AlumniED Newsletter - Summer 2014 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.

Our June 3rd Convocation celebrated the success of our Bachelor of Education program graduates. 87 enthusiastic grads are eager to begin their teaching careers after 3.5 years in our Bachelor of Education program. Convocation offers an opportunity to reflect on our students' successes and to congratulate our deserved graduates.

Last Spring, 97 schools supported 266 student teachers on practica. We also placed 7 students in schools in Ghana, Africa, 3 in Thailand and 3 in China for rich international opportunities. Thanks to all our sponsor teachers, along with our faculty supervisors and district colleagues who collectively help our student teachers achieve their career and personal goals.

This semester, our Online Learning & Teaching graduate Diploma (OLTD) program graduates were honoured along with graduates from our Special Education Technology diploma (SETS). This is the first time the University has included diploma graduates in the Convocation ceremony.

Also, 19 graduates of our Masters of Educational (Leadership) degree program were formally recognized for their accomplishments along with 2 graduates from the MEDL Special Education degree program.

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

Our 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


June 3rd, 2014 -- Convocation Celebrations!

June 3rd was the date for our most recent Convocation ceremony, held twice yearly at Nanaimo's Port Theatre. This semester's celebration was just that as administration, faculty, family and friends gathered to share in our students' successes.

This year the valedictory speech was delivered by Bachelor of Education graduate Dayna Johnson who enthusiastically shared her hopes and best wishes for the graduating class. An Honorary Doctor of Letters was awarded to internationally acclaimed artist Takao Tanabe, OC, OBC. The Governor General's Gold Medal was awarded to Wendy Ann Woollven, Master of Education in Educational Leadership graduate for her outstanding academic achievement.

VIU's Advancement and Alumni Relations department is delighted to welcome each VIU grad as an Alumni member. The Association (VIUAA) connects alumni and students in order to enhance the ability of the university to offer a world class educational experience. Visit their website for details on the many services and opportunities they offer to graduates.

The June Convocation webcast is available from the archive here.

Photos are available on VIU's Facebook page.

Our Featured Graduate:
Jeff Saunders Shares His Passion for Music

Whether at the Lester Centre or in the band room, Jeff Saunders is helping keep music alive and well in Prince Rupert.— Story and image credit: Shaun Thomas, Prince Rupert Northern View Whether at the Lester Centre or in the band room, Jeff Saunders is helping keep music alive and well in Prince Rupert.— Story and image credit: Shaun Thomas, Prince Rupert Northern View

For Post-Bach Education Program grad, Jeff Saunders, instilling a love of music to Prince Rupert's youth isn't just a job – it's a passion.

"For me it's just the best feeling in the world. I can think back to when I was in their shoes, learning how to play music, and how exciting it was to track your own progress and see yourself grow," said Saunders, who took on the role of teaching band and social studies at Charles Hays Secondary School at the start of the 2013 school year.

While music is his passion, Saunders didn't initially think it could be a career. Even as high school graduation approached, his career path wasn't lending itself to music.

"In my Grade 12 year I knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I hadn't made the connection that I could teach and carry on with my passion of music. I was looking at history, geography and social studies, which I also teach at Charles Hays, but I decided one day after talking with my dad that I just need to pursue music as the focus," explained Jeff.

Although he was raised and graduated in B.C., Saunders' first teaching job required he leave the province he called home. In fact, it took him pretty much to the other side of the world.

"I was living in London, England (you may remember Jeff's blog that he shared in a previous AlumniED edition) when I found out that I had got the job in Prince Rupert. I was supply teaching, which is basically teaching on-call all over London ... a lot of the schools that I taught at were in south and east London and the kids there certainly have a tough life. There are a lot of refugees and more socioeconomic problems, but it was definitely rewarding and I learned a lot from it," he said.

"It forced me to really look at my teaching practice and what I was doing in class-management, in my pacing during lessons and it really forced me to sharpen those skills."

"I was instantly welcomed with open arms in Prince Rupert. It's just a very friendly place and I feel very happy here," he said, noting the sense of community was something he was naturally drawn to.

Between playing in the community band and helping foster the musical talents of Prince Rupert youth, Saunders is helping ensure a bright future for music on the North Coast. And he has some words of wisdom for anyone who wants to make music a career of their own.

"To aspiring musicians, I would say be willing to keep an open mind about all types of music."

Read the full story here:

 VIU Graduate Programs- Your Future Awaits

The Faculty of Education is proud to offer 6 exciting graduate programs-- both diploma and degree offerings-- to meet the needs of educators wanting to pursue further education at a graduate level.

More information on all our Graduate Program offerings.

Education Grad Champions Adversity

Fellow graduates and faculty may remember Graham Giske. Graham was a 2008 SHAPE graduate and a January 2010 Education program graduate. Graham has been working in China and unfortunately he was recently involved in a tragic vehicle accident here and has lost one of his legs above the knee.

Home again in Canada he will begin rehab shortly. The great (and unsurprising!) news is that Graham has stayed positive throughout the entire process and plans to begin training for the Paralympics as soon as he's able. What a champ!

Friends have kindly setup a funding site that is raising money for his recovery. Please visit
Love for Graham to assist with this wonderful project. Over $21,000 has been raised to date.

Maxwell Cameron Award Bestowed

This Spring , Christine Pudsey from our Bachelor of Education program was awarded the prestigious Maxwell Cameron Award for educational excellence. The B.C. Teachers’ Federation grants this award to the student completing the final year of the Bachelor of Education degree in secondary and elementary teaching who, in the opinion of the Dean of the Faculty of Education, is the outstanding student in the graduating class. Congratulations Christine!

Recent Hirings

Over two thousand 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.

Please visit our current Recent Hirings page and be sure to share an update on your current teaching status. 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.

Read the latest issue of VIU's Alumni magazine celebrating over 75 years of excellence in Education.

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.