The Georgia Straight - - Contents - > BY CHAR­LIE SMITH

Are you in the mood to give your ca­reer a jolt? It’s a great time to head back to school af­ter the De­cem­ber holidays be­cause that’s when many in­sti­tu­tions are ac­cept­ing new groups of stu­dents.

Are you in the mood to give your ca­reer a jolt? In Jan­uary, many post­sec­ondary in­sti­tu­tions and train­ing schools are wel­com­ing new groups of stu­dents into their pro­grams. Some have even launched new cour­ses for those in the mood to up­grade their skills to keep pace with the rapid pace of change. Be­low, check out a sam­ple of what is be­ing of­fered.


At the Van­cou­ver-based Cen­tre 2

for Dig­i­tal Me­dia, re­al­ity takes many forms. Stu­dents can cre­ate things in vir­tual re­al­ity (VR), aug­mented re­al­ity (AR), and mixed re­al­ity (MR), to name just three ex­am­ples.

Ac­cord­ing to the school’s di­rec­tor, Richard Smith, stu­dents in the mas­ter of dig­i­tal me­dia pro­gram are also dis­cov­er­ing how to cre­ate an ap­peal­ing am­biance in which these var­i­ous re­al­i­ties can be pre­sented. This is to en­sure that it’s not a jar­ring ex­pe­ri­ence when peo­ple cover their eyes com­pletely with a Vive or Ocu­lus head­set and en­ter a par­al­lel uni­verse.

“It’s kind of like the early days of cinema, where peo­ple were just try­ing new things,” Smith ex­plained to the Ge­or­gia Straight by phone. “They weren’t quite sure where it was go­ing to go and what was go­ing to be re­ally pop­u­lar—and what would be a flop.”

In movie the­atres, pa­trons are pre­pared for the ex­pe­ri­ence by walk­ing into dimly lit au­di­to­ri­ums. They get comfy in sta­dium-style seat­ing and then see large cur­tains open up, ex­pos­ing the screens. In a sim­i­lar vein, stu­dents at the Cen­tre for Dig­i­tal Me­dia are ex­per­i­ment­ing with ways to get users in the mood for VR or AR.

VR in­volves cre­at­ing an en­tirely new 3-D im­mer­sive world; AR, on the other hand, su­per­im­poses com­puter-gen­er­ated im­ages on the ex­ist­ing world to pro­vide new in­sights, as with Poké­mon Go. A third R, mixed re­al­ity, in­volves in­sert­ing com­put­er­gen­er­ated en­hance­ments or sen­sory in­puts, such as smells or sounds, into an ex­ist­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

“Mixed re­al­ity is where you con­trive to change not only what peo­ple see but also the things around them,” Smith said.

Ex­am­ples are the sud­den ap­pear­ance of ta­bles or chairs on a stage in the midst of a play, which the au­di­ence could see by wear­ing head­sets.

The im­pli­ca­tions of this tech­nol­ogy are mon­u­men­tal in ev­ery­thing from ed­u­ca­tion to en­ter­tain­ment and from se­cu­rity to tech­nol­ogy. Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook has pre­dicted that peo­ple will “have AR ex­pe­ri­ences ev­ery day, al­most like eat­ing three meals a day”. If true, this will cre­ate phe­nom­e­nal op­por­tu­ni­ties for en­trepreneurs who learn how to har­ness this tech­nol­ogy.

Smith cited one ex­am­ple: sur­gi­cal ed­u­ca­tion. “Think about med­i­cal stu­dents deal­ing with ca­dav­ers,” he said. “There are only so many ca­dav­ers in the world. If you can do some of that in a vir­tual world…that could save money, that could save time, and ac­tu­ally—i was just read­ing a study on this—it can save on the ‘ick’ fac­tor.”

Un­like many grad­u­ate pro­grams, the Cen­tre for Dig­i­tal Me­dia does not choose stu­dents with a spe­cific area of ex­per­tise. Rather, it ac­cepts peo­ple with a broad range of tal­ents so that when they come to­gether, they can learn from one an­other to cre­ate dig­i­tally ori­ented things in groups.

“We have tech­ni­cal peo­ple, artis­tic peo­ple, so­cial and cul­tural peo­ple, and busi­ness and sci­ence peo­ple, and so on,” Smith said. “Be­ing ef­fec­tive on a team, man­ag­ing peo­ple, and be­ing man­aged are all part of our cur­ricu­lum. They get lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties to prac­tise that in their course work and in their big projects.”

The school em­pha­sizes “ac­tive lis­ten­ing”, Smith said, so stu­dents can re­ally un­der­stand the prob­lems that they may be en­coun­ter­ing and try­ing to solve af­ter they grad­u­ate. Ed­u­ca­tion takes place from Mon­day to Fri­day dur­ing the day on a full-time ba­sis.

“We pack what’s ba­si­cally a two-year de­gree into 16 months,” Smith said.


In to­day’s wired world, mar­keters, 2 man­agers, de­sign­ers, and other pro­fes­sion­als some­times feel they’re at the mercy of IT de­part­ments. With that in mind, Light­house Labs will launch a new part-time course to help peo­ple in the work­force learn how web­sites and web pages work. The Gas­town tech-train­ing school’s co­founder and head of ed­u­ca­tion, Khur­ram Vi­rani, told the Straight by phone that the six-week evening front-end fun­da­men­tals course will be of­fered twice a week in Jan­uary, start­ing at 6 p.m., in three-hour classes.

“The tech­nol­ogy that they’ll be learn­ing is HTML and CSS,” Vi­rani ex­plained. “They’ll learn cod­ing with lan­guages like Javascript to make their web pages more in­ter­ac­tive. As well, they’ll be us­ing li­braries like jquery to make the web page even richer.”

Stu­dents will also learn how to make the most of a Word­press web­site af­ter dis­cov­er­ing how web pages are ren­dered.

