Dementia Care is Front of Mind



Sandra Gordon cares.

“I became involved in the area of dementia care within health care in 2000 when I became the clinic coordinator for the Specialized Geriatric Consultation Team at Rockyview General Hospital,” says the MRU Dementia Care instructor.

Her primary work there was the assessment of older adults, and her findings were significant.

“I would say that over 50% of our clients were living with a dementia,” she adds, “The issues for them, their care providers and families became of interest to me as a nurse.”

Gordon is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. A nurse with a Master’s degree in Gerontological Certification, she’s currently working to add a PhD to her credentials, researching how health care professionals understand dementia.

“Most recently,” she states, “we launched an Advanced Knowledge for Dementia Care series for Health care Professionals working across the care continuum.” This MRU Continuting Education program has the goal to increase knowledge and skills for health care professionals who may be in positions to influence how decisions are made about dementia care.

This is a gap that, in her research, she believes needs to be filled.

“I believe there is very little for direct care providers outside of ‘inhouse’ learning,” noting that, “Many organizations provided education for families and family care givers, but not so many for direct care providers and health care professionals.”

Gordon acknowledges that, despite being a course that it of interest to students who are thrust into the position of care-giver for a family member afflicted with the condition, “This is not a ‘how to’ course, the focus is person-centered care that is relational.” She explains, “When one is practicing in an area with vulnerable populations the more we know about best practice approaches for care, the better the care for persons living with a dementia and their families.”

It is Sandra Gordon’s belief that, through courses like this, “Those working within dementia care can influence systemic issues such as poor communication between supportive living and acute care, primary care and long term care.”

Through her instruction, Gordon is offering some positive piece of mind for the industry.

– JLove







MRU Kids Steps Up Its Game

Kevin Gilbert (centre) with MRU Kids staff 2016

If summer camp teaches one thing, it’s ‘be prepared’.

Kevin Gilbert, MRU Kids’ Program Coordinator, models that strategic preparation.

“The website’s going live a month earlier so parents can plan their summer with the camps and dates.” He shares, “when registration goes live on February 21st, then they’ll have a plan.”

There’s a lot of planning that goes into the diverse offerings of fun and learning that MRU Kids gives campers each summer, and the programs are always changing.

Gilbert beams, “We have a new camp called Dynamic Gamers.” As he starts to spout out technical achievements the campers will explore like the science behind the trending video games for fans, it’s clear he’s passionate about this. “I’m looking forward to that camp as well,” he confesses.

Along with Dynamic Gaming, MRU Kids is introducing new sports-oriented camps. Gilbert concurs, “We have a new Junior Fieldtrip Camp for sports where we’re hoping to have a different (sports) venue every day,” he rolls into, “we have a new bike and play camp to teach bike and safety skills.”

A new cultural development, Gilbert and his team are working with the Iskim Centre this year. “We’re developing some exciting First Nations Programs. It’s amazing,” he claims of the valuable addition to MRU Kids’ experience, “the culture… the storytelling… it’s going to be great.”

Elementary campers (age 5-8), Junior campers (age 9-14) and Youth campers (14-17) will thrive with the myriad of options for their summer in some spectacular on and off campus facilities.

The older campers have a chance to explore some higher-level programs like Entrepreneurship Camp and Junior Leadership Camp where campers are taught to be leaders in the community.

Gilbert adds a sidebar, “We also call it ‘Counsellors-In-Training’. The program has been around for 2 years now and last summer, we hired 3 previous Junior Leadership students as summer counsellors.”

Returning campers will also recognize established favourites like Conoco Phillips Camps for Science, always a popular choice.

In collaboration with MRU Conservatory, MRU Kids will run a 6-week Music Makers Camp for 5-8 year olds. “It teaches different musical genres and instruments.” Gilbert notes.

Preparations are still in the works for many of the finer details. Gilbert says, “We’re hoping to have an Open House at the MRU Kids office in June where you can come visit, see the office and ask questions.”

