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Looking back to move forward

Exploring priority one of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management's new strategic plan.

May 16, 2024 — 

Dr. Brian Rice, a professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, says he came to the faculty because it is at the forefront of something special. What ‘it’ is exactly is more challenging to define, but that excites him. 

“I think we are the ones who are going to be able to create what the future can be,” Rice says. “And that excites me about being here and seeing the opportunities of what can happen.”

Rice says there are endless possibilities for building healthy communities through innovative academic programs, priority one in FKRM’s new strategic plan. While innovation often evokes ideas of the future with new technology, Rice says it’s equally valuable to look at our history when forging ahead.

“These new terms come about based on old ideas,” says Rice. “We’re trying to bring the past forward.”

Rice, whose work explores land-based education, says he looks at four main components in his studies: history, culture, physicality, and the natural world. He says the faculty, its programming, and people are at a crossroads, not just of those four components but of the past and future. These crossroads allow a community of trust and understanding to flourish.

“We’re building community, and it’s Indigenous, non-Indigenous, new immigrants, people who have been here for a while, and more all coming together and exploring and experiencing something simultaneously.”

Dr. Brian Rice sitting outside during an interview

Dr. Brian Rice

Rice says a stronger community will help create innovation throughout the faculty. However, he says innovation will look different for different people.

Dr. Trisha Scribbans, an associate professor in the faculty, says innovation is about reflecting on past experiences and trying new things.

“You want to change things slowly over time, see what works, maybe adjust the direction you’re heading in, but always going toward your goal,” Scribbans says. “Picking up little pieces of information along the way to try new things.”

She also says that while the word can feel large and overwhelming, innovation is about many small actions over a long period.

“Things may seem like a small change, but actually, it’s extremely impactful,” says Scribbans.

Dr. Trisha Scribbans during an interview in her lab

Dr. Trisha Scribbans

For Scribbans, many changes have come from listening to the community built within the faculty, often reflecting on conversations with students. Rice says listening to the community and understanding who you are working with and where they come from allows us to learn better and move forward in new directions.

“I think it helps a lot in coming together as a fuller community here,” says Rice. “It makes you reimagine and think about how you approach things.”

Scribbans says the chance for new strategies to empower students is truly exciting. For her, the most impactful education the faculty can create is helping to foster students into becoming lifelong learners.

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