Read up on a host of innovative programs at several schools here and across the country that offer courses that have the potential to change your life.
York University’s theatre department has launched the careers of many celebrated actors, directors, and stagehands, perhaps none more famous than Rachel Mcadams. Since graduating with a bachelor’s in fine arts in 2001, the London, Ontario, native has gone on to star in Mean Girls, Wedding Crashers, Sherlock Holmes, Spotlight, Disobedience, and many other films.
Another York University theatre alumna is Weyni Mengesha, the recently appointed artistic director of Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre. Yet another York theatre grad is Tarragon Theatre artistic director Richard Rose, who has directed plays across the country, in the United States, and in London’s West End. One of the faculty members is Michael Greyeyes, who starred as Sitting Bull in the 2018 film Woman Walks Ahead, with Jessica Chastain.
Department chair Marlis Schweitzer told the Straight by phone that one of the things that make York’s theatre program stand out is that it’s part of a large, comprehensive university in Toronto. Students are not streamed into separate areas until after they complete their first year and are required to take courses not only within the faculty but also in the broader school of arts, media, performance, and design. This is the case even though York has strong conservatory-style acting and production-design programs.
“Everybody is getting a strong grounding as theatre students and also as university students,” Schweitzer said. “Another thing that makes York unique is some of the amazing facilities we have.”
These include “gorgeous studio theatres and proscenium-style theatres”, as well as a stateof-the-art black-box theatre named after the first chair of the program, Joseph G. Green.
He was one of the founders of York’s theatre department in 1969. The others were the first theatre faculty member, Don Rubin, acting teachers Sandy Black and David Harris, and technical director Joe Glosson. Another early faculty member was Canadian theatre legend Mavor Moore, who was also a long-time col- umnist with the Globe and Mail.
This means that 2018-19 marks the 50th year of the York theatre department—and Schweitzer said this golden anniversary is being celebrated in several ways. On November 24, there will be a 2 p.m. presentation of David Yee’s rochdale, with a $5 admission fee, followed by a free party from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the university’s Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre.
York’s theatre department is also marking the birthday with a series of interviews on its website under the banner headline “Fifty Years of Disruption”. Former students who have been featured include groundbreaking performance artist Shawna Dempsey, Theatre Ontario’s Rachel Kennedy, postdoctoral health researcher Julia Gray, director Byron Laviolette, Obsidian Theatre producer Luke Reese, dramaturge Lucy Powis, film producer Robert Benedetti, and playwright and actor Bessie Cheng.
Fifty Years of Disruption is also the theme of York’s theatrical work this year. It’s in keeping with the department’s history of focusing a series of shows on questions of social and political relevance. In past years, seasons have revolved around Indigeneity, accessibility, and violence.
“It’s not just that we want to put on a play because we know it will sell tickets,” Schweitzer said. “We want to build a season that involves the whole department—graduate and undergraduate—in exploring questions. So this year, the theme is around disruption and an emerging generation of disrupters.”
Schweitzer pointed out that one of the advantages of studying at York is Toronto’s vibrant theatre ecosystem. The department has a program called Surprise Surprise that gives students free tickets to see a variety of shows. They can range from the blockbuster musical Come From Away to performances in small independent theatres.
“They get a real sense of the range of theatre that’s being produced in the city,” she said, “and, thankfully, we have a subway that connects York all the way to downtown and all the way out to Vaughan and Markham.”
Most Vancouver residents have heard of Toronto, Mcgill, and Dalhousie universities, which are three of Canada’s oldest Englishlanguage postsecondary institutions. Concordia University in Montreal, however, isn’t nearly as well known across the country, even though it has one of the largest student bodies in the country.
Formed through the merger of Sir George Williams University and Loyola College in 1974, it has 37,053 undergraduate students and 9,040 graduate students this year. It’s perhaps most famous for the John Molson School of Business, which relies on group learning and the case-study model of instruction.
The list of undergraduate programs at Concordia runs the gamut from journalism to engineering to urban studies. Some people are attracted by its highly regarded bachelor of arts in actuarial mathematics. Others are drawn by its athletic programs.
About 8.5 percent of the students are Canadians from outside Quebec.
