The First Year Experience Science Education Symposium

Saturday September 24, 2016

For faculty who are passionate about teaching and interested in the first-year student experience in UBC Science

Network with UBC Science colleagues and learn more about the students who will be sitting in your classes. Dig into best practices in first year instruction, learn how to build student resiliency and wellbeing, and discover resources. This event is offered at no cost to you or your department.

In recognition that many faculty members balance multiple priorities that can include families, we hope to be able to offer children’s activities. If this is feasible, we intend to offer on-campus activities for the duration of the event. Please indicate in your registration if you would be interested in this option.

Registration Deadline: September 15, 2016

Register now

Saturday September 24, 2016 | Marine Drive Residence Ballroom

Time Description
9:30 am Registration and Breakfast
10 am

 Who Are UBC Science Students?
Ben Pollard, Director VPS Portfolio Initiatives | Office of the Vice President Students

Learn more about the demographics of the Science student population, where they live, and examples of what the first year experience looks like for Science students. Based on results of the New to UBC and Undergraduate Experience surveys.

11 am

Leveraging Growth Mindset in the Classroom
Kari Marken, Educational Designer | UBC Centre for Student Involvement & Careers
Ashley Welsh, Postdoctoral Fellow | UBC Vantage College & Faculty of Science (Skylight)

What is growth mindset and how can instructors promote its development? In this session, we will explore the constructs, benefits, research and application of growth mindset and how to promote student resiliency within the classroom.

12 pm Resource Marketplace

Has there been a time when you’ve wondered if UBC already offers support services to handle a particular question or challenge a student is facing?

The marketplace brings information about student support resources and programs for Science students to you, so that you know what programs are out there, as well as how they work, so that you can refer students who seek support or information from you.

Examples of what you will find at the Marketplace:

  • Skylight: The UBC Science Centre for Learning and Teaching
  • Science Peer Academic Coaches: Soft skill and study technique support
  • Science Information Centre: (AKA Science Advising) – Academic advising for all undergraduate Science students, including resources for international, Aboriginal and Vantage One students
  • SCI Team: Professional development events
  • Wellbeing services and supports for students and instructors (including Early Alert, Green Folder, Live Well website)
12:30 pm Lunch (provided) Opportunities to continue to connect with Resource Marketplace representatives
1:30 pm Break-out Sessions (concurrent)

Sharing best practices for course syllabi as a teaching and learning tool
Jackie Stewart, Senior Instructor, Chemistry
Alice Campbell, Instructional Designer/Program Administrator, Science 113 and Skylight

Your class syllabus is often your first point of contact with your students – it communicates to students your expectations, but also your approach to teaching and learning. In this session, we will discuss different approaches to designing course syllabi. We will draw on UBC student data and evidence-based research to explore how we can design our syllabi to align with our teaching philosophies, and support student learning and wellbeing. You are warmly invited to bring your own syllabus to learn what its strengths are, and how it can be further refined.

How teaching practices influence student mental health and wellbeing
Michael Lee, Senior Instructor, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Patty Hambler, Director, Student Wellbeing Promotion
Kathleen Lane, Project Manager

The TLEF project How Teaching Practices Influence Student Mental Health and Wellbeing reveals how instructional practices can have a positive impact on the student learning experience by promoting their wellbeing.   This interactive session will share our findings, integrate ideas and share strategies via group discussions.  Participants will leave with instructional tools that will not only promote but inspire curriculum that incorporates student wellbeing in their classroom. Come  join us to learn about some of these simple but practical methods that you can try out in the coming term!

Co-supporting student success
Dr. Warren Williams, Instructor and Advisor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Stacey Simpson, International Student Coordinator, Faculty of Science
Caroline Kingston, Assistant Director, Student Academic Services, Faculty of Science

Utilizing case studies, explore opportunities to provide students with effective support to enhance their success. Learn when and how to make an effective referral to the Science Information Centre (Science Advising) or other campus resources such as International Student Development, wellbeing services and more.

Wildcard: Learning from each other to enhance the first year experience in Science
Gillian Gerhard, Faculty Liaison (Science), CTLT and Skylight

This “open space” session will provide just the right amount of structure for making connections, sharing what’s worked, and consulting on one another’s challenges in supporting first year students.  Have you found something that’s working really well in your classes?  Do you have a question or challenge you would like help with?  Bring offers to share and requests to learn, along with your passion, commitment, and desire to make a difference. 

2:45 pm What’s Next

Stemming from each break-out session, groups will determine the next steps to moving forward with each topic and discuss ways to stay connected after the Symposium.

3 pm

 Event End

Register now

If you have any questions about the conference please email Karen Smith, Faculty of Science, Event Chair, at

This event is jointly supported by Skylight, the Office of the Dean of Science, Science Student Engagement, and the Vice-President Students’ Office.

Featured image: sonson/Flickr