Until then, if you have questions, check the newly launched website.

So this summer, be prepared for adventure with MRU Kids!

-JLove (Summer Camp Enthusiast)

Happy Campers

Top 3 Benefits of Global Innovation & Leadership in Education

Gloria Ladson-Billings


Good educators know our world is more interconnected and interdependent than ever. No matter which part of the globe you are from, we are facing related issues and challenges. So, how can we foster global collaboration in areas like professional learning, teacher leadership, teacher professionalism and innovation? One way is to bring international cohorts together to share ideas, innovations, best practices and resources through an international conference.

MRU Continuing Education embarked on such an initiative, co-sponsoring the 2016 International Research Conference on Innovation and Leadership in Education in partnership with Kappa Delta Pi, an international educational honor society based in Indianapolis.  From July 5-7th, the Ross Glenn Hall was a meta-classroom with speakers and attendees from countries including Colombia, Australia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Russia, China, United States and Canada. There were conversations, presentations and more that prove that leaders in education are lifelong learners themselves.

In the words of several of the presenters and attendees, here the Top 3 benefits that MRU has provided to create and support global leaders in Education:


  1. Innovative Ideas

Keynote speaker Gloria Ladson-Billings, Kellner Family Distinguished Chair of Urban Education, thinks the networking of ideas and colleagues is imperative, “Many of us are caught up with our day-to-day responsibilities, committee work and answering student concerns… and this is a venue where we get to think about our work and talk about our work without the politics of the institution or the department structure.”



  1. Empowering Teacher Leadership through Technology

Ludmila Smirnova, Mount Saint Mary College, NY, explains why she is a strong advocate for technological advancement in the classroom, “Pedagogy is still lagging behind because of state regulations, testing and it forces teachers to teach to test. It’s mostly direct instruction. Technology opens doors. Technology is ahead of pedagogy. It allows students to create, interact, collaborate and produce… and teachers are not prepared for that.”


  1. Open Mindedness

Dr. Clelia Pineda, Associate Professor, School of Education at Universidad de La Sabana, Chía-Bogotá, Colombia tells us, “Open-mindedness. That’s the key. If you are open enough to learn enough from others. To see diversity as a positive aspect not as a negative aspect. To learn, to gain different perspectives, I think that’s the foundation for good leadership.”

Universally these educators and researchers were pleased to come together to learn. Keynote speaker Dr. Pineda says, “We were so used to fragmentation. Now, there’s a strong emphasis on creating these links.”

Though there were countless other takeaways from the international research conference, this event emphasized the significance of global partnerships, and the sharing of innovative educational practices. They came together at MRU.

The Innovation and Leadership in Education International Research Conference demonstrates MRU’s ongoing commitment to teaching, scholarship, and professional development. Follow-up activities include the formation of intercultural teaching and research teams that will collaborate and then share what they learn during forthcoming conferences and professional development courses offered by MRU’s Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension and by Kappa Delta Pi. For more information, please contact one of the conference organizers:

Dr. Charlie Webber, Dean of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension, Mount Royal University

Dr. Jodi Nickel, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Education, Mount Royal University

Dr. Peggy Moch, Professor, Math Department, Valdosta State University

Faye Snodgress, Executive Director, Kappa Delta Pi

Happy Camper

Mireille and her happy camper, Amilyn with MRU Kids’ Program Coordinator Kevin Gilbert


MRU Kids was excited to award a free camp to social media winner Mireille Visser-Klaver.

When asked how she entered, Visser-Klaver reported, “Some friends of mine shared it on Facebook,” but was quick to add, “I usually don’t click it but… this time, I thought ‘it can’t hurt’.”

She was rewarded with a free one-week camp for her daughter Amilyn who, by her own confession is, “Five. I’m almost in Grade One.”

They arrived together at the MRU Kids Headquarters, an on-campus office decorated like a comic book superhero base, to select the camp that Amilyn will attend.