“A lot of our B.C. applicants are interested in our fine-arts programs,” Concordia’s director of student recruitment, Matthew Stiegemeyer, told the Straight by phone. “It’s one of the largest fine-arts faculties rooted in a university.”
One of the newest faculty members, artist Kelly Jazvac, is a sculptor who is part of an interdisciplinary plastics-pollution research group. Her work is a reflection that at Concordia, fine arts is not only about creating things but also about advancing cultural discussions about issues of importance to society.
Stiegemeyer said that the same outwardlooking approach is embraced in urban studies, where there is a great deal of research into the “future-city concept”.
Out-of-province students are attracted to Concordia by the relatively low cost of living in Montreal compared to other places in Canada. According to Statistics Canada data, the average rent in the city in 2016 was $835 per month. In eight of the city’s boroughs, the average was less than $800 per month.
“Certainly, the cost-of-living component stands out,” Stiegemeyer said.
The globally recognized QS rankings listed Montreal as the best student city in the world in 2017; this year, it came first in North America and ranked fourth in the world behind London, Tokyo, and Melbourne.
The rankings are based on such things as the mix of students, desirability (including livability, safety, and pollution levels), employer activity, affordability, and student experience.
Montreal has a vibrant nightlife with a European feel. Because there are four universities and 12 colleges in the city, the local government places a high priority on ensuring there is enough accommodation for students.
Stiegemeyer pointed out that because Montreal is an old city, it’s possible to rent units in century-old buildings with high ceilings, old wood floors, and a sense of history. “It adds to that sense of exoticism,” he said.
There’s a fully built-out rapid-transit system. In addition, Concordia runs its own buses between the downtown campus—home to the business, engineering, and fine-arts faculties—and the Loyola campus six kilometres away. It’s full of green space and houses communications, journalism, psychology, and other programs, as well as the university’s sports facilities.
Stiegemeyer added one other benefit of living in Montreal—the food. Because Quebec has a vibrant agricultural sector, there’s plenty of healthy dining options.
“There’s also a real commitment to the outdoors,” he said, noting the popularity of cycling trails around the city and in one of Montreal’s most popular destinations, the 209-hectare Parc Jean-drapeau.
Named after one of the city’s most colourful mayors, it was the site of the Expo 67 World Fair and includes an environmental museum, a Formula 1 racetrack, and the city’s largest outdoor-concert venue.
UBC FACULTY OF EDUCATION
Many British Columbians don’t know that there are more than 70,000 Indigenous students in B.C.’S K-12 public-school system. That’s about 13 percent. Yet only about two percent of B.C.’S approximately 42,000 certified public-school teachers are Indigenous, according to UBC’S associate dean for Indigenous education, Jan Hare.
This has created a pressing need for Indigenous teachers and culturally grounded educators.
“They are critical to the success of Indigenous students,” Hare told the Straight by phone.
The Anishinaabe scholar’s mandate includes enriching UBC’S teacher education with Indigenous perspectives, histories, and pedagogies. She pointed out that the First Peoples’ Principles of Learning are embedded in curriculum reform in B.C.
This holistic, reflexive, experiential, and relational approach that recognizes the role of Indigenous knowledge is also being embraced in other provinces. “There has been a shift across Canada in response to curriculum reform,” Hare said.
This presents opportunities for educators to think about how young learners from narrative traditions can benefit from culturally sensitive approaches that enhance comprehension, language development, and listening skills.
A cornerstone of the UBC faculty of education’s efforts is NITEP, which is the acronym for its Indigenous teacher education program. It began training Indigenous elementary-school teachers in 1974 and was expanded to the secondary grades in 2004.
“There is research that suggests when Indigenous learners are taught by Indigenous educators, they’re more likely to engage more deeply in learning and experience better outcomes,” Hare said.
NITEP offers programming in Indigenous communities and rural areas, which enables students to remain at local field centres for the first two or three years. Then they transfer to UBC’S Vancouver campus to complete their bachelor of education and their certification year to become a teacher.
Hare emphasized that NITEP delivers a holistic experience that not only prepares future teachers for the classroom but also supports and nurtures their cultural identity. The program hosts an urban cohort for those interested in teaching in urban areas.
