Convocation Season

In the same way I’ll always associate September with a new school year, I associate this time of year with Convocation. Even as schools and students evolve, and add intakes and alternate Convocation ceremonies, I will always think of long black gowns and those black caps.

Convocation 2014. The black robes actually do breathe well, so we are not sweating that badly.

Convocation 2014. The black robes actually do breathe well, so we are not sweating that badly.

A celebration of all the effort, time, and expense a student and their support network have devoted over the past few years, convocation ceremonies can be very emotional. They can also be boring. Like all the other grand celebrations we go through in life; weddings, banquets, awards nights, etc., convocation ceremonies can get side-tracked by technical difficulties, lost attendees, broken air conditioners, or a speaker that has way too much wisdom to impart in too small a time slot.

Last year was the first time I was a part of a convocation team; I was honoured to be a name reader. I practiced my pronunciation all morning, and I was still practicing as I was walking onto the stage. I played a very small part in this ceremony, but it truly gave me an appreciation for how much goes on behind the scenes in order to produce an event like this. An event that means so much to so many graduates, their families and friends, and to the faculty and college staff who have at some point been a part of their journeys.

I’m excited to be a part of the ceremony again this year, and have been working on my reading voice. No yelling for the next week or so, and lots of tea.

Trying something new-ish

My students and I have been talking a lot about team-work, argument formation, and consensus building in the past few weeks. Everyone (well, almost) has been doing the homework and participating in class, but I think we were missing something. The material can be on the dry side if the students don’t get a chance to put any of it into action.

So, I picked an issue (immigration), found some short readings, and brought them to class. We had a summit, lobbyist meetings, and a parliamentary session. As a group, we got a chance to practice what we’d been learning about, and were able to reflect on it. We also role-played as members of parliament, so that was pretty cool too.

Our class

We’re pretty pleased with ourselves!

Giving Back

I’ve spent a lot of time in classrooms during my time as a learner, and as an educator. I spent a lot of that time in the classrooms at the University of Toronto, both as an undergraduate Arts and Science student, and as a Teacher Candidate at OISE.

So, I was very flattered to receive an invitation to participate on a panel on Working in Education at the U of T Next Steps Conference in May.

photoThe crowd!

As a panelist, I was able to talk about my journey to becoming a post-secondary educator, my current career goals, and my advice to students just embarking on their own journey. Needless to say, I really enjoyed being able to share some of my insights, and dare I say, wisdom.

What do Canadians earn by industry?

This very cool interactive infographic from Maclean’s magazine demonstrates how different industries, jobs, and even time periods stack up against each other. The authors note several trends over an approximate 15 year period, with one of the most significant being a widening wage-gap between the highest and lowest earners. The lowest earning jobs are still the ones that don’t require any post-secondary education. This is the type of infographic every high school student should check out.

What Canadians earn today (and yesterday).

Accounting Student Creates Awesome RPG Using Excel

I read a very interesting article by Caitlyn Coverly at the Financial Post last week on two of my favourite topics: personal branding, and Microsoft Excel. I teach both subjects, and have a special place in my heart for the detail-oriented world of spreadsheets. As such, that heart leapt at the news that a particularly curious Canadian MBA student created a game, Arena.Xlsm, using an Excel Workbook. The personal branding came into play when this student, Cary Walkin, took a class on brand narrative and marketing yourself. He posted the game to his website, and it took off from there. He’s now about to graduate, and has had articles published about him and his game at BBC News, Mashable, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Financial Post (where I came across it), and Boing Boing, among others. That means great name recognition right off the bat, as well as some truly cool Google results.

The Benefits of Being a College Graduate

The Toronto Star published an excellent article here about job growth in Ontario. The author states that college graduates are really pulling ahead of University graduates and high school graduates in terms of their expected employment rates; new jobs that are being created are being created specifically for the college grad. The author quotes a recent study that states 35% of new jobs are being filled by college grads, while only 26% are being filled by university grads, and 8% by high school only grads.

One of the most interesting ideas in this article is that college grads are being hired over university grads because of their “job-readiness“. This is something that I believe speaks directly to the Success Stream of courses (including BUSN210) here at Centennial’s School of Business.