Over 500 Calgarians started the new year off right at the Calgary Flames Foundation for Life’s inaugural Flames Health Training Camp at the Saddledome on Saturday, January 10.
A group of 25 Personal Fitness Trainer Diploma (PFT) students and graduates carried out the fitness testing protocols for adults and children. They worked closely with a volunteer group of physicians and MRU nursing students to assess participants’ fitness levels and provide counselling on next steps to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
This outreach event counts toward the PFT students’ practicum hours. “It was very exciting for the students and the graduates of all different years to have an opportunity to meet each other, ask each other questions and work together,” says Elaine Ori, PFT Program Coordinator and steering committee member for the Flames Health Training Camp.
Testing for adults started with the nursing students administering a risk assessment questionnaire, blood pressure reading, waist circumference measurement and body mass index calculation.
This was followed by a step test monitored by the PFT fitness testers to determine how quickly the heart rate would recover from a sub-maximal testing level.
“The risk assessment helped us determine the participants’ associated risk for things like metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease — things that we know are lifestyle-related chronic conditions that can be mitigated by lifestyle changes,” says Elaine. “They then reviewed all of their results with a physician and discussed where they need to make changes.”
This year’s Flames Health Training Camp was a pilot project but it is intended to become an annual event.
“We learned a lot from it,” Elaine says. “We learned how we can address the community a little bit more effectively to get more people involved. And we learned how the different professionals can work as an interdisciplinary team.”
“The biggest surprise was that the adults wanted to be put through their paces a little bit more. So for subsequent events we are going to look at protocols that will involve a bit more rigour,” Elaine notes.
“Even on the day of the event, we got emails from participants who said, you already changed my life,” she says. “You’ve given me that small push I needed to actually make lifestyle changes. The fitness testers, nurses and physicians were outstanding in pointing me in the direction I needed to go.”
The fitness testers also worked with children aged 8 to 12 on a series of tests including push-ups, sit-ups and timed shuttle runs. The children were thrilled when some of the Calgary Flames players came to join them.
“The kids were challenging the players to do push-ups and of course the players were compliant in letting the kids win. It was a lot of fun,” says Elaine.
— by Karen McCarthy
— photo by Krystal Hurt
We love an opportunity to show off the talents of our exceptional Events and Conference Services team and our beautiful facilities in the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning.
A successful event doesn’t have to be high budget, it just has to create a memorable experience for your guests. With recent changes in the economy, companies everywhere are adjusting budgets, including employee activities and events.
Our goal for this event was to create a relaxing and interactive atmosphere where staff can celebrate together… judging from feedback (and our photo booth) it looks like we achieved our goal!
We serve over 55,000 guests annually at special events, meetings, seminars, trade shows, conferences and more. From site plans, to audiovisual requirements, to menu planning, to event directional signage and coat check, our event professionals will be with you every step of the way as your conference comes together
— by Karen McCarthy
— photos by Michael Poon
The Business and Professional Education programs of MRU Continuing Education held an Oil and Gas Career and Education Fair on Wednesday, November 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Ross Glen Hall. Over 300 people attended the event.
Continuing Education instructors and staff were on hand to speak with potential students about their programs and career possibilities in their respective fields.
A team from Bowen provided free resume reviews. Their table had a long line all evening.
In the main stage area Catherine Brownlee of Prominent Personnel gave a presentation on successful job hunting and networking.
Here are some of Catherine’s top networking tips:
- Have a business card printed with your contact information even if you are unemployed.
- Always have your business cards with you. You never know where you might meet someone who can help your career.
- Be dressed as though you are ready for an interview whenever you are out.
- Don’t hand someone your resume too soon. Let them get to know you first.
- Follow up your initial meeting by requesting a 10-minute coffee chat, where you bring the coffee. Make the request by email rather than by phone. Stick to the promised 10 minutes. Ask for information, referrals and advice.
- Follow up with any referrals they make.
