Earth Day 2022 – The Role of Higher Education

The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) community is dedicated (in it’s role as a leading faculty of education) to addressing the climate crisis and furthering sustainability and climate action in the education context. Over the past year, OISE has developed a Sustainability & Climate Action Plan and launched the Sustainability & Climate Action Network. As a member of the OISE community, the OISE Library is committed to advancing climate action through various activities including promoting access to resources that support climate action initiatives and highlight the influence of teaching, research, and advocacy to address the climate crisis.

In this post we highlight just a few of many e-books and articles that address the role higher education plays in promoting sustainability knowledge and initiatives that create climate solutions.


Education and Climate Change: The Role of Universities (2021 e-book) edited by Fernando M. Reimers, is an open access volume that examines the field of climate change education and highlights past efforts that have failed to sustain effective academic change on a large scale. The book also focuses on the participation of university students and faculty in fostering partnerships with schools and adult education institutions as a viable approach to contributing progressive curricula about climate change. Through several case studies, this approach of developing innovative curriculum is exemplified as the foundation and characteristics of the programs implemented in local contexts is presented and illustrated over the course of several chapters.

University Initiatives in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation (2019 e-book) edited by Walter Leal Filho and Rafael Leal-Arcas examines the role that higher education institutions play in addressing climate change mitigation and challenges to adaptation. This book offers lessons learned from climate change research, education, studies, and projects in the context of universities across the globe which in turn have promoted new ideas and experiences that have resulted in successful initiatives and best practices.


Turtle Island (North America) Indigenous Higher Education Institutions and Environmental Sustainability Education (2021 article) by Kelsey Leonard investigates Indigenous sustainability education program offerings throughout North America. This article offers a comparative analysis of programming across Indigenous Higher Education Institutions and presents findings that emphasize the significance of environmental and sustainability education program design as presented in Indigenous Higher Education Institutions. The findings also support the importance of Indigenous controlled institutions to centering Indigenous Knowledge in higher education which offers a distinctive approach to climate action.

Assessing climate solutions and taking climate leadership: how can universities prepare their students for challenging times? (2022 article) by P. Molthan-Hill and L. Blaj-Ward initiates discourse surrounding the importance of redesigning university learning to create space where students can address the challenges of climate activism in a way that is personal and meaningful to society. This article refers to the limited number of studies that are currently available to illustrate the importance of climate learning and leadership while drawing on the tools, approaches, and strategies made applicable to curricula to conduct meaningful learning and impact beyond the classroom.

The effect of information source on higher education students’ sustainability knowledge (2021 article) by Jessica Ostrow Michael and Adam Zwickle presents a study of undergraduate students attending Michigan State University assessing their knowledge of environmental sustainability and where their learning source on the topic originated from. The findings suggest that the knowledge students garnered on the topic of sustainability and environmental education at the secondary and post-secondary level had a positive influence on their approach to sustainability knowledge. These findings were drawn in comparison to the limited knowledge students gained from their parents regarding the environment.

Further research support

For assistance finding additional titles related to the role of higher education in promoting climate action (or any other topic!), we welcome all students, faculty, and staff members to drop into the Zoom Reference Hours to speak with one of our librarians or graduate student assistants. Additional research support is also available through one-on-one research consultations. Information for all our research services is located on the Reference and Research Services page.

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OISE Library PhD Workshop Series

We’re excited to announce our upcoming series of workshops for OISE doctoral students! These workshops are tailored to the PhD experience: we’ll help you leverage library resources and tools to find gaps in the literature, strategically prepare for your comps, and take the next step towards publication (+ much more!). 

You can find detailed descriptions of each workshop and register here: 

• March 9: Ask the Library Anything: How can we help with your PhD?
• March 23: Joining the Scholarly Conversation: Finding the Gap and Situating your Work
• April 6: Citation Practice as a Springboard: Beyond Keyword Searching 
April 20: Citation Management as Comps Support: Exploring and Leveraging Zotero 
                   (To be rescheduled! Stay tuned)
• May 4: Getting Published: Taking Your Research to the Next Stage 

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OISE Page Turners: More than a Book Club!

The OISE Page Turners is a student-led book club organized by members of the OISE Library Student Advisory Committee. Our book club intends to foster a deeper sense of virtual community engagement by creating opportunities for connection and discussion. Through this book club, we hope to share insights and experiences by exploring inclusive themes that are meaningful to our OISE community, including wellness and mindfulness, relationships, community and belonging, social justice and equity, climate action and more! 

For our first book club meeting on February 23rd at 6:30pm, we will be reflecting on Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this fundamental text! You can register here, and can access the e-text through the University of Toronto Libraries here

Too much on your plate to read a full book? Looking for reflective prompts? Want to engage with your fellow readers? You can find details, alternative “readings,” discussion forums, and more by visiting our Quercus site.

