Teacher Education Newsletter – May 2017

It’s been a big year for our little department! This year marked the tenth anniversary since the inception of the Teacher Education Program (now Department or TED) at UFV. Many changes have occurred since our small beginnings. We have shifted campuses (we used to be situated in Chilliwack); we added a cohort (our program has grown from 30 students in 2007 to 66 students in 2016); we added a Secondary cohort with two streams (Math/Science and English/Social Studies); and, as of May 2016, our graduates now receive a Bachelor of Education as a second degree. That being said, some important things haven’t changed: our strong connection with our partnering school districts in Fraser-Cascade, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley and Mission, our steadfast conviction about our program values, and our staunch commitment to the students with whom we are fortunate to work. We are very proud of our program and our alumni – some of whom are now working as mentors for our current students.

Our year began with one of our alumni, Shannon Thiesen, awarded the Young Distinguished Alumni award by UFV.

Curating a new generation of critical thinkers (November 1, 2016)

Inspired by 30 kids and sometimes smeared by her squeegee or fork, the paintings created by UFV’s 2016 Young Distinguished Alumni Award winner Shannon Thiesen make their mark in more ways than one.

She credits UFV instructors for inspiring her to become a great teacher for her own students at the Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts North Poplar campus, teaching a Grade 4-5 split class.

Thiesen recently flew to New York City with a colleague to help an underprivileged school though a program called Sing For Hope where she transformed a piano to look like a moose.

10th Anniversary Celebrations

In order to celebrate our tenth anniversary, we organized a series of events ‌to occur throughout the year including a Speaker Series and an Alumni Gala. In keeping with the Teacher Education department’s strong commitment to Indigenization, we decided to focus our speaker series around the topic of Truth and Reconciliation.  The first of our events occurred on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. Dr. Jan Hare, the Associate Dean of Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education at UBC, spoke on “Strengthening Our Commitment to Reconciliation: Opportunities and Challenges for Education”.                                         

Our second event, a co-sponsored event between the President’s office, the Faculty of Professional Studies, and the Teacher Education department, was scheduled to occur on February 8, 2017. Richard Wagamese, author of Indian Horse, Medicine Walk and, most recently, Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations, was scheduled to speak but, unexpectedly cancelled in the middle of January due to illness. Sadly, he passed away March 10, 2017.

Our Teacher Education Alumni Gala occurred on Friday, April 7, 2017. Over 60 of our 381 alumni were there to celebrate with us. What a wonderful reunion! There were alumni from all ten years present, along with some former faculty and faculty mentors and community supporters in attendance as well. A special thank you to Daniel Goertz (Alumni Relations) and Betsy Terpsma (Special Events) for their assistance with the organization.

Back Row: Suki Grewal, Janet Carroll, Awneet Sivia, Karen Nelson, Tracy Ryder Glass, Nancy Norman, Chuck Charles, Sheryl MacMath. Front Row: Sandy Hill, Vandy Britton, Heather Compeau, Barbara Salingre

Rick Hansen Secondary Research Partnership

We have successfully partnered with Rick Hansen Secondary School in Abbotsford to carry out a 5 year research project to study the impact of Project Based Learning on student achievement and teacher learning. The researchers, Awneet Sivia, Vandy Britton, and Sheryl MacMath, have shared preliminary findings with the Chamber of Commerce, within UFV and nationally at the Congress Conference at Ryerson University and have submitted an article for publication. The RHSS-TED partnership reflects the strong connections the Teacher Education department has built with local schools and colleagues in the field. 

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