“They would have an understanding of the impacts that colonialism has had on our communities and our families,” Hare said. “They would have an opportunity to develop an understanding of the diversity of Indigenous people in terms of their languages and cultures.”
Graduates include B.C.’S first superintendent of aboriginal achievement, Dede Derose, and Fiona Laporte, who is the head teacher at Xpey’ elementary school (formerly Sir William Macdonald elementary), which is Vancouver’s Aboriginal-focused school, located in the city’s East Side.
Meanwhile, the 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is having an influence on the school system. Hare noted that this report has not only provided a road map for advancement but has imposed demands on the education system that UBC is addressing. That’s because 11 of its 94 “calls to action” focus on education.
“We have a required course on Indigenous education,” she stated, “so all teacher candidates take a course on Indigenous perspectives, Indigenous content, and Indigenous learning approaches.”
VCC CONTINUING STUDIES
Vancouver Community College has been delivering career education for more than 50 years, including through its continuing-studies division. In an effort to increase accessibility, it has decided to offer three of its eight courses online for those seeking a fashion-merchandising associate certificate.
“Textiles is currently online,” fashion-programs coordinator Sarah Murray told the Straight by phone. “Fashion forecasting is going to be offered online for the first time in the winter. And the merchandising fashion course will be offered online in the springtime.”
She pointed out that students can take the eight courses—including fashion marketing and promotion, fashion retail management, fashion styling, history of fashion, and retail buying—in whatever sequence they prefer. Students take two courses per term and they can receive a certificate within a year.
“It’s particularly good for people who are working in the retail industry already and are looking to move up,” Murray said. “Whether they want to work at head office or be a manager or supervisor, this program is great for that.”
That’s because it provides a comprehensive overview of the business side of the fashion industry. It’s a sector that will face far more demand for workers in the coming years, according to the 2016 B.C. Alliance for Manufacturing report on the B.C. apparel industry. It forecast that the industry will lose 37.8 percent of its workers through attrition by 2025.
Murray said that some of the greatest demand will be for people who are knowledgeable about merchandising and e-commerce.
As part of VCC’S philosophy of learning by doing, fashionmerchandising students work with local designers to develop marketing plans. Students also organize a photo shoot in their styling class, lining up models, hair and makeup artists, and photographers.
These can be included in the students’ portfolio when they go looking for jobs. “It’s less than $3,000 to get the certificate,” Murray said. “It is a valuable item to have on a résumé because I do think it helps you move up the ranks.”
It’s not the only style-oriented continuing-studies program. Justin Ewart is program coordinator for the makeup-artistry certificate. There are seven courses offered, but students only need to complete five of them to graduate.
The four required courses are makeup-artistry fundamentals, evening and bridal makeup, fashion and photography makeup, and freelance and career development. Electives include airbrushing makeup, theatrical makeup, and film-and-television makeup.
In a phone interview with the
Straight, Ewart explained that it can be done part-time. On average, it takes a student just less than a year and a half, though they can stretch it out to five years if they register for one course per term.
“In the fundamentals course, they learn to identify different skin tones…and how to apply makeup to them, as well as identifying different face shapes, eye shapes, and lip shapes and how to do proper application to them, or even correction to them,” he said. “We teach them how to cover a blemish.”
In addition, students learn how to properly highlight a cheekbone or nose, as well as how to give clients a more defined jawline and adjust the shape of someone’s eye.
“If you take a brush and do the eyeliner down, it’s going to pull down the eye,” Ewart said. “If they angle the eyeliner up, it’s going to lift up the eye.”
He noted that this certificate pro- gram can lead to freelance makeup work, as well as employment in the beauty industry. Prospective students should have a good work ethic, a willingness to market their skills, and an ability to work well with clients. “You have to be a people person—someone with a positive attitude.”
VANCOUVER LEARNING NETWORK
Since 1990, Vancouver Learning Network (VLN) has provided a highquality, comprehensive, flexible, and engaging education program that offers an alternative to traditional inperson learning. There are more than 90 online courses that span a variety of secondary studies and are ideal for students with a wide range of needs.