For more updates and library news, check out the OISE Library’s Instagram and Twitter! For questions or accessibility needs, please contact  

OISE Page Turners logo with graphic of lightbulb and book

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OISE Library Holiday Reads 2021 Edition

As students, faculty, staff, and librarians at U of T wrap up the Fall 2021 semester, the OISE Library team thought it was time to share our fourth annual Holiday Reads list! It is a list of the things we’re planning to read, watch, and listen to over the winter break. After another challenging semester, we’re looking forward to finding time to relax and we hope you find some time to take a well-deserved break too!

And now for the list….

Emily Hector, Liaison Librarian, Education, plans on reading George Saunders’ A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, which she received from a friend and fellow librarian.

Cover image of A Swim in the Pond in the Rain.“You might know Saunders from his short story collections or his novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, but his newest volume is a guided journey through the short stories of the Russian Masters,” she said. “I’ve only read the first chapter, but it’s already as full of kindness and humour as all his other work. Can’t wait to spend some time with George this holiday!”

Outreach Librarian Desmond Wong plans on reading The Strangers by Katherena Vermette.Cover image for the book The Strangers

“I’m excited to read about the dynamics of the Indigenous women in the book trying to find peace. I want to know how these women weave in and out of each other’s lives at important moments and Vermette’s writing always presents a fascinating tapestry of their character’s inner worlds,” Desmond said. “Other than that, I plan on really diving headfirst into my skincare routine and listening to Kai’s second mini album Peaches.”

Graduate Student Library Assistant Christina Nguyen plans on reading  J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas for the first time, which is a series of handwritten letters from Santa.Cover image of the book Letters from Father Christmas

“It is heartwarming, charming, and perfect to read beside a fireplace on a cold evening. I’m personally excited to see the illustrations that come with the stories, especially since we hear a lot about Tolkien’s writing but little about his art,” she said.

Fellow Graduate Student Library Assistant Corrina Taccone plans on re-reading Interference by Michelle Berry and Birdie by Tracey Lindberg.Book cover for the book Interference

“I discovered [Interference] a few years ago at a little local bookshop in Peterborough called the Hunter Street Bookstore, owned by Berry herself,” said Corrina. The book is made up of a series of interconnected narratives about seemingly ordinary families and friends living in a small town.

Cover image of the book BirdieCorrina’s other read, Birdie, by Tracey Lindberg, follows Bernice, a Cree woman who is trying to escape her past and build a new life. Corrina also plans on listening to the podcast Apology Line, a six-part investigative series that follows one man’s experiment to set up an apology telephone hotline and the dark places it takes him.

Madison Nikolaevsky, Graduate Student Library Assistant at the OISE Library, plans on reading Spells of Enchantment: The Wondrous Fairy Tales of Western Culture edited by Jack Zipes, a collection of fairy tales and folklore from the 2nd century to present day. Cover image of the book The Poetry of Robert Frost“I first came across this book in an undergraduate English class and I’m thrilled to have finally gotten my hands on a copy! There is a wonderful mix of old and new fairy tales and I love how the more current works re-imagine and play off of old favourites.”

In addition, she plans on re-reading The Poetry of Robert Frost, a collection of his most popular works. “Frost has such a way of describing the people and the natural world around him. His poems of winter scenes and pastoral living are a balm to the soul. As soon as there is snow on the ground, I can never resist re-reading his works.”

Madison also plans on re-watching all the Lord of the Rings films with her family. 

Cover image for the book Cying in H MartMonique Flaccavento, Director of OISE Library, is excited for some down time this winter break. “It’s been such a busy fall that I really haven’t had time to stop and think about what I’ll read or watch this year over the break. Thankfully, I work with librarians! Emily and Desmond have suggested Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner, a story about ‘family, food, grief, and endurance’”, she said.

“I’m also planning to check out Robin Ha’s Cook Korean!, a graphic novel in the OISE Library Curriculum Resources Collection that includes over 60 recipes. My husband is a big fan of kimchi, so I’m looking forward to trying the Makkimchi (easy kimchi) recipe over the break,” she added.

Cover image for From the AshesNadya Lim-Douglas, Student Library Assistant, will be reading From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle. “As you may know, this is a VERY popular book. It was the #1 national bestseller in 2020 and has been on my reading list for over a year now, so I am happy to finally have the time to read it,” Nadya said.

Jenaya Webb, Public Services and Research Librarian, has two books on the docket for her break. What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad and Louise Erdrich’s 1994 novel The Bingo Palace.

