Book Displays for Raising Intercultural Competence a Big Success during Valley Fest

Your Heart Is the Size of Your Fist: A Doctor Reflects on Ten Years at a Refugee Clinic by Martina Scholtens

In case you need a reading recommendation… here are six great reads that could help raise your intercultural competence along the way.

On March 13, during Valley Fest week, the students from Communications 180 showed off their semester project. They spent the weeks leading up to the event reading, reflecting, and planning. It wasn’t easy. Their job was to pick out concepts from the book that they were also studying through other materials in class and be able to tell their audience why their particular book was a good way to learn about that concept.

Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival by Bev Sellars
The Boy on the Beach: My Family’s Escape from Syria and Our Hope for a New Home by Tima Kurdi
Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto

It was my pleasure as the instructor to spend the previous summer reading through a dozen wonderful books to pick ones that would engage, intrigue, and also connect to real life Canadian stories of challenging intercultural encounters. Connecting the assignment to Valley Fest seemed the perfect vehicle to press the students to do their best and the rose to the occasion.

In Search of A Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey by Payam Akhavan

Of course the project had a broader goal as well; to work towards meeting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s several Calls to Action that ask again and again for institutions to increase the levels of intercultural competence for professionals and all Canadians.

This is also a great place to announce the exciting news that while the Introduction to Intercultural Communication course has only been running once a year for the last several years, it will run twice in the 2019-2020 academic year. Check out the timetable for one section in Fall 2019 and another for Winter 2020.

The Juggler’s Children: A Journey into Family, Legend and the Genes that Bind Us by Carolyn Abraham

All of the books featured by these students are available through the University of the Fraser Library and through most public library systems throughout Canada (as soon as the students return their copies of course) 🙂

Connecting while traveling internationally: No easy answers

For years now, when people asked me why I didn’t have a cell phone (no it wasn’t because I refused to keep up with technology) – I would tell them “as soon as a carrier makes it seamless to cross over the Canada-U.S. border and still have service, I will get one.” Finally this year, a Canadian carrier figured it out and the price stabilized to something reasonable. I signed on.

I traveled last spring and everything worked as promised. No extra charges; coverage 100% of the time (excluding super remote rural areas of course). However, on my most recent trip I ran into a few problems, not the fault of my carrier but more related to the nature of my phone use – I was contacting friends and family to make plans for visiting.

I was merrily texting and leaving phone messages. I did realize that for many people the only contact method I had for them was Skype, Facebook via messenger, or ultimately through email which we had been using for years because phoning was just not an option for them or for me given cost and borders.

Then it got tricky…

My granddaughter was asking me why I had her blocked. I was horrified – of course I didn’t have her blocked. We figured out it was because she could get my texts and voice mail but she couldn’t reply because she didn’t have either an iPhone or a service that let her respond to a Canadian phone number [No wonder I wasn’t getting answers from a few people I expected to respond]. I asked her what other messaging she used besides sms and specifically whether she used messenger – her answer “nothing” and “no, I don’t like it.” How is that for not wanting to keep up with technology, and she a post-millennial? We settled on email, but really, I know and you know that isn’t going to work, right?

One friend and I have always connected through skype and we settled that we would just keep doing that. I long ago cut down on skype use so I am not sure how well that will work.

Another friend who I have only ever connected with through FB sent me the message above and asked me the big question “What does the communication expert have to say?” I don’t know what to tell her but this has made me question how we stay in touch in such a globalized world and reminded me why “communication” can be so complicated (this particular example is merely a symptom).

Interestingly, searching the net doesn’t give us much of an answer about what to do when traveling internationally. There are of course things like buying a new sim card for each country (you can imagine the complications here I am sure); or there is advice on how to find free or cheap WiFi (not all that helpful); and then of course the least helpful perhaps, one-way stuff like write a blog or send a postcard. If you can get everybody onto the same app maybe that’s a solution but good luck with that venture.

So – no solutions here but feel free to comment on what you do to stay connected and make meet-up plans while traveling internationally.

twitter: @MLaFeverPhD

Hearing stories in Indigenous America: A sabbatical side trip

Indigenized hallway at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion

From Marcella LaFever and Shirley Hardman

It started off as a trip to help out a colleague who was having eye surgery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the end it became a journey of thinking about when, how and what Indigenous peoples in the United States when they tell their stories publicly.

