Learning & Advocacy at UBC

Over 100 UBC undergraduate students from across the Faculty of Arts have conducted research in support of SAR’s global programming.  Learn more about some of these projects below.

We invite faculty members and students from across UBC to get in touch if they would like to integrate SAR’s work into their own courses.

Sociology Course on Inequality

In this course, students had the opportunity to engage in research for the Scholars at Risk Network in lieu of another substantial assignment.  Specifically, students interested in gender inequality (a major theme of the course) were asked to explore threats to academic freedom through a gender lens and conduct research on the case of Dr. Hatoon al-Fassi, an Associate Professor of Women’s history who was imprisoned for her work on women’s rights. Students engaged in media monitoring and analysis on this and related cases which were shared with SAR’s advocacy teams to inform ongoing advocacy work. Student deliverables included detailed web resources and infographics to help raise awareness.

Political Science Course International Relations

In this course, the issue of racism as a threat to peace and security globally and locally was an ongoing theme—as such, students could explore one facet of racism through an optional assignment, namely racism as a threat to Academic Freedom.  Students engaged in media monitoring of threats to Academic Freedom that were underpinned by racism in Canada, the US, and the UK.  Alongside these media monitoring reports, students also compiled annotated bibliographies of how universities have responded to such threats.  This culminated in an executive summary to the Scholars at Risk network where students engaged in a critical analysis of how universities are responding to racism as a threat to Academic Freedom. These reports have been shared with and SAR staff looking at racial injustice in SAR programming.

Co-Curricular Research on Academic Freedom and COVID 19

In association with the Office for Regional and International Community Engagement (ORICE), over a dozen students took on the challenge of exploring how the ever-evolving COVID19 Pandemic has impacted Academic Freedom. Groups of students conducted media monitoring and analysis on the varied ways in which COVID created unique threats to Academic Freedom around the world.  Students summarized and analyzed threats from around the world, whilst also proposing concrete policy suggestions to SAR. These findings were also formally presented through a virtual stakeholders meeting, with students presenting findings and suggestions to stakeholders from SAR, SAR-Canada, and UBC administrators.

Directed Studies

An individual undergraduate student with a personal interest in threats to Academic Freedom worked one-on-one with a faculty member to design their own directed studies, for-credit course. Alongside other academic work, the student completed book reviews on recent works related to Academic Freedom and in doing so highlighted current trends and debates related to Academic Freedom. His analysis has been shared with SAR staff working on SAR’s Free to Think and will inform future iterations of this annual report.

Student Advocacy Seminar: Advocating for Scholars in Prison

Several UBC have students participated in SAR Student Advocacy Seminars over the past 3 years. These seminars focus on producing work and engaging in advocacy in support of SAR’s Scholars in Prison Project.

In the latest iteration of the course, students focused on five cases, engaging in media monitoring on each case and producing a full human rights dossier. These dossiers provide in-depth biographical research and insight into relevant legal and political contexts that might prove useful in advocacy efforts and also help map potential advocacy efforts for each case. These dossiers are used by SAR’s advocacy staff to inform ongoing advocacy efforts in each case.  Students also engaged in their own advocacy for each imprisoned scholar.  Learn more about individual imprisoned scholars and UBC student advocacy below: