Shauna Oddleifson, BFA

(She, Her, Hers)

Communications and Marketing Specialist

Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
Office: CCS 177
Phone: 250.807.9864
Email: shauna.oddleifson@ubc.ca


Responsibilities

Faculty research promotion
Development of promotional material for recruitment purposes
Writing content for faculty, student and alumni profiles
Undergraduate and Graduate program promotion
Student Recruitment, graduate and undergraduate
Alumni Relations
Support for events in FCCS departments (promotions, logistics, planning)
Faculty wide event planning
FCCS websites updates and content creation
Social media content management

 

WhatHearts Together
Who: Cool Arts
When: February 6 to 16, 2023; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday
Where: FINA Gallery, CCS Building, UBC’s Okanagan Campus, Kelowna

The Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies is please to host the work of artist from Cool Arts Society FINA Gallery from February 6 to 16. Together with art educators during the weekly programs held in the Cool Arts Studio in the RCA, artists worked on the concept HEART, digging into the question – what does HEART mean? Artists discussed their feelings, thoughts, and ideas; then began their step-by-step big picture planning. These pieces are all representations of these collaborative ideas.

Each piece was created with a group of six to eight artists working together. This process encouraged and affected constructive communication and sharing ideas; including skill-building, listening, problem-solving, and planning.  The exhibition includes the work of 40 artists working together on art of all kinds that includes painting and collage.

The concepts that were shared covered a broad variety. Heart symbolism often conjures up a wide range of emotions, from joy to pain, love and devotion to moral courage and physical strength. The shape is securely embedded in western culture. Represented by an anatomically inaccurate shape, the heart is often used to represent the center of emotion, including affection and love, explains Amy Bradshaw, Arts Educator for Cool Arts.

“Cool Arts looks forward to our annual partnership with the FINA Gallery at UBCO where artists get the opportunity to professionally exhibit their art,” says Amy. “Creating these important opportunities in the arts for people with disabilities, neuro-diversabilities, and other exceptionalities aids in broadening connections and creating relationships with other artists on campus and beyond.”

She adds that it is important to have this recognized and well-funded FINA space to share the work done by people in our community who are seriously passionate about art and who want more public opportunities.

This exhibition is organized by Cool Arts Society and supported by the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.

More on the Cool Arts Studio

The Cool Arts studio is a safe, inclusive art studio that offers programs and artistic mentorship with a variety of professional artists who share their skills and lead classes. Cool Arts is a registered not for profit charitable organization managed by a volunteer Board of Directors and others who share their time in many ways; as classroom assistants, event supports, exhibition installations, and so much more.  Cool Arts relies heavily on sponsorships and donors; we welcome your support. To learn more about how you can get involved with Cool Arts, please visit coolarts.ca.

Shirley McDonald

Shirley at the UofC Law book launch, 2017

Shirley McDonald is a lecturer in the Department of English and Cultural Studies, teaching classes in English with a focus on the teaching of academic writing. Dr. McDonald moved to the Okanagan with her family in 1994, and completed her BA in 1999 at Okanagan university College (now UBCO). She went on to finish her graduate degrees in Alberta, and returned to UBCO in 2008 when she was hired to create the first online course for the English Department. She continues to teach English courses in the department, drawing on her own research to provide students with meaningful topics on which to write.

Dr. McDonald has published articles in a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, ARIEL, Prairie Forum, and several Canadian studies journals. She has an essay in Gary Geddes: Essays on His Works, and two chapters and accompanying material in Farm Workers in Western Canada: Injustices and Activism, co-edited with Bob Barnetson (U of Alberta Press 2016).

Dr. McDonald shared some insights on her research and teaching practices here at UBC Okanagan.

How did you know you wanted to be a professor?

That realization came to me as a surprise when I was in my forties. I had planned to become a professional writer. I’d always been a writer. I won an award for a short story when I was in grade six. Writing was the one discipline that stuck with me over the many years of my assorted studies in liberal arts, fine arts, and music (voice). I dropped out of college to head out on the road with my band, but I kept writing even then, and even moreso as I settled down to raise a family. When my children were all in school, I returned to university. I went to SFU where I had the good fortune of studying poetry with Roy Miki and publishing the essay I wrote for Roy’s course. I still had a long way to go, however, to complete my BA.

