Category: Where has your B.Ed. taken you?

Arts Ed Alum Dillon Lewchuk shares his experience with our Faculty

An ARTS EDUCATION degree can OPEN DOORS to opportunities beyond being a teacher in the school system as today’s spotlight demonstrates.

We’re shining light on arts education alum Dillon Lewchuk (MA, BA, BEd, RCAT, RCC, CCC) who currently has three professional roles: He is a full-time clinical counsellor working at Homewood Ravensview with a dynamic interdisciplinary team of psychiatrists, addiction physicians, nurses, and a large range of therapists to treat mood and anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addictions. He is also an art therapist in a private practice, providing virtual art therapy and counselling services to children, teens and adults. And he picks up contracts to teach postsecondary classes for art therapy colleges, to advise on academic theses, and to train mental health professionals about 2SLGBTQIA+ therapeutic care.


Our arts education program equipped Dillon for these professional roles by giving him confidence and essential skills for success:

“I learned how to understand learning styles to present information that is accessible and I gained the confidence to present in order to help those I support, like when I give lectures and training to develop the competencies of other professionals, run group therapies, or provide psychoeducation to clients struggling with their mental health.”

The arts education program helped Dillon to “create and deliver educational content and training that helps support individuals belonging to vulnerable and marginalized communities,” as well as helping to foster his passion to continue learning and to “further cultivate my helper side by completing my Master’s in Art Therapy.”

Through his arts education program, Dillon strengthened his intuition “to trust his creativity and think outside the box to fill the gaps in society.” Dillon says, “I have been able to start community initiatives for adults with intellectual disabilities, connect diverse communities together to work towards reducing stigma, and construct/revamp programs for non-profit organizations.”


Like many alumni, Dillon appreciates the deep connections he made through the arts education program: “I created life-long friendships with my peers, as well as meaningful, professional relationships with my professors who supported me, and continue to support me beyond my undergrad program.” Dillon believes that this learning community strengthened his confidence that he could excel in any area he chose after graduation.

Dillon also enjoyed the “variety and vastness” of the program, with its opportunities for “multiple internship experiences, the holistic range of academic classes (literacy, music, dance, drama and visual art) and the small cohort of like-minded individuals.”

Alumna Christine Selinger | Where has Your B.Ed. Taken You?

img_20160930_155646Alumna Christine Selinger (B.Ed./B.Sc. 2011) has been in the news for a variety of reasons over the years. In 2006, while a second-year Education student at the U of R, Christine was injured in a rappelling incident that fractured her vertebrae in her lower back. Just three years later, she won her first international medal at the 2009 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, and in total won 10 International Medals, including the first-ever 2010 Women’s ParaCanoe V1 World Championship. Also in 2010, she was the first person living with a paraplegic condition to go on an expedition through the Nookta Trail , which is an especially challenging back-country 35 kilometer hike. At her convocation in 2011, Christine graduated with Distinction and was the recipient of the President’s Medal. Christine has recently received worldwide recognition for her work on sex and disability.

The following is an interview with Christine to find out where her B.Ed. has taken her:

What are you doing professionally? Where are you located?

I am now the Educator for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario in Toronto. I sustained a spinal cord injury in December of 2006, which was during my second year at the U of R, and that has helped to lead me here. I create learning opportunities for people with spinal cord injuries, their loved ones, healthcare professionals and essentially anyone who wants information about spinal injuries.

In my current role I create online, blended, and in-person learning opportunities – meaning, that I provide educational opportunities through several different mediums. I manage projects related to learning and build those learning opportunities to be available across the province, country or world (depending on the project and its scope). I host and develop webcasts and online meetings. I design, develop, and implement training opportunities through the use of the authoring tools Adobe Captivate and Camtasia Studio.

I also still privately tutor Mathematics and English in the evenings (after work). I love working with students and found that I really missed that interaction in my everyday work. In 2013 I was the Lead Instructor for a Math tutoring agency called Mathnasium, but now I privately tutor students.

How did you come to live and work in Ontario? What obstacles did you find to becoming employed? How did you overcome? What support did you receive?