Visser-Klaver announced, “We signed up for the Field Trip Camp. They have a field trip everyday. I just heard they are going to Calaway Park and they’re going to the pool.” This choice was firmly seconded by the young camper herself who chirped in that she was most excited for, “Calaway Park for the rides.”

But for her mom, who looked relieved that the amusement park experience was unparented, she fancied the on campus facilities, “I kind of leaned towards the one with the swimming pool – and went for something that fits her bubbly personality.”

The Junior Field Trip Camp is one of many program offerings for kids aged 5-17 including Sports & Adventure, Music Makers and Tech Academy Camps.

With a smile, they left the MRU Kids Headquarters singing. “I had a little turtle… His name was Tiny Tim… I put him in the bathtub… to see if he could swim…”

With a week off for Mireille and a week of adventure for Amilyn, it sounds like summertime is here.

  • by JLove







Ernest Barbaric recognizes trends and changes. “In Calgary,” he explains, “We haven’t had marketing conferences. It’s nice to have a grass roots initiative like SocialWest.” Being connected with Calgary social media guru Mike Morrison of @MikesBloggity has put Barbaric once again in the speaker’s spotlight for the sold-out event.

Founder of the Social Media for Business certificate program at Mount Royal University Continuing Education, Barbaric notices that there’s a change of behaviour happening (literally) under our noses. People are constantly connected to their digital devices. His presentation, “Trends that are defining digital marketing in 2016 and beyond” on June 16th at 11am sets out to identify and explain this shift and how it affects the way businesses and individuals communicate.

Ernest Barbaric – MRU Instructor & Social West Speaker

“This connectivity is changing our priorities,” Barbaric suggests. “If you have a phone and it’s not connected to wifi, there’s a sense of loneliness even in areas where there are other people.” Recognizing how most have adopted this perpetual dependency on digital technology, he offers, “People would rather have someone steal their wallet instead of their phone.”

This not only changes the way people speak to people, but also drastically affects how businesses and other organizations or brands speak to people, which is why his SocialWest audience is there. “There’s a movement towards social becoming a media buying platform.” he says, “There’s more focus on paid (advertising) and a big rise in automation.” This affects the role-responsibility of a traditional marketing team for any organization. “As things progress, it changes what marketing teams do to maintain these systems.”

If a marketing team were Aretha Franklin’s band, you would have a standard line-up of drums, bass, guitar and keyboards with Aretha wailing the message to your audience. Now, with new tools and audience expectations, Barbaric explains that social media is like adding, “a triple-necked guitar with a keyboard on it that plays itself,” and ups the ante, “with a DJ who samples Aretha Franklin – and 50 other artists – and adds a light show.”

There are some for whom digital media is the bright light in an economic downturn in this city. Barbaric concurs, “Business who can sell their services online have global access regardless of where you’re from. Locally,” he touts, “there is still money, but it becomes a more competitive environment.” Survival is for those who can evolve. He identifies, “those who are squeezed out are people relying on the status quo.”

12317711_158670411161516_286234621_aThose leaving his SocialWest presentation will glean, “a sense of what they need to do to prepare for the future.” According to Barbaric, the future has much potential and we’re not too far behind to catch up. “There’s a lag… between American and Canadian markets, between different generations and between big and small businesses.” But to those willing to make the changes, he estimates that there’s “a decent amount of runway.”

Connect with Ernest at SocialWest.

Connect with others who are growing their digital brands too.

And remember, you’re not alone… if you’re connected to the internet.


  • by JLove




MRU and Alberta Job Grants: A Winning Combination

When Process Ecology Inc. needed corporate training for their employees; they came to MRU Continuing Education.

