AlumniED Newsletter - Spring 2014 Convocation Issue

Dean's Message from Dr. Harry Janzen

Greetings and welcome to the January 2014 Convocation issue of our AlumniED newsletter. The newsletter serves to keep our Alumni and teaching colleagues up to date with our Education programs and our Education program graduates.

Our January 30th Convocation celebrated the success of our Bachelor of Education program graduates. 87 enthusiastic grads are eager to begin their teaching careers after 1.5 years in our Post Baccalaureate program. Convocation offers an opportunity to reflect on our students' successes over another academic year and to congratulate our deserved graduates.

Last Fall, 57 schools in 15 school districts supported our student teachers on practica. Thanks to all our 120 sponsor teachers, along with our faculty supervisors and district students who collectively help our student teachers achieve their career and personal goals.

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

 January 30th, 2014 -- Convocation Celebrations!

 More photos here

January 30th 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, Education program grad Gillian Coy was hounoured to deliver the Valedictory speech to fellow graduates. Graduating with a Master of Education in Special Education from VIU, Gillian said “I am deeply honoured to serve as class Valedictorian again” She also served this role when graduating from VIU’s Bachelor of Education Post-Bach program in 2010.

“I wanted to become a teacher because I can think of no other profession where you truly give of yourself for the betterment of tomorrow’s citizens,” says Gillian.

Four years after graduating from our Post-Bach degree program, Gillian felt the time was right to complete a Master’s degree and was thrilled to complete it at VIU’s Nanaimo campus.

“VIU’s Master in Education for Special Education program was amazing,” says Coy. “I learned so much, and now have new skills that I use every day. My work in the program has truly taken my career to a whole new level. It was wonderful to be able to complete my Master’s right here on Vancouver Island.”

“It takes hard work, courage and determination, but anyone can do it,” she says. “Follow your passion. There are few limits in life that can’t be overcome if you truly believe in your dreams.”

Congratulations to Gillian and all our graduates and best wishes as your enter this rewarding profession!

Our Featured Graduate:
Jean Kloppenburg- Filling Empty Bowls


(L-R) Tanya Lebans (Student Council Advisor and VIU Education Grad, Ryan Nixon, (Co- President Student Council), Loaves and Fishes Director Peter Sinclair, Darby Cronan (Co-President Student Council) Jean Kloppenburg, Pottery Teacher and VIU Education Grad.

Jean Kloppenburg (Grad 2003) is an Art and Pottery instructor at Woodland's Secondary here in Nanaimo where she has taught for the past six years. Woodland’s student council students were very excited to present their third “The Empty Bowl Project” on December 5, 2013. A fundraiser to support Loaves and Fishes, the event invites students and community members to create handmade pottery bowls. After glazing and firing the bowls, Woodland's students host "Empty Bowl Evening" where school and community members are invited to bring soup and share with others -- filling their empty bowls.

The Empty Bowl evening held in the Woodlands Cafeteria was a humble supper of homemade soups served in a bowl of the visitor's choice. At the dinner, there are door prizes and a silent auction. All the proceeds from this event will go to the Loaves and Fishes Food bank. This year the event brought in over $3600.

Volunteers offered to make a batch of soup to serve 12 people. Students and school staff then setup the Cafeteria to host the event. After filling their bowls as often as they liked, visitors were then able to take home their own pottery treasure.

The event also offers the community an opportunity to "see" the Woodland's pottery studio in action and emphasizes the importance of the arts in our communities.

The evening is always a great success and Jean and her students are happy to make their donations to Loaves & Fishes and help make a difference in the lives of Nanaimo's needy. Just "souper" Jean!

photo of female graduate holding diploma VIU Graduate Programs - Time to Continue Your Educational Journey?

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 .

Overseas Opportunities - Teach and Learn Abroad

Steve Colvin (Grad 2007) says "Hi" to fellow grads from Dalian, China where he is Department Head of English for one of the Maple Leaf Schools, teaching the BC Curriculum 10-12. He is joined by his wife, Emma, and daughter Claire.

He first arrived in 1999 and has taught EFL, Gr10 English, Intro to Lit 10, Communications 11, some S.S. 11 and Communicative Language Instruction Methodology to Chinese English teachers. He also helps develop curricula for new programmes, deals with administrative responsibilities as Department Head and of course, takes time to have fun with his family.

Like Steve, hundreds of our VIU Education program grads have found meaningful and exciting teaching opportunities overseas. From China to the UK and Egypt to Australia, program grads share their enthusiasm with students around the world.

The BC Offshore Schools deliver the BC curriculum in Asia, Cairo, Egypt and other international locales while programs like JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching program) and EPIC in Korea present rich opportunities to teach in public schools. Engage Education is actively recruiting teachers to work in England and is enthusiastic to hire VIU grads.

If you are keen to start your career or are looking for a change from the ordinary we hope you will consider sharing your passion for teaching abroad.

For further information and grad contacts abroad please contact or our Education Advising Office.

Maxwell Cameron Awards Bestowed

Last December, two deserved graduates from our B.Ed and Post-Bach programs were awarded the prestigious Maxwell Cameron Award for educational excellence. The B.C. Teachers’ Federation grants an 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 and of the director of the division concerned, is the outstanding student in the graduating class. Samantha Garstang (Elementary) and Heather Deering (Secondary) are our deserving award recipients. Congratulations ladies!

OLTD Students Fill North Island Distance Education School's Teaching Roster

VIU Education Program graduates Laura Mann (Grad 2010) and Andrew Ferneyhough (Grad 2005) are delighted to have completed their first semester after joining the teaching staff at North Island Distance Elementary School (Navigator) in district #71. The graduates join fellow Online Learning & Teaching graduate Diploma (OLTD) student, Marieke Holtcamp, who has recently been promoted to Vice-Principal at the school. "I got the job thanks to all I've learned through OLTD. We're already half way through and I'm blown away with how much I've learned...what an amazing experience it has been so far. My understanding and practice of teaching and learning has been transformed. I'm excited to be able to apply more of my learning to my new job!" says Laura. We wish all three the best as they continue to deliver the highest quality distance and blended learning opportunities to their students -- both face-to-face and online.

Navigate's Principal, Jeff Stewart, also has high praise for this unique program. "OLTD is a great program.  Blended is the future in education.  If I had a small army of the kinds of teachers that come out of this program, we could do amazing work transforming learning in BC." 

For information contact the Program Coordinator or visit the VIU Online Learning & Teaching graduate Diploma (OLTD) program. Applications are now being accepted for September 2014.

Beyond K-12-- Teaching Opportunities Abound in "Non-Traditional" Teaching Settings

Recent Post-Bach program graduate, Joan Robin (Grad 2014), is thrilled to begin teaching in a Post-Secondary setting at VIU's Cowichan Campus. Joan has already been busy teaching Biology 11 for the University's ABE department last term while completing her B.Ed. and is now teaching their Chemistry course.

Many of our program grads are happy to have found positions which engage the knowledge, skills and attitudes they have gained through their time here in the Education program to find themselves in learning, teaching and training environments outside the traditional K-12 system.

If you are a program grad who is currently teaching or working in an educational capacity outside of K-12 education please contact us to help build a contact database and encourage others to pursuit similar opportunities.

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.

photo of VIU magazine cover 'Journey'

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.