Author Archive | Christine Nehring

Fall 2017 Highlights

ABT Field Trips

A group of students viewing the art installation called The Witness Blanket

ABT Students Viewing The Witness Blanket

As part of the university-wide commitment to Indigenization, ABT organized field trips to the Witness Blanket and The Reach Gallery Museum. Prior to the field-trip day, students were guided through an introduction to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission mandate and calls to action. On October 25, faculty and students attended the Witness Blanket; in the afternoon, they went to The Reach, where they were encouraged to explore all the public art on display with a focus on the two Indigenous artists being exhibited. (Three faculty members and 41 students participated in the day’s events.)

Students reflected on their experiences and provided insightful feedback:

“If I have taken anything from this, it is that there is still a long way to go for all the wounds to heal.”

“I want to live my life with integrity by being respectful of others regardless of race, spirituality, color or gender. Understanding the tragic Indigenous history is not only thought provoking but demands change in humanity.”

Town & Gown Fundraising Dinner

Three women standing behind a table containing ABT marketing materials.

Christine Nehring, Melissa Naman and Mary Higgins at UFV’s Town and Gown 2017

On November 15, ABT attended UFV’s annual Town & Gown fundraiser. This sold-out event generated more than $85,000 for UFV student scholarships, awards, and bursaries.

ABT hosted an information booth and met numerous community members as well as reconnected with UFV colleagues and ABT graduates. One graduate was in attendance to celebrate the success of her daughter, Alexis Warmerdam, who received UFV’s Young Distinguished Alumni award. Kudos to Alexis, and what a pleasure to reconnect with ABT graduate Margaret Woelke!

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So You’ve Graduated: Now What?

Three women wearing graduation gowns and caps looking over their shoulders.

Three ABT grads: Karen, Tracy, Lisa.

University—while requiring hard work—can be a comfortably predictable place, with goals, timelines and deliverables set by external forces, such as your professors or the university’s Office of the Registrar. (Note: 2017 UFV grad applications are due April 3!) After you complete a program of study, however, life becomes rather daunting, as those goals, timelines and deliverables become ones that you must set yourself. You want a job, for example, but no one is standing over you, demanding that you have your new job in place by next Friday at 3 pm. So what can you do? Here are a few tips that may help guide you in this post-university time.

  1. Collect Data

Start collecting job postings for positions that interest you, even if you think you are not quite qualified. And don’t collect just links; many employers remove job postings once the position is filled, and you run the risk of losing that data. Right-click an on-line job posting, and you should have the option of saving it. If you can’t seem to save it, then take screenshots in a Word document.

  1. Analyze Your Data

Once you have a collection of job postings, start analyzing their contents, looking for trends and themes. You may quickly notice that administrative positions require high-level proficiency in the MS Office Suite. (ABT grads, you have that!) You might also notice trends in salary ranges: often, public-sector positions pay more than private-sector ones. Start collating that data, as it will help you set salary expectations and prepare you for answering that dreaded interview question: how much do you expect to earn? Also analyze the data for your gaps; for example, if numerous job postings call for familiarity with Google Docs, Dropbox, Hootsuite, WordPress, or a myriad of other platforms, research those platforms and learn to use them. Most online platforms have a free or trial version that will allow you access.

  1. Set Short-, Medium-, and Long-term Goals

Use your data analysis to inform your employment goals. If public-sector job postings require 2–3 years related work experience, and you have none, then set public-sector employment as a medium-term goal and look for an entry-level private-sector position to start. If you would like to eventually have an upper-level administrative position, then set that as a long-term goal, and use your data analysis to start building toward it; for example, you may need further education or a particular skill-set, such as strong supervisory or leadership skills.

  1. Volunteer Strategically

Strategic volunteering involves volunteering with a goal in mind (e.g., building relevant employment experience) and can be particularly useful for those changing industries or careers. Target an organization and position that both interests you and helps build your work experience on your resume. The Red Cross is a good example; it relies heavily on volunteers and has a well-structured and formalized volunteering process. For as few as three hours a week, you could volunteer in an administrative position. And studies have shown that altruism can improve your life too!