Process Ecology is a process engineering and emissions management company. “Basically,” HR Administrator Lindsay Baker describes, “we work with a variety of different companies to deal with benzene emissions.” Having designed and maintained their own measurement software (FlareAdvisor helps measure flaring, venting and greenhouse gas emissions for upstream oil and gas companies), it’s clear they’re a good judge of streamlined best practices and measurable results.

With a total of nine employees in their company, four of whom went through the training, any cost savings was a welcome option. Baker says, “we wanted some upscaling and upgrading of some essential skills needed in our workplace. Some employees have come to Canada having finished their studies and some need a refresher with their English skills.”

She decided to apply for the Canada-Alberta Job Grant to fund some customized language upgrading, presentation courses and resume-writing training, skills that needed to be honed to submit biographies and resumes to conferences and other presentation opportunities.

An MRU alumnus, Baker claimed the choice to go with MRU was easy. She was at the helm of the application process and was quick to sing its praises, “the needs assessment done by the MRU staff outlined the weaknesses and strengths of our systems.” Of the training itself, she says, “everyone here enjoyed the teaching methods. They worked their skills effectively and were able to apply the training immediately.”

The trainees’ reaction was similar. “It was very beneficial for the employees,” Baker says, “it’s made them more confident in themselves and in a presentation setting.”

The best part about the quality MRU training through the Canada-Alberta Job Grant to Baker was that, “Two thirds of all of our training costs were paid (by the grant)!” With these savings on exemplary courses, Process Ecology is already looking into further training through MRU Continuing Education.

Her reason is simple, “By making sure they feel comfortable, it makes them more confident in what they’re presenting, and in the company.

Lindsay has these three tips for anyone thinking of applying for the Canada-Alberta Job Grant.

  1. Read the 30 page document online. Everything you need to know is there. MRU Continuing Education makes it easy for you.
  2. Make sure you have EVERYTHING. Go through the document’s requests with a ‘fine toothed comb’.
  3. Choose a course or series of courses with a certification. In Lindsay’s case, preferably one that is industry and governmentally recognized.

Then, enjoy the savings!ce_sidebar_ab_job_grant

-by JLove

Corporate Training’s New Math


Summit Together

How do we subtract and get the same results?

Let’s face it, corporate culture is a little rough right now in our hometown.  People are being laid-off, downsized, ‘released from their employer’ or whatever today’s politically correct term for ‘fired’ is. Organizations in several sectors are now challenged to fill the void left by these people, re-allocate resources to maintain and change their operating procedures to move forward.  How can they achieve the same results when so many of their resources have been subtracted?

“With the current economic climate, organizations need to be more productive, nimble and efficient than ever.” Says Joanne Leskow, Corporate Trainer at Mount Royal University Continuing Education. “All business outcomes are a direct result of the investment and calibre of people inside the business.”

So, if we can’t add more people, we can add value to the people that remain. “MRU Corporate Training programs reinforce good habits while exploring best practice and challenging learners to think differently.” Leskow explains.

From this place, leaders emerge. Leaders are those we turn to in this climate to provide a vision. That vision for most is merely an educated guess. MRU wants to provide the ‘educated’ part of that equation. “Leveraging a legacy of excellence,” Leskow confirms, “MRU’s Corporate Training has equipped Western Canadian businesses (and others around the globe) to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

For the corporate culture, it’s bigger picture multiplication. “Corporate Training provides team members an opportunity to come together from business units and geographic regions to better understand each other and personal contributions to their team/unit and business as a whole.” Leskow continues. “It’s essential that emerging and experienced leaders take the time to step away and evaluate their own performance, build strengths and plan future courses of action. MRU Corporate Training allows them to do that, and more,” she advises.

A key factor in this climate is being able to do exponentially more with less. “One of the essential elements of retention is providing people with opportunities to learn and grow professionally. The MRU Corporate Training courses provide a wide variety of courses to grow, challenge their thinking and habits while learning best practices.”

