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Sydney Hawkins, Jesse PowerEducation students Sydney Hawkins and Jesse Power were two of the participants in a simulation Thursday addressing the challenges of living in poverty.

Simulation provides future teachers with insight into poverty

Teacher candidates in the service-learning course Leadership Experience for Academic Direction (L.E.A.D.), participated in an exercise Thursday and came away with a better understanding of what it means to live on a low income.

The “Living on the Edge” poverty simulation, led by the United Way, had the students take on roles of families trying to provide basic necessities. Some are newly unemployed, some are homeless, some are seniors receiving disability benefits.

Volunteers staff services — employers, social-service agencies, lenders, schools, grocery store, and more. Over the course of four 15-minute periods representing weeks, students find themselves going hungry, being evicted, and falling behind.

After the one-hour simulation, teacher candidates discussed the important learning moments of this experience. The simulation gave them a glimpse into the realities and complexities facing some of the pupils who will be in their classrooms.

Overall, teacher candidates left with a better understanding of poverty, as well as some tools and strategies to help them meet the needs of students in their school communities.

Education major Sydney Hawkins has run through the simulation twice: first acting as a child in a family struggling to pay its bills, later volunteering as a banker.

“It’s super-realistic,” she said. “It makes you more aware of the kinds of circumstances a child may be living with that you don’t always think about when you live a privileged life.”

She said the simulation provided a “tactile” learning experience that involved as much feeling as thinking: “You can relate to it a lot better.”

Her classmate Jesse Power also said he found Thursday’s event valuable.

“The main takeaway is having the benefit of the doubt when students come to us with their situations, to get to the human element,” Power said. “As a teacher, your job is to educate youth, but you’ll see these kids more than they’re at home. They’ll be looking to us for different types of support.”

John Cooper and Zainab IkpongWays of Knowing students John Cooper and Zainab Ikpong suggest projects promoting clean energy and responsible production to BlackBerry executive Neelam Sandhu, Feb. 14 in the Leddy Library.

Project presentations a learning experience for students

Presenting to the vice-president for business operations of tech giant BlackBerry was a unique learning experience for students in professor Tim Brunet’s course Ways of Knowing – Capabilities Approach, Friday in the Leddy Library Student Collaboratory.

Forty-eight students formed groups to pitch ideas on how the company could meet its commitments in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption under the United Nations Global Compact.

The BlackBerry vp, Neelam Sandhu, watched all the pitches through a videoconference link to California.

Fourth-year political science student Alexa Wade called the presentation “the closest thing to workplace experience” in her time as a student.

She and her teammates said BlackBerry could help reduce food waste by creating computer applications that would alert volunteer distributors to available items close to expiry in markets and restaurants.

“This class taught me how to apply what I learned from university to my career life,” said Wade. “Applying all of the knowledge is a great transition as I approach graduation.”

Brunet said that the experiential approach is what sets the course apart from traditional higher education.

“Students work within local-global networks where they take on projects that involve social risks, and that focus on well-being,” he said. “No midterms, no multiple-choice exams, no essays — it’s time on task and the tasks are projects and problem-based learning.”

In the course, students propose solutions to complex problems, complete detailed reflections, and actively engage in robust networks that include their peers, community partners, academics, practitioners, and their professors. 

Wade said she appreciated the difference.

“Most professors teach you all the skills that are theoretical, but Tim is giving us the knowledge and skills so that we will be prepared to walk into the workplace,” she said.

Find a list of experiential learning opportunities across programs in arts, humanities and social sciences on the faculty’s website.

water bottles and glassesBuy one of these water bottles or glasses and get one free, this week in the Campus Bookstore.

Bookstore brandishing buy one, get one free offer

Looking for a break during Study Week? The Campus Bookstore is offering selected items on a buy one, get one free basis:

Plus Lancer pillows

The spring break sale, with its 25 per cent discount on all T-shirts, shorts, and tank tops, continues through Feb. 20.

Check out the selection in the store, located on the lower level of the CAW Student Centre.

piles of booksThe Leddy Library is displaying works by black authors in observance of Black History Month.

Library display celebrates black authors

A display in the Leddy Library encourages readers to explore the works of black authors, including Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker.

Piles of their books from the library’s stacks sit below posters of biographical sketches on the first floor, opposite the information desk. The exhibit is in observance of Black History Month.

Founding dean of human kinetics turns 90

The Faculty of Human Kinetics issued 90th birthday congratulations Monday to Pat Galasso, its founding dean.

Dr. Galasso helmed the establishment in 1965 of what was then called the the School of Physical and Health Education, only the second faculty in the Commonwealth in this field of study.

Galasso and his wife retired in 1997 and returned to Kingston, where they met. They love dancing, attending grad seminars, and volunteering in a program to help students cope with the demands of post-secondary life.

They especially love attending varsity sporting events and thrive on connecting with any University of Windsor student, athlete, or coach who lands in Kingston.

Michael Khan, dean of the Faculty of Human Kinetics, wished Galasso a happy birthday and continued health.

“We thank Pat for his leadership and imagination in making the faculty what it is today,” he said. “Through his vision, the success of our students remains our top priority.”

—Martin Vaughan

series of images of Pat Galasso

Pat Galasso, founding dean of the Faculty of Human Kinetics, celebrated his 90th birthday Monday.

Infrastructure fund gives boost to UWindsor research

Nine University of Windsor research projects recently received $1,757,036 in funding initiated by the Ontario Research Fund – Small Infrastructure.

K.W. Michael Siu, UWindsor vice-president research and innovation, said the funding will support economic gains and job creation within the province.

“Generous funding by the Ontario Research Fund will support research projects at the University of Windsor that advance biotechnologies, catalysis, energy systems and structural engineering,” said Dr. Siu. “These projects will train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and develop high-value products that will lead eventually to economic gains and job creation.”

In his funding announcement, Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington, said the funds are intended to help researchers build or upgrade state-of-the-art labs and equipment, and support key projects focused on industry and human health.

“Chatham-Kent, Leamington, Essex, and Windsor are home to world-class researchers,” he said. “Having the latest technology will help researchers at UWindsor contribute to a strong Ontario.”