Celebrating Milestones

2014-2015 Issue 2

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This past year, the School has achieved many new milestones. Throughout the academic year, staff and faculty have welcomed new students, diversified programs and offerings, and introduced technical innovations. As a result, there is much to be celebrated.

Spring convocation marks the first time the School will issue diplomas to graduates of the Diploma in Integrated Aviation Management. The program, which can be completed in an intensive format, focuses on aviation management from a financial, managerial, operational, and environmental perspective. The program also capitalizes on Montreal’s reputation as a global hub for aviation. “One of the great things about this program is the guest speakers,” says Dimitra Alevras, who’s among the imminent graduates. “We’re learning from industry professionals, listening to their stories, and getting to speak to them about their experience.” She describes the program’s intensive format as “grueling, but awesome. I loved the fact that we were able to finish in six months!”

Spring convocation was also be the first time the School awarded the Certificate of Proficiency in Written French – Workplace Communication to students who’ve completed the online program. “Students take our online courses to improve their job opportunities, so we gear everything towards the workplace,” says Marie-Claude Beauchamp, Faculty Lecturer and French Online Program Coordinator. “They can use a great deal of what they learn in the program in their profession.” For Beauchamp, there’s no doubt the graduating students will be successful. “They’ll be able to independently produce any type of written document on the job. By the end of the program it was obvious – these students are good.”

Throughout the academic year, MCLL (the McGill Community for Lifelong Learning) has been commemorating its 25th anniversary. Events included a highly successful one-day conference, an art exhibition, and an Annual General Meeting recognizing the organization’s founding and long-term members. To top it all off, registrations for the Winter 2015 term were the strongest they have been in five years.

Faculty Partnerships and Summer Studies is also expanding its partnerships. Last year, 26 students from BeiHang University in China took courses in the summer at McGill, and “this year we’ll have over 40,” says Guy Mineau, the unit’s Director. “The first partnership with BeiHang went really well, and as a result we’re developing a long-term relationship.”

Instructor Services and Educational Technologies has also been hard at work. The team developed innovative formats for online learning, which they incorporated into a new program developed for healthcare professionals, Anglais pour le milieu de la santé. The courses’ online components include graphic novel narratives, interactive videos, and drag-and-drop technology. “We worked in partnership with Language and Intercultural Communication to develop new ways to teach a language online,” says Director Jean-Paul Rémillieux. “Now we can do it for other specialized fields, or adapt it to a general audience.” Not only was the program technically innovative, “user feedback was very positive,” says Rémilieux. “People really appreciate that it’s a custom-made program.”

At the McGill Writing Centre, one of the biggest success stories is Graphos, a scholarly communication program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows that includes courses, workshops, and peer-writing groups. The Centre launched the program in partnership with Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Teaching and Learning Services in fall 2013. Since then, course registration has more than doubled, from 226 students to 491, and nearly 570 students have attended the program’s non-credit workshops.

“I’m very proud of Graphos, and I think the numbers show that we’re meeting a real need,” says Sue Laver, the Centre’s Director. “Students tell us that they benefit tremendously from the constant encouragement and feedback in the peer-writing groups and courses, and from the hands-on activities in the workshops.”

The School was recently notified that Career and Professional Development had been awarded a $1.2 million multi-year grant from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). The AANDC accepted two proposals from the School to continue designing and delivering online credit courses in business management and entrepreneurship for indigenous populations in Eeyou Istchee Territory in James Bay. “We were absolutely ecstatic when we heard the news,” says Carmen Sicilia, Director of CPD. “It means we can continue our working partnership with communities such as the Cree Nation of Chisasibi, and provide indigenous populations with the opportunity to access educational programs at McGill University.”

This spring, there were also strong enrollment numbers for the Career Advising and Transition Services’ Speaker Series, which featured industry professionals discussing their career paths and success stories. (For more on this success story, please see Seeds of Success.) Translation and Written Communication’s two-day colloquium on the topic of Translation Studies and Geopolitics was another successful event, with a full house of captivated attendees.

This is just a sample of this year’s successes at SCS – so much to celebrate. From new initiatives to expanded programming to silver anniversaries, each milestone is evidence of what the School continues to accomplish.

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