- Ask people questions about themselves in order to start conversations. Listen more than you talk.
- Keep a Customer Relations Management (CRM) database of people you network with, including the person’s name and company, the time and place you met, and notes on any information, referrals and advice they gave you.
Claudine Vitallo of the Petroleum HR Council spoke about the types of jobs in the Canadian oil patch and the requirements to land them, from entry-level to engineering and support industries.
There are 550,000 oil and gas workers in Canada. At $80 billion it is the largest contributor to Canada’s economy.
Claudine talked about the three streams within the industry:
- Upstream – studying the land to determine where deposits may be and getting the oil and gas out of the ground
- Midstream – transporting the oil and gas to various refineries and markets
- Downstream – selling oil and gas products to consumers – from gasoline to cosmetics to plastic products
The three names drawn for a $500 Gift of Registration are:
- Marquesa Yepes
- Catalina Betancur
- Trish Rudneski
“I believe we really succeeded in offering our guests a valuable experience. I chatted with many attendees, our instructors and professional association partners. Everyone seemed very happy with the presentations, the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations and to gather and share program information,” says Dean Charles Webber of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension.
See a Facebook album of Oil and Gas Career and Education Fair photos.
— by Karen McCarthy
— photo by Mitsue Kudo
The Personal Fitness Trainer program was approved as a two-year diploma in 2012. Eleven members of the inaugural diploma intake graduated in 2014 and eight of them crossed the stage at Mount Royal University’s Convocation on November 7, 2014.
“We are so proud of our first Personal Fitness Trainer Diploma graduates. This is truly a special moment for the entire MRU community and a time to for our graduates to celebrate their hard-earned achievements. They should feel confident that they are venturing into the health and fitness industry with an abundance of skills and competencies to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Congratulations!” says Community and Health Studies Program Director Christina White-Prosser.
Graduate Ron Luciuk talks about how the program fits his values and beliefs about health. “My mother inspired me to always be physically active. I grew up aspiring to maintain my health through this natural method and in doing so I excelled at whatever I did. I always believed that the health benefits of physical activity outperformed the perceived benefits of modern western medicine. As careers were limited in fitness at the time, I chose a career as a pharmacist and thought that I could change this ideal and switch my values to the accepted medical one. I unsuccessfully tried to do that for 25 years. I eventually returned to my former conviction that fitness was vital to health and happiness and entered the PFT program at MRU in 2012. Over the next two years my passion for fitness as a means to enhance health was reignited along with an appreciation of how natural nutrition can provide everything the body needs to optimize itself. I graduated from MRU with a Diploma focusing on health care that emphasizes staying well through physical activity and nutrition versus one that repairs health problems. The PFT program restored my core belief that the best way to health is through exercise and nutrition and prepared me to carry that forward to others.”
MRU’s well-respected Personal Fitness Trainer Diploma is a comprehensive program of 22 courses, including lab time and practicum, preparing students to work one-on-one with clients providing safe and effective exercise programs. The curriculum was designed to meet the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology – Certified Personal Trainer (CSEP-CPT). The program was originally introduced as a certificate in the late 1990s.
Graduates of other full-time Continuing Education programs also crossed the stage at Mount Royal University’s Convocation ceremony.
— photos by Krystal Hurt
Our annual appreciation event for staff, instructors and advisory committee members of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension celebrated their contributions to to the faculty and to our students. Dean Charles Webber, PhD, served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, entitled Ready. Set. Talk.
Modelled on a Pecha Kucha style presentation, seven invited guest speakers gave brief presentations on the theme of Energy. Each speaker presented 20 slides and spoke for 20 seconds on each, providing a unique and entertaining viewpoint on the topic. A general question and answer session followed the presentations.
Karim Dharamsi, Chair of the Department of General Education at MRU and Philosophy instructor, spoke On Acts and Ends and Flying Objects. The audience was challenged to create and launch paper airplanes at the end of his session.
