Wider Horizons

In the classrooms and on the playing courts, in the library and in the Lethbridge community, Lethbridge CollegeCollaboration on campus students, staff, alumni and partners can be found working together on a variety of projects of all sizes and ambitions. Sometimes the partnership benefits the two people involved. Sometimes it benefits groups and organizations for decades down the road. The following short stories and photos capture just a glimpse of some of the people and programs that rely on collaboration to achieve some great results. If you’d like to share your own story of Lethbridge College collaboration with us, just drop a note to WHMagazine@lethbridgecollege.ca.

Three programs come together for simulated emergency training

Each spring, crowds of people, police cars, emergency vehicles and media flood the scene of a “disaster” on campus. Scores of students from the Communication Arts, Criminal Justice – Policing, and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) programs are on hand to help the wounded, interview witnesses and report the news. And at the end of the day, they (thankfully) all get to go home healthy and whole – having participated in a multi-disciplinary collaboration from a real-life, large-scale disaster scenario.

“This experience is one that students remember,” says Marty Thomsen (Criminal Justice – Policing 1988), Dean of the Centre for Justice and Human Services. “They come back long after they graduate and tell us what a difference it made to have practice responding to scenarios of this nature.”

Each year, several aspects are the same. The students have no knowledge of what type of scenario they will be facing, and they have to respond to the scene in real time – just as they will on the job as police, emergency responders or media.

Last spring, the same scenario ran for two hours in the morning and again in the afternoon. The policing students who took part in the event were in their third semester of the program and the incident was a portion of their notebooks and reports class. The EMT students assessed people involved in the scenario for injuries. The injured themselves were played by EMT alumni who best know the specifics of injuries. The Communication Arts students were dispersed throughout the scenario depending on their roles; some were witnesses, others reporters and some worked as communications for the police. The media students also produced video news stories that can be viewed at learn.lc/mockdisaster1. Students from all programs had the opportunity to shadow other programs during the scenario.

“These situations show great collaboration between our programs for the betterment of all students taking part in the event,” says Dennis Sheppard, Dean of the Centre for Applied Management. “It’s a great opportunity to give the students from these programs field training in a real-world experience.”


Athletics teams make connections with the community

Last September, as all of the athletic teams were in the midst of strength training, strategy sessions and conference competitions, a group of Lethbridge College Kodiaks took time away to head to Coaldale and take care of some other important business. Their mission? To help the Kinette Club rebuild the Garden Grove playground.

Thanks to some literal heavy lifting throughout the day, the members of the women’s soccer and men’s volleyball teams got to display a different kind of teamwork. Other Kodiaks have been running outreach clinics, taking their skills and love of the sport out into the community to encourage children and youth to get involved. And every winter, groups of student athletes organize “Kodiaks Warm Paws,” which in 2013 resulted in the collection of more than 1,000 mitts, socks, scarves, toques, jackets, hoodies and more for Wood’s Homes, Streets Alive, the Hands-on Early Learning Centre, international students and students in need.

This kind of community involvement is something that goes hand in hand with being a member of Kodiaks Athletics, says Todd Caughlin, manager of Athletics, Residence and PE Operations. “Being a student athlete has many rewards to it but being a role model in the community is the one experience that is truly special,” says Caughlin. “It makes a direct connection between the college and the community and is one that is essential for both parties to be a part of. Everyone wins when the Kodiaks student athletes are out in the community. The department will continue to support and be an active participant in these kinds of experiences.


Commercial vehicle collaboration

Lethbridge College has been collaborating with Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) on its recruit training since 1999. CVE came to the college because it recognized its expertise is enforcement, not training. CVE administration wanted to create a training program they could be proud of, so they worked with the college to do so and they continue to come on campus every year. It is an excellent, ongoing relationship where each partner truly values the other.


New students join in programming

Last fall’s New Student Orientation (NSO) drew the largest crowd in the college’s history – more than 1,300 new students came to campus for the event, more than doubling the number who participated in 2013. This is the seventh year that Lethbridge College has partnered with ATB Financial to provide new students with orientation programming and the largest NSO yet. Organizers for the event collaborated with program chairs to prepare the 2014 event and provide even more opportunities for students to experience different program orientation enhancements. The orientation events show new students the support services and activities available to them throughout the school year. This year’s keynote speaker was Lauren Toyota, a former MTV Canada host who appeared on the weekly popular after-school show After Degrassi as well as on MTV News.