The professor who inspired me to join the ranks of academia is John Lent. John is one of my favourite people on the planet. When I met him, I was writing a lot of poetry and a handful of poems earned a spot for me as a literary delegate at the BC Festival of the Arts. Two of the them, “The Turning” and “Pears”, are published in The New Quarterly. I also wrote a short story, “Out of Time”, which earned my spot as a literary delegate a second time. The story is published in Chasing Halley’s Comet: Winners of the Federation of BC Writers’ Festival Competition. John celebrated with me at a launch at Red Dog Books in Vernon. I also wrote a novel, which I workshopped in his fiction class. John’s generous and kind support helped my confidence grow. John encourage me to further my development as a writer and editor, but also as a teacher. To that end, I focused on writing-intensive courses during my doctoral program.

What is your own process in writing?

Like singing, writing is a performance and a prolonged embodied experience. I can be lost for hours in the alternate reality of my imagination. When a story begins to form, my surroundings fade and, as if I were merely a medium, the words seem to will themselves into existence. Later, I edit and restructure and cut and revise. The thing is that writing requires emotional and cognitive energy and lately, because teaching uses up my reserves, I have nothing left for the creative process. I take comfort in believing that I will have that energy again in my retirement and will resume my daily writing practice.

What kind of learning experiences do offer your students?

The creation of academic essays requires research before the writing process begins. Research yields evidence that requires documentation. Many students arrive at university with little awareness of how to or even the need to document that evidence. Thus, I developed a contextual method (models based on course readings) to teach students how to document their sources as they learn to write. Although I designed this practice-based approach for use in the classroom, I have found it to be equally successful in online learning. Teaching online is not the kind of performance that it is in the classroom where I have a presence. Online delivery requires my skills as a course designer to build the learning tools, as a technician to build the platform, then as a teacher and an editor to monitor and lead students through the learning process. The editing part, which takes place during the running of the course, requires hours of intense focus as I respond one by one to students’ exercises and essays, and provide each student with encouragement and with individual attention and guidance according to their writing strengths and weaknesses.

Join us on Wednesdays throughout the term for the Immersive Technologies Seminar Series.

Each week, artists and researchers from the Okanagan School of Engineering and the Faculty of Creative and Critical studies will offer presentations that look at immersive technologies in multidisciplinary and multi modal ways in the  Visualization and Emerging Media Studio (VEMS) here on campus.

Each talk will be held in the VEMS (COM 107) from 1 to 2 pm. Light refreshments will be served.

These talks are free and open to all. Registration is not required. See below for the list of speakers and dates:

Wednesday, January 25

Wednesday, February 1

  • WaterWays | Dr. Aleksandra Dulic, Dr. Miles Thorogood

Wednesday, February 8

Wednesday, February 15

Wednesday, March 1

Wednesday, March 8 (note time, 12:30-1:30)

Wednesday, April 12

The Immersive Technologies Seminar Series is a collaboration between CITech and the Media Studies program, and is organized by NSERC CREATE in Immersive Technologies (CITech), a highly multidisciplinary graduate training program at UBC focusing on skills development and collaborative research to design immersive solutions for various real-world applications. Find out more about CITech.

Nathalie Hager

Nathalie Hager

The 2020-21 recipient of the FCCS Teaching Excellence and Innovation Award is Nathalie Hager. Dr. Hager received this award on the basis of students support and teaching evaluations. She teaches in the Art History and Visual Culture program, offering courses in art and visual cultures of the world, History of the 20th Century Art, contemporary art history, art in Canada and in public art.

This award is designed to recognize faculty members for teaching approaches that develop experiential learning, interdisciplinarity, internationalization, undergraduate research and scholarship.

Hager’s students note that her lectures are engaging, and that she makes art history very interesting and fun to learn about, she presents the content of her classes in a clear and concise manner, she invites her students to offer their own perspective and creativity to projects, and even in the larger classes, students were given individualized treatment and she makes the effort to get to know each of her students.

Dr. Hager says that she believes in offering all students learning freedoms on par with their learning level and abilities. “My students are encouraged in their group or individual projects to research areas of the course that interest them the most, and to blend new learning with personal creativity for an empowering effect.”

She works to engage students by engaging listening and responding to them. “I learn from students how best to offer a transformative learning experience that will share with them my love for art and its history.”

One example of this is a project that Dr. Hager offered her students for bonus marks in 2020. The students in one of her first-year classes were invited to submit a Getty Challenge, to pick a favourite museum artwork, and find three things lying around the house and use them to recreate the artwork. The results were outstanding. The students were able to use what they had learned in the class and be truly creative with this project. View the results here.