There are many reasons why students might find online learning a better fit. Some take one or two online courses as part of a graduation plan, while others are looking to upgrade a mark or jump ahead in their studies. Elite athletes or performers, for example, may benefit from a less rigid school schedule.
Students work with VLN teeachers and counsellors to create a personalized learning and/or course plan to establish individual timelines and goals. Sometimes a desired course simply isn’t offered or won’t fit into a student’s schedule. Available to B.C. students, all courses are approved by the B.C. Ministry of Education and taught by Vancouver School Board (VSB) teachers who are readily available to help and support students with their learning. Tuition is free for school-aged B.C. residents. As part of the VSB, VLN courses can be used toward a B.C. Dogwood or Adult Graduation Certificate. And with continuous enrollment, you can easily sign up for most courses online, at any time.
For information, a list of courses, or to sign up, visit www.vlns.ca/.
KWANTLEN POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY
Before Justin Trudeau was prime minister—and before Canadians had any idea that cannabis would become legal—kwantlen Polytechnic University was offering career training in this industry. When it launched its first online course in September 2015, the focus was on identifying clinical applications for medicinal cannabis.
It was the first public postsecondary institution in Canada to venture into this area. “We have a very forward-thinking executive and a forward-thinking board of governors that has allowed us to do this,” KPU’S director of emerging business, David Purcell, told the Straight by phone.
The regional university now offers three such online courses and is also going to host a two-day interactive retail-cannabis-consultant workshop on December 7 and 8 at its Richmond campus. According to Purcell, the workshop will cover all aspects of provincial and federal regulation, as well as the history of cannabis prohibition and issues relating to customer service. (For more information, visit www.kpu.ca/cannabis.)
“We’ll talk about cannabinoids and terpenes and the different kinds of plants,” Purcell said.
The online career-training courses were developed in conjunction with several people in the cannabis industry. The senior curriculum adviser is David Rémillard, a cofounder of Ryz Rémi Organic Skin Care and a medical-cannabis patient who has spoken at cannabis conferences.
One of the courses, Plant Production and Facility Management, has been updated and revamped to reflect how legalization is proceeding under the Cannabis Act. Purcell said that over 13 weeks, students gain a “foundational understanding” of both the industry and the cannabis plant.
They also learn how and where to grow it, as well as in which facilities this might take place.
“We talk about quality assurance, quality control, and quality-management systems in this course,” Purcell said. “We also talk about standard operating procedures and, of course, all the federal and provincial regulatory frameworks under which Health Canada dictates the production of cannabis in Canada.”
Another 13-week course, Marketing Under the Cannabis Act, “arms people with the tools necessary to make sure that they’re following the rules and regulations—and aren’t contravening any of those rules”.
Purcell said it can help those with a marketing background or an understanding of marketing strategies learn how their skills can be applied at a licensed cannabis producer or an ancillary cannabis company in Canada.
The third offering, Financing a Cannabis Enterprise in Canada, is an eight-week course for aspiring entrepreneurs. It offers insights into the economics of the cannabis industry and how the market functions.
A major focus is helping learners understand how to raise capital, prepare their pitches for funding, develop a business plan, and then launch their cannabis-related company. Purcell said that the course gives students a good grounding in how to build a business around ancillary products in the cannabis sector.
“We’ve been offering that course for a little over a year now,” he noted. “It’s gaining traction.”
Purcell revealed that KPU is in the “late stages” of developing a yearlong cannabis-cultivation course to train entry and midlevel workers for employment with licensed producers. In addition, the regional university is in the process of creating a course to teach people to become quality-assurance technicians for licensed producers, which could be available by the spring or summer of next year.
“The industry has told us that quality-assurance tech and quality control are really the big pieces that are missing from the workforce now,” Purcell said. “We’re building that course specifically now to fill that need. We’re also looking at building extraction courses.”
The long-term goal is for KPU to develop certificate, diploma, and degree programs focusing on cannabis.
“The industry is going to demand it,” Purcell predicted. “We’re working with our faculty to create course work and to create curriculum that would be suitable and would be in demand for those types of programs.”
