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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 18, 2014

Canadian Excellence

Keynote Presentations


Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

The World is Your Classroom: Developing and Managing Pedagogically Sound International Volunteer Programs

Students are eager to develop the knowledge and skills needed to interact effectively with others around the world. Universities and colleges take this concern seriously and across disciplines they offer a variety of international study, co-op and volunteer programs. Four years ago Benham Rennick and Desjardins started conversations with staff, faculty administrators and students from across Canada engaged in these types of programs to explore what worked best for them. They gathered their findings in a 2013 co-edited book The World is My Classroom: International Learning and Canadian Higher Education (University Toronto Press, 2013), which includes recommendations on how to promote the best possible international learning experiences. They will share those findings and challenge the audience to imagine with them some time-tested and innovative ways to improve international experiences for university students, particularly as they apply to volunteer-abroad programs.

Dr. Joanne Benham Rennick, Assistant Professor of Society, Culture and Environment,Faculty of Liberal Arts, Wilfrid Laurier University /Dr. Michel Desjardins, Professor of Religion and Culture and Associate Dean: Research and Curriculum, Faculty of Arts, Wilfrid Laurier University.

Joann_Rennick.pngDr. Benham Rennick's work deals with organizational culture and the ways that institutionalized values and norms affect behaviours. She is particularly concerned with how cultural assumptions influence Canada's global relationships and has examined this theme in the context of the Canadian military (Religion in the Ranks, University of Toronto Press, 2011), international development, immigration policy, citizen issues, and most recently, co-edited volume on higher education (University of Toronto Press 2013). She is the former director of an international learning program (Beyond Borders, St. Jerome's University in the University of Waterloo), and the Good Global Citizenship project that inspired The World is My Classroom: International Learning and Canadian Higher Education (co-edited with M. Desjardins; University of Toronto Press, 2013). She is currently leading a collaborative Canadian-Australian project to research and develop pedagogy and best practices for learning abroad programming in higher education.


Dr. Michel Desjardins teaches and publishes in the areas of comparative religions, the academic study of religion, and the scholarship on teaching and learning. Over the past years, he has worked closely withDr. Benham Rennick investigating the values embedded in academic programs that encourage learning outside the country, e.g., through volunteering or taking courses abroad. Together, they have facilitated conversations on this topic with faculty and staff from across Canada, and with scholars in Australia with similar concerns. Some of his work has recently appeared in their co-edited book, The World is My Classroom: International Learning and Canadian Higher Education (University of Toronto Press, 2013). He is the recipient of several teaching awards, and is a Canada 3M National Teaching Fellow.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 9:15 - 10:15 a.m

A National Call to Action: Do We Need a New Discourse on Learning?

This presentation will explore the concept of how we have seemingly ignored the influence of various facets of the university and external community on the development of student competencies.

Through the lens of a 3 year research project, sponsored by Counselling Foundation of Canada, we will explore the concepts of graduating students' competencies; curricular and co-curricular learning; teaching and learning; career development; university strategic directions; and the importance of evidenced based research to support our practice.

Dr. Robert Shea, Associate Vice-President Academic & Student Affairs, Marine Institute, Memorial University, Newfoundland

Dr Robert Shea_1.jpgDr. Shea is passionately involved in the education of future adult and post-secondary leaders. With degrees in political science, social work, education and a doctorate in higher education leadership, his career has taken him from the front lines of teaching youth with multiple barriers, to boardrooms of national and international non-profits.

He has served as president of four national organizations and has been involved in the leadership of over seven others at the international, provincial and regional levels. He is currently the second president of the International Association of Student Affairs and Services representing over 1,100 members in 47 countries around the world.

Focusing on his passion for Career Development, Dr. Shea is founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Career Development, co-editor of the 2013 publication, A Multi-Sectoral Approach to Career Development: A Decade of Canadian Research. Currently, he is co-principal investigator of a 5 year project on Career Integrated Learning, a project that seeks to bridge the divide between curricular and co-curricular learning.

Friday, May 9, 2014 - 11:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Learning Partnerships: Engaging in Transformational Learning

Asourhostfor this conference - Wilfrid Laurier University - emphasizes higher education challenges graduates to become engaged and aware citizens of an increasingly complex world. Learning outcomes associated with engaged citizenship and effective leadership, such as critical thinking, ethical decision makingand intercultural maturity, involve acquiring knowledge and skills (informational learning). Yet they often require transformational learning to develop complex capacities to critique, evaluate and apply knowledge. How learners view knowledge, themselves, and their social relation to the world mediates how they decide what to believe, who to become, and how to relate to the world around them. Self-authorship, or the capacity to internally coordinate external influence to define beliefs, identity and social relations, is the developmental capacity necessary for critical thinking, intercultural maturity, effective leadership, and aware citizenship.

Transformational learning that integrates, cognitive, personal, and relational dimensions helps learners move from uncritical reliance on external authority to using internally constructed beliefs to navigate the complexity of adult life.

Marcia Baxter Magolda will share findings from her 27-year study of young adult learning and development from age 18 to 45 to explore the cognitive, identity and relational growth necessary for learners to become effective citizens. She will also share the Learning Partnerships Model on curricular, co-curricular, and integrated examples of its use to illustrate the nature of learning partnerships that promote self-authorship. Participants will have opportunities throughout the session to consider how learners' developmental capacities and learning partnerships relate to their educational practice.

Dr. Marcia Baxter Magolda, Professor of Educational Leadership, Miami University, Ohio, USA

Marcia.pngDr. Marcia Baxter Magoldadistinguished Professor of Educational Leadership at Miami University of Ohio (USA). She received both PhD and MA degrees in Higher Education from the Ohio State University and her BA in Psychology from Capital University. Her scholarship addresses the evolution of learning and development in college and young adult life andpedagogy to promote self-authorship.

Her books include Assessing Meaning Making and Self Authorship: Theory Research, and Application (co-authored with P. King, Jossey-Bass, 2012), Authoring Your Life: Developing an Internal Voice to Meet Life's Challenges (Stylus, 2009), Development and Assessment of Self-authorship: Exploring the Concept across Cultures (co-edited with E. Creamer & P. Meszaros; Stylus, 2010) Learning Partnerships: Theory and Models of Practice to Educate for Self Authorship (co-edited with P. King; Stylus 2004), Making Their Own Way: Narratives for Transforming Higher Education to Promote Self-Development (Stylus 2001), Creating Contexts for Learning and Self-Authorship: Constructive-Developmental Pedagogy (Vanderbilt University Press, 1999), and Knowing and Reasoning in College. (Jossey-Bass, 1992).

She received the Association for the Study of Higher Research Achievement Award, the National Association of Students Personnel Administrators' Robert H. Shaffer Award for Excellence as a Graduate Faculty Member, American College Personnel Association's Contribution to Knowledge Award and Miami University's Benjamin Harrison Medallion.