Light­house Labs has at­tracted na­tion­wide at­ten­tion for its day­long HTML500 events, which are Canada’s largest free learn-to-code ses­sions. It al­ready of­fers full-time web-de­vel­op­ment and ios-de­vel­op­ment boot camps to kick-start ca­reers as web de­vel­op­ers. There’s also a part-time in­tro to web de­vel­op­ment course in the evenings.

The head of mar­ket­ing and sales at Light­house Labs, Tif­fany Ch­ester, told the Straight by phone that front-end fun­da­men­tals is ideal for those who need to un­der­stand the lan­guages and pro­cesses of the In­ter­net so they can com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter with de­vel­op­ers, col­leagues, cus­tomers, and con­trac­tors. It can also help them make bet­ter use of tools like Word­press or Shopify.

“We help peo­ple skill up for the new re­al­ity,” Ch­ester said. “Cour­ses like this new front-end fun­da­men­tals have a broad ap­peal to a whole va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sion­als.”

She noted that much mar­ket­ing takes place nowa­days in the dig­i­tal arena through plat­forms such as Google An­a­lyt­ics, Hub­spot, and Hoot­suite. “Un­less you know a lit­tle bit about it, you’re in no real po­si­tion to make in­tel­li­gent de­ci­sions that ac­tu­ally might have a big im­pact on how you op­er­ate in a cou­ple of years’ time,” Ch­ester em­pha­sized. “Learn­ing the very ba­sics of code, mar­keters will be bet­ter able to work with an­a­lyt­ics, with their agen­cies, with their tech teams.”

Ac­cord­ing to Vi­rani, the front-end fun­da­men­tals course ze­roes in on how users ex­pe­ri­ence web­sites. The in­tro to web de­vel­op­ment, on the other hand, pro­vides a high-level view by also fo­cus­ing on what hap­pens on the back end of web­sites.


B.C.’S din­ing in­dus­try is a be­he­moth. 2 Ac­cord­ing to Restau­rants Canada, it posted sales of $13 bil­lion last year and em­ploys 174,200 peo­ple.

“With the labour short­age right now, there’s a huge de­mand for cooks in the in­dus­try,” Ben­jamin Faber, di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Culi­nary School at Lasalle Col­lege Van­cou­ver, told the Ge­or­gia Straight by phone. “It’s a re­ally good time to be in hos­pi­tal­ity over­all. There’s a lot of work avail­able.”

But if some­one as­pires to be­come an ex­ec­u­tive chef or restau­rant man­ager, they’re go­ing to need a deep un­der­stand­ing of var­i­ous fac­tors that can make or break an es­tab­lish­ment. And that’s where Lasalle Col­lege Van­cou­ver en­ters the pic­ture.

Faber said his school of­fers six­month cer­tifi­cate and one-year diploma pro­grams to full-time stu­dents in culi­nary arts and in bak­ing and pas­try arts. There are also one-year diploma pro­grams in event man­age­ment and in hos­pi­tal­ity and restau­rant­busi­ness man­age­ment. An ad­vanced diploma in culi­nary-arts own­er­ship takes a year and a half to com­plete.

“About 35 per­cent of our pro­gram is the­ory-based, where we are in a class­room with the in­struc­tor,” Faber said.

In these classes, stu­dents learn such things as de­sign­ing, build­ing, bal­anc­ing out, and cost­ing menus. In ad­vanced pro­grams, they ex­plore hu­man re­sources, or­ga­ni­za­tional lead­er­ship, and cater­ing. And in the man­age­ment pro­grams, they also de­velop their own busi­ness plan.

“If they wanted to open up their own busi­ness, they could go and take that doc­u­ment to in­vestors,” Faber noted.

Be­cause it’s a culi­nary school, Lasalle stu­dents spend plenty of time in the col­lege’s two in­struc­tional kitchens. Stu­dents also op­er­ate their own restau­rant on cam­pus called the Sec­ond Floor Bistro, which is open for lunch on Thurs­days and Fri­days. It of­fers them a chance to see how the in­dus­try op­er­ates from a mul­ti­tude of per­spec­tives.

“They fo­cus on the mar­ket­ing for the restau­rant,” Faber said. “They do the menus. They do the cost­ing. They all work front of the house and they all work back of the house.”

This work is su­per­vised by a din­ingroom man­ager and a chef in­struc­tor.

Faber said that em­ploy­ers in the restau­rant in­dus­try are seek­ing peo­ple who are ver­sa­tile, which is why culi­nary stu­dents learn the ba­sics of bak­ing and pas­try-mak­ing. And bak­ing and pas­try-arts stu­dents learn the fun­da­men­tals of clas­si­cal cook­ing tech­niques be­fore they move on to their spe­cial­iza­tion.

In their ad­vanced classes, bak­ing and pas­try-arts stu­dents are taught

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about such things as ar­ti­san breads, choco­late work, and wed­ding and dis­play cakes.

“You have got to have the foun­da­tion in or­der to build up,” he stated. “We help them to un­der­stand that you have to make a re­ally good chicken stock in or­der to make a re­ally good chicken soup. They get a lot of that train­ing. Then it’s just hav­ing an un­der­stand­ing and a re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tion of what they’re about to step out into in the in­dus­try so that, hope­fully, when they do grad­u­ate and they do get jobs that they’re not in over their heads.”


Hav­ing an ap­pre­ci­a­tion and 2

un­der­stand­ing of other cul­tures is a pre­cious com­mod­ity these days in the busi­ness world. A Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view ar­ti­cle in Au­gust cited a Mckin­sey Global In­sti­tute re­port not­ing there will be 3.5 bil­lion peo­ple em­ployed by 2030. And that is ex­pected to re­sult in far more skilled work­ers cross­ing na­tional bound­aries.

The im­por­tance of study­ing and liv­ing in other coun­tries is also rec­og­nized by Halia Val­lardes, dean of Capilano Univer­sity’s fac­ulty of busi­ness and pro­fes­sional stud­ies. An ex­pert in in­ter­na­tional lo­gis­tics and trade, Val­lardes told the Straight by phone that she once read a study show­ing that 53 per­cent of peo­ple who stud­ied and lived abroad cited this ex­pe­ri­ence as hav­ing helped them se­cure a job of­fer.

