AlumniED Newsletter - Summer 2016 Convocation Issue

Dean's Message from Dr. Harry Janzen

Greetings and welcome to this latest issue of the AlumniED Convocation 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.

This semester, our June 7th Convocation ceremony celebrated the success of our Bachelor of Education program graduates. 49 enthusiastic grads are eager to begin their teaching careers after 3.5 years in our Bachelor of Education program.

This Spring, 85 schools (including 2 First Nations schools) in 16 districts supported our student teachers on practica, program-wide. 18 students were placed in out-of-district schools. Once again we were pleased to host intenational practica and 3 of our students were placed in Thailand schools for an exciting overseas experience.

Thanks to our 210 sponsor teachers, along with our faculty supervisors and district colleagues, who collectively helped all our student teachers achieve their career and personal goals.

Along with our undergraduate programs, 21 graduates from our Masters of Education (Leadership) degree program were formally recognized for their accomplishments along with 21 students from our OLTD graduate diploma program. The Masters of Special Education degree program also congratulated 8 graduates and our SETS diploma program recognized 7 new graduates.

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

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

 June 7, 2016 -- Convocation Celebrations

photo of female student graduateJune 7th was the date for our most recent Convocation ceremony, recognizing our Faculty of Education program graduates. Convocation is held twice yearly at Nanaimo's Port Theatre. This semester's celebration was just that as administration, faculty, family and friends gathered to join in celebration of our students' successes.

VIU Chancellor, Louise Mandell, offered words of congratulations and encouragement to all graduates and MEdL program graduate, Sean Broderick, was hounoured with the Governor General's award for educational excellence in a graduate program.

An Honorary Doctorate of Laws was awarded to Dr. Dana Brynelsen, for her lifetime achievement in the field of child and youth care in BC.

Education faculty member, Heather Pastro, was honoured to receive the Provost Award for Excellence in Teaching Design to celebrate and recognize our her dedication to student success.

The latest Convocation web cast is available from the archive here.

Photos are available on VIU's Facebook page.

Graduate Programs at VIU- Continue Your Educational Journey

Graduate programs at VIU's Faculty of Education are renowned 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 graduate studies. VIU's Faculty of Education is also well known for encouraging rich connections between our students and the communities in which they work and live. With responsive, knowledgeable instructors and supervisors, our students are able to leverage a variety of rich learning opportunities toward successful completion of their Master of Education degree.

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

Master’s of Education Research Conference Highlights Graduate Student Projects

Photo VIU 2016 Master’s of Education Research Conference - from left to right; Kristin Wiens, Rachel Reynolds, Dr. Rachel Moll, Breanne Quist, and Louise Panziera.

Kristin Wiens (left), Rachel Reynolds, conference organizer Dr. Rachel Moll, Breanne Quist, and Louise Panziera were happy to contribute to the 2016 Master’s of Education Research Conference last Spring here at VIU.

VIU's Master’s of Education graduate students are designing groundbreaking mentorship programs in schools, proposing curricula that develop ‘grit’ in children while reducing bullying, and inventing award winning Internet-use security protocols that protect children by ensuring online access in schools is safe.

The range of issues that were presented at the Master’s of Education Research Conference on March 5 were as varied as they were impactful.

While students presented their research to over 80 delegates in break-out sessions throughout the day, four keynote speakers, all VIU Master’s of Education alumni, opened the conference by talking about how the work they did on their thesis carried over into their professional life.

Keynote speaker and VIU alumna Kristin Wiens is the curriculum coordinator for the Sooke School District. She returned to VIU to talk about the picture book she created that formed the centerpiece of her master’s work on mindfulness. The book, called My Gratitude Jar, was published in 2014.

The whole concept formed around introducing mindfulness to elementary school children.

“It was delightful how VIU embraced my creativity. That made my engagement in my thesis work so much more meaningful for me. I loved my project when I was in school and I love that afterwards it is still a huge part of my life - and I have VIU to thank for that.”

Along with My Gratitude Jar Wiens submitted a stop-motion animation, a graphic recording, a strategic plan, a comic strip, a picture book, an art journal and much more throughout her Master’s of Education in Special Education. She is now traveling to schools throughout the province to present at assemblies and libraries and to talk to teachers about mindfulness.