In the meantime, KPU has formed partnerships with postsecondary institutions in other provinces to ensure that its curriculum is reaching students across the country. Purcell said graduates are finding jobs in this area, in part because the courses were crafted by people already working in the industry. KPU is also in discussions with education administrators in other countries, including Australia.
“We’re not just looking at it in Canada,” Purcell said. “We really want to lead this across the planet.”
NEW YORK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
The onslaught of forest fires, hurricanes, and extreme flooding in recent years has made it even more urgent to develop renewable sources of energy and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
It has also sharply increased interest in educational programs that address these important global issues. For example, at the Vancouver campus of the New York Institute of Technology, a master’s program in energy management has taken off in popularity.
“The program started in 2016 with four students,” NYIT associate professor Remi Charron told the Straight by phone. “Now we have over 100 students registered.”
The NYIT energy-management program includes seven core courses and three electives. They cover such areas as alternative energy, power-plant systems, solar energy, environmental audits and monitoring, environmental risk assessment,
smart-grid systems, and advanced battery and fuel-cell technologies.
All the courses are offered in the evenings, which makes it possible to study while continuing to work during the day. “If you’re doing it fulltime, you could complete it in a year,” Charron said. “Most of the students are doing it in a year and a half.”
For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, it’s possible to complete this master’s program over a fiveyear period. Students can also obtain a NYIT energy-management master’s degree online through the New York campus. For those who prefer face-to-face instruction, classes take place at NYIT’S campus in downtown Vancouver.
NYIT also offers master’s programs in cybersecurity, finance, management, and instructional technology in Vancouver. The cybersecurity program is being transferred to a new campus at the Broadway Tech Centre beside Renfrew Station.
Charron revealed that NYIT is also developing a master’s degree in computer science, specializing in data science, as well as another master’s in UX/UI (user experience/user interface).
The energy-management program has benefited from a grant from B.C. Housing that enabled the school to create a lab with stations focusing on different energy technologies. NYIT has also created a video series.
According to Charron, most of the students take the elective course in solar energy, which complements the core course in renewable energy. The focus in the elective is on solar photovoltaics, which is taking off around the world.
The course on advanced battery and fuel-cell technologies covers advances in the storage of renewable energy, as well as fuel cells for larger vehicles. In addition, new faculty will be offering a course on the “smart grid”, which will demonstrate how renewable power sources can become part of electricitytransmission systems.
There’s also a significant amount of economic information imparted to students in this master’s program.
“They learn about different incentive programs and feed-in tariffs and how you can manage that,” Charron noted. “They look at how the utility-rate structures work in terms of when you’re generating and when you need to bring on extra power.”
Many of the students have an engineering or science background.
“Some of them are coming straight from their undergrad,” he said. “Others are mature students that just want to get into either energy efficiency or renewable energy.”
Charron’s expertise is in green buildings, and he’s a certified passivehouse designer. For those interested in learning how to reduce a building’s consumption of power, there is an elective course on energy modelling.
NYIT enables students to apply for fellowships to travel more than 200 kilometres from their campus on a project.
“It’s meant for students to explore the world,” Charron said. “We have four students that went to the Boiling River in the middle of the Amazon. We’ve had two students who went to Abu Dhabi to look at energy efficiency.”
CENTRE FOR DIGITAL MEDIA
The Centre for Digital Media likes to trumpet the success of its graduates. On its website, the Vancouverbased graduate school points out that 95 percent of its alumni are working in their fields.
Two of those graduates are Christopher Sroka and Carolyn Fung, who each credit the Centre for Digital Media for putting them on a path to finding their dream jobs.
Sroka, a brand-content specialist at Whistler Blackcomb, said his job entails curating marketing content through his employer’s social channels. This involves dealing with agencies, contractors, photographers, videographers, and athletes.
“I make sure all the content goes to the right place at the right time with the right message,” Sroka told the Straight by phone.
He graduated in 2012 from UBC’S Okanagan campus with a bachelor of management degree with a focus on marketing. He found a job at a marketing agency but found himself “siloed” into video editing because he was good at it. He wanted to be exposed to other areas.