She adds that when expectations are made clear and explicit, and when opportunities for practice and feedback are provided often, students gain confidence and take learning risks. “It is imperative to me that students walk away from the classroom and the course not only with a mastery of content but with a positive learning experience.”

In a 4th year Public Art course, students get an overview of the field of public art and social practice and the role that public art plays in communities. To do this, Nathalie takes the students on a tour of public art in our local community. The images below show site visits to murals painted by visual arts students alongside instructor David Doody; a bee house created as part of the Pollinator Pasture project by creative writing prof, Nancy Holmes; and works around the UBC Okanagan campus that are part of the Public Art Collection.

Art history students visiting the mural site on Pandosay, summer 2022

Art history students doing a tour of public art at UBCO, pictured here with sn̓ilíʔtn (Story Poles) outside of the administration building

Art history students visiting the Pollinator Pasture project at the Grist Mill location near Dilworth mountain

Instructors from multiple sections of a first-year English course have participated in a community of practice (CoP) since 2020 as a space to support, mentor and collaborate with one another to address educational disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on shared experiences in regular bi-weekly instructional meetings, the team collectively developed teaching and learning approaches to engage students.

The team initially started with faculty members in the Department of English and Cultural Studies who were all teaching a section of ENGL 109, a course designed for both international and domestic students who wish to develop their university-level communication skills through extended practice.

“Understanding the differences in our teaching approaches were valuable because they offered good input in terms of our pedagogical practice, and newer ways of looking and thinking about the course,” says Anita Chaudhuri, Assistant Professor of Teaching in English and Cultural Studies. “We hoped that the conversations would inform our practice, scholarship of teaching and learning, and that students would feel better engaged and motivated to participate in the new online environment.

The idea of a community of practice was first initiated by Jordan Stouck in 2017 as the first year English Coordinator, and the tradition continues with Anita Chaudhuri as the Chair of the ENGL 109 CoP.

The CoP addressed some of the changes that became apparent and were important to deal with during this time, such as, shifting unexpectedly to remote teaching, accommodating the needs of diverse students who were undergoing their own challenges, and addressing mental well-being.

Saeed Sabzian, a lecturer in the department says that the CoP has been a really productive experience for him during the pandemic. “The meetings helped me to navigate what I needed to do. When our team got together, specifically when the COVID lockdown started, this community has been a source of support for me in many ways, from deciding on what exactly we should do with teaching, what methods work best in the context of the lockdowns, designing assignments how to mark them, and all the difficulties that the students were having and how best to communicate with them.” he notes.

For Jing Li “this was a highly collaborative community where each member cares for each other, particularly during those challenging times. It was important to have this teaching community that supported me through these challenging times.” Li joined the team in 2020 while teaching ENGL 109 and now teaches technical communication in the School of Engineering.

She adds that the team talked a lot about student mental health struggles and issues, and at the same time being a support for faulty members who were experiencing their own struggles. “Together we have worked to create a community culture where we supported and collaborated with each other to help our students, and also to become better educators.”

The group grew over the last two years to include faculty members from other areas of instruction and includes Anita Chaudhuri, Aisha Ravindran, Jordan Stouck and Saeed Sabzian, Jing Li, Sherry Breshears, Bridget Trainor, and Rina Garcia-Chua.

“In the fall of 2020, we were all struggling with isolation and technology. Through the meetings, even though they were online, we began to get to know each other and, with that, developed trust,” says sessional lecturer Bridget Trainor. “This feeling of trust led to a desire to do our best for our students and for each other.”

Even though times and teaching conditions have changed, the CoP has benefited from the bi-weekly conversations and continues to sustain what they have developed in terms of support for each other.

Members of the Community of Practice presented at the International Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) conference that was held at UBC Okanagan on November 4th, sharing thematic outcomes of their participation in the group.

‘As agents of change, we consider the learning transformations that we will carry forward to new situations’

The presentation at the ISSOTL conference was titled, Using community of practice to inform SoTL transformation and growth: Five university instructors’ reflections (2022). At the intersections of SoTL: Transfer and Transformation, Diversity and Inclusivity.

View the ISSOTL 2022 Presentation

Dave Laird with podcast co-host, Matt Bucher

Dave Laird received an MA in English from UBCO in 2016, with a thesis on David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. Dave was co-supervised by Dr. Daniel Keyes and Dr. Paul Milton, with committee member Dr. George Grinnell. His thesis titled, “Saying God with a Straight Face”: Towards an Understanding of Christian Soteriology in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, looks at the theological resonances throughout Wallace’s 1996 doorstop novel Infinite Jest, as they relate to Christian doctrine and character redemption arcs, noting salvation states in the protagonists Hal Incandenza, Don Gately, and Mario Incandenza.

