Course Description

GRS 290/390/490:


**Note: Course description for 2017/18 coming soon.


The rationale of this program is to bring GRS students together so that you can get to know one another and form a community of learners for sharing cross cultural experiences and perspectives on global issues.  This course will connect you to your GRS colleagues before they go abroad for their international experience, while they are abroad, and after they return to campus.

You are required to take GRS 290, 390, and 490 during the time that you are enrolled in the GRS program.  This will ensure that you are part of a GRS community of learners from the time you enter the program until you graduate.  You can contribute different questions and different perspectives to the learning process as you develop academically and personally throughout your undergraduate program.  In your last year, you can focus on global leadership development as you assist new GRS students in understanding global issues and being effective in their international settings.

Whether abroad or on campus, you will interact and share perspectives on-line that will help both groups understand their place in a global world and build skills as global citizens.  In addition to on-line participation, you will attend a series of face-to-face classes during the time you are on campus.

Learning Outcomes 

  • Interact and learn from student colleagues, both in the classroom and on-line.
  • Recognize cultural differences and value cultural diversity (academic, agricultural, gender, ethnicity, nationality).
  • Identify the different stages of cultural shock and describe alternative approaches for dealing with them.
  • Articulate important global issues that relate to agriculture, food, and natural resource systems.
  • Describe the interrelationship between global issues, regional issues, local issues, and culture.
  • Interpret your area of resource specialization within the context of the global community.


Dr. Les Lavkulich, Program Director, Global Resource Systems, Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Roxana Quinde, Coordinator, Global Partnerships, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
Office: MacMillan 344
Phone: 604-822-0181


You will be assessed on your attendance and contribution in class and on-line, through asking questions, raising global issues, contributing responses, stimulating debate, and sharing cultural experiences.  Following your international experience, you will prepare a poster presentation to be displayed on poster night toward the end of the term and post information on the GRS blog site about your exchange or internship.  You will also be assessed on assignments and on the content and delivery of your poster.

The grading system for the course is pass/fail.

Requirements for assignments can be met in one of three opions:

Option A: Discussion Groups & Members

Welcome to the GRS 290/390/490 discussion groups!  Discussion topics that will emerge from the class will be posted on-line on the GRS blog site:

The same topics will be discussed by all groups, but within the context of each particular region.

Further details and instructions will be provided during our class session about the GRS blog site, on September 23th.  The first discussion topic will be posted in the Discussion Section of the GRS blog site on September 24th.

Discussion Groups

 You can come at the questions from any angle you choose; from that of your resource specialization, from personal experience in your region, from information you gather in the news or on the internet … and perspective is welcome!  Try to be as specific as you can in your contributions.  If you can back up your opinion with examples or case studies in your region, great!  And please remember to follow the discussion forum guidelines.  The idea is to learn from each other and generate some thought-provoking conversations.

Commonly Asked Questions

Where do I post?

The format and location for the discussion groups is within the GRS blog site.

How often do I post?

There will be five or six discussion topics posted during each term.  You need to post at least five discussion items during each term.  Response to a class member’s discussion posting will be included as a posting for you.

When do I post?

Each topic will start on Thursday morning and ends on the following Wednesday evening.  You can post at any time within that period.  Please do your utmost to contribute on time to each topic.  You can continue posting comments to past topics as well, but this doesn’t exempt you from contributing to the current discussion.  Blog postings should be completed by Monday, December 14th.

Option B. Submit a 1000 to 1200 word page synopsis regarding the GRS classes that had the greatest impact on your perception of global issues in a cultural context during term 1.  Please submit the synopsis to Brent via e-mail ( no later than Monday, December 14th.  Synopses will be posted to a synopsis site on the GRS blog site in early January.

Option C. This option involves a combination of some blog posts and a shorter synopsis to be determined in consultation with Brent.  Blog posts and the synopsis should be completed by Monday, December 14th.  The synopsis portion will be posted to the GRS blog site in early January.

On-Campus Component

 Contact: For all matters regarding the on campus component please email Roxana Quinde (

Attendance:  Attendance is mandatory.  You must sign your name on the class list that will be circulating during each class.  IF you cannot attend a class for a valid reason, you must send an e-mail before the class to both Roxana and Brent.

Schedule for Term 1:

**Note: Course description for 2017/18 coming soon.

Date Topic
September 9 Introductions; Ice Breaker Activities based on Regional and Resource Interests
September 12  (Saturday) Volunteer day,  11:00 am to 4:00 pm:  Orchard Garden  on West Mall – the entrance is near the intersection of West Mall and Larkin Drive.
September 16 No class
September 23 Group discussions based on reading regarding water.   Bakker, K., 2014. The Business of Water: Market Environmentalism in the Water Sector. Annual Review of Environmental Resources 39:469 – 494. Prepare for September  30th debate
September 30 Debates representing different sectors about  water resources
October  7 No class
October  14 The Federal Election:  Invited Speaker  TBA
October 21 Connecting with GRS Alumni
October 28  Invited speakers from Community Learning Initiative; LFS Development Office
November 4  Marketing Your Skills:  career day; preparing for jobs, graduate school; summer employment; internships; etc
November 11 Remembrance Day
November 18 guest speaker : Dr. Hans Schrierer, Faculty of Land and Food Systems,  regarding water resources and conservation
November 25 No class
December 2 GRS Poster Session and GRS Potluck dinner

The schedule for term 2 (January to April) will be posted in early January.