It’s one of many rea­sons why she’s such a fer­vent ad­vo­cate for Capilano Univer­sity’s in­ter­na­tional man­age­ment grad­u­ate diploma. This unique one-year ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­nity com­bines one se­mes­ter of in­ter­na­tional busi­ness ed­u­ca­tion at the North Van­cou­ver cam­pus with a se­mes­ter at the Univer­sity of Hert­ford­shire in south­ern Eng­land.

In ad­di­tion to the grad­u­ate diploma, those who com­plete the pro­gram also re­ceive a mas­ter of sci­ence in in­ter­na­tional busi­ness de­gree from the Bri­tish univer­sity. “Just by be­ing in this pro­gram and liv­ing in two coun­tries within a year, you are de­vel­op­ing your cross-cul­tural man­age­ment skills,” Val­lardes em­pha­sized.

She was born and raised in Mex­ico and ob­tained her mas­ter’s de­gree in in­ter­na­tional busi­ness at Texas A&M, where most of the other grad­u­ate stu­dents in her pro­gram had also come from other coun­tries. She main­tained that it’s “ex­tremely im­por­tant” to be ex­posed to peo­ple from abroad to truly un­der­stand their cul­tures.

“My for­mer class­mates right now are CEOS or VPS of in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies world­wide,” she said. “Those con­nec­tions no­body can take away from you. That can land you a bet­ter job.”

She also said that an ed­u­ca­tion in in­ter­na­tional busi­ness can help some­one launch a con­sult­ing ca­reer, be­come an en­tre­pre­neur, or gain em­ploy­ment in the im­port-ex­port busi­ness.

Capilano Univer­sity is ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for the fall of 2018 for the grad­u­ate-diploma/grad­u­ate-de­gree pro­gram. Any­one with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree is el­i­gi­ble if they demon­strate English-lan­guage pro­fi­ciency.

Be­cause it’s a mas­ter of pro­gram, Val­lardes said some course work is more quan­ti­ta­tive than tra­di­tional busi­ness ed­u­ca­tion. In ad­di­tion, stu­dents learn how cul­ture im­pacts op­er­a­tions, mo­ti­va­tion, per­for­mance, plan­ning, and ex­e­cu­tion.

“In­stead of tak­ing just hu­man re­sources, you take in­ter­na­tional hu­man re­sources,” Val­lardes said. “In­stead of tak­ing a course in man­age­ment, you take a course in in­ter­na­tional man­age­ment.”

Stu­dents also gain in­sights into all trade treaties that Canada has signed, as well as how com­pa­nies can take ad­van­tage of eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion be­tween coun­tries. The cap­stone is writ­ing ei­ther an in­ter­na­tional busi­ness re­port or an in­ter­na­tional busi­ness plan.

The pro­gram of­fers op­por­tu­ni­ties to se­cure co-op work, which can en­able stu­dents to stay longer in the U.K. and gen­er­ate an in­come there. The same is true for in­ter­na­tional stu­dents who come to Canada.


Van­cou­ver chefs such as Tus­cany-born 2 Um­berto Menghi and Cal­abria-born Pino Poster­aro have set sci­ence the bar high for Ital­ian cui­sine in our town. But res­i­dents will have a chance to learn from Ital­ian mas­ters in the kitchens at Van­cou­ver Com­mu­nity Col­lege’s down­town cam­pus.

Near the end of Jan­uary, VCC will ac­cept an­other batch of stu­dents for Cucina Italiana—ital­ian Mas­ter Class Se­ries, which is of­fered through VCC con­tin­u­ing stud­ies. The dean, Gor­don Mcivor, told the Straight by phone that stu­dents are not only go­ing to learn new culi­nary skills, they’ll also get the full-meal deal when it comes to Ital­ian cul­ture, all cour­tesy of charis­matic head chef Gio­vanni Trig­ona.

“These cour­ses are re­ally de­signed more for the en­ter­tain­ment value as op­posed to train­ing peo­ple to be­come chefs,” Mcivor ac­knowl­edged.

VCC has part­nered with the Ital­ian Chamber of Com­merce in Canada West to of­fer five three-hour evening classes over a five-week pe­riod. They fo­cus on the cul­ture of Ital­ian cui­sine from a spe­cific re­gion. Each evening is de­voted to a re­gion’s pasta, pizza, and breads, the pair­ings of Ital­ian wine and food, and even gourmet gelato. There’s a 20-per­cent dis­count for those who en­roll in all five cour­ses, though they can also be taken in­di­vid­u­ally.

VCC’S se­nior pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor of con­tin­u­ing stud­ies, Claire Sauvé, told the Straight by phone that what sets the Ital­ian Mas­ter Class Se­ries apart is how it weaves to­gether tra­di­tions, cus­toms, re­gional his­tory, and Ital­ian food.

“There are cer­tain clas­si­fi­ca­tions of in­gre­di­ents from Italy, de­pend­ing on their re­gional au­then­tic­ity,” Sauvé ex­plained. “An even higher mea­sure of au­then­tic­ity is if the in­gre­di­ents come from a par­tic­u­lar re­gion and have been 100 per­cent pre­pared in that re­gion. So they are re­ally fo­cused on re­gional del­i­ca­cies.”

Mcivor at­tended a ses­sion this fall and re­called how much joy there was in the room. “It’s al­most like a party,” he re­called. “If peo­ple are look­ing for an ac­tive evening, I think it’s some­thing they would en­joy.”

The Ital­ian Mas­ter Class Se­ries re­flects how staff in VCC con­tin­u­ing stud­ies some­times seek part­ner­ships be­fore em­bark­ing on new pro­grams. Along the same lines, VCC con­tin­u­ing stud­ies will of­fer an ac­ces­si­bil­i­tyc­er­ti­fi­ca­tion course in the spring in part­ner­ship with the Rick Hansen Foun­da­tion.

“The train­ing is to be­come an ac­ces­si­bil­ity as­ses­sor—to go into build­ings and as­sess how ac­ces­si­ble the build­ings are,” Sauvé said.