Dave says about the thesis:

This dialogue is considered through the lens of postmodernism and the New Sincerity movement in contemporary U.S. fiction, and offers that the novel urges readers to consider what it means to be human between the tensions of sin and salvation, reinvigorating a traditional understanding of grace and redemption in a modern context. The essay discovers that Jest is a highly soteriological novel, greatly attuned to salvation states reflected in the New Testament, particularly in the Pauline epistles.

We asked Dave to discuss his experience at UBCO as a master’s student.

Tell us about the road to earning your UBC degree.

After having been a high school classroom teacher, I felt it was time to go back to school. I’d had a burning desire to do something big on Infinite Jest since completing it in early 2008. Living in Kelowna at the time, UBCO’s proximity allowed me to avoid uprooting my life and family, and I’d had two wonderful English profs in my undergrad, Paul Milton and Dan Keyes, who were instrumental in my falling in love with contemporary U.S. fiction, so I knew I wanted to work with them for my MA.

Major challenges during my MA were finding a balance between coursework, thesis writing, podcasting, part-time online high school teaching, first-year English TA’ing for three semesters, living in Tel Aviv for six months, and being reminded of my overwhelming capacity for procrastination when it comes to academic writing.

What are the highlights of your UBC experience?

Highlights of the experience were working with my three great supervisors, and doing directed studies courses tuned to my interests in contemporary U.S. fiction. One course I took was on DIY Hardcore and Punk Subcultures, with George Grinnell, and that was one of the coolest courses I’ve ever taken.

TA’ing was fantastic as well. I also attended three academic conferences on Wallace during my MA. The connections I made from those conferences have resulted in some of the best friendships and led to the podcast, so I’m thankful for all the outworkings of my MA degree.

Tell us more about your podcast, Concavity Show.

I met my co-host, Matt Bucher at a Wallace conference in 2015, and having complained to my wife Rachel about how there wasn’t a specific podcast dedicated to DFW, she said, “Well why don’t you start one?” Matt and I’d randomly bumped into each other in O’Hare Airport on the way home after the conference, and I thought to reach out to him about doing a show, and he agreed.

After 5 and a half years of talking pretty exclusively about Wallace, we did a soft reset in 2021, changing the name to Concavity Show, and have been focusing more on contemporary fiction. As a result of the show, I’ve been interviewed by several literary podcasts and media outlets, had a blurb about Infinite Jest in The New York Times, was asked to be a weekly guide for an online community read of Jest in 2016 called “Infinite Winter,” was commissioned by Academia.edu to make an instructional video series on how to make an academic podcast, and have received dozens of free books from publishers and listeners, so that’s all been amazing.

What advice would you give to current or future graduate students?

My advice would be to find a laser-focused area of interest that you’re obsessed with to do your thesis project on and find supervisors who are with it regarding your topic. You’re going to be spending hundreds and hundreds of hours of research and writing on your topic, so make sure you’re incredibly interested and compelled by it. I’d also say that you should prepare to be intellectually humbled, both by your peers and profs. There’s no better way to realize how little you know than by doing grad school.

About Dave Laird

He has two published essays in volumes of Wallace scholarship, and is a founding board member of the International David Foster Wallace Society. In 2015 he started a podcast on Wallace with Matt Bucher, in which they interviewed a host of Wallace enthusiasts on a range of topics.  He is also the co-host of Concavity Show, a literary podcast about contemporary fiction and the world of books, and a senior-high humanities teacher in the Saanich School District on Vancouver Island. He is a highly-ranked competitive Android: Netrunner player, and a video game, board game, music, film, television, and Sweden enthusiast.

With an interest in community-based writing and with the goal of offering students opportunities for growth in their storytelling abilities, creative writing prof Michael V. Smith has partnered up with Anna Kiernan from the University of Exeter to run a publishing opportunity for students from each campus.

This collaboration is made possible with funding from the UBC Okanagan-Exeter Excellence Initiator Grant.

“This research and development work seeks to identify the potential for exploring transatlantic (small town) stories through a range of multimedia and immersive technologies,” explains Smith.