I moved to Toronto just after graduation with my partner, Jerrod Smith. He was headed here to pursue his Master’s and Ph.D. in Mathematics, and I didn’t want to live across the country from him, so I picked up and moved too!1x0a4101-fuji-web

I had a really really tough time finding a job here, which was quite heartbreaking. I spent about four months applying to pretty much everything I could – everything from teaching positions to retail positions. I feel like one of the biggest obstacles I came across was that Toronto isn’t as accessible as I (objectively) think it should be, given that it is the largest city in Canada (and has the largest population of people with disabilities). I was offered several interviews, only to discover that the employers either didn’t have barrier-free access or didn’t have a wheelchair-accessible washroom. It was a really disheartening experience.

My mom once told me that every time I talked to her I sounded more and more sad. It’s hard to tell you how I overcame it – I don’t really know. My family and friends (though far away) were a huge support. Jerrod and I really learned how to lean on each other in those days as well. He needed my support to survive the grueling days of his Masters, and I needed his support in maintaining my own self-confidence.

What are you passionate about in your current work?

The reason I got involved in Education in the first place was a desire to help make the world a better place. I really feel that teachers are in the best position to do that. You can ask anyone to name their favourite teachers and it doesn’t seem to matter how much time has passed since that person was in school – they will be able to name at least one teacher, and it will usually be accompanied by stories of how that teacher helped shape them into who they are.

That drive to help make the world a better place is what I work for. In the case of my current position, I get to do that by helping people with disabilities see the opportunities in the world and helping the world see the opportunities in people with disabilities. I feel that I can help create a more inclusive and accessible world for all of us.

I also love learning, so having the opportunity to learn about new educational technologies and techniques as I grow is a huge benefit as well.

Tell a story of a great experience in your current work and what was meaningful about this experience for you.

I was given the opportunity to create resources related to sex and disability early in 2015. It’s a topic that many people are not comfortable discussing or see as taboo, but it is incredibly important for people to talk about. Sex is a part of everyday life for everyone, including individuals with disabilities, but it is often overlooked or ignored because it can be uncomfortable to discuss.

I’m comfortable speaking about sex, so it seemed natural that I would help to lead these discussions. We released a panel discussion on sex after a spinal cord injury as well as an eLearning module about sexuality and adapting sex toys for people with disabilities. It was all completed as a form of online sex education for people with disabilities.

These projects have garnered worldwide recognition. I was interviewed as a part of a piece on Broadly (a Vice Channel) titled “How People with Disabilities Have Sex,” a quote from that article landed on the podcast “Stuff Mom Never Told You” (out of the United States), and I have received notes asking for help and resources from people far and wide, including a professor in Denmark and a website out of Mumbai. I’ve also delivered conference presentations on the subject – including speaking at the Toronto Collaborative Neuroscience Symposium.

I took a course at the U of R about gender and sexual identity in schools from Dr. James McNinch and that course really prepared me for this project. I thought of it often as I prepared.

What was your experience like at the U of R? What was a highlight for you here?

I absolutely loved my education at the U of R. I’m not sure I can pinpoint a specific highlight. I absolutely loved my internship experience at Winston Knoll Collegiate with my co-op teacher Maria Canham and I reflect on that often. I also loved meeting Jerrod – we met in Modern Algebra. There were only six of us in the class and I knew four of the other students before we even started. I think that’s one of the things I really appreciated about the U of R: It is big enough that you can still get the classes and education you are looking for and yet it’s still small enough that you have a lot of contact with your peers and your professors.

How did your injury impact your studies, your athletic dreams, and any other dreams? How did your life change?

My spinal cord injury impacted pretty much everything in my life. It’s really hard to explain. Often when I talk about my experience with my injury, people assume a sort-of “poor you” mentality and that’s something I would like to debunk a little. Yes, the first few years after my injury were really tough. I had to learn how to do everything again – from getting dressed and moving around, to even figuring out how I fit in socially. But my life isn’t worse now than it was beforehand. In fact, it’s probably much richer than it was beforehand. I’ve had really amazing opportunities offered to me, and I’ve been in situations where I could jump at those opportunities and really explore them.