Cover of the book What Strange ParadiseWhat Strange Paradise is set within the context of the Syrian migrant crisis and told through the eyes of two children. “I’m really looking forward to this read, which is El Akkad’s second novel. What Strange Paradise has received tremendous reviews and last month won the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize,” she said.

“I recently moved to a new apartment, and while packing up my old books, I found some novels that I want to re-read, including The Bingo Palace. I haven’t read this book in many years but I remember Erdrich’s style and narratives being incredibly powerful. The book tells the story of an Anishinaabe man as he returns home to the reservation for the first time in many years. It’s part of Erdrich’s series Love Medicine. Once I’ve finished The Bingo Palace, I hope to pick up Erdrich’s new novel, The Night Watchman, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2021,” she added.

Image for TV show School of ChocolatePolina Vendrova, Original Cataloguer, intends to watch a lot of Netflix over the winter break, especially “The Chair,” “School of Chocolate,” and finishing “Star Trek: Voyager” (which is available at the University of Toronto’s Media Commons).

Polina just finished reading Kate Mulgrew’s memoir Born with Teeth, and is even more in awe of Captain Kathryn Janeway!

Sasha Dhesi, Toronto Academic Libraries intern, plans on reading A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers.

Cover image for A Certain Hunger“I’ve been meaning to read Summers’ debut novel for a long time now, so I’m very excited to have the chance this upcoming break!” she said.

The OISE Library will close for the year on December 21st at 3:00 pm. We are planning to re-open on Monday January 3rd, 2022, and we will continue to monitor provincial COVID guidelines over the break and will work with the University to develop updated health and safety measures. Please refer to the OISE Library Services – Winter 2022 page on our website for all updated information about the OISE Library hours and services for the new year.

From all of us at the OISE Library, have a wonderful and restful break!


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New ebooks: Engaging classrooms

Are you an MT student planning for an in-person practicum this fall? Or an instructor who will be teaching virtually? Regardless of the teaching and learning environment you’re preparing for, we hope this selection of new ebook titles provides some inspiration and insights into classroom learning. From promoting a culture of open thinking and debate, to engaging and facilitating learning virtually, these provide helpful resources for engaging students.

Engaging Learners Through Zoom : Strategies for Virtual Teaching Across Disciplines, by Johnathan Brennan.

This book provides ideas for synchronous online learning structures that can be used in any discipline, to implement fun and educational learning virtually. This work also suggests ideas for battling Zoom fatigue, providing both strategies and practical advice in how to engage learners virtually and maintain their interest. These tools can also be used in hybrid and face to face teaching environments. This resource provides active steps and recommendations for incorporating diverse strategies into the online classroom environment, with over 150 active learning strategy examples and multiple examples for 26 of the most commonly taught courses. 


The Noisy Classroom: Developing debate and critical oracy in schools, by Debbie Newman.

Cover image for The Noisy Classroom: Developing debate and critical oracy in schoolsThis resource highlights the importance of critical oracy for students. This resource is perfect for teachers looking to develop an a debating culture in their classrooms. Utilizing critical oracy in the classroom encourages students to explore new perspectives in their interactions with their peers, and in their thinking and learning. This resource provides step-by-step instructions for how to incorporate debate into the curriculum, ranging from small starter activities to full on debating. It is intended for school teachers, including both NQTs and more experienced practitioners.  Accompanying resources can be found here.

The Learner-Centered Music Classroom: Models and Possibilities, edited by David A. Williams and Johnathan R. Kladder.Cover of The Learner-Centered Music Classroom Models and Possibilities

This resource provides teachers with different user-centered models for teaching music that aim to create spaces that are interactive, and socially and culturally responsive. The music classroom provides an important opportunity to encourage creative, peer-based, and democratic learning for students. The compiled resources in this book include lesson plans, rubrics and models for teachers.

Flipped Classrooms with Diverse Learners International Perspectives, edited by Zachary Walker, Desiree Tan and  Noi Keng Koh.

This book examines the flipped classroom model and explores why it works. Through diverse examples with learners of all ages, the successes in the field are expanded upon to discuss existing research and future consequences. Instead of focusing on one specific domain, this resources takes a wide lens and explores studies across all age groups and educational ranges. A useful tool for intended practitioners, this is a resources for anyone engaging in flipped classroom learning from Kindergarten to Higher Education.


Rigor in the Remote Learning Classroom: Instructional Tips and Strategies, by Barbara R. Blackburn. 

This book provides guidance on how to keep motivation alive in a remote learning or hybrid K–12 classroom. Blackburn emphasizes learning with the mindset of rigor, “to create a remote culture of high expectations”, for both students and teachers in order to achieve high levels of learning for students. Blackburn also provides advice on how to frame the conversation of remote learning, to look at it as a necessity for high learning success instead of a roadblock. 

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