Category Stories

Internship leads to opportunity for marketing student


Vicky McKenna has gone from strength to strength since enrolling in the Williams School of Business (WSB) at Bishop’s University. Thanks to the WSB’s coop program, The Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec native has been able to explore her passion in the workforce, a passion she discovered in grade 10.

‘‘I applied for two positions at Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), one in social media and the other in their customer relationship management (CRM) department,’’ recalls Vicky. ‘‘I ended up being interviewed for both positions on the same day!’’

Vicky eventually spent her summer working in the company’s CRM department in Valcourt, about an hour away from campus. She gained valuable experience there, mining data for the newly created division. Things were going so well in fact that, mid-way through her internship, the company offered to extend her internship into a part-time job starting in the fall. ‘‘I worked 1 day a week for them,’’ she says. ‘‘Plus they offered me an internship for summer 2016!’’

The internship gave Vicky a chance to see how marketing plays out in the real world and what companies need in future marketing professionals like her.

‘‘The internship has given me a new perspective on what I love to do,’’ she says. ‘‘Before I was willing to do any job in marketing, but now I realize that I love CRM, and that’s what I hope to do after I graduate.’’

A new teaching method pays dividends


Bishop’s gets rave reviews from its students for its small classes, which affords them the opportunity to form close bonds with their professors and their peers. But a small classroom can sometimes allow flexibility for a professor like Dr. Kerry Hull, who has been teaching in the Biology department for nearly 20 years.

Dr. Hull teaches physiology. Over the years, an increasing amount of content on her subject has been made available on the Internet for anyone who wants to learn more about it. Dr. Hull decided to use this to the advantage of her students by ‘‘flipping’’ her class.

‘‘Basically, flipping the class means that a student’s first contact with the material happens outside the classroom, before the class,’’ she explains. ‘‘In a traditional science classroom, students come in knowing nothing about the subject matter. The professor is the knowledgeable authority in the classroom, and typically delivers a lecture which students absorb.’’

‘‘Now I often give students something to do before the class. It could be watching an animation, completing a pre-class assignment, working through a study guide, etc. When they come to class, I help them apply the knowledge,’’ she says.

Dr. Hull came upon this method at a teaching conference she attended. She noticed that many professors in her field are flipping their classes. ‘‘I can’t speak about the experimental sciences, but I have noticed that the campuses that concentrate on pedagogy are adopting this type of teaching method. Flipping the class is about bringing more learning into the classroom,’’ she says.

One of Dr. Hull’s students, Laura Crack, has an interesting view on flipping. ‘‘I spent more time than usual learning about a particular subject, but then I didn’t feel I needed to study for the exam because I felt I was fully prepared,’’ Laura says. ‘‘Because of the nature of her course, you can prevent the cramming that a lot of students tend to do during exam period. I feel I retained a lot more information by learning this way. I can still easily discuss topics that were covered last semester, which is great.’’

In fact, Dr. Hull has noted that the average mark for her flipped class was 5% higher than for her traditional class. But choosing to teach this way is more than just about students getting a higher mark. ‘‘In the flipped setting, I can concentrate on skills. If I stand and lecture at you, you’re not developing any competencies. In this setting, students are doing more group work, and they are learning to learn. I know it’s a challenge for them, but there is no doubt that every student is benefitting from this method, whether they know it or not.’’

“You Have Everything to Win by Coming to Bishop’s!”

Teaching English as a Second Language

Geneviève Fugère fell in love with the English language when she attended an English elementary school. In fact, she loved it so much that she decided to become an English teacher. So when the time came to choose a university, she decided to check out Bishop’s.

“When I came here for my first visit, I completely fell in love with the people, the campus and the program!’’ she says.

Despite her moderate ease with English in her first year, Geneviève realized that she had a lot more to learn. Fortunately the campus is filled with students from around the world who are more than willing to help.

‘‘My English has improved a lot since studying here,’’ she says. ‘‘Being around Anglophone students made me practice. People correct me in a friendly way, which is helpful.’’

‘‘The more English you hear, the more you can reproduce it,’’ reminds the future teacher.

Conversation is one thing, writing is another. Here, Geneviève does what so many other Francophone students do: head to the Writing Centre.

‘‘I go to the Writing Centre for every paper. It’s been such a fantastic resource for me! My sentence structures are French, so I’m working to change that. The more I go, the more I can talk to them and work on improving myself. I’m almost at the point I can do it on my own!’’

If writing papers in English seems overwhelming for first-year students, they can submit their essays in French. Tutors are also available for a one-on-one learning experience.

