On-island semester growing

  • Jan. 13, 2012 6:00 p.m.

The Haida Gwaii Semester for 2012 has started with a full class. The semester¬-five courses offered by the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society-started Monday. The HGHES is a non-profit society working to creating university-level education opportunities on Haida Gwaii since 2009. Past years included a field graduate course with SFU, field schools and two previous Haida Gwaii semesters.This winter’s class has 20 full-time students, from ten universities from across Canada, and one part-time student from Port Clements, said HGHES Executive Director, Jennifer Dysart. “We value the idea of a diverse student body,” Ms Dysart said “because we value a holistic approach to education.”The students are mostly undergraduates, but the group contains two PhD students and a Master’s student, she said, “because of the broad approach we’re taking, it’s not just of interest to undergraduates.”The size of the class is up from the first two years of the program. It had nine students the first year and sixteen students in its second. “We like the idea of an intimate class size,” said Ms Dysart, “because we encourage discussion.”Students will attend lectures at the Haida Heritage Centre, participate in field trips throughout the islands and hear guest speakers from the community. Instructors from SFU and York University will present the courses, as well as islanders Hilary Thorpe and Lynn Lee.The classes started Jan. 9 and run through to the middle of April, and are third-year conservation courses. Full-time students will earn 15 credits from UBC for their work. Courses will cover topics such as rainforest management, diversifying resource-based communities and First Nations involvement in forest management. “It’s an integrated approach to the environmental, social and economic aspects of resource management,” said Ms Dysart.