Students with disabilities benefit from college collaboration

Collaborating to ensure student success is a daily activity at Lethbridge College. When it comes to supporting students with developmental disabilities, the college community goes out of its way to ensure that these students have the best possible experience.

Dennis Seppola knows about the benefits of that kind of collaboration. He is a Lethbridge College student volunteering with Agape Learning Center and the Lethbridge Family Centre who teaches children how to communicate using sign language. Seppola is also auditing the Early Childhood Education program with the support of the Inclusive Post-Secondary Education initiative (IPSE).

The IPSE initiative at Lethbridge College supports students with developmental disabilities in academic, volunteer and career endeavours. Because students with developmental disabilities are able to audit classes instead of receiving credit, facilitators from IPSE are able to modify coursework so that students are able to complete classes alongside their peers.

Instructors are an integral part of this collaboration. Allen Ledyit, instructor in the Child and Youth Care program at Lethbridge College, says the college is in a better position for having IPSE on campus. “I wish that every student could have the support and mentorship that IPSE staff provide to help students achieve success,” Ledyit says.

Ledyit adds that the IPSE students benefit the college community immeasurably. College students who support their peers with developmental disabilities are afforded an opportunity to develop their character and broaden their educational experience.

Lethbridge College graduates enter into the workforce with a solid understanding of what it means to work for the community. Just as Vicky Traub, a 2014 graduate of the Early Childhood Education certificate program, says how working with Seppola as a classmate helped her understand what it might be like to work with people of varying abilities, graduates are able to provide a set of skills that will allow them to positively represent their employer. When they do, they are showing the community what it means to provide equal opportunity.


Collaborating with families

Students in the Early Childhood Education program participate in practicums around the city to get hands-on experience working with young children. Many of the students get that experience with the Parent Preschool Program, which for 25 years has provided early learning programs in five rural communities in southern Alberta and one in the City of Lethbridge. This free, high-quality early childhood education program for children aged 16 months to five years acts as a “practicum lab site” for the college students, who are supervised by a child development professional. Together, students and professionals organize the children’s play areas and activities and help provide an informative and exciting speaker program for parents and caregivers.


Collide-O-Scope continues connections

Collide-O-Scope, one of the biggest collaborative efforts at Lethbridge College, takes place each spring for students in the School of Media and Design. The event involves students from all four programs – Multimedia Production, Interior Design Technology, Digital Communications and Media, and Fashion Design and Sustainable Production – and showcases student work from each program. This year’s event will take place in April in the Garden Court Restaurant. It will include community partners supporting college students through scholarships and other awards and even greater focus on students with interactive activities and more. The theme of Collide-O-Scope in 2015 is “Connectivity” and tickets will be on sale this spring. Go to lethbridgecollege.ca for more information.


Community partners, alumni come back to campus to help conservation enforcement students undertake real-world investigations

Each spring, the two dozen or so students in Sharie Cousin’s (Conservation Enforcement 1988, Environmental Science 2000) sixth semester “Case Management” class come to her with many skills already in place. The students, who are part of the Bachelor of Applied Science – Conservation Enforcement program, have learned about natural and physical sciences, resource law enforcement techniques and more. Her job is to help them put all of those skills together, use some smart time management techniques and ultimately experience the kinds of investigations they will see on the job.

To help make those investigations more meaningful, Cousins can call on a group of community partners, alumni, past students and friends of the college to come and play different roles in the investigation – the accused, the witnesses, court officers, judges and other law enforcement officers.

“It’s important for me and for the students to have these volunteers involved,” says Cousins, who is an instructor in the School of Environmental Sciences. “There is an element of realism when the students don’t know the actors and the players. And the people who are role-playing are always excited about doing it again the next year.”

Cousins and the actors will see students arrive at a variety of realistic scenes where the students have to collect evidence as they work on cases that involve poached fish, birds of prey and even mountain big game animals. During the semester, they will work through their cases, ideally making some arrests and leading to convictions in the end.

Last spring, Cousins had help with her investigations from retired RCMP members Ross Gilmore and Mel Turmel; Lethbridge Regional Police officer Mark Smith (Criminal Justice 2007, Police Recruiting 2008); Ed Snip, a labourer at Viterra; college instructors Kerry Edwards (Renewable Resource Management 1983), Dawn Keith, Roy Davidson, Richard Quinlin and Steve Macrae; Environmental Science alumna Catherine Beaudry (Natural Resource Compliance 2013); and Jordan Baier (Bachelor of Conservation Enforcement 2014), an Environmental Science grad who had completed the course.

Wider Horizons
Lisa Kozleski and Madison Reamsbottom
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