By VIU Communications’ Dane Gibson
Every student runs into barriers now and then. Whether it’s keeping up with course demands, getting motivated to study, determining a path to success or something else–at those times it’s good to know where to turn.
The VIULEARNS, Enhancing Student Learning Event that gets underway September 26-29 on all VIU campuses is bringing together almost 30 VIU programs, as well as support and student organizations focused solely on VIU student supports and success. For students who attend, it means knowing where to turn will become that much easier to navigate.
VIU’s Director of Enrolment Management Tina McComb and Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning Director Liesel Knaack helped organize the event. McComb says VIULEARNS is an extension of the Successful Student Learning Initiative that got underway at the university a couple of years ago.
“At that time we engaged the VIU community and asked the question: What does student learning look like for you? We developed a report based on that initiative and one of the recommendations included challenging us to be creative when we approach learning and engaging our students,” said McComb. “That included bringing faculty together with students and showcasing a lot of the really great work that already happens on campus. The result of that work is VIULEARNS.”
McComb says the process of pulling VIULEARNS together and incorporating so many different components has been interesting.
“It’s not just about support services, it’s about highlighting the many different opportunities there are for learning. It’s quite exciting seeing the academic and program areas coming together to engage students in a variety of different learning opportunities,” said McComb.
VIULEARNS highlights a number of those opportunities and McComb and Knaack hope students and faculty will explore all the many different options.
For example, VIU’s board-certified success coach, Sharon Kelly, will be there. Success coaching is offered to VIU students through the Student Affairs Department.
“I am a huge advocate of identifying one’s circle of support and expanding it to include VIU resources as well. When all the supports are available in one place, it highlights for students how available and helpful these resources can be for students,” said Kelly. “The message I will be conveying to students at VIULEARNS is to be intentional in their goal setting with self-knowledge about what is most important to them. This will help them to create a daily life that manages their priorities better so they have more energy and greater focus for what is truly important to them.”
A workshop being offered that all students should consider is Biology Professor and winner of the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence Tim Goater’s “Igniting the Flame: Inspiring a Lover of Parasitology through Experiential Learning”. His goal is to inspire students in every faculty to take advantage of lab and field trip opportunities and get involved in hands-on learning experiences outside of the classroom.
Mike Thibodeau is the VIU Campus Store manager. He says the Campus Store will be at the VIULEARNS event to raise awareness about their Sell Your Used Textbooks app and the Dare to Compare service offered through the VIU Campus Store website.
“What we don’t want is to have students come here for four years and not know that we offer services like this. VIULEARNS is about asking students to really think about how they are going to succeed here at VIU and for us we want the Campus Store to be a part of their journey,” said Thibodeau. “An event like this is a reminder of what we all do together to help students succeed and that’s important. It brings us as service providers all together and reminds us why we are all here.”
Other participants include representatives from the Peer Supported Learning Program, Creative Writing and Journalism Department, Arts and Humanities, and International Education. There will also be a Learning Fair, documentary film screening and a graffiti poster activity—these are just a few of the highlights happening over the four-day event.
The workshops for students and faculty scheduled throughout are free, just make sure you get registered because the workshops will fill up fast. For more information check out VIULEARNS September 26-29