Kiernan reached out to Smith to invite him to be part of organizing a cross-Atlantic issue of Exeter’s online magazine The Lit. She was looking for someone to collaborate with at UBCO, and liked that he is a creative writer that had digital media experience.

“I also liked the kinds of work she is involved in that is community focused. I’m interested in building community, and culture, and I’m also interested in diversity and alternative forms. Those are aligned with my interests,” he says.

Smith is interested in media as a low-barrier storytelling tool – as well as storytelling that grows out of a specific place, so their theme issue of “Small-Town Stories” will feature videopoems (experimental films) generated by UBCO students, featured alongside writing by Exeter students. This is a unique opportunity for students from both campuses to connect from different locations across the Atlantic. Opportunities like this opens up new possibilities for students.

“I think there is a shared cultural value and aesthetic between us and England. And these cross-cultural elements can also show students that there are different ways of being, which can help influence and inform their writing,” Smith says.

In the creative writing classes here at UBC Okanagan, he notes that his courses offer readings mostly in a Canadian perspective, so this project is a great way to introduce them to a broader literary tradition and cannon.

This also offers exposure to other ways of doing things. “In our creative writing program, we teach students not only how to make art but to use creative tools to find work in other disciplines. We don’t want to have students graduate and only publish their work, but to be performers, work in film, or find a career in advertising or therapy,” he says.

The hope of this course is that it will open up doors to show our students what else is possible by learning from people in other places in the world.

Kiernan and Smith will showcase their work when visiting each other’s campus in the Spring, to build the relationship across their campuses, and to find other shared projects, such as site-specific work, or collaborative making. If this grows in the right direction, there may be possibilities for an exchange so that our students visit University of Exeter and theirs come here, for an across-the-pond dialogue.

About Ana Kiernan and Michael V. Smith

Anna Kiernan

Anna’s research focuses on questions of participation, identity, community and creativity in relation to writing culture and cultural value and book publishing. Her most recent book is Writing Cultures and Literary Media: Publishing and Reception in a Digital Age, published by Palgrave in 2021.

 

 

 

Michael V. Smith

Michael V. Smith

Michael V. Smith is an interdisciplinary artist, working as a writer, filmmaker, and performance artist. His most recent book is Bad Ideas, published by Nightwood Editions in 2017. He has recently finished a feature documentary, The Floating Man, to be released in 2023.

Nasim Pirhadi Audain Award

Nasim Pirhadi pictured here with the award

Nasim Pirhadi, a second year Masters of Fine Arts student, was recently awarded the Audain Foundation Travel Award. The Audain Foundation supports the visual arts in British Columbia, offering awards to arts organizations, galleries and to individual artists.

Nasim was nominated by faculty members in the Visual Arts program at UBC Okanagan, noting that she is both an outstanding artist and scholar.

Nasim intends to travel to New York City in the spring 2023 to explore the history and practice of feminist art.  The concept of her artwork is constant fear, lack of independence and legal protection, and some of the toughest challenges facing Iranian women.

“I create a fragile network to represent women’s status in its vulnerability and fearfulness, “says Nasim.

While in New York, she will visit the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, a center within the Brooklyn Museum focuses exclusively on explicitly feminist art. This trip provides her with a great opportunity to meet Dr. Globarg Bashi, an Iranian-Swedish feminist who graduated from Columbia University, and now lives and works in New York.

The Audain Foundation Travel Award was established in 2019 for BFA or MFA students at five major institutions in the province, University of British Columbia Okanagan, University of British Columbia Vancouver, Emily Carr University or Art and Design, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Victoria.

The award is for $7500 to one student per university to allow them to travel to destinations of their choice to view artworks and projects that will foster their practice and research.

Awful Splendour in the the Visualization and Emerging Media Studio (VEMS) at UBCO

What: Awful Splendour, Immersive slideshow
Who:  Andreas Rutkauskas
When: Thursday, November 17th 11:30am – 2:30pm (drop in); Saturday, December 10th 1-2:30pm (includes formal artist presentation)
Where: Visualization and Emerging Media Studio (COM 107), UBC Okanagan

Join us on November 17th and December 10th to see the work of visual arts lecturer Andreas Rutkauskas in the Visualization and Emerging Media Studio (VEMS).

The immersive slideshow titled Awful Splendour, in tribute to the work of scientist Stephen J. Pyne, allows visitors to experience the aftermath and regeneration following wildfire in the Okanagan through stereoscopic immersive visualization. Working with a high-resolution camera outfitted with six lenses, the artist captures scenes from a range of fires that took place between 2003 and 2020. Visitors use passive 3D glasses to experience dynamic imagery on Canada’s highest-resolution, 3D, VR-ready video wall in the VEMS. Awful Splendour reminds residents and visitors alike that the Okanagan is a fire-adapted ecosystem, where fire has a longstanding and complex history of shaping the land.