The most immediate change in my future goals related to my studies. I had an image – as many do – of finishing my B. Ed. in 4 years and getting a job as a teacher. After my SCI, I took a semester off to complete my physical rehabilitation, and returned as a part-time student before getting back to school full time. This meant that I was not going to finish in 4 year’s time, so I decided to tack on a little extra time and finished by B.Sc. concurrently with my B.Ed. I’m really glad that I chose that direction for many reasons: I was able to grow in my profession, gaining a much better understanding of Mathematics as well as meet a lot of amazing individuals I would not have had the chance to meet without the additional classes, including the man that is now my husband!

I had never been into sports much at all before my injury, and certainly not organized sport. After my injury, however, I found that sport was a really great way for me to connect with other people who had sustained spinal injuries, and that by spending time with other people who had spinal cord injuries I could learn a ton about how to adapt. So I kept going, and I’ve been able to try a wide variety of sports and many different levels. I had always loved water sports, so I really connected with paddling (canoe and kayak) and was given the incredible opportunity to represent Canada at 4 ICF World Championships – and won 10 International Medals, including the first-ever Women’s ParaCanoe V1 World Championship in 2010. I have now retired from paddling, at least for the time being, so that I can focus on other things, but I’m sure that I’ll be back someday.

How did you overcome the obstacles to finishing your degree and from where did you receive support?

I am a tremendously fortunate person, and my SCI really highlighted that for me. I have a wonderful family and amazing friends; I really can’t thank them enough for everything that did for me immediately after my injury. That being said, I think they may have done even more for me before my injury – they helped to shape me into the person I needed to be to face all of the challenges life would throw at me, my injury included. During my recovery I focused on each day individually and, with the knowledge that I could not turn back time to “undo” what had happened, I rebuilt myself by choosing to focus on where I was going rather than where I had been. I could not have done that without the support of my family and friends, and their knowledge that I needed to feel like myself. They didn’t treat me differently; they didn’t make me feel fragile. When I was with them, I was just Christine.

Did any professors make an impact on you and your professional journey?

I’m not sure that I could name all of the professors that had an impact on me and my professional journey. The lessons (either of subject matter or life) that I learned from them are with me every day. From Douglas Farenick (now Dean of Science, congrats Doug!) and Remus Floricel in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, to Susan Johnston and Diana Lundine in the English Department, to Rick Seaman and James McNinch in Education and many, many more.

What are your future goals professionally/personally?

I feel like I’m at a spot where I’m just taking life as it comes. My husband will be finishing his Ph.D. in Mathematics in the upcoming year, so we’re looking at the possibility of moving, though neither of us is sure of where that might take us. I want to live somewhere where I have more access to wilderness than I do right now – and to continue creating adventures around the world.

Someday I would like to write a book, though I’m not sure what form that would take.

I want to continue working with kids and young adults. I love the curiosity and enthusiasm of youth and that is such a fun energy to be around.

Someday I hope to get back into teaching in a classroom setting, in some way.
I would also like to further my education, though the completion of a Masters and/or a Ph.D.
Ultimately, I just want to be happy.

What advice do you have for others graduating from our program?

Don’t limit your horizons. A degree in Education, and the lessons you learn through your time at the U of R, will take you many places and give you the tools to do more than you think. Take opportunities as they come, and create your own opportunities whenever you can.

Christine Selinger receiving the President’s Medal from President Vianne Timmons in 2011


An Interview with Alumna Steffany Salloum | Where has your B.Ed. taken you?

GCYL Program El Salvador 2015 Photos 076 JW
Alumna Steffany Salloum, Public Engagement Program Officer for the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation (SCIC). Photo courtesy of SCIC

As can be seen by Steffany’s story, the B.Ed. degree offers possibilities for a variety of careers. Assignments engaged in and relationships formed while a student can help shape future directions.

Steffany SalIoum (B.Ed. 2007, Secondary Education–English Major and Social Studies Minor) is currently the Public Engagement Program Officer for the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation (SCIC). Last summer, Steffany coordinated a Global Citizen Youth Leadership (GCYL) Program, and involved some of her U of R connections for preparing youth from 8 Saskatchewan schools for their educational experience. Steffany also designed current research that is reviewing Global Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan schools. The following is an interview with Steffany about her experience as a student in the Faculty of Education, and how her education here contributes to the work she is now doing.

