Spring Newsletter | March 2021

In this newsletter...

  • Friends fur Life Help Build Skills for Life (media release)
  • Cultivating Community Starts at the top (alumna profile story)
  • Upcoming Summer Institute in Education courses
  • Three Minute Thesis Competition (event)
  • Modern Mindfulness: A Journey from the Buddha to the Lab (event)


Friends fur Life Help Build Skills for Life

A new study by Nicole Harris, MA alumna, and Dr. John-Tyler Binfet explored how children reap the benefits of working with therapy dogs - and they enjoy it too! 

Harris was the lead researcher in the study that explored how children reacted while participating in a social skill-training program with therapy dogs.

The research saw 22 children from the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club take part in a series of sessions to help them build their social skills. Over six weeks, the children were accompanied by therapy dogs from UBC Okanagan’s Building Academic Retention through K9s (BARK) program as they completed lessons.

“Findings from our observations suggested that canine-assisted social and emotional learning initiatives can provide unique advantages,” says Harris. “Our team saw that by interacting with the therapy dogs, the children’s moods improved and their engagement in their lessons increased.”

In fact, 87 per cent of the team rated the children’s engagement level as very or extremely engaged during the sessions.

Read more.

Cultivating Community Starts the Top

Danai Bélanger, MEd alumna, strives to make UBCO’s campus welcoming to all. As an International Student Advisor, Bélanger assists with everything from selecting and setting up cell phone plans to providing information on immigration law. 

“I started noticing how limiting things were for students and new graduates, in terms of finding employment and being able to settle in the community,” says Bélanger. “Some students were coming with their families, and it could be quite difficult for the family members to adapt to this new life — a slower lifestyle for some.”

These observations are what led Bélanger to begin considering graduate school; specifically a Master of Education. She knew the importance of cultivating campus community and wanted to explore solutions to community building.

Read More

Upcoming Summer Institute in Education

We're excited to offer you a variety of classes to meet your needs and interests! 

This year, we have two one-week intensive courses: Elementary Physical and Health Education: Supporting Physical Activity and Physical Literacy (online) and Living First Peoples Principles in an Okanagan Context (face to face). Both courses will take place in July. 

Our other SIE courses will run for three weeks, Monday to Thursday, starting July 5. 


Course Spotlights

Living First Peoples Principles in an Okanagan Context

July 19 to 23  |  9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Taught by Kevin Kaiser, this one-week face-to-face course has limited spots available. 

In this course, students will learn how to avoid appropriation, find and honor protocols for local nations, and be able to identify authentic Indigenous resources for the classroom and imagine how they might engage students with the resources.

Learn More

Introduction to American Sign Language

July 5 to 22  |  9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  |  Online

This course will provide an introduction to ASL for individuals who have little or no prior knowledge of ASL. Course content includes vocabulary development, manual alphabet, numeral systems, simple structures and grammatical forms of ASL.

Learn More

Curriculum and Materials Design in Additional Language Teaching/Learning

July 26 to August 12  |  9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  | Online

Grounded in English and additional language teaching and learning across age and proficiency levels, sociocultural considerations are taken into account while exploring curriculum, lessons, materials, technology, interaction, and classrooms.

Learn More

Three Minute Thesis Competition

Join us in cheering on Liz Saville, PhD student, at this year's UBCO virtual Three Minute Thesis Competition. Liz will be presenting her research on realizing and supporting student STEM identities.

Tuesday, March 30
12 - 1:30 pm PST


You'll be invited to vote for your favourite presentation for the alumni UBC People’s Choice award and ask the presenters questions.

Modern Mindfulness: A Journey from the Buddha to the Lab

The Center for Mindful Engagement is pleased to welcome Robert McClure to speak at a virtual event on April 8.

After a brief introduction of Robert McClure’s own journey in mindfulness, he will discuss some highlights of what makes mindfulness and science a modern paradigm, including some key practices that are applied to daily life/the workplace. Following his talk, he will lead a brief guided mediation.

A panel of graduate students from UBC Okanagan will respond to the talk, and there will be an opportunity for an audience Q & A.

Thursday, April 8
9:30 – 10:30 a.m. PST


Okanagan School of Education
Okanagan Campus
Syilx Okanagan Nation Territory
EME 3115 - 1137 Alumni Ave
Kelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7



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