For this past year I have been immersed in my sabbatical research on Indigenous storytelling as a communicative practice in public dialogue, in particular in relation to use of stories in submissions to the Cohen Commission Inquiry on the decline of Sockeye salmon in the Fraser River. When my co-researcher Shirley Hardman accepted my invitation to fly down and drive back with me on the return trip we quickly decided that we wanted to visit a couple of universities with strong Native American Studies programs and plan our route to visit Indigenous communities along the way.

Chikasha Warrior
Tashka Chikasha Hattak Holea’

As we started our travels from Dallas/Ft.Worth Texas we headed just north to the state with the largest Native American population in the U.S., Oklahoma. Our main goal was to visit the University of Oklahoma but we also wanted to stop wherever we saw First Nation sites along the way. This ended up including roadside markers such as the story Chief Joseph (left), complexes such as the Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulpher, Oklahoma, and interactive memorials such as the Standing Bear Monument in Ponca City. Each of these were channels for telling stories publicly. There are many other ways of course and I will touch on some of the others we experienced later in the blog.

At the Standing Bear Park we were a bit wary as we drove through a major refinery to get there. Never mind that further research showed that some of the oil being refined comes through Keystone from the Alberta oil sands and that oil played no small part in the despicable policies that displaced these First Nations peoples for a second time; the first being when they were forced to locate to Oklahoma territory by the U.S. Government under the Indian Removal Act that resulted in what is called the Trail of Tears.

Standing Bear Monument with refinery stacks in the background
Standing Bear Park

Nevertheless, the story and site we experienced when we arrived was well planned for those who wanted to be engaged. We were greeted in the five languages of the local First Nation peoples and led through an outdoor interactive site that led us clockwise through the lives of the Osage, Pawnee, Otoe-Missouria Kaw, Tonkawa and Ponca communities, ending with the nearly 7 meter (22 ft) high bronze of Standing Bear.

After hearing the story of Standing Bear and learning of the peoples of the area we ventured into the Museum and Education Center to see other ways the stories were told. Inside the circular architecture of the center each of the five nations had their own case to display whatever they wished and included such things as art works, current event mementos, and some heirlooms. The center also hosted traveling exhibits, a display featuring all the models and the sculptures submitted as proposed designs for the Standing Bear bronze, contemporary artwork and pottery for sale, as well as a good selection of books. Clyde Otipoby (Comanche) was the featured artist when we were there.

Before leaving Ponca City we made a visit to what turned out to be the local pawn shop that also advertise themselves as the “Premier Oklahoma Pow Wow Store.”  (More about “beads and beading” as storytelling later.)

Soon after leaving Ponca City we made our way to the University of Oklahoma and the Native American Studies Program in Norman with the goal of finding out what American universities might be doing to indigenize their campuses. We spent a fantastic afternoon escaping the 30c heat and it was great to be in the university atmosphere. No one even blinked (although they did smile) at our traveling companion Rocky (#rockyrapido).

UO is a huge campus so we stopped in at Visitor Center where we were immediately made to feel welcome and introduced to Jarrod Tahsequah the Assistant Director of Diversity Enri

Star Quilting

chment Programs. Jarrod (Comanche-Choctaw), Norman born and raised, got us excited about what was happening on campus, showed us how to get to Breanna Faris (Cheyenne-Arapaho), Assistant Director for American Indian Student Life, and from there to the office of Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greethan, the Chair of the Department. Amazing, everyone was on campus despite being after end of term. We were also impressed with such things as the elevator that was completely clad in a historical photographic mural of what we could only imagine was a local Indigenous community (no interpretation was provided). Both Jarrod and Amanda ensured we were OU American Indian bling equipped before we left campus – a definite plus to make us the envy of tribal members back home.

Part of the large dedicated classroom space for the Native American Studies program

While doing our homework ahead of our visit we had found that it had been more than 100 years earlier that the department had been established and the promise of their own building made. While that goal has still not been achieved, Dr. Cobb-Greethan was quite happy to show us around the entire floor that they occupied. We were greeted by a guest book and map where visitors were encouraged to add their Nation identity and pin a map (the one created by Aaron Carapella). Amanda also explained to us that there are 39 tribal groups in Oklahoma and that each was represented by the flag of their Nation posted the length of the hall. She also pointed out that there was plenty of room for any student who came to the program from outside Oklahoma to bring a flag to post as well and that they were actively encouraged to.