But as Geneviève points out: ‘‘The best way to improve your English language skills is to be surrounded by English speaking people. Believe me, you will figure out a way to communicate with your professors!’’

Other exciting learning opportunities come when Francophones meet international students, many of whom don’t know how to speak French. ‘‘English is the common language for so many people from around the world. Once I met a student from Germany. We quickly realized that the only way we could communicate is through English, so it was a beneficial learning experience for both of us!’’ she says.

Geneviève encourages hesitant students to take a chance and fall in love with Bishop’s.

‘‘Take a chance, you have nothing to lose! I promise that if you come for a visit, you’ll never leave!’’

Research at its most powerful

School of Education

Bishop’s is a hub of dedicated and passionate research activity conducted both inside and beyond the classroom. Future educators in particular are lucky to be involved in the work conducted by the husband-and-wife team of Christopher Stonebanks and Melanie Bennett-Stonebanks, who have been engaged in research at the School of Education since 2005.

Both award-winning faculty at Bishop’s, the professors are conducting research projects on several fronts which all involve students at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

The Research on Secularism and Education (ROSE) project is funded thanks to a 4-year grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Professor Stonebanks is the Primary Investigator on the ethnographic research project which examines the secular nature of Canadian public schools.

‘‘In Quebec especially, there has been significant debate over the years about the division between church and state in our society,’’ says Professor Stonebanks. ‘‘I work with one undergraduate student and 3 graduate students, and together we look at teachers’ perspectives on this issue. It has become a hot button topic in our increasingly multicultural society.’’

The second research project is called Praxis Malawi, of which Prof. Stonebanks is the director since its inception in 2009. Professor Stonebanks has organized multi-university, interdisciplinary place-based learning endeavours in the rural region of Kasungu, Malawi. There, his students and others coming from universities in Canada and in Europe, work on curriculum development for the young students.

‘‘It was important for us to establish a consultation process with the local community of Kasungu,’’ explains Prof. Stonebanks. ‘‘We wanted to adopt a collaborative approach, and we wanted the process to be mutually beneficial.’’

Over the years, dozens of students have spent five to six weeks in Malawi. ‘‘Some students have returned several times, so they become leaders in the field,’’ says Professor Bennett-Stonebanks, who is the interim director of practice teaching at Bishop’s. ‘‘They receive credit for the work they do. It’s incredible to see them get involved and come back completely changed.’’

She adds: ‘‘Not only do the students help us advance our research project there and gain valuable experience on the ground, but the experience broadens their worldview. They know they will become better teachers as a result. As educators, they will be able to offer something much deeper to their own students than if they hadn’t gone to Malawi. It’s very powerful.’’

For more information on the ROSE project:
For more information on Praxis Malawi:

Helping sponsored students thrive at Bishop’s


Aamir Aman’s journey is not typical. Before graduating from Cegep, he spent his high school years in a religious monastery, where he came to enjoy the small and intimate atmosphere. So when it came time to choose a university, he wanted a place where he felt he could belong.

“I googled ‘English universities in Quebec’ and found Bishop’s. I thought, ‘I’m definitely going here!’,” says Aamir.

The Columbo, Sri Lanka native has since found a way to not only integrate in the small Bishop’s community with ease, but also nurture it with his time and generosity.

One of the projects closest to his heart is the Refugee Student Sponsorship Project, which Bishop’s runs in partnership with Champlain College. The project started in 1992 when a group of faculty, staff and students heard of the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), a private refugee sponsorship program. Very quickly, the group took action, and just a few months later it welcomed its first student fleeing the conflict raging in Rwanda at the time. Since then the campus has welcomed more than 35 refugee students from countries including Ethiopia, Burma, Afghanistan, Iraq, Burundi, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, to name a few.

Aamir sits on the committee that works to bring a student to campus each year. The arrival of a student is a transformative experience for everyone involved, not least of which are the students like Aamir who help the sponsored student integrate into the community and learn the inner workings of Canadian society.

Aamir has been moved by the incredible strength and resilience of the students he has helped.

“It’s a very special experience for me to see these sponsored students settle in their new home,” explains the Sociology honours student. “We help the student with many of the tasks that we all take for granted, like grocery shopping and working on the computer. It’s made us realize just how fortunate we are to live in Canada, how we have peace and abundance. It’s very humbling.”

Through his experiences with the sponsored students, Aamir has gained an appreciation for the plight of people who are forced to leave their homes due to conflict.

“I’ve grown so much personally because of the experiences I’ve had with the refugee sponsorship committee. It’s an incredible opportunity to learn not only about your new friend and their background, but also about yourself.”