Jessica Power Cyr, a mind/body guru, fitness instructor and personal trainer, spoke on Finding Your Energy Within to Inspire Wellness, emphasizing the importance of balancing all aspects of the circle of wellness.
Tracey Stock, an oil and gas instructor, has worked in the industry since 1980 as an engineer, lawyer and landman. He presented a light-hearted history of the Alberta petroleum industry in a talk entitled Grab Your Gas and Run.
Mattias Mehta, a grade 12 student at Webber Academy. He has a strong interest in STEM fields and represented Canada at the 2014 NATO Aliante competition in Slovakia and the 2014 United Space School in Houston. Mattias spoke on Space: The New Frontier.
Cheryl Foggo, a widely published Calgary poet, playwright and historian, has a keen interest in the stories of Alberta’s Black pioneers. Her play John Ware Reimagined played to sold out houses last summer. Her presentation was Paying it Backward, touching on some of her own family history as well as early Black settlers in Alberta.
Annessa Good is a fourth-year Supply Chain Management student at Mount Royal and President of the Student Supply Chain Association. She recently completed her second co-op placement in the oil and gas field. Annessa’s presentation was Light Up the World, amalgamating her career ambitions with her love of the outdoors, photography and music.
Jean-Louis Bleau‘s presentation rounded out the evening. Jean-Louis is an active choral conductor for the Mount Royal Conservatory and other Calgary ensembles. He was recently named one of Avenue’s Top 40 Under 40. His presentation was on Finding Flow: “Potential” Energy in Music. He brought along a few dozen choristers who sang a stirring rendition of Josh Rist’s Invictus, based on the William Ernest Henley poem that inspired Nelson Mandela while he was imprisoned.
The October 6th event was also an opportunity to recognize the dedication and commitment to excellence of our instructors. Click here for a list of our 37 five-year, 19 ten-year, 23 fifteen-year, 6 twenty-year, 3 twenty-five-year, and 1 each thirty-year, thirty-five-year and forty-five-year long-service certificate recipients.
Continuing education instructors are not only experts in their respective fields but also skilled in adult education and passionate about sharing their knowledge. They make a difference in our students’ lives and we appreciate their long service.
Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, is hosting a conference this week at Mount Royal University. The Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension at Mount Royal University is proud to sponsor this prestigious event.
Learning, Leadership and Practice: Educating Global Citizens will take place from October 2-4 in the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning.
Dr. Charles Webber, Dean of Continuing Education and Extension at MRU, notes, “This conference will profile the groundbreaking efforts of international scholars and educational professionals to enhance the social and human capacity needed to sustain a civil society. It also will be a unique opportunity for participants to plan ongoing collaboration with peers from around the globe.”
Keynote speaker Dr. Ann Lieberman of Stanford University will give a presentation entitled Teacher Leadership: What Do We Know So Far?
Dr. Lieberman says that schools and teachers today are under increasing pressure to adapt teaching methods to help students become critical thinkers and problem solvers. Merely following established curriculum is not advancing the profession to meet the societal goal to create globally responsible citizens.
“A big idea is to create conditions for teachers to develop, and be supported in, their own leadership activities. Teachers have greater opportunities to change culture from within rather than relying on external expertise for professional development,” Dr. Lieberman says.
Dr. Lieberman will give examples of teachers being empowered to facilitate their own learning. These include the National Writing Project, a program established at Berkeley in 1974 and now offered across the US, to improve writing and learning for all learners. Another is the Teacher Learning and Leadership Program (TLLP), an annual project-based professional learning opportunity for experienced classroom teachers to take on leadership roles.
Dr. Lieberman will use these and other examples to examine what is going on when teacher leadership programs are working, and how schools and principals can support programs like these to create teacher leaders.
