Become more interculturally competent – women in the workplace. 

from https://www.randstad.ca/employers/workplace-insights/women-in-the-workplace/surprising-stats-about-women-in-the-workplace/

Guest Blog by Kendra Bagley

Diversity in the workplace has increased drastically due to many factors such as globalization, outsourcing, and even drawing talent from multicultural regions.  This increase in diversity makes it much more important to focus on creating inclusive corporate cultures.  When considering how to build an inclusive corporate culture, it is important to understand the challenges that each diverse group faces in order to become more interculturally competent communicators in the workplace.

Women make up a large portion of the work force, yet there are still many challenges that they face daily in the workplace.  When considering women in the workplace, the wage gap, and lack of women in leadership positions within a company, sexual harassment, expectations to look and dress a certain way, or inability to contribute openly in meetings are serious concerns.  Uncovering and understanding these issues is the first step to creating a better corporate culture, then learning how to address them and increasing the intercultural competence within the company will help corporate teams to be more successful and will create a culture where people of diverse backgrounds can thrive.

I have been very fortunate in that the organizations I have worked for have had very inclusive cultures, but I know that many women and people from diverse backgrounds aren’t always so lucky.  Aside from reading books, there are many ways that a person can increase their own intercultural competence to make sure that they are treating all people in the workplace in an appropriate way.

One way I learn to become a better intercultural communicator is by listening to podcasts.  I commute at least an hour every day, and I try to fill that time with something educational.  I recently came across a podcast called The Transformative Leader, and the episode I listened to was an interview between culture transformation consultant Amir Ghannad, president and founder of the Ghannad Group and Vicki Hudson, Chief Collaboration Officer of Highroad Global Services.  The podcast discussed how to build a collaborative, high performing team across diverse cultures.  In the interview, Vicki discusses the challenges that companies face in different scenarios that require intercultural communication and competence such as offshoring, mergers and acquisitions, and the day to day existence of global brands.  Her three recommendations for building a productive cross cultural team were to learn culturally specific terms and acronyms; to set clear rules around objectives such as meeting etiquette and project deadlines; and to always try to find ways to connect on an personal level with those from other cultures to be able to build trust.

Another series that I have started listening to is called Women at Work by the Harvard Business Review.  This podcast has over 40 episodes that walk women through different aspects of being women in the workplace, many of which are centred around communication.  I enjoy listening to this podcast as it helps me to understand the challenges that women face in the workplace and gives great advice on how to overcome these challenges.  This will help me to be a leader in my workplace, and will prepare me in the event that a future company that I work for is less interculturally competent.

References:

Cardon, P. G. (2010). Using films to learn about the nature of cross-cultural stereotypes in intercultural business communication courses. Business Communication Quarterly, 73(2), 150-165. Doi:10.1177/1080569910365724

Cheney, R. S. (2001). Intercultural business communication, international students and experiential learning. Business Communication Quarterly, 64(4), 150-165.  Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.proxy.ufv.ca:2443/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=17393266&site=bsi-live

Ghannad, A., & Hudson, V. (2019, Dec 5). TTLP 053: “The Power of Cross Cultural Collaboration” – An Interview with Vicki Hudson [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://theghannadgroup.com/podcast-feed/ttlp-053

Jaidev, R. (2014). How pedagogical blogging helps prepare students for intercultural communication in the global workplace. Language and Intercultural Communication, 14(1), 132-139. doi: 10.1080/14708477.2013.866129

Kochman, T., & Mavrelis, J. (2009). Corporate tribalism: white men/white women and cultural diversity at work. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

“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!

Communications Opportunities in the Fraser Valley

Communications Opportunities in the Fraser Valley

By Jennifer Barkey, UFV practicum student

Living in the Fraser Valley is desirable because of the beautiful setting, easy access to recreation activities and exercise, and its wide variety of opportunities for healthy living.

Wouldn’t it be even more attractive if we were able to work in our community as well?

