Terry Talks: Wish Update

Although, I would love to apply the famous words of Mary Shelly’s Dr. Frankenstein, “Its alive!!!” to the 2008 Wish “Its still alive!!” may be more accurate.

Many of you may have thought the contrary. Thought that no work had been done on the Wish and it had slowly disintegrated in the minds of those who were supposed to guide its progress from wish to reality.  Well fellow Terry supporters, I’m here to tell you that this is not the case.

Progress has been made in the Wish. The biggest change you might notice is a refinement in its scope. When I first presented the Wish (here) it had a very long list of things that would be included: a conference, a website, a kind of academic-Facebook, and the ability for independent classes to explore tangible links between disciplines. In regards to most of these plans, they have been placed on hold.

There are two major reasons for this. Firstly, each of these dreams is a project in and of itself. We just don’t have the man-power, money, or time to see them all through. That doesn’t mean that they won’t happen, I just think that we need to prioritize something so that we can get it done and have something to show for it. Secondly, there is a risk in some of these goals of being redundant. There are so many services, groups, and projects at UBC that it is hard to find something that no one else is trying. For example, the Terry website is a great place to engage students on crossdiscipline issues. Because of this, I’ve focused in on what I believe to be a truly unique and central part of what was presented as IF: the classroom partnerships.

Running with this new focus, there have been several successes. Firstly, after an application process I was selected to attend the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative University meeting in Austin, TX. This is a conference where university students from all over the world come together to discuss projects that they are working that produce ‘real, measurable, tangible goals’ the work to solve global problems. The focus issues are Education, Energy and Climate Change, Global Health, and Human Rights and Peace. Students just like us are doing fantastic things and changing the world. Check out all the details here. I met lots of awesome students as well as important individuals (notably Paul Begala, Myron Rolle, Natalie Portman, and sexy Matthew McConaughey). I even had a chance to briefly speak to the former President himself and describe IF in about 45 seconds. He said he liked it (and I almost fainted with joy).

At the end of it all, the project became not only a Terry Wish, but also a CGIU Commitment to Action, which provides it increased awareness and legitimacy.

There has also been a bit of a name change to the project. As attached as I was to IF, Integrated Forum just doesn’t describe the renewed focus. We are now functioning under the working title of UBC MIX (as in mix up your education). It doesn’t stand for anything…but who cares; its catchy as hell, memorable, and conveys what the project is trying to do.

Now I’m in the process of making UBC MIX a reality. How do we do this? We start by finding professors and instructors who might be interested in, and excited about giving it a shot. If we can find enough interest we are going to try to get some partnerships off the ground to run some pilot partnerships this September.

What exactly does a partnership entail? This is the great part about the project. A classroom partnership can be as deep or as shallow as the two profs want. It could be as extensive as an assignment pairing up students from two disciplines to accomplish a task requiring both of their unique skills, to casual discussions surrounding how the two fields are connected. It is simple, flexible, but most importantly tangible. With some dedicated faculty, this could really add some relevance to UBC students degrees.

That’s where you come in. Have you had an instructor who you think would be perfect for MIX? If so then send an e-mail to ubc.mix@gmail.com with your suggestions. And stay tuned for more updates (they will come more frequently now).

We’re back in business.

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Geoff is a 5th year student who studying a double major in Integrated Science (Evolutionary ecology, virology) and Political Science. He was the 'Wish' speaker at the 2008 Terry Talks and is passionate about university education, especially when it comes to interdisciplinary experiences. After graduation Geoff wants to find a job that allows him to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds and share stories. If your savvy enough you can follow Geoff on Twitter - user: gcosteloe.