This can in­volve mea­sur­ing the width of stair­ways or door­ways and mak­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to en­gi­neers about any retrofitting that needs to be done. But it also in­cor­po­rates ac­ces­si­bil­ity for peo­ple who are visu­ally or hear­ing im­paired, those who have com­pan­ion dogs, and even peo­ple with strollers. “It’s a holis­tic view of ac­ces­si­bil­ity,” Sauvé noted.


Imag­ine en­rolling at a lo­cal 2

re­gional univer­sity to study tourism and find­ing out that it in­cludes a six-month work term at Walt Dis­ney World. Or sign­ing up and dis­cov­er­ing that it in­volves trav­el­ling to Viet­nam to learn about a com­mu­ni­ty­based tourism project. Those are just two pos­si­bil­i­ties for stu­dents seek­ing a bach­e­lor of tourism man­age­ment at Capilano Univer­sity.

“Our mis­sion is to in­spire and ed­u­cate ev­ery day,” pro­gram cochair Stephanie Wells told the Straight.

She said the co-op work term is ac­cred­ited by the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion for Co-op­er­a­tive Ed­u­ca­tion, de­scrib­ing it as a “corner­stone” of the de­gree. Stu­dents ac­cu­mu­late 500 hours of work ex­pe­ri­ence af­ter se­lect­ing where they want to learn from a long list of high-pro­file em­ploy­ers that have a re­la­tion­ship with Capilano Univer­sity.

“Once stu­dents se­cure their co-op work term, they cre­ate learn­ing work out­comes,” Wells ex­plained.

There are two streams within the four-year bach­e­lor of tourism man­age­ment pro­gram: a ho­tel and re­sort con­cen­tra­tion and an ad­ven­ture

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con­cen­tra­tion. The ho­tel and re­sort spe­cial­iza­tion has eight cour­ses de­signed for that in­dus­try, in­clud­ing sales and mar­ket­ing, rev­enue man­age­ment, and ho­tel fi­nan­cial man­age­ment. The lat­ter con­cen­tra­tion em­pha­sizes sus­tain­able and en­vi­ron­men­tal per­spec­tives, as well as an un­der­stand­ing of risk man­age­ment. The next in­take of stu­dents will take place in Jan­uary, and high-school grads must have a C+ in English and have suf­fi­cient math skills.

Tourism’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct in B.C. grew ev­ery year from 2007 to 2015, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est data from B.C. Stats, ris­ing 31 per­cent over that pe­riod to reach $8.3 bil­lion. To­tal em­ploy­ment in this sec­tor reached 127,700 in B.C., which means there is no short­age of op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“We have a grad who’s an owner of a sight­see­ing tour com­pany, so there are cer­tainly some of those more tra­di­tional av­enues,” she said. “We have grad­u­ates who are front-desk man­agers in ho­tels, who work in sales within ho­tels. They’re work­ing in meet­ings and events and sell­ing Van­cou­ver as a des­ti­na­tion.”

She also said that pro­fes­sional sports teams such as the Van­cou­ver Canucks and Van­cou­ver White­caps at­tract tourism, cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in this area.

Wells pointed out that a bach­e­lor of tourism man­age­ment de­gree gives a grad­u­ate a full sense of the in­ter­re­la­tion­ships within the tourism sec­tor. “We think of tourism as be­ing very front-fac­ing—the face of the city when peo­ple come to Van­cou­ver—when a lot of the work is done be­hind the scenes, whether it’s sales or night au­dit or prod­uct de­vel­op­ment.”

The ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of so­cial me­dia has added a new wrin­kle to the de­gree pro­gram. Next year, Capilano Univer­sity will of­fer an up­per­level course called ap­plied dig­i­tal strate­gies in tourism.

In the mean­time, Wells said, there’s no short­age of school spirit among tourism stu­dents. There are two groups in the de­part­ment, the Tourism and Out­door Re­cre­ation Stu­dent As­so­ci­a­tion (TRESCA) and the Pa­cific Asia Travel As­so­ci­a­tion (PATA), which are in­volved in var­i­ous com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties.


Sus­tain­abil­ity is of­ten as­so­ci­ated 2 with healthy ecosys­tems and eth­i­cal con­sumerism. But at York Univer­sity in Toronto, this con­cept is also be­ing ap­plied to the­atre pro­duc­tion in ways that might sur­prise the most ar­dent en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist.

There’s even an as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor of eco­log­i­cal de­sign for per­for­mance, Ian Gar­rett. His pro­fes­sional cred­its in­clude de­sign­ing the set and en­er­gy­cap­ture sys­tem for vox:lu­men, a ground­break­ing dance show per­formed at night in the Har­bourfront The­atre in the late win­ter of 2015. It was pow­ered en­tirely by off-grid re­new­able en­ergy.

“Even though we were in a per­fectly good the­atre, we opted out of us­ing its elec­tri­cal sys­tem and in­stead we de­signed a so­lar-cap­ture sys­tem that was out­side the the­atre to charge bat­ter­ies—es­sen­tially, ma­rine bat­ter­ies and in­vert­ers in­side the the­atre—and de­signed all of our sys­tems around only us­ing en­ergy we could cap­ture,” Gar­rett told the Straight by phone.

York is the lead ed­u­ca­tional part­ner in Cli­mate Change The­atre Ac­tion, which has been launched to co­in­cide with the 150th an­niver­sary of Con­fed­er­a­tion. Gar­rett said this project com­mis­sioned 50 play­wrights to write five-minute plays on a wide range of en­vi­ron­men­tal top­ics, which are be­ing read over a six-week pe­riod at 200 sites around the world.

“It’s bring­ing the arts into the cen­tre of con­ver­sa­tion as a way to help peo­ple—for lack of a bet­ter way—to cope with one of the largest is­sues of our time,” he ex­plained.

