$500 survey draw winner: Communication skills used in “almost every aspect of life”

Congratulations to University of the Fraser Valley student Garrett Johnson, a 2020 Bachelor of Arts graduate  for having his name drawn from a pool of over 1100 alumni and current students who responded to the recent Communications Department survey. The survey gathered information to contribute to developing a Communications Major within the Bachelor of Arts.

We extend a huge THANK YOU to everyone who responded to the survey!!!

Garrett says he put his knowledge from his Communications 125 course to work immediately in applying to Simon Fraser University and has been accepted to a Masters program  – something we are always happy to hear.

We also liked hearing his answers to our questions below because we know that our students at UFV have an amazing array of plans for the future and reasons why they decide that university is great path to meet their goals. Here are some of the things he had to say:

What are some favourite memories about any of the courses you took?
I took that specific course while studying remotely from Toronto. I found myself really enjoying the course material as I took three online courses. Being able to communicate to both professors and fellow students in a concise and professional manner is key when using technology to communicate. Being able to directly implement the ideas and concepts directly into my other courses was very gratifying!

In what ways have you been able to use any of the communications skills?
I have used the communication skills learned from the course in almost every aspect of my life. I have applied the skills in my various volunteer positions that I hold where I am required to regularly communicate in a professional manner. I have also made use of the skills in applying for Grad school, and to which I owe some credit in regards to my acceptance.

What are your future plans?
Besides preparing for Grad school, I am a freelance translator, translating between English and French. I am very interested in researching, analyzing, and promoting Franco-Columbian literature and authors. I would like to continue my work translating, as well as pursue my scholarly interests into what I hope will one day transition into a career opportunity.

What else would you like to say about yourself?
I am thankful for the variety of courses that UFV offers, despite possibly not having a complete program in [Communications]. I would love to go back and follow more CMNS courses now that I know the benefit from them.

Congratulations again Garrett and best wishes for all your future successes.

“I feel like you aren’t hearing me.”

“I feel like you aren’t hearing me.”

By Hannah Celinski

Have you ever found yourself saying this during a conversation with a colleague or a friend? In recent months, I have sat on a variety of committees and panels where I have experienced or observed obstacles to communication. I have also found myself misunderstood on occasion, and I’ve realized that part of the issue is not being clear, it’s being heard.

I facilitate 3-day sessions called Instructional Skills Workshops. I often run an exercise on the second day, where I have people pair off. First, they sit back-to-back and Speaker A tries to tell Speaker B a quick story. The room is loud, they can’t see each other, and the message quickly becomes garbled. When the pairs debrief, only small sections of information are retained.

Then they switch partners and Speaker B tries to tell a story, while Speaker A does everything they can, short of leaving the room, to avoid what they have to say. Again, not much is retained, and Speaker A often admits that they were so busy trying to get out of the room, they didn’t pay any attention to what Speaker B was saying.

Finally, the speakers sit face-to-face and engage in Active Listening techniques. The message clears up immediately, and information is exchanged fluidly.

The next time you find yourself sitting in a meeting, thinking only about what you are going to say next, consider doing this instead:

  • listen carefully to what the other person is saying with no judgement one way or the other
  • carefully consider their point, shelving the potential bias of your own opinion
  • reflect on how their input might be useful with regards to the topic at hand
  • clarify any points the speaker made that might seem out of place, or perplexing
  • speak their points back to them to be sure you have understood their intention and nuance
  • share your own perspective while building on their offering

Use Active Listening to Coach Others

Another way to foster success during meetings is to prepare a living document that identifies how the group wants to work together during the session, or over the course of the committee duration. Identifying strategies to navigate difficult subjects or dissent is paramount to success in these instances.

Consider adopting practices like “ouch,” “oops.” If someone says something hurtful, you acknowledge the moment by simply saying, “ouch.” The person who was speaking says, “oops,” then a conversation can unfold around the issue by addressing it before the meeting is derailed through misunderstandings or microaggressions. (You can find more about ouch/oops here: https://www.diversityinclusioncenter.com/archives/ouch_files/Archives/Ouch_Vol5No1.html )

Finding ways to communicate effectively is vital. I was reminded of the importance of these practices recently, as I found myself disengaging from a discussion to temper my anger. This resulted in a lack of engagement on my part, and I know I missed valuable information while I was bringing myself down to a workable mental space.

