Recognizing Outstanding Contributions to Lifelong Learning
For more than 15 years, Donna Sharman has been passionate about her work in the Transitional Vocational Program (TVP), and in her final year as Program Administrator, Sharman’s dedication to her students was honoured at the Life of Learning Awards (LOLA) hosted by Calgary Learns.
Sharman was the recipient of a LOLA, which recognizes a program designer or director who has made extraordinary and innovative contributions to the promotion, advancement and development of lifelong learning in Calgary.
“It is an honour and a privilege to be working with adults with developmental disabilities,” says Sharman. “We work closely with Calgary Learns and when I was first nominated I was taken by surprise.”
TVP at Mount Royal has a long history of success and is regarded highly in the community. Throughout TVP’s achievements Sharman has been at the heart of it all.
“Donna is so passionate and such a huge advocate for these students,” says Sandie Cheney, Program Director, Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension and Sharman’s nominator for a LOLA. “Donna sees things through the eyes of the student and what’s best for them.”
There were more than a few things that contributed to Sharman’s LOLA achievement; in addition overseeing 25 full-time students and 300 part-time students, Sharman continues to be at the frontline of new developments to enhance the students’ learning in and outside of the classroom.
Sharman has piloted two major components for TVP, including the Safeway Eating Right, Living Right and online math courses.
“In collaboration with part-time instructors and staff, we developed the Safeway Eating Right, Living Right course as a result of observing the needs of part-time students,” explains Sharman. “We saw students that needed support with medical issues because they would share medication or were not eating properly.”
After careful observation, Sharman didn’t merely address this issue with parents or guardians; she made the decision to incorporate it into the programming to ensure that each student was well-equipped with the skills needed to make informed decisions about nutrition, recreation and medicine.
“I still recall the very first course that occurred. A student came back to the program saying ‘I have been buying the wrong granola bars all along’,” says Sharman with a smile. “It’s just amazing how many students will start to make those connections. Even if they are still living at home, they can have some influence over the decisions and choices of food that
What started as an idea came to fruition with only four months of planning and proposing, due to Sharman’s drive to enrich the lives of her students.
The second, soon-to-be-released component is an online math course. It is essentially a virtual store where students learn to become more aware as a consumer with money handling, making change and budgeting.
“Craig Baskett developed the course and I assisted with the development and piloting the online math course,” says Sharman. “It is like using adult gaming to help students develop and maintain their money skills and consumer math skills in a fun way.”
Throughout the pilot process, Sharman, as always, kept the students’ needs first. “During the pilot stage, Donna sat beside each student and watched them do it,” explains Cheney. “There were some activities that were difficult to use with the mouse so she had the developer change the curriculum to help those who couldn’t use the mouse.”
“I just think it’s truly awe inspiring what can be accomplished if you have some expectations and believe in someone’s true potential,” says Sharman.
As Sharman is less than two months away from retirement, she knows her passion for helping others will continue. A bursary was established in Sharman’s name which will enable parttime students who have already taken the program to come back without having to worry about monetary barriers.
“I am so thankful to have worked with many people in the University that have helped in countless ways to contribute to the support and skill development of our students,” Sharman says.
For Cheney, she is sad to see Sharman go. “I am very proud of all that she has done for these students.”
— Angela Sengaus, May 17, 2012
Social Media Shift 2 Conference
Building on the success of the first annual Social Media Shift event held in June of 2011, Social Media Shift 2 took place on May 10, 2012 in the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning. The focus was on bridging the gap between traditional marketing methods and social media.
Leading experts in the growing field of social media headlined Social Media Shift 2 - Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Marketing and Social Media. Event speakers included industry leaders Chris Brogan, Peter Shankman, Alexandra Samuel and Julien Smith.
The one-day conference helped over 100 business people and marketers to integrate social media with traditional media such as print, radio and television. The keynote speaker was best-selling author Chris Brogan of New York. A panel discussion with the guest speakers was featured after lunch.
The Conservatory offers a variety of workshops and camps, focused on specific instrument or vocal studies, for a variety of age groups. These programs provide an intensive immersion program, allowing students to master a specific skill or challenge, try a new instrument, study with nationally acclaimed and world-renowned faculty, and have a lot of fun in the process.
Morningside Music Bridge
In 1996, Paul Dornian, director of the Conservatory and classical music fan, and Chinese business man Andy Chan, met an exceptionally talented young Chinese cellist named Ni Tao. Mr. Chan sponsored Tao and another student to study in Canada, at the Mount Royal Conservatory. The arrangement was so successful that the next summer Morningside Music Bridge (MMB) was developed.
Ni Tao has recently been named the principal cellist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His is just one story of the hundreds of students that have come after, each year spending one intensive month studying with some of the world’s best music teachers. This summer, there will be 19 concerts and recitals in the MMB2012 Concert Series. All but five are free to attend, and student focused. This is a perfect opportunity to hear the future of
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