What was a highlight for you while a student here?

There was a moment in my 4th year, after my internship, when I understood what it meant to build a learning program from scratch. I realized that it was a highly intentional series of decisions and planning, where all the learning that took place from year to year would build on the previous years to make my holistic learning experience possible. It was clear that the Faculty of Education had hired some exceptional staff and had decided on a strategic direction that would directly influence my passion for activism and for making the world a better place.

In what ways did the Faculty of Education contribute to your personal/professional development?

Throughout the 4-year program it was clear that the Faculty of Education valued instilling the skills associated with becoming a reflective practitioner and life-long learner. If it were not for my Education Professional Studies (EPS) courses and professors I would not have learned the importance of educating for critical consciousness. The skills I learned were fundamental in my personal and professional growth then and now. By critically engaging in my own experience and ways of knowing, I was better able to connect with my teacher identity and personal goals.

Which professors particularly influenced you?

There are several professors in the Faculty of Education who have directly impacted me. Valerie Mulholland taught me how to bring my students and their interests into the creation of individualized learning projects. When I taught the Regina-based TREK School program, I revisited my assignments and memories from my classes with Val. These assignments helped me to understand the importance in having student-led decision-making both as a group and individually as it related to ownership of their work process and work product. As a result, I developed a local and global action research project that would enable students to choose an issue of interest and explore it at the local and global level. We worked one-on-one to collaborate on the essential components of their very individualized projects. Students would use a variety of methods to conduct their research including connecting with community members on their topics. Often the work product of their research resulted in public engagement, documentary creation, school environmental action plans, fair trade school food policies, volunteering, and charitable donations.

Michael Cappello was the first person in my life to have posed very mindful questions that would help me interrogate my power and privilege. Mike clearly explained to me how oppression worked and helped me to consider how I might benefit by it or perpetuate it both in my life and potentially my teaching practice, despite having thought of myself as a “good person.” Mike’s strength and capacity to engage with people is a gift. It is inspiring to watch Mike teach because he breaks down systems of oppression by talking about them from a deeply personal experiential place. He has an energy that is so easy for people to connect with, respect, and admire.

Jennifer Tupper challenged my assumptions and acceptance of multicultural education as a means to meet the mandate of provincial curriculum objectives of embracing diversity in our schools. She encouraged me to imagine my classroom differently whereby diversity was not an add-on event to the school year, but a highly respected element of each and every course and classroom. I understood the importance of ensuring there were both local and global elements to the issues and concepts taught.

Carol Fulton modeled for me the strength in being able to maintain teacher professionalism, in front of her students and peers, while showing emotion and empathy as she deeply connected to people and social justice issues.

James McNinch’s stories and examples of injustice as they relate to LGBTQ rights helped me to confront my heteronormative ideas about the world and provided me with the tools necessary to challenge my thoughts.

In your current position, you are involved in coordinating an intercultural education program for youth: Briefly describe the work you do and how your education at the U of R equipped you for such a role?

Members of the Global Citizen Youth Leadership Team at the Gala. Photo courtesy of SCIC
Members of the Global Citizen Youth Leadership Team at the Gala. Photo courtesy of SCIC


In my position as Public Engagement Program Officer for the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation I designed an educational solidarity trip called Global Citizen Youth Leadership (GCYL) Program. The GCYL Program took 8 Saskatchewan high school youth to El Salvador during the 2015 summer to learn about international development. The GCYL program was a unique, short-term, immersive, international experiential learning opportunity for global-minded Saskatchewan youth. Participants explored concepts of solidarity, sustainable development, and equality through three components–pre-tour education, international travel to an SCIC member project, and post-tour debriefing and public engagement work.

During the pre-tour orientation, which laid the foundation of the intercultural education program, we had three facilitators from the U of R Campus:

    • Dr. Michael Cappello facilitated workshops on anti-oppression, racism, and identity;
    • Leo Keiser of the UR Pride Centre facilitated workshops on LGBTQ, gender and sexuality to prepare students for visiting projects supporting HIV/AIDS patients and gender work;
    • Lee Prosper with the Aboriginal Students Centre facilitated the “Blanket Exercise” workshop, a resource developed by SCIC member KAIROS to teach about the impacts of colonization and residential schools in Canada.

