For the second straight year, IAN Talks gave select staff members from the AVP Students portfolio an opportunity to share innovative ideas and insights into their respective departments.
The event -- based on the popular TED Talks model -- showcases new initiatives, provides updates on programming or sheds a personal light on journeys in student services.
“The topics people chose to present on are based on professional interests and the format allows them to make their presentations personal,” said Associate Vice-President Students Ian Cull. “The presenters get a chance to tell their stories, their experience and share their values. And then people in the audience have a chance to take part.
“It’s great at building community. You gain confidence as you are the expert on what you are presenting. You get to own it and that’s what I find exciting,” he added.
Like the inaugural event, this year’s presentation lineup generated dialogue and discussion on how to improve services. First Year Services Coordinator Laura Prada presented on her journey from transitioning the First Year Experience program into the Peer Mentor Program.
“This was the first IAN Talks I was able to attend and I was hugely impressed with all of the presentations. I found this to be a fantastic opportunity, not only to learn from peers about initiatives they are working on, but to start collaborating on those initiatives,” said Academic Advisor Jessica Beck. “Throughout Laura’s presentation, I was thinking of ways Academic Advising could work with Campus Life and the Peer Mentor Program to provide stronger support for incoming students. After lunch, I met up with Laura and we began to brainstorm ways our two areas could work more closely together.”
Other presentations included
- Cindy Bourne
Study Skills for Science Students
- Carrie Karsgaard
Intercultural Initiatives – Beyond the Mainstream
- Jeannine Kuemmerle
How is it that you work here?
- Terina Mailer
Feel the Fear. And do it Anyway.
- Melissa Feddersen
Frogs in a Pond
Most AVP staff members are familiar with presenting in a conference format, but this is a radically different experience. Presenters are ushered backstage by Campus Life staff, wired with a microphone and then wait for the previous staff member to wrap up their presentation. Presenters then walk through curtains onto a stage and literally into a theatre spotlight.
“It was invigorating to be up there and convey your message in a short amount of time,” recalls Michelle Lowton, director of Student Development, who presented on "Building a Culture of Assessment" last year.
“Within a large organization, sometimes people don’t have the opportunity to tell their story. It’s a chance for staff to get to know each other better.”
Aboriginal Student Advisor Jeannine Kuemmerle used the format to share her journey of being a non-aboriginal person working within Aboriginal Programs & Services.
“I have been fortunate to have a supportive team helping me through my journey here. I’ve discovered that it’s okay to ask questions and even make mistakes,” said Kuemmerle, a second generation Canadian whose father immigrated from Germany.
“The one lesson you can take away from my experience is trying to base everything on respect. If you want to know more about the culture, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s okay to ask questions as long as it’s done in a good way.”
In 2015, Academic Advisor Breanne Molnar presented "Study Skills Seminar" which later evolved into Bourne’s presentation this year. She recalls what it was like taking part in the first IAN Talks.
“The (Campus Life) staff were friendly, helpful, and skilled in their respective areas. This helped with the nervous excitement presenters feel before speaking in front of colleagues,” says Molnar.
“Not a typical presentation, IAN Talks requires preparedness, confidence and an expectation to engage the audience. True-to-form, presenters are mic’d, sent on stage, highlighted with spotlights and faced with timers.
“Throughout this experience, I was impressed by the audience participation and overall collegial nature of the event,” she added.
The 2015 presentation lineup also featured:
- Robin Whittall
Get a Job! Reimagining Career Events
- Dan Odenbach
Aboriginal Culture: It’s a Big Deal
- Layne McDougall
Find Your Fit
- Stephanie McKeowan
A Place To Be
- Kevin Kraft
Feed the Flame
- Lisa Goerzen
Our Role in Budgeting
- International Programs & Services
Othering to Celebration – The Continuum of Cultural Awareness on Campus
- Rob Johnson
Athletics & Recreation
Another value-added component coming out of last year’s event was an additional bus, filled with international students, travelled to the annual Okanagan Nation Salmon Feast in Okanagan Falls.