Dr. Ann Lieberman is an emeritus professor from Teachers College, Columbia University, and now Senior Scholar at Stanford University. She has been a Senior Scholar at The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for the past 10 years. She was also president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in 1992. She was named a Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) Laureate in 1995. She is widely known for her work in the areas of teacher leadership and development, collaborative research, networks and school-university partnerships, and the problems and prospects for understanding educational change.
See previous blog posts about this conference:
- Scottish Sustainability Program to be Presented at Conference
- MRU Professor to Present at Prestigious Conference
– by Karen McCarthy
What does sustainability mean to you? To Morag Watson and her colleagues at Learning for Sustainability Scotland (LfS Scotland), it’s a concept that encompasses 4 important pillars:
- Citizenship education
- Sustainable development in education
- Outdoor learning
- Children’s rights
The creation of this United Nations-recognized Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development has resulted from a profound change in the way that people think about sustainability and education, and required buy-in from leaders at all levels. This change in how people think about sustainability and education has had a significant impact on the Scottish education system.
Morag will present “Learning to Lead Sustainable Development” at Mount Royal University during Kappa Delta Pi’s upcoming Learning, Leadership and Practice: Educating Global Citizens conference, October 2-4, 2014. She will also share the process of establishing principles of sustainability in Scotland’s public school system.
Morag is the Development Manager for LfS Scotland. From 2011-12 she was one of the lead members of a group of education decision makers tasked with formulating 31 recommendations that comprise the Learning for Sustainability Report, Scotland’s road map to embedding “Learning for Sustainability” in all schools.
“Before the Scottish National Party won a majority in 2011, sustainability was referenced in education policy but it wasn’t something all teachers were expected to incorporate into their teaching. Morag says. “After the election, the Scottish Government made a manifesto commitment supporting the creation of a One Planet Schools Working Group bringing everyone together to make recommendations and a plan to act on them. Learning for Sustainability is the culmination of that process.”
The group defined Learning for Sustainability as “a whole school approach that enables the school and its wider community to build the values, attitudes, knowledge, skills and confidence needed to develop practices and take decisions which are compatible with a sustainable and equitable society”.
A key element of the group’s success was attaining buy-in from local authority and government leaders.
One of the catalysts that led to the rethinking of sustainability education and the ambitious nature of the Learning for Sustainability recommendations was a leadership program – The Natural Change – which Morag led in 2010-11. “We would have meetings about learning for sustainability but it would be all the usual suspects that turned up,” Morag says, “everyone was enthusiastic but we weren’t in a position to change policies on an institutional level. We had expertise knocking on closed doors and we needed leadership to answer.”
“We went looking for 12 influential leaders in the education sector to participate in The Natural Change and help us open those doors. It took us 12 months to find leaders willing to commit time to the program; to build passion, enthusiasm and commitment. When we started we had no set outcome. We wanted to find out, if you fire people up in this way, what happens? We are now the first country in the world where sustainability is an entitlement for every school pupil, and embedded into Scotland’s Professional Standards for Teachers,” she says.
Morag and her team recently visited Hazelhead Academy, a large school in Aberdeen that has embraced sustainability. “Biology students could work in a local park. Then they got enthusiastic to do things on their own time, like volunteering as weekend guides in the nature preserve,” she says. “We saw pupils gaining confidence in participating effectively in community groups.”
“Previously there was an exodus of wealthier families in this area to private schools. But now they are staying in the state school because their children are getting an excellent education. Exam results underscore this,” she notes.
“There’s a big emphasis now in Scotland on values and how to live them. We expect to see sustainability in the 4 Cs in the schools: Curriculum, Campus, Cultural and Community. Embedding sustainability into curriculum and campus is easy. But when we see things happening within the community and on a cultural level, we know we are succeeding,” Morag says.
Morag Watson has worked in the field of Education for Sustainable Development for nearly two decades. Prior to LfS, she worked as Senior Policy Officer on Education for WWF Scotland and for the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Learning for Sustainability Scotland is headquartered at Edinburgh University.