This experience is being presented in conjunction with Rutkauskas’ exhibition Living Through Wildfire on display at the Vernon Public Art Gallery until December 21, 2022.

Andreas Rutkauskas has been making photographs of landscapes for over twenty years, four of which have been dedicated to the aftermath and regeneration following wildfire. Andreas was the inaugural artist in residence at the Grantham Foundation for the Arts and the Environment (2020), a Research Fellow with the Canadian Photography Institute (2018), and currently teaches photography at UBC’s Okanagan campus, on the unceded traditional territory of the Syilx.

 

Mihai Covaser in his podcast studio

Mihai Covaser in his podcast studio

Mihai Covaser has worked for a number of years with a variety of Canadian organizations related to inclusion and accessibility for youths with disabilities. In the summer of 2021, he received a grant through the #RisingYouth Initiative, presented by the not-for-profit group Every Canadian Counts, to promote social change in his local community.

With this grant, Covaser started a podcast talking to people about the limitations in public schools for people with varying disabilities. Covaser has cerebral palsy, and with this project, his goal is to raise awareness on how schools can be more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities, using his own lived experience as the basis.

The podcast, entitled Help Teach, brings forward the lived experiences of interviewees, concrete action items for educators, and additional resources in hopes of supporting teachers in their efforts to make their classes more accessible.

Covaser is currently a second-year student working on his Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in French and Economics, Political Science and Philosophy. In his first year, he took a Digital Humanities (DIHU 220) course that was based around digital audio media and podcasting.

“In that class, we did a podcasting assignment, and after seeing this grant opportunity, I decided, ‘Why not run a podcast on my own’?”

He was able to use the grant money to purchase professional equipment and support for recording, editing, and production. Then in a third year Communications and Rhetoric course (CORH 321), Covaser decided to continue to produce his podcast and use that as his final project, which was to be centered around community service learning.

He explains that the podcast is a collaboration between the grant, the initial project idea, and the class expectations that ended up being really beneficial for him.

“I am able to use skills from the class that I was learning and implement them in the project.” He adds that the podcast is interview based. “My stories and the stories of my interviewees are sort of the evidence and the lived experience that comes forward to drive home the messages.”

Covaser says that the communication and rhetoric class was very interesting to him, being about interpersonal communication and professional and personal identity. The focus was about how we communicate with others, the tools we use to communicate, and how that influences the comprehension of the information that ultimately gets out to people.

“Being part of the class gave me a really unique opportunity to explore a variety of media. It helped me to solidify my choices in the podcast, giving me an opportunity to use my voice exclusively, showing how we can be conscious of the experiences of others when we are communicating.”

He points out that the difficult part about advocating for change like this is that many people work from the bottom up, with individual teachers or students making changes in the classroom for inclusivity. While that may trickle out to other classrooms, his ultimate vision is to work from the top down.

“My ultimate vision is to get the curriculum of educators changed to include more information about accessibility and a variety of disabilities so that teachers come into the classroom already more prepared to accommodate a variety of disabilities.”

The podcast aims to have a variety of perspectives come together to identify the obstacles or the challenges that are most present, and most problematic, and then provide ways of working together towards some solutions. The pilot episodes of Help Teach featured youth leaders from the Rick Hansen Foundation, with whom Covaser works closely to produce this project and others

In an episode released this October, Covaser spoke with a specialist educator, who works with gifted students and students with emotional, mental, and academic challenges.

“Our discussion was fantastic. She talks about being authentic and being intentional.”

He adds that if he could leave one message about this podcast, it would be for educators to think about how they’re being authentic, and how they’re being intentional in their approach to inclusiveness.

Each episode of the podcast ends with a “key takeaway”, which is a concrete action item that an educator could implement in the classroom immediately to help make it more accessible and inclusive for people that may be facing a variety of obstacles to their educational journey.

So far, Covaser has released 10 episodes, with his intended audience being educators in Canadian primary and secondary schools. The education system is under provincial jurisdiction so he has focused the first episodes on his experience in BC, but says he is hoping to generate tools that are useful to all educators.

Listen to the “Help Teach” Podcast on SpotifyApple Podcasts and Transistor.