The star quilt, which we saw over and over again on our tour, and which we carried home adorning our bling, has significant meaning at OU. The quilting, undertaken to produce these various stars, was learned in Indian boarding schools. There is an act of reclamation in using the quilting learned in those place of cultural dispossession and the “star” as it has become an accepted pan-Indian design, to create the star quilts today – this act termed by those at OU as a cultural sovereignty. These are a couple of ways that students can tell their stories in a public way.

After negotiating through some stories told and untold about Lewis and Clark interactions with the peoples they met on their trek along the Missouri River, we made our way to the University of South Dakota in Vermillion

Beadwork at Head Smashin-In Buffalo Jump
Beadwork; evoker of story

Again we had a wonderful reception as we found our way around the University of South Dakota looking for Native Student Services and Native American Studies. First we met Donis Drappeau (Ihanktonwan Oyate) at the Native American Cultural Center that houses the student services and acts as a study and gathering place. We heard not only some of her story but stories of the center and successes of the students. The NACC was undergoing summer renovations and much of the furniture and aesthetics were shoved to one side to allow the reno workers access to the Centre. What remained on the walls were seven core-values (Humility, Generosity, Sacrifice, Fortitude, Compassion, Wisdom and Respect) translated into Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota. Donis then pointed us in the direction of Dr. Elise Boxer (Assiniboine – Oglala Sioux) , Coordinator of the Native American Studies program. Elise was very proud of the department’s direction in changing from one that focused on the past to one where classroom and research is rooted in the present and looking to the future. Dr. Boxer’s office was crowded with sewing machine boxes, when Shirley asked, Elise explained that the sewing machines are part of her community outreach.

Elsie Huber, Rosebud, SD
Elsie Huber, Rosebud, SD

From Vermillion we head due west across the plains though Sioux territories. Beadwork had brought us stories all along the way as we stopped in First Nation Communities. Shirley says the “raven” in her cannot resist shiny things and beadwork qualifies as shiny things. Anyone who knows Shirley know that she wears beautiful beadwork made for her by her niece Collete Williams, Skwah Band member. Many people will comment on the beadwork Shirley wears but it is only in First Nation communities where people bring stories to the conversation. For example when we stopped for the night at Rosebud we met the lovely Elsie Huber. Elsie explained that she had lived on the Rosebud reservation almost her whole life. She went on to explain that it is the best place on earth and that now more than 80 years since she was born she is rich with children, grand-children the land she loves and the dawning of each new day.

More stories came as we traveled through Wounded Knee, Pine Ridge, at the Crazy Horse Monument, the Little Bighorn Battlefield, and Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. So many of these stories ask of us a solemnity that the area demands. At Wounded Knee we offered tobacco, hiked the muddy road to the monument, spoke with hovering locals hoping to secure a few dollars to get them through one more day from the tourists who persist. It was a windy, cold day when we offered more tobacco at the Little Bighorn Battlefield, at a time of year just one month before the annual commemoration.

1890 Wounded Knee Remember l7th Generation lettered on stairs
Wounded Knee near Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Higher Grounds Coffee Shop; Pine Ridge, SD
Higher Grounds Coffee Shop; Pine Ridge, SD
Warrior's Memorial; Little Bighorn National Monument, MT
Warrior’s Memorial; Little Bighorn National Monument

Women and Leadership Communication: Podcast Resources

Strong Women

Last Week the University of the Fraser Valley co-sponsored our local undertaking of the 2018 Women’s March in Chilliwack. The march, started after the 2017 presidential inauguration in the United States, seemed to coalesce a call for more women to be involved in electoral politics by running as candidates at all levels of government. Canadian women also have taken up the call but are reminded by current women political figures like Christy Clark and Elizabeth May that they will have to be strong and determined.

On top of that women will need to study up on communication and the skills they will need in all arenas of politics – not to become like men, but to let their own style and message be heard loud and clear. Women have many years of research on gender, politics, and communication to get them started such as volumes like Gender in Applied Communication Contexts, edited by Patrice M. Buzzanell, Helen Sterk, Lynn H. Turner or Gender and political communication in America: rhetoric, representation, and display edited by Janis L. Edwards.

