Support of student learning paves way to honour at CTL
Each September, the University of Alberta honours the achievements of our faculty, students and staff at the Celebration of Teaching and Learning. This year we will celebrate more than 300 exemplary individuals: faculty who bring their research to life in the classroom; graduate and undergraduate students who have distinguished themselves for outstanding academic and extracurricular work; and staff who support learning.
But as a co-ordinator for the Learning and Beyond office at Augustana Campus, she wouldn’t have those skills if it weren’t for the help of Joan Schiebelbein and Lorraine Woollard, two recipients honoured by the U of A for their support of student learning.
The pair of U of A staffers developed an internship program that lets students like Goebel, who graduated with an arts degree in 2009, work with non-profit community organizations.
Now in the working world herself, Goebel is using the know-how she gained to help other students find community-based learning opportunities and along the way, grow as citizens.
“Being in the internship program really shaped what I wanted to do. Once I got started, I got really excited about the whole thing,” Goebel said. “Joan and Lorraine made the program what it is.”
Along with Mathieu Trépanier, a third U of A staff member from Campus Saint-Jean, Schiebelbein and Woollard are this year’s winners of the university’s Excellence in Learning Support award, which recognizes members of the U of A community whose role doesn’t involve teaching, but who still contribute in a meaningful way to the student learning experience.
They are among more than 300 scholarship winners, award-winning teachers and staff being honoured Sept. 24 at the U of A’s 15th annual Celebration of Teaching and Learning.
In their respective roles with the U of A’s Career and Placement Services and the university’s Community Service-Learning program, Schiebelbein and Woollard helped develop the Non-Profit Board Student Internship in 2006. Since then, the internship has launched 50 undergraduate and graduate students from several faculties into the not-for-profit sector. There, they learn how to serve on boards and, as part of their placements, complete projects that benefit the organization with which they’re volunteering.
Along the way, they discover more about themselves and how they want to make a difference to society.
“We have students whose careers took a total turn because of what they learned about themselves through their participation in the program,” said Schiebelbein, director of Career and Placement Services.
“It exposes students to different types of careers they wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. As well, it helps them build connections they can rely on once they do start looking for work.”
The internship was developed to offer a non-credit activity for students interested in pursuing a certificate in Community Service Learning, but is also open to those pupils interested in learning more about the not-for-profit sector and getting experience at the board level.
Goebel, who interned on the board of the Bissell Centre in Edmonton in 2008–09, was grateful for both Schiebelbein’s “gentle certainty” and Woollard’s “persistent praise and encouragement” as she worked her way through the internship. “They ensured my continued success with enthusiastic and imaginative feedback.”
“It’s an unbelievably rewarding program for the students,” said Woollard, administrative director of CSL. “Some of them have stayed on with the boards they have interned with. Others have taken on jobs in the non-profit sector and leadership roles as a result of this program.”
Schiebelbein and Woollard are proud to help students along in their journeys of discovery.
“Anything we can do to open more doors to learning makes for a better society of fully engaged citizens,” said Woollard. “As a university, we have an obligation to provide a variety of opportunities to students while we have them in our care.”
Trépanier, the third recipient of the staff award, is being recognized for his strong commitment to enriching the student experience at Campus Saint-Jean.
As student life co-ordinator, Trépanier guided students in planning such high-energy events as the LipDub project, which pulled together about 100 CSJ students who sang and danced for a video takeoff on a hit song. The feel-good video was posted to YouTube and garnered almost 14,000 hits.
“After the video was shot, one student told me he met people that he’d never seen before on campus. That was incredible, because I felt I helped bring people together,” Trépanier said.
He also helped students launch a French entrepreneur club, organized a leadership summit and created an awards ceremony to honour the hard work of CSJ’s student club executives and volunteers.
“I see my role as a guide for students, helping them develop life skills and become more responsible. When I see that by the end of their degrees they are less shy, more outgoing and spend their time better, it’s a great feeling.”
Trépanier’s mission has always been to help develop citizens, not just graduates.
“We want to create experiences for students outside the classroom which are practical and complete their education within our walls.” And though he has since taken another position on campus, he continues to be inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of students. “It keeps me young!”