About Student Directed Seminars

Leadership in Social Enterprise Seminar

Leadership in Social Enterprise Seminar

What is the Student Directed Seminars Program?

The Student Directed Seminars (SDS) program is a student-driven experience that allows undergraduate students to take charge of their education. An expansion of the directed studies option offered by most departments, the SDS program provides upper-year undergraduate students with the opportunity to participate in an enriched educational experience by initiating, coordinating, and leading small, collaborative, group learning experiences for their peers on a topic of their choosing.

The UBC program began in 1999, and is modeled on a student-directed seminar program at the University of California at Berkeley.

Who can coordinate or participate in a Student Directed Seminar?

All upper-year (3rd year and higher) undergraduate students are eligible to coordinate and/or participate in a Student Directed Seminar. Please note that there are limits on the number of times students may register in an SDS: once as coordinator, once as a participant.

What is the process of developing a Student Directed Seminar?

Upper-year undergraduate students may propose for consideration a course not currently offered at UBC-Vancouver. Having identified and secured a faculty sponsor for their proposed seminar, students develop a preliminary course outline and submit it, along with other application materials, to the SDS Advisory Committee for review. The Committee considers all submitted proposals for final approval.

If their proposal is approved, students undertake significant training to develop seminar facilitation and coordination skills, and work with a variety of individuals to develop their seminar’s syllabus and materials. The seminar is then made available for registration to upper-year students at UBC-Vancouver as a 3-credit, upper level course. Minimum enrolment for each seminar is 8; the maximum is 15.

What are the advantages of participating in a Student Directed Seminar?

Student Directed Seminars provide an avenue through which undergraduates can become active participants in UBC’s community of learners. Student coordinators have the unique opportunity to work closely with a faculty member to explore a topic and gain facilitation experience. Participants, as members of a self-directed group, also have a high degree of control over their own learning experiences. Their learning is enhanced through participation in a small class of highly-motivated students who are mutually-enthusiastic about the seminar’s subject. While seminars are discussion-based, in the past, they have involved in-depth projects, presentations, guest lectures, and a Community Service Learning component, among others.

Please see Past Courses for a full listing of past seminars and Faculty Sponsors.

Comments from 2012-2013 Coordinators and Participants

“It has been the most wonderful and insightful educational experience of my life. Period.” (Coordinator)

“Having the opportunity to coordinate a seminar has instilled a level of personal agency over my learning that I would not have likely obtained from the traditional classroom environment. I felt an internal sense of purpose, duty, and confidence. I now possess a host of new skill sets, expanding my personal resources both instrumentally and emotionally.” (Coordinator)

“It was an interesting dynamic that allowed for views to be shared outside of the usual lecture seminar. It was a meeting of equals, all of us contributing and making a space for ourselves.” (Participant)

“It was strange not having a professor, but it also felt more comfortable and open.” (Participant)

“This is an incredible forum for discussion, venturing into meaningful topics that pressed all the students to question themselves, their peers, the authors.” (Participant)

Want To Get Involved?

As a Seminar Participant

Check out the 2013-2014 Student Directed Seminars page to see a full list of seminars being offered this year. As a seminar participant, you would have the opportunity to fully engage with your education. From helping to edit the course syllabus and choose your readings, to peer marking, to lecturing the class, each student’s participation is vital in shaping the form and learning outcomes for the seminar.

As a Seminar Coordinator

Applications are no longer being accepted for 2013-2014 Student Directed Seminars.

Applications for the 2014-2015 academic year will open in January 2014. Please check out the Application Process page for more information about how to apply to be a SDS coordinator.

Frequently Asked Questions

Listen to a SDS Podcast

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Center for Student Involvement & Careers
Brock Hall
1002-1874 East Mall,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1, Canada
Tel: 604.822.9805
Tlell Elviss
Centre for Student Involvement & Careers
1002-1874 East Mall (Brock Hall),
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1, Canada

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