School Zone

In case you missed anything – a roundup of news we picked up last month from Manitoba’s post-secondary schools.

Assiniboine Community College
ACC’s annual provincial impact totals $613 million
A recent study on Assiniboine Community College’s (ACC) economic impact shows a contribution of more than $613 million every year to Manitoba’s economy.

“We know that investments in education produce economic and social returns far greater than their costs,” said ACC president Mark Frison. “Continued investment in ACC and post-secondary education is tied directly to the growth and prosperity of our provincial economy. A more skilled workforce makes Manitoba stronger and more competitive.”

Other notable results from the study are as follows:
» The average internal rate of return for students is 21.2 per cent on their investment in education at ACC. This rate of return continues over their working lives.
» For every dollar of public money invested in ACC, there is a cumulative return of $1.90 to the government over the students’ working lives in the form of higher tax receipts and public sector savings.
» Taxpayers see an internal a rate of return of 10.1 per cent on their investment in the college.

Economic Modelling Specialists International (EMSI) conducted the analysis. They are a leading provider of economic impact studies and labour market data to educational institutions in North America.
A survey completed by Probe Research Inc. earlier this year shows that a large majority of recent ACC graduates secure employment shortly after receiving their diplomas and certificates.

At 96 per cent, the overwhelming majority of recent graduates who were seeking work and were not returning to school secured employment. Nearly 80 per cent of these jobs are permanent.
The average annual gross salary of recent graduates is $44,050.
And it’s good news for Manitoba as 94 per cent of recent ACC graduates have chosen to stay in the province.

University of Manitoba
Young Indigenous leaders recognized with new scholarships
The University of Manitoba is proud to announce its new Indigenous Leader of Tomorrow Scholarships. This new program highlights Indigenous high school graduates who combine outstanding leadership potential with academic giftedness.

“These scholarships recognize the potential of Indigenous students and promote strong Indigenous leaders within our University community,” says University of Manitoba President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. David Barnard. “We are committed to celebrating their contributions and achievements. They are not only role models in their own communities; they are Canada’s future leaders.”

Each of the three annual scholarships is valued at $16,000 ($4,000 per year), allocated over four years of study. Applications are now open, and the awards will be given out to Indigenous students across Canada entering any of the direct entry programs of the University of Manitoba in September 2016.

“We look forward to and must prepare for continued growth in the University of Manitoba’s Indigenous student population,” says Susan Gottheil, Vice-Provost (Students). “Part of this preparation begins with scholarships, bursaries and innovative programming, which will result in greater accessibility and opportunity for Indigenous students.”

Creating Pathways to Indigenous Achievement is an institutional priority for the University of Manitoba, where over 2,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit students are welcomed each year. Last spring, the graduation of over 350 Indigenous students was celebrated at the U of M’s 26th Annual Graduation Pow Wow.

Indigenous Achievement is a pillar of Front and Centre – the campaign for the University of Manitoba, with $65 million directed toward this priority. By collaborating with Indigenous communities and stakeholders, the University of Manitoba is striving to be a welcoming place that translates into success for Indigenous students and their families.

University of Winnipeg
Dr. Jan Stewart receives award
Congratulations to Dr. Jan Stewart, who, on November 6, 2015, received the 2015 Career Development Award of Excellence for Individual Leadership in Research and Innovation from Career Trek.

Dr. Stewart is a Professor and the Coordinator of Advanced Studies in Education in the Faculty of Education. She is the Acting Associate Dean and was the Director of The Institute for Children Affected by War at The Global College from 2006-2011. Dr. Stewart is the lead investigator studying educational strategies and career development programs to support refugee, immigrant children, and youth. She was the lead investigator of a study on educational and psychosocial support for children in post-conflict situations in northern Uganda and South Sudan. Her dissertation on the educational and psychosocial needs of war-affected children was recognized as the top dissertation in Canada in 2007.

Brandon University
Brandon University’s iPad Initiative aids students in the Program for the Education of Native Teachers
Through fundraising efforts over the past year, led by alumnus, Gerald Butler ’63, Brandon University has provided iPads for all students enrolled in BU’s Program for the Education of Native Teachers (PENT). These students hail primarily from Aboriginal, northern, and rural communities across the province and are working towards an Integrated Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education degree. Many of these students already have some in-class teaching experience and the degree program allows them to make further contributions to their communities and students.

In conversations initiated by Gerald Butler with PENT students and BU faculty and staff, it was determined that one of the key barriers facing Aboriginal educators is their access to appropriate technology for both classroom work and their individual coursework as PENT students. Thus, the BU iPad initiative was born.