We expect our students to listen actively, but sometimes it is important to remind ourselves of the tenants of Active Listening, so we don’t end up tuning in for, “I feel like you aren’t hearing me.” You probably aren’t. Let’s instead aim for: “That was productive. Thank you all for listening.” I know I’ll be going into future meetings with this as my goal.

I’ve included further resources for Active Listening from The Centre for Creative Leadership here: https://www.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/coaching-others-use-active-listening-skills/

You can find more about Effective Listening through the UFV Student Services here: https://ufv.ca/media/assets/counselling/Learning+from+Lectures.pdf

Interested in learning effective ways to communicate better> At UFV, we offer a Professional Communications Certificate. To find out more information, go to ufv.ca/communications.

UFV Practicums, College of Arts

UFV Practicums, College of Arts

By Jennifer Barkey, ABT Practicum Student

Earlier this week, I sat down with Elise Goertz, Internship & Practicum Coordinator, and learned a little about UFV’s College of Arts practicum program. This was a fascinating experience, since I am also a UFV practicum student hailing from the Continuing Education Department.

What’s the scoop?

What exactly is a practicum, anyway?

Practicums are hands-on learning experiences outside of the classroom that offer students the chance to put theory to practice and actually work in their chosen field of interest.

These types of experiential learning opportunities are available to all qualifying students within the College of Arts. Students can gain actual work experience and make invaluable connections while studying–and will receive credits towards their degree! Most practicum courses are 3 to 6 credits, depending on the number of hours required.

Experience is essential

Practicum and internship opportunities are so valuable because they allow students to gain a hands on experience with the career or field that they are working towards. The completion of a practicum during a degree program gives graduating students a huge advantage! They walk into the workforce with both experience and education under their belt.

Is it a fit?

Have you ever thought that a specific job would be perfect for you, only to land it and find out you dislike it?

While completing a practicum, students gain practical knowledge that can only be found by working in the chosen field or profession. They then have a better gauge on their satisfaction level within the potential position as well as being able to identify gaps in their current education level when it comes to the practical application of knowledge. The earlier students can critically analyze their educational paths and future career choices, the easier it is to redirect to an educational or career path that is a better fit.

Is it required?

As was stated above, a practicum can be set up for any student within the College of Arts, however, only Criminology, Communications, Global Development and Graphic Design currently require a practicum. Although practicum and internship courses are not a requirement for all Degree and Certificate programs within the College of Arts, they are recommended.

Practicum courses also help students meet the ‘Civic Engagement’ piece of their degree requirements.

The Benefits

  • Hands-on practical training which help streamline future job choices
  • Identifying educational strengths
  • Can lead to future job placements
  • Development networking skills
  • Credits toward degree completion
  • Gaining actual experience
  • Classroom learning is put into practice
  • Students able to “try out” a job/field of interest before completing their degree
  • Students are paired with compatible employers
  • Practicum courses meet Civic Engagement requirements

More Info!

Don’t miss the exciting Practicum & Internship Lunch and Learn Information event happening on March 31, 2020 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm in B101. Come and hear more in depth information about practicums and internships within the College of Arts. Bring your lunch and come learn about how you can get involved!

This event features:

  • Testimonials from prior practicum students
  • Linda Pardy sharing on domestic practicum placements
  • Cherie Enns sharing about the exciting Queen Elizabeth Scholar Internship, and international practicum placements
  • Q & A with an expert panel

You will want to attend in order to hear about the QE Scholar Internship program where you can travel abroad to East Africa, specifically Tanzania, Kenya, and India, for your internship. There is only a 2-year window for this program before the funding runs out which is at almost $7,000!

So, come to B101 on March 31st and hear about these exciting opportunities then take the next step and begin your practicum journey.

The Next Step

Find a full list of current practicums and internships that are offered by the College of Arts here. But don’t stop there, if you don’t see what you are looking for, make sure you drop by Elise’s office anytime Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 9:00am and 2:00pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9:00am and 4:30pm, or email her for more information!