These are just some of the ways in which York’s School of the Arts, Me­dia, Per­for­mance & De­sign is chal­leng­ing con­ven­tional wis­dom about what the­atre can be in the 21st cen­tury. “The type of stu­dent we’re in­ter­ested in is a hun­gry the­atre an­i­mal—some­body in­ter­ested in find­ing dif­fer­ent ways of ex­plor­ing,” Gar­rett said. “We’ve been re­cently evolv­ing a lot of grad­u­ate pro­grams with that same sort of core ethic.”

York’s the­atre grad­u­ates in­clude Thea Fitz-james, who con­ceived Naked Ladies. Other the­atre alumni from York in­clude Van­cou­ver light­ing de­signer Brad Tre­na­man and so­cially con­scious clown artists Morro and Jasp.

Gar­rett said that York has a solid foothold across var­i­ous artis­tic dis­ci­plines and first-year the­atre stu­dents share a com­mon touch­stone—col­lab­o­ra­tive prac­tice—that in­forms their ap­proach. And he em­pha­sized that re­search serves as the “spine of all of the pro­grams”.

There’s an­other ad­van­tage that comes with study­ing the­atre at York: Toronto has a thriv­ing the­atre scene.

“It’s the third-largest English­s­peak­ing the­atre com­mu­nity in the world, be­hind Lon­don, Eng­land, and New York,” Gar­rett noted. “There is ev­ery­thing from tra­di­tional mount­ings of Shake­speare to new de­vised the­atre modal­i­ties, cross­over with dance move­ment, and im­prov. Any sort of dif­fer­ent genre or prac­ti­cal type of ap­proach is rep­re­sented some­where within Toronto.”


Post­sec­ondary ad­min­is­tra­tors 2

around the world pay at­ten­tion to the QS rat­ings (an an­nual pri­vate in­ter­na­tional rank­ing of uni­ver­si­ties). And this year, of­fi­cials at Con­cor­dia Univer­sity were thrilled when their city, Mon­treal, topped the list of best stu­dent cities in the world.

“One of the things we con­tin­u­ously hear from stu­dents in Mon­treal is it’s an af­ford­able city,” Con­cor­dia’s di­rec­tor of stu­dent re­cruit­ment, Matthew Stiege­meyer, told the Straight by phone. “There’s good hous­ing. There’s good op­por­tu­nity to live right down­town and en­gage with a va­ri­ety of fes­ti­vals and cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences. We’ve got the Mount Royal Park in the mid­dle of the city.”

In re­cent years, Con­cor­dia has also been mak­ing a big push into try­ing to tackle so­cial is­sues, in­te­grat­ing tech­nol­ogy to as­sist un­der­served ar­eas. A large univer­sity such as Con­cor­dia, with its 46,000 stu­dents, can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact.

“It’s been kind of an ex­cit­ing time to see that trickle down to the un­der­grad­u­ate ex­pe­ri­ence,” Stiege­meyer said.

This is man­i­fest­ing it­self in a mul­ti­tude of ways, in­clud­ing through Con­cor­dia’s District 3 Cen­ter for In­no­va­tion and En­trepreneur­ship. It brings to­gether re­sources from govern­ment, the cor­po­rate sec­tor, re­search, and aca­demics to help stu­dent in­no­va­tors and en­trepreneurs launch new con­cepts with con­fi­dence.

Ac­cord­ing to Stiege­meyer, it is “help­ing stu­dents re­al­ize their busi­ness plans and de­velop how to put their ideas into the mar­ket­place”.

“We don’t get trapped into tra­di­tional silo think­ing,” he said. “We’re work­ing across dis­ci­plines.”

Con­cor­dia of­fers un­der­grad­u­ate de­grees in a wide va­ri­ety of dis­ci­plines, in­clud­ing ur­ban stud­ies and ur­ban plan­ning, jour­nal­ism, con­tem­po­rary dance, and busi­nesstech­nol­ogy man­age­ment. It’s also known for its pro­gres­sive stu­dent body, which pressed in 2014 to be­come the first univer­sity in Canada to be­gin di­vest­ing from fos­sil fu­els.

Mean­while, Con­cor­dia’s en­trance re­quire­ments are not as oner­ous as those at UBC and SFU. For ex­am­ple, Stiege­meyer said, it’s pos­si­ble to gain ad­mis­sion to some bach­e­lor of arts pro­grams with a high-school av­er­age of 70 to 75 per­cent. Busi­ness and en­gi­neer­ing pro­grams re­quire higher av­er­ages, in the 80-to-85-per­cent zone, he added. Those who can’t make the cut in ar­eas with more de­mand­ing ad­mis­sion stan­dards can up­grade their grade-point av­er­age on cam­pus and trans­fer into their de­sired pro­gram.

“We’ve main­tained that as an easy route for peo­ple who ba­si­cally come in and prove they’ve got what it takes to get into the John Mol­son School of Busi­ness or one of our en­gi­neer­ing pro­grams or ac­tu­ar­ial math,” Stiege­meyer said.

Even though Con­cor­dia has two cam­puses, four fac­ul­ties, a school of grad­u­ate stud­ies, and many cen­tres and in­sti­tutes, there are still op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­joy a smaller-univer­sity feel. Stiege­meyer cited a pro­gram on re­li­gion and cul­ture as one ex­am­ple: it has a small co­hort of stu­dents who re­main to­gether for three or four years.

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to be­havioural changes, even sub­tle ones such as grad­ual with­drawal or a de­cline in per­sonal groom­ing.

While the fo­cus is on men­tal-health lit­er­acy re­gard­ing stu­dents in the sec­ondary years, there’s a stronger em­pha­sis on so­cial and emo­tional learn­ing for teacher can­di­dates who plan on work­ing at the el­e­men­tary level.

“We’re not train­ing psy­chi­a­trists or health pro­fes­sion­als,” Carr em­pha­sized. “We’re try­ing to de­velop some un­der­stand­ings of a ba­sic na­ture, with the sense that there is so much more to know and so much more to learn. And hence the need to reach out to pro­fes­sion­als who are fully trained in this area.”