Probably a more engaging way to discover tips and tricks to practice is through the medium of podcasts. Podcast resources for women seeking to be inspired, and to learn about or to practice communication skills for leadership and personal relationships, are easy to access. I started my search by using some common search terms such as communication or intercultural competence and categories such as education, politics, or society & culture.

While there are many excellent podcasts about communication and marketing produced by men, such as Terry O’Reilly’s Under the Infloence or from The Communication Guys, Tim Downs and Tom Barrett, in this blog I want to bring your attention to podcasts by women and for women. Here are just a few that I found that you might want to check out.

From the Apple Podcast app with twitter profile links where possible:

From the PodcastOne site, I found these:

Many times the mainstreams site don’t cater to your unique situation so please search around the internet until you find a podcast that speaks to your demographic such as this one from Essence Magazine: 13 Awesome Podcasts for Black Women or Her Confidence Her Way by Emiko Rasmussen for a Japanese women’s audience.

The above is not an exhaustive list of possible podcasts and it would be great to hear your suggestions in the comments section below.

Additional Online Resources:

The Witness Blanket: An amazing opportunity for learning

“Education has gotten us into this mess, and education will get us out,”

These were some of the words of the Hon. Senator Murray Sinclair on the release of the Truth and Reconciliation report in 2015. As Canada continues on the journey to Reconcilation with First Peoples, the University of the Fraser Valley is afforded an amazing opportunity for involving students, faculty, staff, administration and all the residents of the Fraser Valley in an art installation that is available from September 13—November 8 in Evered Hall in the Student Union Building, Abbotsford campus.

The Witness Blanket: Pieces of History by Carey Newman (Ha-yalth-kingeme) is a large-scale art installation that weaves together hundreds of objects reclaimed from Indian Residential Schools and other related sites in Canada to recognize the atrocities of the Indian Residential School era, honour the children, and symbolize ongoing reconciliation.

Here are some of the ways that the faculty in the Communications Department have considered as ways to incorporate the art installation into teaching opportunities.
– Provide a brief orientation to the topic of the Truth & Reconciliation and then:
– Have students download the free app that accompanies the Witness Blanket installation
– Watch the Vimeo (2 mins) Senator Murray Sinclair: What is Reconciliation?
– Take a field trip as a whole class to visit the Witness Blanket installation (in the SUB)                                            – Have online students who are unable to visit the installation  engage with both the app and the vimeo.
– Engage students in finding additional resources (and cite them in APA)
– Create opportunities for class discussion and writing response
– Write a memo (CMNS 125) or an activity report (CMNS 251)
– Write a speech as a whole class (demonstrating all the decisions and moves that need to be incorporated into the speech (235) [i.e. a persuasive speech to encourage other students to attend the installation]
– Use the following questions as a writing or discussion focus:
As a Canadian, a resident of Canada, or an international student living in Canada what actions can you take to contribute to restoring the balance to the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada?
As an Aboriginal person in Canada how receptive am I to reconciliation?; and if I am, what can non-Aboriginal people do to demonstrate their willingness to work towards reconciliation?


Two CMNS courses garner 2017 undergraduate research awards

From left to right students Tina Clellamin, Nola Mack, Dominique Iuticone, Dorothy Pootlass, Veronica Schooner, Katherine Scott, Bert Snow, Peter Snow May 25, 2017 Bella Coola* Missing from photograph, student Jim Dean Nelson

The Communications Department is very proud to spread the news that a Directed Studies (CMNS 490) student, and Professional Formal Research Report Writing (CMNS 351) class were chosen for two freshly launched research awards at the University of the Fraser Valley. The new Community Service Research and Indigenous Research Award were announced this year and we are very proud that our students were nominated and won the awards. Each come with a $1000.00 cheque.

