AlumniED Newsletter -Summer 2017 Convocation Issue

Dean's Message from Dr. Harry Janzen

 Greetings and welcome to the latest Convocation issue of our AlumniED newsletter. The newsletter serves to keep our Alumni and teaching colleagues up to date with news from our Education programs and our program graduates. Convocation offers an opportunity to reflect on our students' successes and to congratulate our deserved graduates.


Our June 6th Convocation celebrated the success of our Post-Baccalaureate Education program graduates. 44 enthusiastic grads are eager to begin their teaching careers after at least 3.5 years in our Bachelor of Education program.


Along with our undergraduate programs, 26 graduates from our Masters of Education in Educational Leadership (MEDL) degree program were formally recognized for their accomplishments including four students from our OLTD/MEDL degree program. 19 graduates from our Masters of Special Education were honoured along with cur Post-Degree Diploma in Special Education Teacher Specialty (SETS) program that welcomed 3 new graduates. The Online Learning & Teaching graduate Diploma (OLTD) program congratulated eleven new program grads.


Our graduate diploma and degree programs offer AlumniED partners the opportunity to continue their pursuit of life-long learning opportunities. Information on all of our graduate offerings.


VIU Education Program grads continue to support student success in our schools locally, nationally and internationally. Congratulations to all our graduates-- past and present.


Dr. Harry Janzen, Dean, Faculty of Education



A Fond Farewell

All of us in the Faculty of Education would like to wish Dr. Harry Janzen a sincere congratulations on his retirement! 


Harry started his career in Port Hardy as a music teacher, then served as a teacher and principal in the Okanagan and Shuswap. He moved to Port Alberni as a high school principal and served as district superintendent for 10 years. He served as the former president of the BC School Superintendent’s Association, and former chair of the BC Deans of Education and is the winner of numerous awards and distinctions for his service to the educational community.


For the past decade, Harry has led the Education Faculty to the respected position it now enjoys on the provincial, national and international stage. Harry has always been a “roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work” kind of leader.  From the personal phone calls he made to incoming students in the Post Baccalaureate Program, to the development of the Masters in Educational Leadership Degree, to the reworking of the undergraduate program including the addition of the Cowichan Cohort, to the support and advice he was always ready to share with students, faculty and staff, Harry will leave a strong and lasting legacy in this Faculty.  Join us in wishing Harry a healthy, happy, invigorating retirement.  Congratulations Harry!


From Sharon Wahl, Associate Dean, on behalf of the Faculty of Education




From Our School Experience Office...

Last Spring, 87 schools (including 2 First Nations Schools & 2 International Schools) in 20 districts (14 of the 20 school districts were out of area), supported our student teachers on practica, program-wide. Thanks go to our 255 sponsor teachers, along with our faculty supervisors and district colleagues, who collectively help our student teachers achieve their career and personal goals.




June 6, 2017 - Convocation Celebrations


Convocation recognizes the culmination of an academic journey.  Surrounded by friends, family and their faculty classmates and professors; students in regalia crossed the stage at Nanaimo's Port Place theatre on June 6. Convocation is held twice yearly.


VIU Chancellor, Louise Mandell, offered words of congratulations and encouragement in her opening address to the graduates.

An Honorary Doctorate of Laws was awarded to Michael Audain.


The iconic mace was carried by Patrick Konkin, Interim Associate Dean, Health and Human Services in recognition for his many years of service to the University.

As well, Bachelor of Education graduate, Rebecca Joanna Gourlay, delivered the traditional Valedictory address to honour and encourage her fellow graduates.



Photos are available on VIU's Facebook page.


VIU Graduate Programs- The Journey Continues...

Graduate programs with VIU's Faculty of Education are well known for providing personalized learning through a cohort model. The cohort model is an important factor in building community and offering a support network for you as you work through a graduate degree program.VIU's Faculty of Education is also well known for supporting rich connections between our students and the communities in which they work and live. With responsive, knowledgeable faculty and supervisors, our students are able to leverage a variety of rich learning opportunities toward successful completion of their Master of Education (Leadership).


The Faculty of Education is proud to offer these exciting graduate programs-- both diploma and degree offerings-- to meet the needs of educators wishing to pursue further education at a graduate level.


