Activities of the Chair

In David's research and teaching, bio-cultural diversity is conceived as a reflexive and sensitizing concept that can be used to assess the different values and knowledge of all people – as a reflection on how they live now, and in the future with biological and cultural diversity. As such, the concept of bio-cultural diversity is closely tied to a broad range of issues around teaching and learning. Below is a partial list of the current and planned activities of the chair: 

Director, International Field Schools (in partnership with UNSRAT)

The Chair along with the Co-Chair, Dr. Wiske Rotinsulu of UNSRAT, designs and directs a number of International Field Schools including one in Indonesia (with Universitas Sam Ratulangi). The programs incorporate a number of unique natural and cultural settings. Other projects include a field school in Hawaii plus a developing partnership with Calanoa Amazonas NGO in Leticia, Columbia and a further possible International Field School (in the Amazon basin).

Faculty sponsor for the SEEDs module (Sustainability Education in an Environment of Diversity)

Leadership in the professional programs allows for teacher education and development through the lens of social ecology and biodiversity and creates opportunities for dialogue / research particularly as related to multicultural issues in education that ultimately inform inclusivity and cultural sensitivity in classrooms. 

Lead instructor for Environmental Learning Summer Academies (ELSA) – Vancouver and Haida Gwaii

Each summer, two sections of this field school are lead by the UNESCO Chair: the first (May/June) in the Lower Mainland; the second (August) in Haida Gwaii (Skidegate and Massett). Each of these form core requirements for the Minor in Environmental Education that the chair coordinates.

Eco-Ed Faculty Sponsor (Community Graduate Programs)

The Chair actively mentors and supports a range of graduate students through mentorship, co-teaching assignments and research fellowships. The Chair acts as the faculty sponsor for the Eco-Ed Program. This, part of the MEd in Curriculum and Instruction (focus Ecological Education), is unique in Canada and includes a range of experiential and cultural courses as part of its theoretical and practical requirements.

Research on Learning Environments

The Chair conducts research on learning environments in relation to the theme of quality education. This research is both descriptive of classroom contexts and predictive of student learning. The study of learning environments plays a role in pre-service / in-service teacher education, evaluation, and in the description of a valuable component of educational experience.

Networking and Service

The Chair maintains a number of important service commitments and partnerships focusing knowledge transfer (North-South). These include: serving as host and editor for an (open access) journal, serving as Director of the Institute for Environmental Learning (affiliated with UNU and Global RCE Network) and serving in an advisory role for the World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) Network.