Kappa Delta Pi is an International Honor Society in Education. It was founded in 1911 to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching.
The Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension at MRU is privileged to host this prestigious conference of educators.
— by Karen McCarthy
The Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension is proud to sponsor the prestigious Kappa Delta Pi conference at Mount Royal University this October. Kappa Delta Pi is the International Honor Society in Education and the conference is on Learning, Leadership and Practice: Educating Global Citizens.
Dr. Jody Nickel, Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Education at Mount Royal University, is one of the featured speakers at the conference. She will be presenting the research she is conducting with Dr. Jim Zimmer, Dean of MRU’s Faculty of Teaching and Learning, on The Emergence of Professional Identity among the first students in MRU’s Bachelor of Education – Elementary degree program.
The longitudinal study is collecting data from the first cohort of 68 teacher candidates over the four years of the degree program. They graduate in June 2015. The research traces the emergence of their professional identities as teachers, moving from the idealism of their first year through their experiences in the realities of the classroom environment.
The attrition rate among new teachers in Alberta is almost 40 percent within the first five years of practice. Nickel and Zimmer were curious whether developing a strong sense of professional identity would strengthen the students’ commitment to the profession as they evolved from student to teacher.
Nickel says, “In the first two years we collected survey data and analyzed their teaching portfolios where they wrote about their teaching philosophies and goals. They used a lot of platitudes; they wanted to ‘make learning fun’ and ‘put children first.’ They didn’t have a lot of legs on their ideals so we were curious about how that would shift through practicum. At the conference I’ll mainly be talking about what they said in interviews following practicum. I have to say the shift was very encouraging. They have a much deeper understanding of their role as teachers and a tremendous amount of confidence.”
Dr. Nickel says, “There are four themes that I will be talking about at the conference.
- First of all, the idea of relationships. The teacher candidates have moved beyond the simple idea of ‘I need to be a friend to these kids’ to ‘how does knowing them well enhance my ability to teach them effectively?’
- The next is the idea of flexibility: really learning how to think on their feet. One teacher candidate described an occasion where the children were bored by her fraction lesson: “So finally I looked around and I was like, ‘Okay, everyone stand up,’ and they all stood up and I got them to organize themselves into fractions – I got them moving – and it was so much better than what I had planned for the rest of the lesson!”
- The third theme describes the sense of the serious responsibility that they’re facing as teachers. One teacher candidate regretfully described a lesson that did not go well: ‘They were just so happy when the bell rang. That was probably the most discouraging day, just realizing I wasted an entire block of time because I wasn’t doing my job and the kids weren’t doing theirs.‘
- The last one is empowerment. One teacher candidate said, ‘This is who I am, and if I wasn’t teaching I don’t know what else I would be doing. I loved being with the kids, so I think that just really helped push through any challenges that I had. Another described how when teaching multiplication to grade fours, some children started crying and she herself was close to tears. Her mentor teacher was at the back of the room signaling for her to keep it together. My mentor said, ‘You are all in. You are not going to have someone jumping in for you.’ She reflected, ‘At first I sort of wish she had jumped in for me but I had to learn for myself.’
Dr. Nickel believes that some of the attrition among new teachers can be traced to the dissonance they experience when their actions in the classroom are out of alignment with their core beliefs about themselves as teachers.
“Professional identity focuses on how one sees oneself as a teacher. Nickel says. “When I was a new teacher, I believed it was important to help children to feel confident and empowered. Then when I lost patience with them, I’d get down on myself because I was acting in ways that were contrary to my ideals. I talked myself into a tailspin. That negative self-talk is a real concern for teachers – new teachers in particular.”
She points to the “core reflection model” of F.A.J. Korthagen, who believes that at a teacher’s core is their sense of mission. This informs everything from the teacher’s identity and beliefs to their competencies and behaviour in the classroom.