  1. Network

Most people are reluctant to network, as the fear of rejection and the awkwardness of talking to strangers can be overwhelming; however, as most jobs are acquired through the hidden job market, it is important to tap into and expand your network. The first step is to ensure the people you already know are aware that you are looking for work. (Develop a short statement, often called an elevator pitch.) The next step is to find opportunities to meet new people and gather information about employers. Join a local Chamber of Commerce (UFV grads can join Mission’s Chamber of Commerce free for one year) and start attending functions. Look for local job fairs and networking events such as the 10th Annual Fraser Valley Chambers of Commerce Business Showcase. (It’s free for attendees.) Consider joining a networking or professional-development group such as Toastmasters.

Although re-entering the work world can seem daunting, maintain your focus by using the points above, researching the companies that you are interested in, tailoring your cover letter and resume to each application (here’s a job deconstruction tool), and staying positive.

There is a job out there waiting for you!

Crossing the UFV Stage.








Image Credits

Three graduates: From Karen Wilson, June 2015; used with permission.

Crossing the stage: From UFV’s Flickr stream,; June 2016, some rights reserved.


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2 presentations x 2 days = Success!

A wharf in Nanaimo, BC with multiple boats docked

View of Nanaimo Harbour

ABT instructors Mary Higgins and Christine Nehring recently presented back-to-back at both UFV’s annual PD Day and Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Teaching and Learning Conference.

UFV FLO Workshop

In keeping with ABT’s focus on digital resilience and technology use, Mary and Christine participated in the first workshop through pre-recorded video built into a Blackboard shell. The workshop was organized by the participants of UFV’s inaugural Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) course as a way of sharing strategies, successes and challenges from that May 2015 experience.

photos of nine UFV employees who participated in the UFV PD Day FLO workshop

UFV FLO Workshop Team

WordPressing the World one Workshop at a Time

Mary and Christine continued their goal of WordPress world domination by conducting a workshop titled “Blogging in WordPress: Strategies for Success” at VIU’s annual Teaching and Learning Conference. Participants were given a whirlwind tour of WordPress (e.g., the Dashboard, Media Library, Categories and Tags) and were introduced to blogging strategies such as using text and images appropriately, and ensuring accessibility. Participants then created, edited, and posted a blog post. (Here are some examples of their work.) Feedback from the session was excellent, with comments such as:

  • Resources and hands-on practice at creating a blog post. Thanks! I’m inspired.
  • I loved how much you got done – my most productive hour today!
  • Loved having the computer to use and do.
  • Covered lots; organized; got me off the computer 🙂 . Great session!
  • How to create a blog, post it, and edit it.
  • Focus on accessibility was great! #thanks
  • Much easier to post a blog than I thought; lots of fun; will have to think about doing this with students.

This fall, on top of their regular ABT teaching, Mary and Christine will be running a number of WordPress workshops through UFV’s Continuing Education department. Watch the CE website for the fall brochure.

Image Credit

Image 1: Taken by C. Nehring, used with permission.

Image 2: Screen capture from workshop BB Learn shell. Image created by G. Jang and M. Higgins.

Classroom image by ltdan;; some rights reserved; retrieved Apr 2016

WWW image by itupictures;; some rights reserved; retrieved Apr 2016


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Dual Credit for ABT/SD34 Students

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 3.37.25 PM

Elsie Fu, recent ABT graduate, at UFV’s Clearbrook Campus

UFV and SD34: A Perfect Partnership

A little-known ABT secret is that some of our students are earning dual credit courtesy of a long-standing agreement between UFV and the Abbotsford School District (SD34). Recently, one of our own was featured in a promotional video. Take a minute to listen to Elsie Fu as she talks about how she has benefitted from taking the ABT program.

Career Program Options

ABT isn’t the only program available to SD34 students. Eligible programs range from technology programs such as ABT and architectural drafting to trades programs such as welding and automotive service technician. If you know an Abbotsford student who is high school age, recommend that they talk to their school counsellor about how to apply to SD34’s Career Programs. It’s not everyone who can earn a high school diploma and university certification at the same time! Thanks, SD34, for being a great educational partner.

Image credits

Image of Elsie Fu used with permission from SD34.

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