Natalie Forssman

Faculty: Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Faculty website:

Teaching Fellow: 2023 

Courses: SUST/GEOG 201, SUST 104, SUST 202 & 302, ANTH 344, ANTH 345

Teaching and Learning Activities related to Teaching Fellows

  • Co-Leader of Community of Practice on “Access, Inclusion, and Place-based Teaching” along with fellow UBCO Teaching Fellow, Dr. Robin Young (Biology) and Educational Consultant for Inclusion Electra Eleftheriadou. We are exploring how we can build a community of practice with our diverse teaching practices at its centre by engaging in non-evaluative teaching observation of our peers and reflection on our own teaching as we observe one another.
  • SoTL Seed Grant on “Interdisciplinarity and Power, Privilege, and Positionality in Community-Engaged Sustainability Teaching and Learning,” with Dr. Vikas Menghwani. We are interested in exploring how interdisciplinary ways of thinking and doing develop through the Bachelor of Sustainability program, and how learning about difference across disciplines, and through engagements beyond the university, are related.
  • FASS Curricular and Teaching Innovation Grant and ALT-2040 projects on access and inclusion in environmental humanities, and on building community and capacity for place-based teaching in the social sciences and humanities, with Dr. Astrida Neimanis.
  • Community-engaged teaching fellow at the Centre for Community Engaged Research at UBC-V in Summer 2023. Currently working on building connections across our campus around community-engaged teaching to support the Bachelor of Sustainability’s multi-year service-learning program, and working with great colleagues to build reciprocal community partner relationships for teaching and learning.
  • Advocating for a role for scholarship of teaching and learning research in the new x̌əl sic snpax̌nwixʷtn building through co-leading an application for Sustainability Teaching across the Bachelor of Sustainability and IGS Sustainability

Teaching Fellow opportunity provides

“Connections across faculties and departments to advance a culture of reflection, scholarship, and friendship around teaching and learning on our campus. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about exciting initiatives and new perspectives, and to work collectively and collaboratively.”


Teaching Passions and Philosophy

“I have been exposed to a lot of different disciplines across the humanities, social, and natural sciences—and learned to think and work across them—in my own educational journey. From relentlessly curious and committed mentors, I have learned that social and environmental problems are best tackled through the edges and intersections of perspective and disciplines. So, I am passionate about exposing students to complex, multidimensional problems that require working collaboratively, and with a non-reductive, intersectional, and justice-driven approach.

Many students have been taught to revere Western science and take its findings as contextless and universal truths. I am driven to open their eyes to the complexities of how knowledge is generated, to help them imagine and enact more equitable and inclusive knowledges and futures. I also want students to learn to reflect on their own positionality and learning, including what their passions and strengths are, and what they can do with that self-knowledge, so reflection and unlearning are big commitments of my teaching philosophy and practice as well.”


Ongoing and Future Goals

  • Be involved and meaningfully engaged in efforts to decolonize the curriculum and bring Indigenous ways of knowing to more teaching, and to centre the knowledge and needs of Indigenous students and faculty in this process. This year, it was a great honor to work with colleagues in Indigenous Studies to begin to re-design the delivery of first-year required Indigenous Studies courses, as the audience of these courses expands across our campus.
  • Work collaboratively with other faculty, staff, and community partners to build positive, reciprocal, and long-term partnership for community engaged teaching, and contribute to cross-campus efforts to support and coordinate collective efforts.
  • Contribute to building a community of practitioners for place-based teaching on our campus, making these opportunities more accessible and inclusive for faculty to develop, and for students to participate in.
  • Participate in building structures that support interdisciplinary teaching, including SoTL research, institutional support for paired teaching, and recognition of interdisciplinary teaching and learning as a key strength of UBC Okanagan. Continue to build relationships with the amazing fellow educators and staff across our campus.