Armed with this idea, I hit the internet to find out how many job opportunities there are within the Fraser Valley that also involve excellent communications skills and perhaps advanced communications schooling. I was not disappointed with the myriad of postings scattered across the information highway; I found a plethora of them quickly and easily through popular websites such as indeed.com, ufv.ca, bcjobs.ca and abbotsford.craigslist.org.

Sifting through the postings, I quickly realized that excellent communications is highly sought after in almost every industry out there. I saw postings for web specialists, marketers, managers, cooks, dispatchers, sales associates, and many more, all listing excellent communications as a required skill. A few postings required detailed working knowledge of communications practices and processes. The individuals these companies seek are able to discern which type of communication is most effective for the situation. Some prestigious postings also required a bachelor’s degree in Communications.

So how do we do it?

The best answer I can offer on how to acquire these exemplary communications skills is this: education, of course!

Thankfully, The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) is conveniently located here, with campuses in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, and Hope—and can meet your educational needs in this area. Want to advance in the workforce? Enroll in a communications program at UFV: UFV offers a professional communications certificate, as well as a communications minor.

It will change your life for the better by giving you an advantage over other candidates, and open the door to opportunities in the Fraser Valley that are waiting for you.

Talk to an advisor today, or email cmns@ufv.ca.

*Photograph by Jennifer Barkey

Catching up with public speaking award winner, Liz Power

By Jess Wind

Every year one student from each section of CMNS 235: Public Speaking is nominated by their class for the Rise and Shine Toastmasters award at the end of the semester. These nominees present an acceptance speech as their entry for the award and one exceptional speaker is chosen for the annual $600 prize.

Our most recent winner is Liz Powers, a Bachelor of Arts student with plans to major in psychology before moving on to a Masters in counselling. She’s prepared for it to take longer than the average four-year degree because on top of being a student and server, Liz is a mother of three.

Liz came into every class with a smile and enthusiasm that radiated to everyone around her. Liz’s speeches were relevant to her life, and that of her audience with a healthy dose of humour to draw her listeners in. Most memorably, Liz taught us how to bake cookies for her demonstration speech, and there were plenty of samples to go around.

I caught up with Liz to find out what it took to earn the nomination from her classmates, and the mark Public Speaking has left on her.

Talk to me a bit about your decision to take the class and your journey throughout the term.

So I took the class because I was told there was no final exam. I was just trying to balance out my course load and figure out how to do that with kids and going back to school because I was still really new to the process.

And then the process of learning how to write a speech and then how to execute it was actually far more interesting than I thought it’d be.

What did you think about being nominated, and then about winning?

I was actually very surprised. And then I was grateful and also ungrateful in that I was like “I don’t have time to write another one of these and memorize it,” but I thought, it’s good practice.

Winning the award was a nice confidence booster. It was almost necessary at that stage. When I got the email that I won, it was at a really difficult stage in my life personally with my kids and what not and that was just like a nice moment in what was a really chaotic couple of months.

How’d you plan for the final speech?

One of the memorization techniques that was mentioned in my psychology class was the memory palace. And so I used that to memorize my last speech which was so helpful.

I memorized the speech walking through my house from room to room and each space in my house had a different component of my speech. So when I was giving my speech it was a lot easier because it had a flow to it … I feel it made the process far less nerve wracking.

Do you find you’re more aware of speaking skills in others now?

I am more aware of my hand gestures when I’m talking, because when I started I looked like an aerobics instructor from 1980. Which is really appropriate being the size of my hair typically.

I went to the Tedx Chilliwack, and it was very interesting watching the different speakers because they work with coaches and some of them were so on point and I can tell [they’ve] really dialed this down. I was so impressed — things I probably wouldn’t have noticed before … but now when you understand the number of things that need to go into that. And then the moments where they would forget you could see them stop and close their eyes and look for it in their mind … I know what that moment feels like.

Do you have any tips for the next round of public speaking students?