I would not have been able to develop the GCYL Program without the foundational skills, values, and knowledge that I gained from attending courses provided by the U of R Faculty of Education. Specifically, I learned how to design a course by paying particular attention to ensuring the content and teaching method is inclusive of regional backgrounds and diverse learning needs. Special consideration was made to ensure that the youth were supported through the entirety of their learning experience from pre-orientation readings to the post-trip speaking tour. I understand that some of the best learning takes place when you are completely immersed or place-based, there are hands-on activities, and the structure of the learning is based on building relationships and understandings across cultures and language barriers.

What was the highlight for you in this work?

The highlight for me in doing this work is being able to observe the transformational change in the youth from the beginning of the program to the end. It is rewarding to participate in the learning experience with the youth because I am able to answer or pose questions that help them think more critically and relate their experiences to our context in Saskatchewan. It is my passion to guide people on a questioning path to learn about and understand the world around them.

What experiences in particular developed your passion for anti-oppressive global citizenship education?

As a middle-class woman from Lebanese, Hungarian, and Norwegian descent, I experienced racism and sexism growing up in Regina, Saskatchewan in the mid-1980’s and 1990’s. I experienced a significant amount of shame in my identity that I did not have the knowledge or skills to confront at that time. These experiences in being treated differently than my peers provoked me to ask hard questions that I would not find answers to until university. I have always had a very inquiring mind especially in considering why things are the way that they are, how people think, and how we come to know or understand our place in the world. It is a natural progression to becoming an anti-racist anti-oppressive educator and life-long learner.

You are currently part of a U of R/SCIC research team that is reviewing Global Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan schools? What have you learned through this research? Describe your role in this research?

It is my role to consider ways SCIC can best support educators who teach Global Citizenship Education in the province. In order to assess this, I needed to learn more about the current understandings of GCE and where there are gaps in knowledge and resources.

I designed the research study A Review of Global Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools.

The SCIC, with funding from the University of Regina’s Community Research Unit, has completed Phase 1 of a research study entitled A Review of Global Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools. The intent of this study was to find the current situation of Global Citizenship Education (GCE) in Saskatchewan schools and compare it to a 1988 study of Global Education done by SCIC.

Preliminary results of Phase 1 suggest that Saskatchewan educators, while teaching many of the concepts of GCE, do not use the term. Likewise, provincial curriculum emphasizes the goals of GCE, without terming it as such. While Global Education continues to be the predominant term that educators and the Ministry of Education use in areas related to GCE, the goals of GCE are being taught by individual teachers who are interested in the topics. However, more needs to be done to support Saskatchewan educators with GCE resources, training, and formal education.

The 1988 SCIC study showed a variety of teachers’ responses about global citizenship education and what they needed to teach it in the provincial schools. The main responses were: more quality resources, specialized workshops, university training, and a speakers’ bureau. In 2015, those same needs have not changed substantially. SCIC will continue to build on the preliminary results found to date in Phase 2 of this study.
See Phase 1 findings here:

What are your future educational/professional goals?

I have recently been accepted to complete a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Regina. It is my desire to continue creating and participating in anti-racist anti-oppressive teacher or student-centered educational opportunities in Saskatchewan. I aspire to be a leader in innovative and anti-oppressive undergraduate and graduate research, scholarship, teaching, learning and service.

What is your vision for Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppressive Global Citizenship education in Saskatchewan?

I imagine that Saskatchewan’s educational institutions champion approaches to teaching and learning that are based on anti-racist, anti-oppressive global citizenship education. The following excerpt is taken from a publication from the education sector at UNESCO and it resonates with how I understand the future of global citizenship education in Saskatchewan. The publication is called Global Citizenship Education: Preparing Learners for the Challenges of the Twenty-first Century.