Breanne Quist has a Bachelor of Education degree and an Online Learning and Teaching graduate Diploma (OLTD), both from VIU. She graduated from the VIU Master’s of Education (Leadership) program in January, 2015. Her keynote address at the conference was called Building the Privacy Compass to Help Teachers Navigate Challenging Digital Terrain. Quist’s talk was based on her final Master’s project which resulted in a comprehensive web site designed to help teachers and parents navigate privacy issues related to the Internet and social media. In 2015 she gained national recognition when she was nominated for the prestigious Ernest C. Manning Innovation Award for her work.

Throughout the day student research was presented on topics ranging from how teachers can inspire passion and perseverance in students to achieve their long term goals to the impacts of reduced government funding on teaching outcomes and the use of English in French Immersion classrooms.

VIU professor and Chair of Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Education, Dr. Rachel Moll, organizes the Master’s of Education Research Conference. After five years of holding the conference she says the depth and breadth of discussion that takes place among educators at the event continues to inspire.

“We hold this conference to not only celebrate the research being done by our students but to show the incredible impact they are having across a vast range of educational fields,” said Moll.

“For me personally, it makes me proud to see our students present to a large audience and be challenged to debate their conclusions with educators who are truly interested in what they are working on. Through their research students propose and explore new ways to approach some of the most challenging issues that educators currently face and the solutions they come up with often lead to long term, positive changes in our local school districts and beyond.”

For more information about Breanne Quist’s Privacy Compass go to:

To learn more about Kristin Wiens’s My Gratitude Jar go to:

Excerpted from

VIU Alumni Association Welcomes New Education Grads...

We would like to welcome all Education grads to the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Alumni Association. With the completion of your studies, you join a network of more than 75,000 graduates world-wide!

The VIU Alumni Association wants to stay connected with you. Please take a moment to update your contact information at VIU Alumni so that you can find out more information on your Alumni Association and receive your free alumni benefit card.

Your benefit card allows you to enjoy discounted rates in the community and on campus. Just a few of our current partners include:

  • Industrial Alliance (Life, AD&D, Extended Health & Dental Insurance & Travel Medical, etc.)
  • Harbour Air (15% discount offered on all Harbour Air Seaplanes full fare flights)
  • Tigh Na Mara (20% discount off best available room rates)
  • White Sails Brewing (10% discount on Craft Beer served in our Taproom Sunday through Thursday)
  • Port Theatre
  • VIU Library
  • VIU Gymnasium, Campus Rec & Mariner Athletics
  • VIU Campus Store (Nanaimo Campus)

The Alumni Relations office would love to hear from you. Please give us a call at 250-740-6215 or email if you have any questions or need anything. All the best!

... and VIU Magazine! Keeps You Up To Date

image of VIU magazine cover Fall/Winter 2015VIU Magazine! shares Alumni success stories, campus news, and "where are they now" features. The twice-yearly produced magazine is mailed free of charge to registered University alumni. Not getting yours? Update your mailing address and contact information. In the meantime you can check out our archives below. We would also love to hear about what alumni are up to! Please submit items (2-5 sentences; photos optional) on work successes, travels, marriages, family additions, or other accomplishments with the subject "Class Notes" to the Advancement & Alumni Relations Office.

Alumni Newsletter Archive


Education Grad, Dee Hartig, Rides to Fight Kid's Cancerlogo Great Cycle Challenge Canada

Photo of Dee Hartig, VIU Bachelor of Education graduate 2002

I am taking part in the 2016 Great Cycle Challenge and my goal is to pedal 200 km throughout June to fight kids’ cancer!
Why am I doing this? Because over 1,400 children are diagnosed with cancer in Canada every year.

It will be tough, but nothing compared to what these kids face every day of their lives as they battle this terrible disease. Kids should be living life, not fighting for it. And so I have taken on this personal challenge to raise $500 to give these kids the brighter futures they deserve.

But to achieve my goal, I need your help.
Please support my challenge and join me in the fight against kids’ cancer by making a donation through my personal fundraising page.

Here's the link to my page:
All funds raised will support SickKids' Foundation to continue their work to care for these kids, develop innovative treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer.
Thank you for your support.

Dee Hartig, B.Ed Grad, 2002

Maxwell Cameron Award Recipient

The Maxwell Cameron Award for educational excellence was awarded this semester to Kayla Mohr graduating from our B.Ed Year 5 cohort. The B.C. Teachers’ Federation grants this award to a student completing the final year of a Bachelor of Education degree in Secondary or Elementary teaching who, in the opinion of instructors in the Education faculty, is an outstanding student in the graduating class. Congratulations Kayla and best wishes for your contained success!

Recent Hirings

Well 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.

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
Email: or