Award ceremony Abbotsford, BC
UFV Senior Advisor on Indigenous Affairs Shirley Swelchalot Hardman accepting Indigenous Research Award from Dr, Adrienne Chan on behalf of the students May 29, 2017 Ramada Inn, Abbotsford, BC

The Indigenous Research Award went to a cohort of nine students in the community of Bella Coola who consulted together to create a report directed to the Nuxalk Nation board for education, NVIT for their program for certification as Chemical Addiction Workers (ChAd), and our own institution UFV which granted a block transfer from the ChAd program and delivered the balance of courses needed to gain a Bachelor of General Studies. The research report, titled Acwsalctimutilh, Yalctimutilh, Ksnmakaylaycilh: Tl’mstaliwatimutilh s Nuxalkmcilh** reviewed their experiences, honoured their learning, and made recommendations to all three institutions for continuation of program delivery in their own and other First Nation communities. The research and writing project was supervised by Dr. Marcella LaFever.

Korina Gratton Award Ceremony display slide showing change to the Chilliwack Resorative Justice Program website based on recommendations from her research report. May 29, 2017 Abbotsford, BC

The Community Research Award is in recognition of research by an undergraduate student who has partnered with an organization in the Fraser Valley. Korina Gratton, the premier winner of the award, worked with Chilliwack Restorative Justice (CRJ) to assess their website presence and make recommendations for improvement. Her onsite supervisor for CRJ was Leanna Kemp and her CMNS faculty supervisor was Dr. Marcella LaFever.

Korina’s purpose of the research, titled “Restorative justice organizations: a comparison and evaluation of website best practices,” was to analyze best practices for online environments; compare Chilliwack Restorative Justice and ten other restorative justice organizations’ web-sites against each other and the best practices, and recommend improvements to the CRJ website for better communicating, marketing, and overall appearance. As part of the analysis Korina develop an 18 item grid*** for rating websites in relation to online communication best practices.

BTW – Korina was also nominated for the CMNS Undergraduate Research Excellence Award but could only accept one and chose the Community Research Award.

Korina Gratton and Adrienne Chan
Korina Gratton receiving the UFV Community Research Award from Dr. Adrienne Chan; Ramada Inn, Abbotsford, BC.

Our heartfelt congratulations to all the students!!!


*Student Jim Dean Nelson passed on while in hospital just a short time before ceremony. He was awarded this and his Bachelor’s degree posthumously by the University of the Fraser Valley.

**Translations of Nuxalk language (ilh = us, we, you them)

  • Acwsalctimutilh = leaner or student or learning
  • Yalctimutilh = to be recovering
  • Ksnmakaylaycilh = to be able to work
  • Tl’mstaliwatimutilh = Living life to the fullest extent possible (includes struggle, support, learning /growing/healing, vision/future).
  • Nuxalkmcilh = Nuxalk person

*** To use a get more information about this analysis tool please contact Korina (twitter @korcat55)

$$ for university: Where to find it and how to budget it

Guest blogger: Jasmeet Sandhu

Scholarships, grants, bursaries, and loans are available in all different shapes, prices and size. However, it is vital for students to understand how to seek financial aid. On average, according to Statistics Canada, Canadian citizens studying in Canada are expected to pay CAD $6,000 yearly. On top of that, $600-800 is spent every month on food and other expenses. All together living expenses are between $10,000-$15,000 per year depending on which university students are attending (Collier, 2016).

Without financial aid, it is nearly impossible for students to obtain a university education. In this blog I compare three resources linked from this website: Scholarships Canada, Government of Canada Jobs Training, and Gail’s blog.

Needing assistance is nothing to be ashamed of

As tuition expenses increase, more students are in greater need of financial assistance. Last year, it was recorded that a full time student in the year of 2016 in an undergraduate program on average pays 3.2% more on tuition fees than in the previous year. Also, there was a 3.3% increase in the 2014/2015 year. Nevertheless, the rate of accommodation and other expenses are beginning to slowly increase too. With the increases in expenses it is getting tougher for students to financially support themselves. Students have no choice but to turn to loans, grants, scholarships and budget smarts for support and assistance.

As a student going through the undergraduate school phase is a burden on students. On this website, there are 16 unique centers where students can benefit from. Those are areas with countless links that lead to different websites which are related to the unique center. This is a very essential website for students as it notifies them of information they may have not known existed.

What website will you choose?

The students attending university in the near future can really take advantage of these resources as a great information tool. These resources give out tons of information about grants, loans, scholarships and other budget smarts. The comparison of these resources will help all future students be guided through which resource will work the best.

Comparison Criteria

The criteria I used is based on what information the websites had available for the students, how easy it was to navigate through and find relevant information, if it connected to further links, and whether it seemed trustworthy.

