Learn more about our winners' travel experience and goals for the SEE Canada Grant.
Anne Grant | Manager, Ecology Teaching Labs, Faculty of Environment
Anne Grant applied for the SEE Canada Grant hoping to advance her knowledge and skillset in developing hands-on activities that promote experiential learning. As one of the 2018 winners, Grant was able to meet with instructors and lab support staff at other institutions to learn about lab and field techniques, analysis methods, and outreach. This experience has allowed her to collaborate with other colleagues and will ultimately allow her to expand upon the lab and field courses offered at Waterloo.
Grant travelled out East to Memorial University, St. Mary’s University, and Dalhousie University from September 16-28, 2018. She chose these institutions because their courses were similar to those offered at Waterloo and they focussed on advancing experiential learning in their curriculum. During her visit, Grant was able to participate in field activities, visit field sites, and immerse herself in experiential learning initiatives. She learned more about various lab and field activities, and also methods and technology that can be incorporated into courses to advance student learning. In terms of professional development, Grant was also able to step out of her comfort zone and advance her networking and communication skills. With this new skillset, she hopes to continue building her working relationships at Waterloo.
SEE Canada has allowed Grant to travel and visit places she’s never been before. Not only did she learn from other institutions, she was able to explore the culture, local cuisine, and biodiversity of other provinces. When asked if she would recommend this experience to other employees, Grant said,
“I highly recommend this experience. The SEE Canada Grant provides a unique opportunity to travel across Canada and learn from other institutions. We’re able to learn, network, and build working relationships that complement our roles and allow us to advance our skills. The benefits of this experience will resonate with me for many years to come in my career and beyond.”
Danielle Jeanneault | Editor, Undergraduate Calendar and Manager, Communications
As one of the 2018 SEE Canada Grant winners, Danielle Jeanneault wanted to gain first-hand knowledge of business practices across other academic institutions. Her goal was to learn from various governance structures, schedules for academic curriculum approvals, and processes for publishing the undergraduate academic calendar. Having a better understanding of these practices would allow her to identify requirements for software that optimizes these processes at the University of Waterloo.
From September 16-22, 2018, Jeanneault visited the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta, the University of Victoria, and Simon Fraser University. She chose these institutions because of their student information systems and varying use of academic calendar software and curriculum management processes. During her experience, she was able to observe four software demonstrations on publishing academic calendars. These demonstrations allowed her to compile a wish list of requirements for a new system and to develop curriculum management processes to assist faculties and departments at Waterloo.
Jeanneault especially enjoyed meeting colleagues from other institutions with similar roles and responsibilities. These new relationships opened the door for future idea-exchange opportunities and best practice sharing as new projects and challenges arise. When asked if she would recommend this experience to other employees, Jeanneault said,
"I would absolutely recommend this experience to other employees. I was able to visit places I’ve never been to before and the experience I’ve gained will be beneficial to my role and my department. The relationships I’ve built are priceless – they’re resources that I can reach out to in the future."
Dave Logan | Cousellor, Success Coach
When Dave Logan applied to the SEE Canada Grant, he wanted to learn more about student mental health services at other similar institutions, specifically on-line resources and e-counselling. Waterloo has a number of students on co-op placements, often international placements and Dave was interested in exploring options that could expand counselling services beyond the in-person model.
Dave headed out to Canada’s beautiful West Coast during the week of February 25th, 2019. He visited the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus because of their innovative approach to mental health and the University of Calgary to learn about their mental health and student success programs. Dave was able to meet colleagues in similar roles and learn about how physical space impacts student wellness and access to services. He found it inspiring to be on other campuses, learning about their culture and their response to student and employee health and wellness.
During his visit, Dave learned how UBC and Calgary have responded to increasing demands for services through different outreach campaigns to the campus community. Dave plans to continue investigating and learning about innovative approaches to wellness that would work well for the Waterloo community.
When asked if he would recommend this experience to others Dave said,
“I would highly recommend this experience to other staff. It’s an opportunity to get out of the office and break out of your routine. It’s also a fantastic way to meet other colleagues and build new professional connections. This is an experience I will always treasure and the impact of what I learned will resonate for many terms to come!”
Christine Wagner | Senior Buyer & Research Coordinator, Procurement & Contract Services
The SEE Canada Grant provided Christine Wagner with the opportunity to learn how academic institutions out West are organizing and innovating their procurement activities. She was able to explore pain points and solutions, assess planning and processes, and gather ideas for services that support students. Wagner learned how other institutions address similar operational challenges that Waterloo experiences, viewing these challenges from new perspectives.
During the week of April 15-22, 2019, Wagner visited four institutions on Vancouver Island: Camosun College, University of Victoria, Royal Roads University and Vancouver Island University. She chose these institutions based on their similarity in procurement activities and/or distinctive focus on supporting the needs of Indigenous students, New-to-Canada students, and rehabilitated youth. As an Excellence Canada EIW Customers Driver co-chair, Wagner plans to share this information for consideration in their approach in providing services to students.
The highlight of Wagner’s experience was the ability to build relationships with others to exchange information and ideas. This allowed her to identify ways to encourage flexibility in Waterloo’s processes to solve current operational challenges.
When asked if she would recommend this experience to other employees, Wagner said,
“Absolutely – the opportunity to share and learn from practices developed in a different culture is enlightening. I will be able to use the ideas gained from this experience to re-evaluate current processes and procedures, which will be an ongoing benefit to both myself and to Waterloo. I am very grateful to have such an innovative employer that provides staff opportunities like the SEE Canada Grant.”
Claire Taylor is passionate about finding new opportunities to influence vibrant student experiences. She applied for the SEE Canada Grant because she wanted to learn more about the principles that guide student engagement at other higher education institutions, and to discover new ways to continue the conversation between the University and the student community at Waterloo.
Taylor visited the University of British Columbia, Vancouver campus and Robson Square campus, as well as Simon Fraser University, Burnaby campus and Vancouver campus because of their demonstrated success in communications, collaboration and student engagement initiatives.
The experience allowed her to meet like-minded colleagues who provided insight into successful initiatives they have implemented. She learned about new methods of student engagement, the creation of peer idea activator teams, social media techniques for onboarding incoming students, cross-campus collaboration techniques related to communications and technology, as well as methods of sharing best practices related to acquiring data from student research. She plans to launch a new program in 2020, with new initiatives from her team, which is a direct result of what she learned during her time in BC.
When asked if she would recommend this experience to other employees, Taylor said,
“I would absolutely recommend this experience to other employees. I am so appreciative of the time and resources I was awarded for this opportunity. I would have needed to attend several professional development opportunities/conferences to match the volume and variety of roles and teams I was able to connect with and learn from. To date, I have already reached out to some of those contacts to discuss projects I am working on. These connections are invaluable.”