learning experience” and “relevant leadership initiatives” to students at UBC Applied Science.
“My aim is to support students’ experiential learning and leadership goals both within and outside the curriculum,” says Verrett, who has been involved with design teams, student groups and other experiential learning activities at UBC since joining the university in 2016. “Giving students the ability to recognize the different ways they can be leaders allows them to engage more meaningfully with experiential learning and leadership opportunities, and to achieve better outcomes after graduation.”
Verrett will set up a program that provides students and instructors with skills in teamwork, leadership, communication and project management, as well as methods for engaging respectfully with community partners. Called the Studies in Experiential Education and Leadership (StEEL) program, it will be run in collaboration with engineering programs across both campuses.
For his part, Eikenaar will build on existing activities in UBC Applied Science to create a leadership and experiential learning program with a strong focus on equity, diversity and inclusion and traditional teamwork values. Delivered through online learning modules, individual projects and facilitated activities like workshops and seminars, the program will be available to all students, staff and faculty members in UBC Applied Science.
“There is a clear and urgent need to shift the cultures of systems and institutions — including those of higher education — to become more equitable, more diverse and more inclusive,” says Eikenaar, who teaches communication and serves as an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Advisor in the School of Engineering at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “A program of positive, distributed leadership based on EDI competencies and traditional teamwork values would help prepare our students for their professional careers and facilitate their contributions to society as a whole.”
In addition to developing new scholarship in the field of experiential learning, Verrett and Eikenaar will build capacity to implement key strategies outlined in the plan, including leading edge teaching (strategy 1), digital collaboration (strategy 3), experiential learning (strategy 6) and inclusive, respectful leadership (strategy 9). Both UBC campuses will build on the strong foundation the chairholders establish in these areas for years to come.