Incoming and existing Geography majors will get a handbook about their Geography community this coming Fall. I sit down with Jialin Yang, former VP-Academic of the GSA, to talk about this project.
How did this idea of an undergraduate handbook come out?
The initial idea came out of the feedback from the Undergraduate Geography Surveys. There seems to be a strong need for clear and concise information for students that they can find and interpret easily. Working in the Arts Academic Advising office has given me some insight into the questions students have that could be easily answered through a handbook. As it stands, there is no cohesive information source that students can easily access and understand that is in one place. I did some research online and found some examples of other institutions or departments that had handbooks and they all seem to be positively received. UBC is such a huge campus and since Geography straddles both the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Arts, so I felt that was a need for Geography-specific resource that combined elements of the Vancouver Academic Calendar and the Geography website, along with information about events and people in the Geography community.
What would it look like? How would students be able to get a copy?
For now, I think it will be sent out as a PDF for all Geography students and available on the website. I’m not sure if there is a budget for getting printed copies.
What kind of information would be in it? What kind of resources or policies are covered?
I’m focusing on common registration and course planning questions, who’s who in the department, GSA information, Geography events, lab information, opportunities and careers, and so on.
Interview by Mimi Yu with Jialin Yang