“I felt kind of limited—or backed into a corner,” Sroka acknowledged.
He was attracted to the Centre for Digital Media program because it focused on teams of students working collaboratively on projects for real clients as opposed to writing a thesis. “I could put this on my résumé and I could use this afterward,” he said.
The school opened in 2007 on Great Northern Way as a partnership between four postsecondary institutions—ubc, SFU, the B.C. Institute of Technology, and Emily Carr University of Art + Design—and it’s home to the master of digital media program. While there, Sroka learned that failing can be just as important as succeeding because it offers useful learning experiences.
In fact, he said, the school actually encourages students to experience failures as they refine and improve their projects.
“If I didn’t attend the school, I would have been more scared to try new things and get out of my comfort zone,” he said.
Sroka obtained an internship with the Centre for Digital Media’s marketing department because a staff member went on maternity leave. The videos he created led him to be hired part-time with the Vancouver Canucks, which led to him working for Whistler Blackcomb.
Fung, a producer and project manager at Vancouver-based NGX Interactive, obtained her bachelor’s degree in business administration at Acadia University in Nova Scotia before spending several years in the marketing business. As a millennial, she was an early adopter of Facebook ad campaigns, launching the first in B.C. before concluding that she needed to learn more about digital media.
That led her to take the master’s program at the Centre for Digital Media in the 2014-15 school year. Her career goal was to develop interactive experiences in museums and discovery centres.
“It really changed my life forever,” Fung told the Straight by phone.
At the school, she was the project manager on a team that worked with the Vancouver Maritime Museum to re-create the experience of travelling on the St. Roch through the Northwest Passage. Turning the ship’s wheel brought up different video screens.
“Basically, I ended up on that project for two terms,” Fung recalled. “I think what the CDM provides you with is a lot of hands-on practical experience to get in there and build things.”
She credited the CDM for enhancing her cultural literacy because it brought her in contact with students from other countries.
After graduating, Fung joined NGX Interactive, where she produces interactive exhibits for cultural institutions. She has worked on projects for Science World, the H. R. Macmillan Space Centre, Halifax’s largest discovery centre, and the Lone Star Flight Museum in Texas. This has entailed everything from creating touch-screen exhibits to multi-user projects that involve virtual reality and augmented reality.
“The CDM helped position me for being where I am now in terms of giving me the opportunity to work with industry,” Fung said.
VCC BAKING AND PASTRY ARTS APPRENTICE
Anyone who has watched The Great British Baking Show knows how difficult it is to create complicated layer cakes filled with a multitude of ingredients. And that’s one reason why the Industry Training Authority B.C. includes bakers in its Red Seal certification program for skilled trades.
Those interested in pursuing a career as a baker can become licensed by going through the three-level baking-and-pastry-arts apprentice program at Vancouver Community College. According to VCC instructor Esther Kosa, people who want to become Red Seal bakers must first register with the ITA and obtain a trade worker’s identification number. This sticks with the person for the rest of their life.
Graduates of an Ita–approved training program, such as the one at VCC, can apply for credit toward meeting the technical requirements. Kosa explained to the Straight over the phone that those in VCC’S 11-month baking program take their apprentice level one exam at the end. If they pass, VCC instructors suggest they go out and find a job before taking the next step toward becoming a Red Seal baker.
That’s because they need a sponsor (often an employer) to be admitted into the level two apprentice course.
“After doing that, then they would go back out, work for another year and get more experience, and then come back for level three,” Kosa said.
The ITA requires that Red Seal bakers possess a specified set of skills, which are taught by VCC in each stage of its apprentice program. At the first level, students learn how to make basic pies, cookies, pastries, and bread. It is offered every January. They must also be capable of basic cake-decorating.
At the second level, which is offered in February, students are challenged to create more elaborate baked goods. “Perhaps they’ll make different types of pie,” Kosa said. “Instead of a blueberry pie, they would go with a chiffon pie or a cream pie. Basically, we require a little bit more understanding and a different method of making different types of pie.”
Level two students are also challenged to temper chocolate and might be asked to make more advanced mousse cakes. They’re also required to make wedding cakes.