She noted that one of the big­gest bar­ri­ers to seek­ing help is the stigma as­so­ci­ated with men­tal ill­ness, which this learn­ing re­source tack­les head-on. There’s no shame in some­one with diabetes tak­ing reg­u­lar med­i­ca­tion, she stated, so why should it be any dif­fer­ent for some­one suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion? And while there is a great deal of at­ten­tion placed on the im­pact of sleep and nutri­tion on men­tal health, Carr said that re­search “quite con­clu­sively shows that ex­er­cise and mu­sic have a far greater ef­fect”.


As the fed­eral govern­ment 2

plans on le­gal­iz­ing recre­ational cannabis next year, one B.C. re­gional univer­sity is ramp­ing up its work­force train­ing in this area. In late 2015, Kwantlen Polytech­nic Univer­sity (KPU) launched its Cannabis Pro­fes­sional Se­ries to pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion for peo­ple work­ing in this sec­tor. Of­fered through con­tin­u­ing and pro­fes­sional stud­ies, there are three cour­ses: plant pro­duc­tion and fa­cil­ity man­age­ment; mar­ket­ing, sales, and drug de­vel­op­ment; and fi­nanc­ing a cannabis en­ter­prise in Canada.

These cour­ses are de­liv­ered on­line over 12-week pe­ri­ods. This makes them ac­ces­si­ble for peo­ple who want to up­grade their skills and un­der­stand­ing while re­main­ing em­ployed. “Our in­struc­tors are all cur­rently em­ployed within the cannabis in­dus­try in Canada,” KPU’S di­rec­tor of emerg­ing busi­ness, David Pur­cell, told the Straight by phone. “Dis­cus­sion top­ics are posted at the front of the week and the learn­ers go log in to the por­tal. With the dis­cus­sion topic, there are rec­om­mended read­ings as well as rec­om­mended re­search por­tals.”

Stu­dents re­spond to ques­tions on the por­tal, which can be seen by the in­struc­tor and other learn­ers.

With the prospect of cannabis le­gal­iza­tion, KPU is pre­par­ing to launch two new cour­ses next year. The first is for would-be cannabis­cul­ti­va­tion tech­ni­cians, and will teach stu­dents how to grow the plant to reach its full po­ten­tial.

“They re­ally start with seed se­lec­tion and cloning and go all the way through the cul­ti­va­tion, prop­a­ga­tion, har­vest, trim­ming, and trans­port of the plants them­selves—all within the reg­u­la­tions,” Pur­cell said.

It’s di­vided into two sec­tions. The­ory will be de­liv­ered on­line, sim­i­lar to the ex­ist­ing cour­ses. The sec­ond part will be pre­sented face to face at the Lan­g­ley cam­pus.

“We will have space where stu­dents will ac­tu­ally be able to in­ter­act with the plants, get their hands in the dirt, and learn how it ac­tu­ally hap­pens by do­ing it,” he stated.

The sec­ond new of­fer­ing next year is a re­tail-cannabis-con­sul­tant course. Pur­cell pointed out that cannabis con­sul­tants will ben­e­fit from hav­ing a deep un­der­stand­ing of the dif­fer­ence be­tween cannabis ex­tracts such as THC (tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol) and CBD (cannabid­iol), along with the im­pact of dif­fer­ent po­ten­cies of sativa and indica strains. “We’re cer­tainly not sug­gest­ing that any­one gives any­one med­i­cal ad­vice,” he em­pha­sized. “It’s re­ally about ‘How do we best sell this prod­uct in the most re­spon­si­ble man­ner that we pos­si­bly can?’ ”

The three ex­ist­ing con­tin­u­ingstud­ies and pro­fes­sional-train­ing

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cour­ses of­fer grad­u­ates cer­tifi­cates of com­ple­tion, but they’re not ac­cred­ited. Grad­u­ates of the cannabis­cul­ti­va­tion-tech­ni­cian and re­tail­cannabis-con­sul­tant cour­ses, on the other hand, will re­ceive ac­cred­ited cer­tifi­cates. That could have ca­reer im­pli­ca­tions if there’s ever a cannabis reg­u­la­tory frame­work re­quir­ing ac­cred­ited peo­ple to work in cer­tain oc­cu­pa­tions within the in­dus­try.

“Our ul­ti­mate goal is to of­fer de­gree pro­gram­ming in cannabis,” Pur­cell said. “Ob­vi­ously, that’s a very long process.”

Mean­while, the ex­ist­ing plant­pro­duc­tion and fa­cil­ity man­age­ment course fo­cuses on the fed­eral Ac­cess to Cannabis for Med­i­cal Pur­poses Reg­u­la­tions. It also of­fers in­sights into the pro­duc­tion of cannabis plants, cov­er­ing such ar­eas as root health, pest and fun­gal prob­lems, and the types of nu­tri­ents that help the plants thrive. The fa­cil­i­ty­man­age­ment com­po­nent ad­dresses en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sid­er­a­tions such as light­ing, hu­mid­ity, and tem­per­a­tures in green­houses and out­doors.

“It’s been very, very suc­cess­ful,” Pur­cell noted. “We have a num­ber of grad­u­ates who have come out of it.”


Two decades ago, any­one could 2

open an of­fice and call them­selves an im­mi­gra­tion con­sul­tant. The di­rec­tor of im­mi­gra­tion-prac­ti­tioner pro­grams at Ash­ton Col­lege, Ron Mckay, re­mem­bers those days: he had re­turned from Japan, where he pro­cessed im­mi­gra­tion ap­pli­cants for the Cana­dian govern­ment. He later be­came the first pres­i­dent of the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sional Im­mi­gra­tion Con­sul­tants and, more re­cently, has served as chair of the pro­fes­sion’s reg­u­la­tory body.

And over the years, he’s seen the ed­u­ca­tional re­quire­ments sharply in­crease for any­one hop­ing to be­come a reg­u­lated Cana­dian im­mi­gra­tion con­sul­tant (RCIC). Mckay told the Straight by phone that ini­tially an ap­pli­cant needed 140 hours of train­ing. Then it was boosted to 320 hours, and re­cently it went up to 500 hours.

“I be­lieve the next step is prob­a­bly a one-year full-time pro­gram,” he stated.