Once you have discussed possible practicum ideas, she will send you the application and you will need to fill it out and send it back with your updated, vetted resume. This resume will be shown to potential employers so it must reflect current experience and education. The Career Centre is available for examining your resume and helping you reflect your current information.

Again, I invite you to join the Practicum Information Session “lunch and learn” on March 31st from 12:00pm to 1:00pm in B101 for your first step towards concrete practical knowledge application.

*Photos by UFV photographers and captured from UFV’s Flickr page

Back for season three: The Riverdale Universe: Ride or Die conference returns

Back for season three: The Riverdale Universe: Ride or Die conference returns

Jess Wind
Photos by Sarah Sovereign Photography, used with permission from Raspberry.

Academics, nerds, and fans alike will gather on March 13 for the third annual Riverdale-themed semi-academic conference about the Archie Comics adaptation and its expanding universe.

What started as a joke on Twitter in 2017 quickly ballooned to an interdisciplinary, multi-year conference and accompanying anthology (Riverdale: A Land of Contrasts due out in 2020), that explores and critiques themes represented (or lack thereof) in the CW’s Riverdale, Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and other Archie Comics content. Previous years have featured a body-positive, feminist photoshoot, tales from a casting agency, cross-property conspiracy theories, and an annual Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style interactive fanfiction, along with a healthy dose of academic critique.

The Riverdale TV show is the latest in an expansive property featuring America’s favourite blundering redheaded teen, the two women that fight over him, and his burger-loving best friend. Though many scholars and critics have pointed out this contemporary adaptation bears little resemblance to the “All-American teen” on which it is based.

What we’ve come to refer to as the Riverdale universe is an ever-expanding media-verse, including now three TV shows including Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix), and Katy Keene (CW), and tie-in comic book series.

Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina are both filmed in the Fraser Valley and Vancouver areas, giving the show a strong sense of place for those of us that drive past Rocko’s diner in Mission, or the Fort Langley Community Hall regularly. Riverdale is not just “anywhere USA”, but also distinctly BC’s lower mainland. One thing continues to be true as we prepare event logistics for the third time: this “semi-academic” conference made up of fans, industry professionals, and scholars, could only exist here.

“What we’re doing is not quite academic, and not a fan convention, but something weird, and strange, and fun — fun being the key thing” says Heather McAlpine, conference organizer and associate professor in English at UFV in an interview with Raspberry last year.

What this have to do with communications?

In communications, we spend a lot of time talking about people. We talk about audience, and the relevance of purpose. We talk about inclusivity and barriers. We talk about stories.

The Riverdale Universe: Ride or Die conference breaks these conversations out of the classroom and gives them more real world significance. Engage in the public exchange of ideas in a laid back atmosphere that does away with long-held stereotypes of the stuffy academic lecture-style presentation.

That said, Riverdale itself doesn’t always burden itself with questions of audience relevance, inclusivity, or storytelling, and past presentations have critiqued how, why, and what we expect of our entertainment. McAlpine explains the relationship between audience and content in Riverdale.

“Audiences are totally starving for better, more thoughtful, more inclusive representation in our media,” she says. “And we get so excited when we’re promised that kind of representation, but in many cases we’re let down by tokenism or representation that actually ends up reinforcing negative stereotypes.”

Whether Riverdale is “good” television (it’s not) isn’t a question. It is, however, exceedingly enduring (Archie first appeared in Pep Comics in 1941), problematic at times, campy and nostalgic at others. It fails (often) and gets back up (always). And it’s these in-between spaces that offer rich ground for critique and push boundaries, and where we situate the third annual Riverdale-themed semi-academic conference.

The conference is an interdisciplinary effort made up of faculty from UFV Communications, English, and elsewhere across the College of Arts, as well as UFV alumni. Presentations this year include the return of Citizen of Riverdale, a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style fanfiction, staged readings and new conspiracy theories, a preview of the upcoming academic anthology: Riverdale: A Land of Contrasts, and a fresh dose of scholarly criticism.

The Riverdale Universe: Ride or Die conference takes place on March 13, 2020 in the South Asian Studies Institute (F Building) on Abbotsford campus with panels beginning at 9 am. The building is accessible, registration is free, and anyone from UFV and the public is welcome to attend.

See you there!