“In an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, there is a need for transformative pedagogy that enables learners to resolve persistent challenges related to sustainable development and peace that concern all humanity. These include conflict, poverty, climate change, energy security, unequal population distribution, and all forms of inequality and injustice which highlight the need for cooperation and collaboration among countries which goes beyond their land, air, and water boundaries. In a globalized world, education is putting more emphasis on equipping individuals from an early age, and throughout life, with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours they need to be informed, engaged and empathetic citizens. And with increasing interconnectedness, for example through information and communication technologies (ICTs) and social media, the opportunities for collaboration, cooperation, shared learning and collective responses are increasing.”

I believe that it is a responsibility of educators to understand, identify, and address individual and systematic forms of oppression based on race, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, religion, age, disability, and other socially constructed categories.

Through SCIC, I hope to create opportunities to introduce educators to select theories, and practical resources and tools that will widen their understanding of the global citizenship education and international development issues, while at the same time enable teachers to critically and productively interact with both their immediate and global educational and social development environments.

What advice do you have for new graduates of the B.Ed. program?

My advice for new graduates from B.Ed. programs is to learn and apply a student-centered, constructivist approach to teaching and embrace pedagogy of discomfort in your life and your teaching practice by seeking answers to challenging questions. It can be very rewarding to challenge yourself to work in settings that make you uncomfortable, to learn from and cope with what you learn about yourself and to discover who you want to be as an educator.

Photos of Dr. Michael Cappello working with students.

“I was thrilled to help out. It’s exciting any time you get a chance to work with youth. They were enthusiastic and willing to learn; in fact, I was surprised at their eagerness for the kind of education we were offering.” ~Dr. Michael Cappello

Where Has Your B.Ed. Taken You? Paula MacDowell

It is very interesting to see where the Bachelor of Education program at the University of Regina might take you!

For Dr. Paula MacDowell (nee Griesser), it has been a remarkable journey. Following her graduation in 1995, she worked with the Saskatchewan Instructional Development and Research Unit (SIDRU) to develop and deliver a multimedia presentation for student recruitment. With a reputation for being creative and tech-savvy, she was also contracted to desktop publish research documents and design four brochures on the Faculty of Education programs.

In retrospect, Paula is thankful to SIDRU for her first professional experiences as a designer. She recalls, “Although I have been designing and making hand-crafted goods in one form or another ever since I can remember, I never grew up considering design as a career option. SIDRU enabled me to be explore new possibilities that mattered to me within a field I am passionate about.”

Paula continued to work as a multimedia designer and developer for nearly a decade in the Saskatchewan film and digital media industry. She reflects, “The learning curve was high, but my life was creatively challenging, meaningful, and unforgettably fun.”

Paula credits her learning experiences at the University of Regina with preparing her academically to successfully complete two graduate degrees from the University of British Columbia: a Master of Educational Technology (MET) and Ph.D. specializing in Media and Technology Studies Education. Her research was funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and is part of the How We Learn (Media and Technology Across the Lifespan) Lab.
Paula presenting her research

Her scholarly work is characterized by a deep commitment to research with (not on) disadvantaged and under-represented groups, ranging from empowering females who are marginalized in the technology sphere to forming cross-cultural research partnerships with village communities, for the purposes of education, healing, reciprocity, and pro-social change.

Paula fondly remembers her time spent at the U of R: epic year-end parties at the home of Dr. Vi Maeers and Dr. Garth Pickard singing, ‘Tell me Quando Quando Quando’ at OCRE.  “The Faculty of Education did much more than prepare me for a teaching career. It inspired me, empowered me, and gave me confidence in my unique abilities. I really benefited from having a supportive cohort group and student-centered learning environment. My instructors genuinely cared about my learning, my future, and my well-being. They had high expectations and challenged me to be the best teacher I could be. Some of them have become colleagues and good friends. We have maintained contact, even twenty years after I graduated.”

Now an instructor of design, media, and technology education at UBC, Paula’s learner-centered and ‘designerly’ ways of teaching evolved from her U of R coursework and internships. Her advice to future students who enroll in the Faculty of Education programs: “Make the most of your time by building strong relationships with your peers and professors. These connections will be invaluable resources for your future work and study opportunities. Do what you love and find out what makes you special and unique. Contribute your abilities and talents towards making a difference and building a better world. Have fun and truly enjoy your journey!”

You can learn more about Paula’s current research, design work, and family adventures by visiting her blog:
Paula working with school children in Kenya