The reg­u­la­tory body re­quires RCICS to com­plete 16 hours of con­tin­u­ing pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment each year. Ash­ton Col­lege helps them meet this obli­ga­tion through sem­i­nars and cour­ses.

This year marks the 20th an­niver­sary of Ash­ton Col­lege and the 10th an­niver­sary of its im­mi­gra­tion-con­sul­tant train­ing pro­gram. Ac­cord­ing to Mckay, a wide va­ri­ety of peo­ple are choos­ing to en­ter the pro­fes­sion.

Many are im­mi­grants with an in­ter­est in the sub­ject or they want to learn how to do the pa­per­work to bring fam­ily mem­bers to Canada. Oth­ers were pro­fes­sion­als in their home coun­tries. Then there are hu­man-re­source pro­fes­sion­als who rec­og­nize that an un­der­stand­ing of the im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem en­ables them to help for­eign na­tion­als work in Canada. Par­lia­men­tary as­sis­tants have also gone through the pro­gram at Ash­ton Col­lege. “I’ve been told that at a lot of the MPS’ con­stituency of­fices, 70 per­cent of their work can be deal­ing with im­mi­grants to Canada,” Mckay said.

Early next year, Ash­ton Col­lege plans to launch a 240-hour pro­gram to train im­mi­gra­tion-pro­cess­ing as­sis­tants. Ac­cord­ing to Mckay, grad­u­ates would as­sist RCICS and lawyers by com­plet­ing ap­pli­cants’ forms.

They could use this train­ing as a lad­der to be­come an im­mi­gra­tion con­sul­tant in the fu­ture be­cause course cred­its could be ap­plied to the 500 hours of train­ing that’s re­quired to be an RCIC.

A full-time op­tion in­cludes four hours of classes, five days a week, from Mon­day to Fri­day. Stu­dents do their as­sign­ments later in the day.

Part-time stu­dents might at­tend two evenings a week and per­haps even a Satur­day morn­ing. This takes longer to com­plete but it won’t in­ter­fere with a stu­dent’s day-to-day em­ploy­ment. There’s also an op­tion to study on­line.


Ar­den Hen­ley, prin­ci­pal of 2

Cana­dian pro­grams at Ci­tyu in Canada, en­joys pon­der­ing provoca­tive ques­tions af­fect­ing hu­mankind. Ethics and ecol­ogy both fac­tor in a big way into the mas­ter’s de­grees in coun­selling and ed­u­ca­tion and bach­e­lor of arts in man­age­ment of­fered at the down­town Van­cou­ver cam­pus.

In a phone in­ter­view with the Straight, Hen­ley points out that ethics is in­te­gral to the work of coun­sel­lors, ed­u­ca­tors, and man­agers. “It’s fun­da­men­tal,” he says. “It has to do with how you con­struct re­la­tion­ships with oth­ers in the world.”

But it’s some­times hard to main­tain re­la­tion­ships, which are at the core of eth­i­cal in­ter­ac­tions, when peo­ple are scur­ry­ing around like ham­sters on a tread­mill. Hen­ley him­self finds that he’s in­cred­i­bly busy in his job, some­times hav­ing up to eight or 10 tasks to per­form in a sin­gle day. They could in­cude coach­ing a dis­ser­ta­tion stu­dent, at­tend­ing a lead­er­ship-team meet­ing, deal­ing with a prop­erty man­ager, and even speak­ing to the me­dia. And that can take a toll.

“It’s a tremen­dously con­densed and chal­leng­ing sched­ule some­times,” he ad­mits.

When Hen­ley looks at the nat­u­ral world, he sees a dif­fer­ent story un­fold­ing at this time of year. The days are grow­ing shorter and plants are fall­ing back into the earth. But as less en­ergy is be­ing ex­pended in the en­vi­ron­ment, hu­man be­ings in met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas never seem to slow down. He sug­gests that peo­ple’s en­gage­ment in work and work-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties may be at an all-time high as they try to cope with in­creas­ing com­plex­ity and a demon­stra­bly higher rate of change.

“From a cer­tain point of view, the eth­i­cal is­sue is: are we harm­ing our­selves by this sort of un­equiv­o­cal ob­ses­sion with pro­duc­tiv­ity even though the rhythm of the [nat­u­ral] world, if we were to look at it and ex­pe­ri­ence it, would tell us oth­er­wise?”

The mania for ef­fi­ciency could

Novem­ber 9 to 15, 2017

Could you use more help from the stars? Saturn, Uranus, Venus, Jupiter, and Nep­tune are con­spir­ing on your be­half. Good timing sup­ports ac­tion-tak­ing, cre­ative en­deav­our, new ad­ven­tures, and life­style tran­si­tions. The stars are now mov­ing along an easy-rolling, easy-ac­cess track.

On Satur­day, Saturn trines Uranus for the last of three ex­act meet-ups. This tran­sit has spanned the en­tirety of 2017. While Saturn and Uranus are com­ing to the end of their as­so­ci­a­tion in the el­e­ment of fire, they are by no means fin­ished with their cre­ate-it, ac­cel­er­ate-it agenda. Not by a long shot. Rather, they are now com­plet­ing an ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing curve and in­for­ma­tion-gath­er­ing first phase. No doubt you are likely to feel you have done plenty of liv­ing and grow­ing.

Saturn in Sagit­tar­ius and Uranus in Aries have been bust­ing up the con­crete on the past while also rein­vent­ing the course of the fu­ture. Al­though that’s a big deal, when you stop to think about it, you are likely to rec­og­nize you have been able to ac­cli­ma­tize and ad­just with greater ease de­spite the chal­lenges. See it as a mea­sure of your in­ner progress.

Set­ting cre­ativ­ity, pas­sion, op­por­tu­nity, drive, or ne­ces­sity onto a Jupiter freshly into its one-year tour of Scor­pio as­sists you/us to make a fuller com­mit­ment to your soul’s de­sire to build it bet­ter.