In terms of memorizing, the memory palace was key for me. And the other thing that I think helped was … I practiced in front of my video recorder … and then I would watch it. And then I would do it again and I would watch it. I would see where I stumbled or where I missed and then I would try to make those pieces more memorable.

And I would also practice in my car, anytime I was driving anywhere, it was repeat, repeat, repeat.

Looking toward the future, Liz dreams of opening a bed and breakfast one day and possibly combining that with her counselling focus into a retreat centre.

I actually just love making people’s beds and cooking them breakfast and telling them about the community and all the cool fun things there are to do.  

 

Another (awesome) Writer in the House

By Mai Anh Doan

Jennifer Browne gets things done FAST. There is no doubt about that when you are her co-worker and witness the way she organizes her tasks and wades through the myriad of administrative requests of an ever-growing department. She simply puts it down to being a mother three kids.

But of course, we know there’s more to it.

What some of us don’t know is that Jen is a published writer with six books under her belt. Outside of her current full-time job as the Communications Department Assistant, she’s a professional writer, copy-editor, and event coordinator. Jen writes extensively about plant-based food, digestive health, and mental health.

Writing and publishing books to her is personal. It started with her personal interest in finding practical books to tackle everyday physical and psychological health issues. When she became frustrated and couldn’t find what she was looking for, she decided to write what she felt was missing in the bookstore. She also creatively involves her children in her writing projects. She co-wrote her latest book, Understanding Teenage Anxiety, with her oldest son while having her younger son photograph another book.

“How do you do it?” I asked Jen about her finding time for writing.

“I believe that health is a very relatable issue. When I interviewed people for my books, I could feel it in the tone of their voice. How they were (just like me) concerned about their own wellbeing and wanting to find ways improve it. They empowered me; I wrote everywhere including during my kids’ soccer games, ballet lessons, you name it. Anywhere I had five minutes of free time.”

And that passion fuelled her writing ferociously.

After completing her first book, Happy Healthy Gut, in 2014, she was asked to write a follow-up cookbook (Vegetarian Comfort Foods). After that, she immediately started not one, but two books, at the same time. Baby Nosh and Medicinal Tea came out in 2016 as the results of this creative craze. She vowed to herself to never write two books simultaneously again—until 2019. Two of her latest books, The Anti-Anxiety Cookbook and Understanding Teenage Anxiety, were released in the same year she started a new job in the Department of Communications here at UFV.

Since joining the department in March 2019, Jen has been more focused on her full-time role here, but she still keeps writing in the back of her mind. “Working in this environment constantly reminds me of how important communicating with the audience is—just like writing. If you put your students or your readers in the center and try to understand what they need, you’ll achieve leaps and bounds, for sure.”

“Would your busy schedule mean that we might not see another book of yours for quite some time?”, I attempted to fish information about her writing plan.

“I’m still learning a lot about this job, and I’m loving it, but I keep my creative juices alive too. I’ve been administratively coordinating the SiWC (Surrey International Writers’ Conference) to help writers develop professionally for seven years now. Being surrounded by these motivated and inspiring people at these events, I can’t help but think about my next book. I’d love to write some fiction next time around.”

Well, fiction or non-fiction, we wish Jen the best a new year as a new semester has just started. We are thrilled to have another writer in the house (or department, to be correct) that shares the same philosophy with our other members—connecting with and focusing on people.

Useful tools for a virtual world: team communication

Communication styles in virtual communication by Francis Norman (https://ulfire.com.au/communication-styles-virtual-teams/)

Students taking CMNS 420: Virtual Team Communication in Winter 2019 had to communicate virtually with their instructor and online classmates, because their instructor was teaching from Australia. Virtual teams create collective action without team members working in the same time and space. In this class we used technologies including video conferencing, instant messaging, blogging and short videos to interact with each other.

We researched useful platforms and tools for virtual team communication including SSharepoint (and IR System), Yammer, Trello, Slack and OneNote, BlueJeans, Skype, Dropbox, Google docs, WhatsApp chat and Blink.

