Submitted on behalf of Prof. Sarah Gergel, Associate Dean Academic

Dear faculty,

Welcome to October! I’d like to summarize and share a few bits of information that might be helpful as we approach the middle of the term and also introduce a few new teaching resources.

Classroom Technology & Teaching Support

As you are hopefully aware, Michelle Zeng and her Teaching & Learning Support team can always be reached by email at They are happy to support you with any Canvas, online learning and tech issues in the classroom. A wide range of tipsheets, developed specifically for UBC Forestry, can also be found here.

In addition, they continue to host weekly ongoing drop-in sessions (Fridays at noon) which you can join here. This coming Friday they are hosting a special workshop on using Canvas Quizzes, described below.

Canvas Workshop: Assignments, Quizzes, and Gradebook

The Teaching and Learning Support Team will be hosting a workshop to introduce the assignments, quizzes, and gradebook on Canvas on October 7 (Friday, 1-2 pm) during the weekly drop-in session. Instructors and TAs who are unfamiliar with Canvas grading are welcome to join the Zoom meeting.

New this year, we have also just launched an automated mid-term class check-in for our students, which consists of a very brief Qualtrics survey. The survey asks four questions (see below) and will be available from now until October 16. All you need to do is post the link on your course Canvas page and/or email it to your class list. Then, the results of the survey for your particular class will be emailed to you during the week of October 17.

  • What is the most important/valuable thing you have learned in this course so far?
  • What things do you like best about this course (which should be continued)? List up to 3 ideas.
  • Do you have any suggestions about how to improve this course to better support your learning?
  • How are you managing this term overall, in terms of stress, health, and workload?

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

If you run into problems or concerns with plagiarism or academic integrity with a specific student, ADS Scott Hinch ( is your first point of contact. However, I wanted to also let you know more generally about some of the broader policy developments currently happening at UBC. UBC is in the process of building and beta-testing an academic integrity hub which provides non-punitive ways to turn an incident into more of a teachable moment. I encourage you to check out this resource and keep an eye out as it evolves.

New TA meeting pods in the atrium

If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to check out our lovely new workspaces in the atrium specifically for TAs. The space is near the stairwell by the Forestry Undergraduate Lounge. Our TAs can book a spot at one of three tables in the “pod” to meet with students (see attached instructions for how to reserve space in the pod).

Pandemic Safety and Masking

Finally, although masks are no longer required in our classrooms, I would like to remind everyone that masks are, indeed, still recommended at UBC. As you heard from the Dean at the beginning of the term, we are encouraging and supporting mask-wearing as much as possible. As we approach the wetter colder indoor season, and COVID-19 and flu cases are expected to rise, we encourage everyone to model mask-wearing in our classrooms. We are also providing two KN95 masks per week available to everyone for the duration of the semester (or till they run out) and have specifically set aside 7,000 masks for our GTA’s/UTA’s to ensure that they are covered for the term.

Here’s where you can find free masks in our faculty:

  • Grad students including GTAs may get their masks from the grad student office (FSC2644)
  • UG students including UTA/UAAs – may get their masks from the UG student office (FSC2609)
  • Faculty and staff can get masks from their respective department admin personnel: FRM (Scheyla and Zoe in room 2045); FCS (Natasha/Andrea in room 3041); Wood 2801 (Marc/Ivy in room 2801); Dean’s Office (Nicole/Jen in room 2005)

Lastly, I’d like to again welcome all of our new and newish faculty members who are tackling teaching for the first time this term. Please don’t be shy about reaching out to your senior peers, Program Directors as well as myself if you have questions or concerns as the semester continues to unfold. I can always be reached for a quick chat using the link below.

I look forward to seeing you all and hearing how your teaching is going.