“Level three will concentrate more on the advanced side of things—ice creams, more advanced wedding cakes, and more in-depth chocolate stuff,” Kosa revealed.
Students work in VCC’S food labs, which have a deck oven, a convection oven, and, in some cases, a rack oven that rotates fully. Kosa said that each lab also has long wooden tables, which each accommodate two students. The school can take up to 18 apprentices in each program.
One of the differences between the apprentice program and The Great British Baking Show is the equipment. Some of it is much larger at Vcc—including a 75-litre mixer—than anyone will ever see on the TV show.
“We teach the students how to do individual stuff as well as larger production stuff,” Kosa said. “That’s so they’re not surprised when they go out in the industry.”
She pointed out that Red Seal bakers can receive higher pay, depending on where they’re employed. And this certification has potential to open up opportunities to work in the hospitality sector, particularly in hotels.
“I believe that in our city, there are very talented people who are willing to teach,” she stated.
She added that sometimes having a trade certification can lead to jobs in other countries.
“One of our instructors used to work for Fairmont and she was able to go to Scotland and work there for a while,” Kosa said. “It does open up a lot of ways to travel if people put their time and effort into learning.”
UBC PHYSICS TEACHER TRAINING
UBC’S faculty of education has left a large imprint on B.C.’S K-12 school system. According to the faculty’s website, it has educated more than 45 percent of the province’s elementary-school teachers and a majority of B.C. secondary-school teachers.
Natasha Philibert-palmer hopes to join their ranks. She enrolled in the faculty of education in September with the goal of becoming a high-school physics teacher.
The physics teacher education program is rooted in a great deal of collaboration with the UBC department of physics and astronomy.
In a phone interview with the Straight, Philibert-palmer recalled being one of the few teenage girls in her Physics 11 and Physics 12 classes when she attended secondary school.
“I would love to encourage more girls to do that,” she said.
She’s particularly interested in trying to persuade all students from other groups underrepresented in the sciences—including Indigenous learners—to become more interested in the subject.
The self-confessed sci-fi fan graduated several years ago with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. For the past four years, Philibert-palmer was overseeing outreach programs for UBC’S engineering department, which brought her in contact with many teenagers. “I really like working with kids,” she said.
This month, she began her first two-week practicum. It’s part of a one-year program that includes courses in how to teach physics and the other sciences. There are also courses on the history of education, social justice in education, childhood development, and teaching students for whom English isn’t their first language.
For Philibert-palmer, it’s been a pleasant surprise to see how committed other teacher candidates are to promoting the well-being of students.
“Everyone is really here for the same reason,” she said. “They really like children and they really want to help children and youth be the best people they can be, whatever subject they’re teaching.”
Philibert-palmer doesn’t come from a family of educators. Her dad is a mechanic who works on cars, and from a very young age she helped him in the garage. From there, it was natural to study mechanical engineering at university.
“I’ve always really enjoyed figuring out how things work,” she said.
Philibert-palmer has a very good chance of finding work as a physics teacher when she completes the program in July of 2019. A provincial task-force report noted that 54 of the province’s school districts are having trouble finding and retaining science, math, and French teachers, teacher-librarians, counsellors, and learning-assistance teachers.
“When I talk to teachers and I tell them I’m taking physics, they tell me there will be a job for me when I graduate,” she said.
But first she’ll have to complete a 10-week practicum in a classroom in early 2019.
“Then at the beginning of May, we have something really cool called the community field experience, which is three weeks long,” she added. “It could be with a community partner that does some form of informal education, like a summer-camp program, or a museum or Science World.
“It could also be in a school district other than the one where you did your practicum,” Philibert-palmer continued. “If you were in an urban setting, you could go for three weeks to a rural school district and experience that.”
York University’s department of theatre is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a performance of rochdale; Concordia students in Montreal are the beneficiaries of some of the lowest rents of any large Canadian city.
Vancouver Community College is offering online courses to those seeking a fashion-merchandising associate certificate.
The New York Institute of Technology grants master’s degrees in cybersecurity, business administration, energy management, and instructional technology.
The Centre for Digital Media opened on Great Northern Way in 2007 as a result of a partnership between four B.C. postsecondary institutions.