Korthagen asks teachers to consider, “What inspires you? What gives meaning and significance to your work and your life?” Identity can include negative self-concepts but tapping into mission helps teachers make meaning of negative experiences by returning to those ideals that drew them to the profession in the first place.
Nickel shares a quote from her interviews that shows how one teacher candidate moved beyond frustration with challenging behaviour to a richer understanding of her role in the lives of her students.
“It’s really hard to differentiate for them if you don’t know where they’re coming from. We had a few students who, honestly, you would think it’s their life goal to ruin your life every day! Because just they would do things, like they would throw pipe cleaners around the room, or they would just sit there and they wouldn’t do their work! I mean they were six, so fair enough, but at the same time it was like day in, day out. Then you learn things like their parents are homeless, or they might be coded for ADHD. It makes it less personal and you can really start getting to the heart of the matter and figure out, okay, which teaching do I need to put on for so-and-so to get them through this math lesson? Like, do I need to be that mother or do I need to be that drill sergeant today?”
Watch a video about the teacher professional identity:
– by Karen McCarthy
The Mount Royal community lost a dear friend and tireless supporter when “Big Bob” Charlton passed away at the Foothills Hospital on April 22 at the age of 79.
Bob was the head of Security at Mount Royal for many years following his military service, but was perhaps best known for his volunteer work after retirement. In addition to his dedication for over 30 years to the Transitional Vocational Program (TVP) for developmentally disabled adults, Big Bob helped out with the MRU United Way Campaign, the Students’ Association, International Education, Cougar Athletics and many more.
A memorial service for Bob Charlton was held at MRU on May 4, with many from the Mount Royal community and beyond gathering to say farewell to a true friend.
“Bob would often be seen ‘holding court’ at Tim Horton’s and regaling us with his many stories,” the President’s Office noted. “We will truly miss Bob’s big smile and hearty laugh.”
“Bob always was willing to help both the program and individual students who needed support — financially or otherwise,” said Craig Baskett, Program Administrator of the Transitional Vocational Program. “When Bob was working with our students he didn’t put up with much goofing around but was always quick with a compliment as well. As we walk around our area we can see many instructional tools that we have as a direct result of his fundraising efforts.”
Here are some of the ways that Bob Charlton supported the TVP:
Big Bob’s BBQ, an annual spring picnic for staff and faculty, is in its 32nd year and has raised close to $90,000 for TVP.
In 1987, Bob Charlton and Stu Gaulthier began a bottle recycling program with proceeds going to support the program.
Every Christmas Bob worked directly with TVP students during the Season of Caring project — collecting donations or food and household goods for MRU students in need — to help them develop valuable employability skills.
Bob came to TVP graduation brunches, wearning his regimental blazer, to express his support of the students as they took the next step in their lives.
Bob Charlton served in the Canadian military for 25 years and retired a Warrant Officer. Bob was decorated with the Special Service Medal and Bar, Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal, International Commission for Supervision and Control Indo-China (ICSC) and Canadian Forces’ Decoration (CD) and Bar. He served in Vietnam as a Canadian Peace Keeper.
Donations may be made to the Mount Royal University Bob and Christel Charlton Memorial Scholarship.
Bob’s legacy will continue. Big Bob’s BBQ will take place rain or shine on Tuesday, May 27. Bob’s many contributions will be honoured at the event, but we can never really adequately say thank you. He will be missed.
– by Karen McCarthy
More than 200 people attended the Continuing Education Info Night on November 26 to talk to staff and instructors representing over 50 programs. Prospective students came to discover educational possibilities but we were the ones who were inspired.
We had the opportunity to chat with a few of the attendees to find out what brought them there. Here are some guests and the programs they were interested in.
Thank you to everyone who came out for the Info Night! See more photos in our Facebook album.
Door prize winners – each received a $250 Gift of Learning:
- Raenelle Bruegerman
- Deepa Desai
- Valerie Ellis
- Rita O’Malley
Join us for the next Info Night on May 28, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
– by Karen McCarthy