Check out the videos below where students, Lisa Matty and Heather Simpson describe the features of some of these tools.

Watch Lisa Matty’s self shot review of OneNote, Collaboration at your fingertips (5.07 mins). Lisa demonstrates how to be a responsible hands-free driver while also collaborating with her teams.

Watch Heather Simpson’s quick introduction to using Zoom for video conferencing and instant messaging, Knowing your options: An introduction to zoom (4.35 mins).

Try these tools out and let us know what you think.

Elevating conversations about intercultural topics: Improving intercultural competency in our daily lives

Culture is not just language

To meet demand in the Fall 2019 term, our department ran two hybrid sections of CMNS 180, Introduction to Intercultural Communication. In practical terms this meant stepping up the amount of out of class and online activities while still meeting learning outcomes around improving intercultural competence in the daily lives of our students. Intercultural competency is something that really needs to be accomplished through interpersonal interactions and that is hard to do online.

Working from an idea found in the course textbook “Introducing intercultural communication: Global cultures and contexts” by Shuang Liu, Zala Volčič and Cindy Gallois, students were asked to “Get together with several friends, family, coworkers, or students (from classes other than this one) and get people talking about (insert topic here)… Make a journal entry about content and communication dynamics of the conversation.” There were five topics spread across the semester of which the class members needed to initiate four out of five. Topics were: intercultural issues in politics The Canadian federal election happened in October), identity, cultural appropriation (always a good discussion prompted by Halloween), cultural adaptation, and conflict.

NO ONE was excited about the prospect of completing this assignment but some took it on right away while others lagged to the very last minute, and everywhere in-between.

Culture is not just languageHowever journaling was not the whole assignment. The culmination of all those Blackboard journal entries was our One Day (research) Project in the final class session. Drawing from what they had written, each student was asked to answer six questions based on the Who, What, Where, When, How and Why framework (concentrating not on the content of the discussions but on the dynamics). The answers were then crowdsourced onto six posters and the class divided up to look for patterns in the answers, relate those patterns to things they had been learning about intercultural communication, and to ultimately come up with a list of “best practices” for engaging in tough conversations around intercultural issues.

Some of the things that surprised many of the students were that:
* family, friends, coworkers and even strangers were interested in elevating casual conversation beyond surface topics (i.e. the weather 🙂 )
* they learned a lot about the people they thought they already knew really well
* they started to look forward to having the conversations
* the people in their lives were interested in the details of what they were learning in class

In the end our list became “best practices for getting more comfortable with having tough conversations.”

First, choose:
* people you already know or are in a context where they might already expect such a conversation (i.e. university)
* places where you are comfortable and where a conversation is most likely to happen naturally
* places where you already know people
* places where you go frequently

Then:
* Work towards going out of your comfort zone (engaging with new people in public places)
* Find new comfortable places
* Pay attention to surroundings for what might impact participants willingness to engage
* Watch for right time/place; Make sure conversations are in a safe environment
* Consider age/maturity of those in conversation
* Approach topics casually
* Make conversations one-on-one personal
* Do during normal routines of the day; During free time, preplanned w no surprises

Think about:
* Using an indirect approach (don’t be blunt and demanding about having a conversation)
* Looking for common ground
* Demonstrating attention/active listening
* Taking responsibility to lead/guide the conversation
* Using current issues
* Always having an eye to building relationships
* Having conversations regularly
* Possibilities for having a facilitator (third-party)

Prepare yourself to:
* Be willing to ask questions
* Show curiosity
* Validate others
* Be present in the conversation
* Give prompts
* Value others opinions
* Use examples
* Be open-minded and show others that you want to listen
* Be willing to challenge your own beliefs and ways of thinking
* Be intentional

Improve your own comfort level by:
* Personally engaging in and learning about topic so you feel comfortable and can engage others
* Start with video/article/info to create interest, knowledge and participation
* Developing relationships and meaningful connections to learn about others interests and to create an environment where one feels safe addressing culturally sensitive topics
* Setting aside intentional time or incorporating into everyday conversations

Hannah Celinski dances her way to becoming a communications professor

Hannah Celinski is one of three newest faculty members to join our Department this Fall. She shared with us some interesting facts, and one boring one, about her life and her teaching in a conversation with Mai Anh Doan earlier this month.