Here is what I think

As you can see from the chart here, Scholarships Canada meets seven out of the eight criteria.While Scholarships Canada does require a login and there is a lot of information to sort through, it offers links to countless scholarships, which allows students to be able to benefit from the financial aid. Wide varieties of scholarships are available for students based on one school or study and others available for any school or study. For some scholarships and bursaries it is so easy to attain, all you have to do is apply.

The second resource I chose was the Canadian government site which offers student grants to help finance post-secondary education. I found this site very reliable as it is a government site, and that it helps not only full-time students but also part-time. However, it does mainly focus on low-income students with dependents, for when they are enrolled in post-secondary institution.

The third resource was a blog focused more on people and on how to save money. This resource was the least effective for students as it focus on the general population being able to save money, and isn’t focusing specifically on the students. However, knowing how to save money is the only way you can spend money. This blog is very valuable to life in general.

My recommendation

After comparing the three resources, Scholarship Canada is the one that is the most effective and useful.  This site as of now has 80, 340 awards available worth $174,909,983 that students can easily obtain. It is a site that is a collection place for any money from any source has a lot of potential to help students obtain loans, grants, scholarships and budget smarts.

Out of the three sources Scholarship Canada has the best resources available for all students. It is very clear and straightforward for what you need to be eligible, and it shows deadlines to when a student needs to apply. It is Canada wide, which benefits students because it shows them post-secondary schools they probably did not know existed. There is a search box which helps narrow the search based on what post-secondary institution a particular student would like to go to.

I encourage students to go this site as there are 15 other categories to peruse which will help you with your post-secondary education.


Canada Student Grant for Full-Time Students with Dependants. (2016, July 28). Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

Collier, S. (2016). How Much Does it Cost to Study in Canada? Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

Scholarships Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

University Tuition Fees (2016, September 9). Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

Vaz-Oxlade, G. (n.d.). Gail Vaz-Oxlade Make Money Make Sense. Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

Celebrating new faculty: Welcome to CMNS Dr. Rita Atake

The Communications Department is pleased to welcome Dr. Rita Atake to our list of faculty members. Rita comes to the department with both strong academic and administrative experience.

Dr. Atake holds a PhD in Education concentrating in Adult Learning from the University of Calgary (2016), a Master’s in Communications Studies from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom (1992), and a Bachelor’s of English with Honors from the University of Lagos (1990). Some of Rita’s areas of research include:

Internationalization and curriculum development
Online/e-learning for non-western students
Socio-academic adjustment for international adult learners
Technology and learning

Additionally, Rita’s applied communication experience includes directing programs, managing operations, developing technology resources and instructing. These positions drew heavily on workplace communication skills such as team facilitation, grant writing, reporting to internal and external organizations, developing relationships with stakeholders, including with Indigenous communities. Most recently she held positions as:

Rita will be using her experience and skills to contribute to the department’s Professional Communication Essential’s Certificate as well as to third and fourth year courses such as Storytelling for Workplace Application; Instructional Skills for the Workplace; Grant and Proposal Writing, and Facilitation Skills for the Workplace. She will also be drawing on academic success instructional experiences to teach two Critical Analysis and Study Methodology (CSM) courses, Integrated Academic Learning Skills and Critical Analysis and Learning.

Please help us welcome Dr. Rita Atake to the department if you happen to see her in a meeting somewhere or walking across campus.


Diversity, Inclusion and Communications at UFV

Protestors at JFK airpot January 30, 2017
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Beverly Yuen Thompson

In the past weeks, post-secondary institutions, academic associations and other have been having discussions about political actions south of the border that threaten the free flow of ideas and block social justice initiatives related to immigrants and refugees whose countries of origin are places where Islam is the majority religion. Many of these organizations, including International Society for Media and Communication Research and the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences have made public statements condemning the executive orders that have resulted in fear and uncertainty for students, faculty, researchers and others who are effected by them.

Here at the University of the Fraser Valley we acclaim three strategic directions, the first of which proclaims that the university will strive to “provide the best undergraduate education in Canada” and promises to provide an environment that:

  • is inclusive, welcoming, and engaging for all;
  • embraces diversity, supports cross-cultural exchange, and promotes the respectful debate of ideas and views;
  • involves students in governance and decision-making; and
  • offers vibrant campus experiences supporting social, intellectual, and personal development.

