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Terri Fletcher standing in front of dig site along Sandwich Street.Terri Fletcher earned course credit as well as income as an intern on an archeological dig at the site of the new roundabout in Sandwich.

Student digs work on archeological site

Terri Fletcher has seen her share of dirt.

The history and women’s studies major spent the summer sifting through soil as part of an archeological dig at the site of the new roundabout in Sandwich. It was a paid internship that earned Fletcher course credit as well as income, but the Missanabie Cree woman and founder of UWindsor’s Native Student Alliance said it also gave her the opportunity to honour the history of the Indigenous peoples who once called the shores of Detroit River home.

“It was an interesting job,” said Fletcher. “You learn a lot about soils and the layers of historical reference.”

Fletcher, a former autoworker who returned to school at age 51 to earn a bachelor’s degree and will pursue her master’s in history in the new year, kept her two other jobs while working on the dig. She works nights at the Windsor Star’s printing facility and for the City of Windsor as a housing advocate at the Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre.

Before Fletcher joined the dig in May, workers found a projectile point believed to date to 7500 BC. It is believed to be the oldest artifact ever found in the Windsor area.

Fletcher said the most significant item she unearthed was a fragment of a pipe — a short section of stem connected to part of the carved bowl. In speaking of the artifact, she cups her hand as if she is cradling it still. It was creamy white against the dark soil.

It was hot, dirty work, but extremely educational, Fletcher said.

“Whenever someone found something, we would pass it around and talk about it.”

She also found a clay marble likely dating from the 1800s — a predecessor to the tiny glass spheres that were later mass produced as children’s toys. But Fletcher said most of what she unearthed were mundane items like bottle caps and pennies.

She recounts the excitement at the site after a co-worker digging near a light fixture discovered a large clay pot. Workers wrapped the largely intact vessel in tin foil to keep it from crumbling.

The city commissioned Hamilton-based Fisher Archaeological Consultants to conduct the dig and to clean, analyze, and catalogue the items found.

In the spring, the company’s president contacted UWindsor’s Maria Cioppa, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, offering paid summer internships. Fletcher was one of three students who worked on the dig and completed course work related to it.

The placement was intended to earn students a credit in science, but Fletcher got hers applied to history, explained Michelle Bondy, instructor in the internship course.

“There are lots of experiential learning opportunities in science,” she said. Working for Fisher Archeological Consultants was a one-off, but regular internships involve working in labs on campus, working at the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, at the Ojibway Nature Centre, or in local high schools.

At the dig, there were thousands of items collected — arrow heads, shards of pottery, buttons, bits of brass, and fragments of tools made of bone.

Russell Nahdee, co-ordinator of the Aboriginal Education Centre, said the artifacts confirm the oral history of Indigenous people along the Detroit River. “It’s the Indigenous lived experience.”

Dean Jacobs, former chief of the Walpole Island First Nation and founding director of the Walpole Island Heritage Centre, said he considers the ongoing archeological dig near the Ambassador Bridge and the completed one at the roundabout where the statue of Sir Isaac Brock and Chief Tecumseh now stands to be one large site.

“We characterize it as a village site,” Dr. Jacobs said. “It demonstrates that there is a long occupation by our ancestors.”

Some of the artifacts found were displayed at the city’s Chimczuk Museum earlier this year. There has been no decision on where they will be housed once Fisher has completed its work.

“We’d like to find a way to celebrate those artifacts,” Jacobs said.

—Sarah Sacheli


History and women’s studies major Terri Fletcher displays a fragment of a pipe, one of thousands of artifacts found during an archeological dig on the site of the Sandwich Street roundabout just west of the UWindsor campus.

survey formA survey asks UWindsor faculty and staff about their experiences and challenges while working with international students.

Survey to aid in understanding the international student experience at UWindsor

A survey to consult with UWindsor faculty and staff on their experiences and challenges while working with international students will help the University establish effective practices to support them, says Beth Oakley, director of the International Student Centre.

She notes that their ranks have grown to the point where in the Fall 2018 semester, international students — full-time, part-time, undergraduate and graduate students — make up 22 per cent of the student body and represent 92 countries.

A working group consisting of representatives from Academic Advising, Career Development and Experiential Learning, the Centre for English Language Development, Faculty of Graduate Studies, the International Student Centre, Office of the Associate Vice President Enrolment Management - Marketing, the Office of the Registrar, Residence Services, and Student Recruitment has been meeting to discuss the unique needs of international students and how best to support them.

Oakley says the goal of the survey is to determine potential knowledge gaps that may exist when working with and referring international students to the appropriate support services.

“We are not judging or evaluating current practices,” she says. “This information will be used to help us learn and share best practices currently implemented on campus and to understand how we can better support the campus with serving the international student population.”

The survey will take five to seven minutes to complete, is anonymous and confidential, and allows respondents to withdraw at any time. Take the survey online.

Should you have any questions in this regard, contact Oakley at oakleyb@uwindsor.ca.

Judy BornaisProfessor Judy Bornais has accepted a two-year extension as executive director of the Office of Experiential Learning.

Executive director of experiential learning accepts two-year extension

A two-year extension of Judy Bornais’ tenure as executive director will provide continuity for the Office of Experiential Learning, acting provost Jeff Berryman said in announcing the appointment.

“This appointment will give stability to the Office of Experiential Learning at a time when providing opportunities for experiential learning and co-op education are concrete ways to add immeasurably to a student’s experiences and, as a consequence, are in much demand,” he said.

He called Bornais “a recognized leader on campus for her work in faculty career and student educational development” and noted that since taking the reins in July 2018, she has increased the number of co-op learning placements and experiential learning opportunities.