Success is equal to the vision provided by leaders and the work put behind that vision. “A combination of practical and technical knowledge helps to shape leaders and problem solvers who tackle issues and projects in fast-paced environments.” Leskow instructs. The leaders she teaches will be empowered to face anything as she promises to give the guidance they need to, “equip their people and business to not only meet, but to exceed the demands of the ever-changing business environment.”

So do more with less. Just add education and summit together.

  • by JLove


Massage Therapy Career Fair 2016

IMG_8046 These days, good news stories about employment in Calgary are hard to come by…unless you’re one of the many students or employers who attended this month’s MRU Massage Therapy Career Fair.

With graduation right around the corner, this annual event gives students the opportunity to find out what’s next. With over 30 employers in attendance at this year’s event, many of whom were looking to fill multiple positions, students were happy (and relieved!) to find out that what’s waiting for them on the other side is a new graduate’s dream.

For just one example of where their careers can go, students need only look to former MRU student Karla Bancroft as an example. Karla is the director of talent development for Massage Heights Canada. She says, “I am personally proud to be MRU massage alumni, I have loved working with the school and seeing how the relationship between Massage Heights and Mount Royal has grown.  The industry as a whole has evolved and grown immensely and it is very rewarding as both a former student and an employer to see how MRU has played a part in this.”

IMG_8050One of the reasons employers return every year is because they see value in the students’ training. Bancroft says, “Graduates from the MRU massage program have been enormous assets to our company. The quality of education and standards the graduates present in the workplace is very valuable to us as an employer.”

She describes the event, “The MRU job fair is a wonderful opportunity for Massage Heights to showcase the unique opportunity we offer massage therapy students, as well as graduates.  We love being a part of this annual event, and really enjoy the enthusiasm and professionalism that the Mount Royal massage therapy students exhibit.”

The Massage Therapy program is pleased to have a valued partner like Massage Heights who offers an annual total of $2,000 for scholarships and bursaries.IMG_8047

Thank you to all employers and associations who attended this year’s event:

Hyatt Regency Calgary

Oasis Wellness Center and Spa

Lasya Healing Centre

Optimum Wellness Centres

Momentum Health

Inspired Minds Wellness Centre

Leela Eco SpaIMG_8049

Soma Hammam and Spa

Prema Health

Massage Addict

The Centre Spa & Wellness

Sandpearl Mobile Spa

Strive Physiotherapy

Kinetic Performance Center

Fifth Avenue Club

Massage at the Club

Backstrong Heatlh Group

Mama Massage

Massage HeightsIMG_8048

LCP Health

Southridge Village Chiropracic Centre

Willow Stream Spa, Fairmont Banff Springs

Essence Wellness Clinic

Apex Massage Therapy Ltd.

Urban Roots Wellness Centre

CBI Health Group

Landmark Collaborative Health

Natural Health Practitioners of Canada

Remedial Massage Therapists Association

Massage Therapist Association of Alberta

-submitted by the Massage Therapy Program

Registration information here.

Shoppers Optimum

Sabrina Falconer

The Employee of the Month has been crowned at the Millrise Shoppers Drug Mart. Her name is Sabrina Falconer and she’s a student in MRU Continuing Education’s Transitional Vocational Program (or TVP) and she is, as her manager described, “a ray of sunshine.”

Pasquale Tumato is the Front Store Manager at the location, further describes the honouree, “She’s got an infectious personality.”

A committee that includes Tumato chooses the Employee of the Month title. “We solicit opinions from the staff,” he says, “whoever possesses the most attributes we’re looking for in that month gets it.” As to why, after a mere five months in this position, Falconer should be granted this title, Tumato explains, “She has an excellent attitude. Her customer service skills and the fact that she’s willing to do anything at any time… with her smile and outgoing personality.”

Along with bragging rights, Tumato mentions that she gets, “the public recognition, and that of the staff. She gets a letter from the association and a gift card as well.”

All of this is exciting for Falconer. She glows, “It made me feel amazing. I work so hard. Trying my hardest and becoming the Employee of the Month is, like… awesome!”