Mai Anh Doan: Congratulations again on your new position. It’s great to see you again with your usual contagious energy and smile. I know that you’ve been teaching as a sessional for a couple of semesters here, but we didn’t get to chat much. Shall we start with your telling us a little bit about your professional background?

Hannah Celinski: I grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo, and after graduating from Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Performance Program, I worked as a professional dancer and choreographer across Canada and abroad on industrials, musicals, music videos, cruise ships, commercials, and notably on the workshop of the Broadway show Fosse with dance legend Gwen Verdon. I eventually moved to Abbotsford and became the owner of Aerial Dance & Acro Academy. I had the pleasure of teaching students from all over the Lower Mainland, and mentoring interested students through the process of becoming professional actors, singers, and dancers.

Hannah being caught at the West Coast Flying Trapeze Circus School, 2018

Mai Anh: That’s very impressive! I used to want to be able to dance professionally but soon realized that not everyone can pursue it as a career (there goes my dream ). How much of it do you bring it to your new position? Can you give us some examples?

Hannah: At UFV, I teach business writing, public speaking, and first-year courses for students learning to thrive in the post-secondary environment. My experience as a business owner allows me to draw from real-world examples to bring the material to life, and my work coaching students to successfully navigate a variety of intense interview settings is the bedrock of my public speaking course. I also relate the theory, textbook readings, and assignments to stories that capture incredible things that happened to myself, my friends, and my previous students. Storytelling has always been a feature of my teaching style.

Mai Anh: We also know that you are pursuing your PhD at the same time. What is your PhD about? How do you think your PhD study helps with you with your teaching?

Hannah: My PhD research is currently focused on what I call Legacy Learning and Legacy Instruction, which capture the role of exponential growth in the physical and cognitive processes of learning. I became interested in the topic while examining Virtual Reality (VR) as a vehicle for archiving movement. The current project has evolved to include the evolution of Learning Outcomes, and the importance of mindfulness in the classroom.

My research is deeply connected to my position, as it informs my teaching practice, assignments, and assessment strategies. For example, my previous experience with technology has resulted in an assignment that incorporates Virtual Reality, reflection, and team development strategies to serve specific Learning Outcomes for CSM 104.

Mai Anh: Given your creative background and your PhD project, what would you say is your most outstanding character(s) as a professor?

Hannah: I believe in student success. Each student approaches the material in their own way, for their own reasons. I am there to offer each student the tools they need to be successful in their own right. I cannot do the work for them, but I can certainly offer them my knowledge, support, experiences, and positivity so they can develop their own academic toolkit. My hope is that their kit serves them long after they have graduated.

Mai Anh: As we are entering a new semester, what would you advise students for them to do well in university?

Hannah: Go to class. Just be in the room. Attendance allows you to connect to UFV’s community, your instructors, and classmates. I encourage my students to attend everything they can because you never know where the conversation will go, what tidbit of wisdom will resonate with you, or who you will meet. My best assignments grew out of unexpected connections I made simply by being in the room, even when the topic did not seem to relate to my interests. Go to class.

Mai Anh: Excellent advice! Let move from students to the Department. What do you like the most about working at UFV’s CMNS department?

Hannah: Our department is full of like-minded instructors who support one another and see the potential for Communications at UFV. I am delighted to contribute to a department that encourages its instructors to expand their teaching practice and subscribe to Universal Design for Learning, while supporting contemporary assignments that stimulate student engagement and development.

Mai Anh: Finally, what’s the most boring thing about you? 😊

Hannah Celinski: I floss.

😊 😊 😊 Hannah, thank you so much for your sharing and for your time. All the best with the new semester and the new role!