Thanks to Mr. Butler’s fundraising efforts which raised $36,600 in gifts from private donors, The Cardinal Foundation, the Thomas Sill Foundation and The Winnipeg Foundation, the iPad Initiative has been successfully launched and has provided all 100 students enrolled in the PENT program with the latest technology in support of their educational goals and teaching practices. Additionally, it propels PENT participants to the front of the line in terms of the integration of technology into teaching practices at Brandon University and in many of their communities. Apple has provided additional support in the form of a Technical Consultant who has come on-site to provide students with orientation and training on the use of their iPad.

“Technology can help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological knowledge-based economy,” says Dr. Heather Duncan, Dean of Education at Brandon University.

“The iPad initiative is one step in breaking down the digital divide that exists for many students in our northern and remote communities. We are delighted that Gerald Butler had the passion and drive to bring an idea generated by our PENT students to fruition.”

A program through The Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, Inc. has distributed iPads to each student in northern Aboriginal schools within Manitoba. Thanks to the PENT iPad initiative launched by BU, the educators of these students will now be able to return to classrooms in their communities equipped with their own technology and knowledge of what an iPad can bring to the classroom, enabling them to make learning more relevant and meaningful for their students.

“PENT is a positive initiative, but needs help to meet developing needs within the classroom as educational technology becomes more prominent”, says Gerald Butler. “The iPad Initiative is helping PENT meet the needs of northern communities as it has since it was established in 1971.”

Red River College
RRC Cabinetmaking instructor receives Apprenticeship Manitoba honour
A cabinetmaking instructor from Red River College has won a prestigious provincial training honour from Apprenticeship Manitoba.

Todd Birtwhistle received this year’s Instructor of the Year honour at the Manitoba Apprenticeship Awards of Distinction, which recognize excellence in training and education.

An employee at the college for the last eight years (and himself an alum of RRC’s Apprenticeship Cabinetmaker program), Birtwhistle picked up the award at a reception in Winnipeg on Nov. 5.

His students describe him as an excellent instructor who enables apprentices to develop technical skills and self-motivation by giving them the tools and information they need to succeed, while also allowing them to make mistakes and supporting them when they take on increasingly complex tasks.

In addition, he encourages his students to strive for excellence and to take responsibility for their own learning, while always being there to assist and answer questions.

Birtwhistle is known for regularly arriving early to open the Carpentry shop for his class, and for staying late to help students master difficult concepts or tasks.

Not surprisingly, his insights and experience are greatly valued by those he teaches, among them former student Aubrey Doerksen, the journey person cabinetmaker who nominated Birtwhistle for the award.

“Todd always encouraged us to do our best,” said Doerksen in her submission. “Being a female who had very little exposure to woodworking prior to starting my apprenticeship, I felt at times that I had to prove myself.”

“In Todd’s class, I simply had to develop my skills and be the best that I could personally be as a cabinetmaker. Todd treated us with respect and set an example of how to treat each other.”

Providence University College
Providence offering Radio Communication course for Aviation students
Radio communication is typically something pilots learn through experience. But, as Providence Aviation student Bardia Salimkhani says, it’s also “something most pilots find intimidating at one point or another.”

With that in mind Salimkhani set about designing a Radio Communication in Aviation course. It debuted October 24 and will include another “ground school” session (November 7), tours to facilities including the Winnipeg airport tower, and assignments. One credit hour is on offer to participants, who have already made it the biggest Aviation class of the semester in terms of enrolment.

“We have a wide variety of people with different levels of experience,” says Salimkhani, who points out that both freshmen and returning students are taking the course. “They’ve enjoyed it. After the first class we had an exam and made it like a Jeopardy game.”

Often considered a skill to be picked up while training, radio communication can too often be a source of discomfort to new pilots. This is especially true, Salimkhani explains, when English isn’t a pilot’s first language.

“Whoever’s outside your airplane has no idea what kind of pilot you are—what’s going on in your airplane,” he says. “The only way you can reach out of your airplane is through radio. And when you go through busy airspace there are so many pilots that you can’t just take over the radio and take all the time and say what you need. So you need to know how to communicate.”

To that end Radio Communication in Aviation will prepare pilots to comfortably communicate in both controlled and uncontrolled airspaces and learn the correct radiotelephony procedures in different phases of flight.

Incidentally, enrolment numbers in Aviation are among their most robust since Providence introduced the program, in cooperation with Harv’s Air, in 1984.

Salimkhani, a senior student in the program, is set to graduate in April 2017.

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