In the current atmosphere it will be helpful for all of us who work and study here to keep these ideals in mind.

A few days ago the Canadian Communication Association also posted a statement and we re-post it here to remind ourselves of what our academic discipline is about.

Message from the Executive Committee of the Canadian Communication Association (CCA) regarding the Executive Order issued by the US President Donald Trump on 27 January 2017

The Canadian Communication Association (CCA) stands in solidarity with those calling for the annulment of US President Donald Trump’s January 27, 2017 Executive Order, limiting entry into the United States for citizens, legal immigrants, travelers, and refugees. The CCA is Canada’s leading scholarly association for academics and other researchers working in media and communication studies, journalism, and cultural studies ( We are deeply troubled by this action and view it as running counter to the respect of human values, fomenting racial and religious intolerance, and damaging lives. CCA recognises that the ban likewise adversely and inequitably affects our peers. Some fellow scholars will not be able to attend conferences because of their citizenship, possibly their social media activities, or simply because they no longer feel safe crossing the border. As a domestic association with international membership we join our colleagues from academic communities across the world in denouncing this order.
We invite our members to sign the online petition of Academics Against Immigration Executive Order at
The Executive Committee of the Canadian Communication Association
Daniel J. Paré, President and Interim Treasurer, University of Ottawa
Mary Francoli, Vice President, Carleton University
MĂ©l Hogan, Secretary, University of Calgary
Sibo Chen, Student Representative, Simon Fraser University
Enda Brophy, Member at Large, Simon Fraser University
Nadège Broustau, Member at Large, Université du Québec à Montréal
Fenwick McKelvey, Member at Large, Concordia University
Jaqueline McLeod Rogers, Member at Large, University of Winnipeg
Christine Quail, Member at Large, McMaster University
Nathan Rambukkana, Member at Large, Wilfrid Laurier University
Gregory Taylor, Member at Large, University of Calgary
Andrea Zeffiro, Member at Large, McMaster University

25 Reasons Why Our Students Tweet

As many people do, I have a love hate relationship with Twitter (and other social media platforms – no lie). I resisted Twitter for the longest of all the major social sites. I thought it was infantile, a waste of time, just one more thing that I didn’t have time for, and a few other groans. I don’t NOT think those things anymore but given that I needed to be well versed in the world of social media as an applied communications instructor, I thought I better get on board and up to speed.

As I began to talk to others about whether or not they used Twitter, I found the same kind of feelings and responses, which puzzled me because obviously somebody (lots of somebodys) were enamored, diligent, and had expertise in using 140 characters to accomplish some kind of goal. I eventually came up with a few reasons of my own to stick with the platform, but I wanted to find out from post-secondary students their reasons for using this particular medium.

Here is what they said in no particular order (with a few of mine thrown in). By the way, the list includes thoughts about use of #hashtags and @handles in messages as well. The examples are theirs 🙂

  • Short updates on daily life for self image
  • Follow particular interests
  • Interact with specific personalities (more likely than other SM to get a response)
  • Be in touch with priority info (road closures, missing people, etc)
  • Learn of updates to other social media, links from specific users/personalities
  • Get news headlines
  • Engage with opinion leaders from your career field (i.e. business)
  • Find out what is going on in a particular location/friends (i.e. free food for students)
  • Follow reactions to big events live
  • Follow events in real time (sports, the Oscars…)
  • Mark/remember items to go back to
  • Create connections between ideas on a certain topic
  • Collect items to see full picture of event/topic
  • Create engagement/personal connection
  • Generate interest in business or topic
  • Bring awareness to situations/events
  • Create trends
  • Know what is trending
  • Post script that explain your purpose for a particular post (image, silly stuff, jokes, games)
  • Make sure specific person sees a particular item
  • To spread the word about an idea, business, event…
  • Create connection among your followers
  • Know what is going on around the globe
  • Connect to other members of an organization involved in
  • Because it has great versatility on a smart phone

Wow – now that is a great brainstorming session. What are your uses?


Dr. Marcella LaFever (University of New Mexico, 2005) is an Associate Professor in the Communications Department at the University of the Fraser Valley. She specializes in intercultural communication and brings that expertise to various subjects such as communication for workplace, instruction, social media, team and public speaking contexts.