  • Graduate Diploma in Special Education (SETS) -- ladders into MEDS degree
  • Graduate Diploma in Online Learning & Teaching (OLTD) -- ladders into MEDL degree
  • Masters of Education- Leadership (3 program delivery options)
  • Masters of Education - Special Education (MEDS)

VIU Cowichan’s first Bachelor of Education students to start and finish their degrees at the campus are a close-knit bunch after spending the last few years together.


VIU Cowichan Celebrates Its First Class of Bachelor of Education Graduates

The future is bright for the first group of Bachelor of Education students to start and finish their degrees at Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Cowichan Campus – a class that has enhanced the culture of the campus and added to its vibrancy.


The 16 students crossed the stage at VIU’s June 6 morning Convocation ceremony at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo, and student Haley Panek says half of the class already has work lined up, with more about to start their job search now that their final practicums are finished.


A special celebration event was held at the Cowichan campus on Wednesday, May 17 to acknowledge the first cohort to go through the program since it was brought to the campus in September 2014. What makes it even more special is that it is the first degree program offered at the campus, and has been partly responsible for the remarkable growth the campus has experienced over the past five years. Panek, named class valedictorian for the event, was looking forward to starting work as a teacher on call for School District 79.


Panek had many unforgettable experiences while going through the Bachelor of Education program, including a team-building exercise on Thetis Island and practicum placements in three very different classrooms, but the biggest highlight for her was the relationships she built with faculty and her peers.


“The people I’ve gone through the program with will be lifelong friends,” she says. “The intimate class sizes were a highlight for the connections we built with each other and faculty were very supportive and responsive to feedback. There is a chance some of us wouldn’t have been able to attend if the program wasn’t available here. Plus, you make a stronger community connection when you are going to school where you are also hoping to work.”


For Mary Dawn MacWatt, who is of Inuit and Scottish descent, a highlight of the program is having her journey come full circle near the end. Her final practicum supervisor, Sandi Purdell-Lewis, a teacher at Chemainus Elementary Community School, told her a story about teaching in the Arctic many years ago and meeting a woman who took her across the MacKenzie Delta in a boat. That woman turned out to be MacWatt’s mother.


“My mother guided her along the MacKenzie Delta then she guided me in my educational journey,” she says. “My mom passed away 14 years ago, so it was like she was here.”


MacWatt, who is now on the teacher on call list for School District 79, thinks the welcoming environment at VIU Cowichan has been key to her success. She had such a positive experience, many of her family members have since enrolled in various programs at the institution, including two of her children, her sister – who is about to enter the Bachelor of Education program – two of her nephews and her father.


“The faculty and staff here truly care about you and are so welcoming,” she says.


Key for Warren Weir, Cowichan Campus Academic Administrator, is not only creating a welcoming atmosphere, but also ensuring students can access relevant and meaningful programs there.


“Four years ago, we heard loudly and clearly that we needed to support a Bachelor of Education program here,” he says. “Since then, it has enhanced the culture of our campus in many positive ways. Partly because of this program, our enrolment has increased steadily in recent years. We can now plan for more degree programs designed with community demand in mind.”


To view this article online, visit VIU News.



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Maxwell Cameron Award Winner

The Maxwell Cameron Award for educational excellence was awarded this semester to Rebecca Gourlay graduating from our B.Ed elementary program.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation grants this award to students completing the final year of a Bachelor of Education degree in Secondary and Elementary teaching who, in the opinion of instructors in the Education faculty, are outstanding students in the graduating class. Congratulations Rebecca!


Recent Hirings

Well over two thousand five hundred students have graduated from the Faculty of Education since our inception in 1989. If you are one of them please contact us to update your employment status and be added to our growing list of graduates teaching in schools locally, nationally and internationally.


Teaching overseas? We would love to share your story too!


Be sure to update your contact Information via VIU's Alumni Relations department to stay ConnectED.

AlumniED is published twice a year by the Faculty of Education. If you have stories, job updates, photos or information you would like to share with fellow graduates please contact us.

Faculty of Education
Vancouver Island University, 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, BC, Canada V9R 5S5
Phone: 250-740-6221