Satur­day’s Saturn/uranus op­ti­mizes on the syn­chronic­ity of right time, right place. Venus in Scor­pio con­juncts Jupiter on Mon­day and trines Nep­tune on Thurs­day. It’s about the feel, the sexy. A fluid, lu­cra­tive, and re­ward-gen­er­at­ing week lies ahead for ex­plor­ing op­tions, money deal­ings, and af­fairs of the heart.


March 20–April 20

It’s shap­ing up for you now, and you can ex­pect it to keep go­ing. Hit­ting peak on Satur­day, Saturn/uranus place you at the gate­way of so much more to come. Saturn gives you some­thing more tan­gi­ble to go on. Uranus serves as a rekin­dle and heat-up in­flu­ence. En­hanc­ing cre­ativ­ity, in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ships, and mon­ey­mak­ing po­ten­tials, the week ahead keeps you on a to­tal im­mer­sion pro­gram.

TAU­RUS April 20–May 21

For the past two-plus years, Saturn in Sagit­tar­ius has likely pushed you through a tough move-along. While sub­stan­tial loss has been in the mix, what’s most im­por­tant is what you’ve gained in the process. Saturn/uranus helps you to move from hang­ing on to hold­ing steady while you con­tinue to build and grow. Sun­day/mon­day, Venus/ Jupiter sets money and re­la­tion­ship mat­ters into fuller swing.


May 21–June 21

Now through the week­end, the stars set up a pro­duc­tive, lu­cra­tive, or so­cial back­drop. Take your pick or com­bine all three. Satur­day, con­ver­sa­tion and good ideas are on the ready dial-up; in­roads are eas­ily made. Venus/jupiter ex­tends good timing and easy go­ing for the en­tire week ahead. Watch for plans and goals to take on a nat­u­ral life of their own.

CANCER June 21–July 22

It’s go­ing to be a smooth­go­ing week­end for work­ing it out, so­lu­tion-find­ing, or get­ting the job done. Im­prove­ment projects, en­rich­ment ef­forts, and nec­es­sary up­grades are well timed. Over this next week, you can gain favour with a lover or one in charge. You’ll also see progress re­gard­ing a health is­sue, job hunt, le­gal mat­ter, or ap­proval process. Venus pumps up cre­ativ­ity, ro­mance, lust, and de­sire.


July 22–Au­gust 23

You can coast and en­joy the ride or take charge, ap­ply your­self, and gain even more. Saturn/uranus keeps progress, profit, and op­por­tu­nity on a steady flow. A new in­ter­est, plan, in­vest­ment, or ini­tia­tive is likely to prove a nat­u­ral fit. Travel, a move, a ren­o­va­tion project, or a new mon­ey­maker is well timed. Venus/jupiter starts the new week with a bonus or an ex­tra.


Au­gust 23–Septem­ber 23

There’s no need to sweat it or to force what isn’t com­ing nat­u­rally. Go by feel, by heart. If you aren’t cer­tain on which choice is best, take a pause and watch for time to re­veal your right play. For the most part, the stars set onto a smooth and pro­duc­tive sail through the week ahead. Saturn/uranus en­hances re­la­tion­ships, prob­lem-solv­ing, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tracks.


Septem­ber 23–Oc­to­ber 23

Busi­ness and plea­sure are a great com­bi­na­tion through the week­end. A trade show, week­end work­shop, open house, sports event, or so­cial get-to­gether de­liv­ers the goods. Spon­tane­ity can too. Sun­day/mon­day keeps you to­tally im­mersed. Venus/jupiter pumps up ev­ery­thing to do with feel­ings, trust, re­la­tion­ships, ren­o­va­tion projects, and money (in­vest­ment, earn­ing, spend­ing). The week ahead is great for cre­ative projects, sales, and mar­ket­ing ven­tures.


Oc­to­ber 23–Novem­ber 22

Saturn/uranus, at peak on Satur­day, keeps the work and the work­ing it out on a nat­u­ral roll­out. Things can fall into place quite read­ily. It doesn’t take much to get a good idea or plan up and run­ning. Look­ing good, feel­ing good; the Midas touch. Venus teams with Jupiter at the start of the week and Nep­tune near the end.

SAGIT­TAR­IUS Novem­ber 22–De­cem­ber 21

Thurs­day can be a turn­ing point re­gard­ing a re­la­tion­ship, a fu­ture plan, or a bud­ding prospect. A piece of news or some­thing you run across can put a smile on your face or a glow in your heart. Saturn/ Uranus, Venus/jupiter, and Venus/ Nep­tune keep you mak­ing the most of it through the week ahead. Mon­day, pump up on vi­ta­mins. Mer­cury/ Nep­tune can make you vul­ner­a­ble.

CAPRI­CORN De­cem­ber 21–Jan­uary 20

When it comes to any­thing new, you of­ten need to spend time with it be­fore you es­tab­lish your com­fort zone. In the works for this past year, Saturn/uranus at peak now speed up your process. They pro­duce a right-time, right-place feel. They also as­sist you to en­ter­tain, ex­plore, or segue with nat­u­ral ease.


Jan­uary 20–Fe­bru­ary 18

Uranus con­tin­ues in ret­ro­grade mo­tion un­til Jan­uary, but rather than hold you up, it stokes a good fire. At peak with Saturn, now is an op­ti­mum time to get it/your­self up and rolling, to re­struc­ture or repri­or­i­tize as is war­ranted. Even the tough stuff comes easy. This next week is op­ti­mized for ca­reer, mar­ket­ing, money mat­ters, and re­la­tion­ships.


Fe­bru­ary 18–March 20

This past year of Saturn/ Uranus has kept per­sonal rein­ven­tion at the fore­front. New pri­or­i­ties, in­ter­ests, and prospects have cropped up along the way. What’s next? At peak on Satur­day, Saturn/uranus has you in good po­si­tion and timing it right. The week ahead en­riches the heart or the wal­let. Venus en­hances in­spi­ra­tion, luck, and re­ward.

Cen­tre for Dig­i­tal Me­dia stu­dents have been early adopters of vir­tual re­al­ity, aug­mented re­al­ity, and mixed re­al­ity.

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