Design class on WFCU centre stageDrama students in Esther Van Eek’s Costume Design class got a backstage look at Cirque du Soleil.

Design class runs away to join the circus

Students in drama professor Esther Van Eek’s class in Costume Design had the opportunity to get a behind-the-curtain look at Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever show on ice, Crystal, last week at Windsor’s WFCU Centre.

Traditional elements of theatre — storytelling, costumes, sets, and music — added to Cirque’s breathtaking acrobatics provided an inspiring background for a question-and-answer session with assistant tour director Lauren Smith, says Van Eek.

“Students learned about how the company creates a show, finds the performers, and hires all the supporting departments required by any large entertainment company,” she says. “They heard about the different needs that tours have compared to Cirque’s resident shows and tent shows, and what this means for the lifestyle and demands on show designers and technicians.”

Noting that only one-quarter of Cirque’s more than 4,000 employees are performers, student Charlotte Kiervin Starkey imagines there may be a place for her: “As someone who loves the backstage and the more organizational aspect of things, this is actually a really encouraging statistic to know there is potentially a place for me in such a cool company.”

Van Eek says she welcomes this opportunity to take the learning out of the classroom and into the real-life arena, where students can see first-hand the variety of career directions available to them.

“Not everyone who studies design wants to be a designer, but the theory, skills, and creative problem-solving mindset apply to so many more opportunities!”

aerial photo of Detroit River and U.S. and Canadian shoresThe “Presenting the Past to the Public” symposium will explore race, slavery, resistance, and identity in the Detroit River borderland on Friday, Dec. 8.

Local history subject for symposium

A symposium Friday, Dec. 8, will consider issues of race, slavery, resistance, and identity in the Detroit River borderland.

Hosted by the Department of History in co-operation with the Detroit River Project and the Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research at the University of Michigan, “Presenting the Past to the Public” will be held in person at the SoCA Armouries and online through Microsoft Teams.

It will include student-led presentations, a light lunch, and a Hyflex panel discussion entitled “Educator-Student Partnerships in Cross-Border Education.”

The free event will run 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Direct questions to professor Gregg French at

Bookshop filled with gifts and decorationsAmherstburg’s River Bookshop promises an exclusive holiday shopping experience for UWindsor alumni, faculty, and staff Wednesday.

Winter wonderland awaits alumni in Amherstburg

An exclusive after-hours holiday shopping experience awaits UWindsor alumni, faculty, and staff Wednesday in Amherstburg.

Trees, ornaments, decor, candles, gourmet foods, candy, books, cards, and fine stationery — one-of-a-kind gifts from local retailers will be on offer Dec. 6 at the River Bookshop from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

“As a proud U Windsor alum I am pleased to invite all alumni and friends to our beautiful Winter Wonderland in historic Amherstburg,” says Bookshop co-owner and alumnus Richard Peddie (BComm 1970, honorary LLD 2001).

“We have combined the River Bookshop, Evelyn’s Candy House, and White Woods Home into a special holiday shopping experience. Hope to see you there.”

As an added incentive, the first 50 shoppers will receive a gift from the University of Windsor Alumni Association. The store is located at 67 Richmond St., Amherstburg. Register to attend.

woman in spin classThe Toldo Lancer Centre is offering local residents free access to fitness classes and other programming during December.

Lancer Centre opening doors to community in December

The Toldo Lancer Centre is extending some tender loving care into the community this month, offering free access to programming through Dec. 22.

The “TLC at the TLC” promotion enables patrons to attend activities and events, including fitness classes, yoga classes, aquatics programs, and holiday-themed sessions, says Lauryn Rogers, the centre’s membership services and marketing co-oordinator.

“We just want local residents to be able to access the TLC during the month as a chance to enjoy recreation as a free gift to the community,” she says. “And also try to boost people’s spirits before the holidays.”

Registration is required to take advantage of the offer, either online or at the facility’s service desk.

Rogers hopes it will help to introduce the building and its amenities to Windsor and the region.

“Any members of the campus community who knows someone who might like to try us out for free, please let them know about this opportunity,” she says.

A laptop reading 12 Gifts of the OOLidays surrounded by colourful lights and small gift boxesA series of blog posts through Dec. 19 is the “12 Gifts of the OOLidays” from the Office of Open Learning.

Blog series to highlight digital tools for teaching and learning

The Office of Open Learning presents the campus community with a series of gifts in the form of a 12-post blog series that will run from Dec. 4 to 19, published on the Office of Open Learning blog.

The “12 Gifts of the OOLidays” are designed to highlight helpful digital teaching and learning tools, showcase open resources developed at the University of Windsor, and explore some important considerations for navigating our information-abundant digital world, says Ashlyne O’Neil, learning specialist in the Office of Open Learning.

“Given the rapidly changing nature of higher education, our increased efforts toward equity and inclusion, and some of the excellent work being done at our own institution, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to help our campus community explore some of these ideas before the Winter 2024 semester,” O’Neil says.

Posts will be released daily, and topics will include:

  • generative AI
  • open educational resources
  • the Humanizing Digital Learning micro-program
  • perspectives on Indigenous Knowledges and open practice
  • equity in educational technology
  • information abundance
  • online academic identity using WordPress
  • useful open and free technologies including Pressbooks, H5P, and YuJa
  • an online course, “Empowering Bystanders Against Anti-Black Racism”
  • Land acknowledgements

For more information or for support in digital teaching and learning, email or register for courses and workshops. Follow the Office of Open Learning on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, @UWinOpenLearn.

Madame Athena Chang delivers the first offering of the “Beyond Diversity” workshop in May.Madame Athena Chang delivers the first offering of the “Beyond Diversity” workshop in May.

Spots still available for diversity workshop about race

Registration is still open for “Beyond Diversity,” say organizers of the workshop being offered on Dec. 6 and 7.

The in-person, two-day seminar by Courageous Conversations aims to build community, launch innovation, and navigate the predictable pitfalls in interracial, multi-cultural conversations about race.

The workshop will help leaders, employees, and organizations understand the impact of race on their lives, their work, and their overall growth.

Madame Athena Chang will once again facilitate the workshop, which will model and teach a protocol for discussing race in ways that are productive, insightful, and generative.

Chang, who has consulted with numerous non-profits, schools, and private sector companies in building an inclusive, equitable culture, will lead interactive exercises that will strengthen participants’ critical consciousness of race and lead them to investigate the role that racism plays in institutionalizing disparities.

The workshop is presented by the Office of Human Rights Equity and Accessibility (OHREA) in collaboration with the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

The cost of the workshop is typically $850 per person, but OHREA will absorb the cost as part of its institutional commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

To register for this workshop, visit the CTL’s registration system.