Her position has a variety of roles for her to explore. She notes, “I do stock. Put the order out onto the floor or in the back. Chips… I fill the chips and beverage carts.” All of her responsibilities seem to rely on her sunny disposition since they’re all client facing.

Her favourite part is, “Coming in to see the customers. I’m a big people person.”

Falconer ‘Checking out’ Shoppers’ work experience

The toughest challenge, she admits, “I’m learning cash. How to do the lottery.” This high-demand ticket checking and selling system is something that even Tumato admits to being stumped by. With her character-defining positivity, she adds, “But the best part about life are the challenges and learning.”

This is the first time Tumato has arranged a work placement with MRU’s TVP Program, and it won’t be his last. The experience has been wonderful. We’ve had a couple other programs that didn’t work as well. This one (MRU) has worked really well.”

To give credit where it’s due, “Sabrina is a huge part of the success, but the support she gets is huge.” Tumato states.

She has an equally sunny outlook on her program. “I would recommend it to others who have learning disabilities or to others who are having trouble getting into the workplace. “

Falconer values her association with Shoppers. She’s scheduled to be here until the end of March, but says, “I could extend the contract until I get hired, or might try another work experience (placement).” But for now, she knows, “I’m enjoying it a lot.”

-by JLove

Take Your Next Step

S16_ce_ybh_header_Paul_850x260Paul Gray is a ‘glass-half-full’ type of guy.

Despite being diagnosed with Rhabdomyosacroma (a rare form of cancer usually found in children) upon starting his PFT program at MRU Continuing Education, he persevered and graduated the program this last spring.

But that’s not where his journey started.

His first career was as a consulting accountant in the oil and gas industry. “Oil companies employ a huge number of accountants,” he quantifies, “25% of their workforce.” A self-described accounting problem solver, Gray was involved in a start-up company with a friend. “I was the accountant. So, I did everything – all revenue, production, financial statements… you name it.”

He was good with numbers, but his calling came from elsewhere. “My ultimate dream was to get into outdoor pursuits.” Feeling the winds of change, he faced his reality, “I would have stayed in that career if I could do it for three days a week, but they kept hiring younger.” Answering the call, “I registered for the Personal Fitness Trainer Program.”

Both Gray’s process of learning and his road to recovery were elevated by the culture of camaraderie within the program. “The support I received from my fellow students both in the year I started and the year I finished was exceptional.” he admits. “I am so appreciative for this program, the knowledge base, the instructors, the MRU facility and my fellow students that I feel it was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

After chemotherapy, radiation and surgery on his affected leg, Gray’s tumour has been removed and he is three-years cancer free. All the while, he has been forwarding his next career.

As a personal fitness trainer, he is now focused on supporting others’ adventures and fitness goals, while he continues to train and heal.  “I had an idea for a business,” Gray declares, “Kachina Fitness, named after the Hopi kachinas which are the spirits that represent all the essences of life.”

Kachina Fitness is focused on helping others plan and train for their adventures. “My target demographic all along was my friends, the aging baby-boomers, who are not getting their regular exercise.”

Gray has a lot of goals and a lot of optimism that he (and his clients) will achieve them. At age 55, and rebuilding his endurance in his leg, he admits, “I feel accomplished for me. My success is just thankfulness and gratitude to be alive and with hopes and dreams of skiing, climbing and hiking across the Grand Canyon again.”

A new career is a new journey and, as Gray reminds us, the saying goes, “every journey starts with a single step.” Paul Gray coaches those making similar transitions to reframe their success. “Life now is – don’t look at what I can’t do – look at what I can do.” Measure it not by what has been lost or taken away, but what you can do with what you have left. “I want to measure my life on how many times I visit the Grand Canyon.”

Start your own adventure here.

Click for MRU Spring/Summer 2016 Calendar

Click for more info on Personal Fitness Training Program

-by JLove