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Dillon Hall
Dillon Hall

April 2016

What we asked:

What on-campus experiences have had the greatest influence on your future plans?

And the winner is...

Rebecca Friesen, this month’s winner, believes that working with professors and peers has had a huge influence on her future plans, offering her a much wider and deeper understanding of what people in her discipline actually do with what they’ve learned:

"Interacting with and working with professors and other students has had the greatest influence on my future plans. I went into my area of study with very little of knowledge of what might come out of it, and have learned through work with professors and students in my program a hundred different options and possibilities for my life after graduation. Working with professors in the Outstanding Scholars program has been especially influential. Through this work, I’ve learned what people in my field do apart from theorizing and teaching, and how they put their knowledge into action. This has changed my view of my area of study completely, and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had on campus."

What others said:

Early experiences – orientation, first-year cohorts, or being a mentor to first-years were all described as important parts of your UWindsor trajectory.

Work experiences – from co-op placements to internships, from research assistantships to teaching undergraduates, work experiences helped you clarify where you’re headed.

As Izza Eirabie told us:

I was a student in the Editing and Publishing practicum courses that Marty Gervais teaches. I knew about these practicum courses from when I was attending high school. I knew then that I wanted to go into the book industry, particularly editing and publishing. I researched many schools and discovered the University of Windsor. To publish a book and to have my name in it, and at such a young age? It was something I’d only dreamed of. When I got my acceptance to the university, I was really thrilled. It was the first step to achieving what I wanted to do in life….Now that I look back, I realize that attending this school had the greatest influence on my future plans. The English program, its subjects and faculty, the practicum courses and the launch, they’ve all guided me to where I am now….

Opportunities to develop work-related skills, through the Nursing Sim Labs, Odette clubs, and Microsoft training workshops and arts events.  Madeline Campbell told us that “The biggest on-campus experience that has changed my life is EPICentre. I have had the greatest experience working with like-minded individuals in an atmosphere I didn't know existed.”

Service and volunteering offers many of you opportunities to discover new skills and passions.  Sara Alshoibi told us: “A nonprofit started by UWindsor students called Project Syria introduced me to the world of volunteering and showed me how much I get back from giving my time and energy to others. I was reading to a young group of Syrian children one day (who were out of school for four years and were so eager to read and delve into the world each book introduced), and when I saw just how much these children loved and wanted to read, I knew what I wanted to do: I applied to the Bachelor of Education program for next year and thankfully I got accepted.

Research opportunities, research talks, and working in labs were important for a lot of you.  As Katherine Balasingham put it, “My lab mates and graduate committee have had the greatest influence on my future plans. Just the ability to have in-depth conversations with others who are more experienced in the field of biology, who have traveled to other places, and my supervisor’s years of knowledge and intelligence have really given me the opportunity to be 100 times better at science. My colleagues around me taught me to just not fear the unknown and that everyone is a student, and that it’s important to try new things, fail at them, keep trying, and eventually succeed.”

Career and graduate fairs and job talks have been an important source of information and inspiration for many of you.  And you mentioned the importance of social activities, your friends, your peers as major influences on your choices and decisions.


What We’re Doing

Extending opportunities for undergraduate research through programs such as the Undergraduate Research Experience Grants, the Outstanding Scholars Program, and the UWill Undergraduate Research Conference, and through departmental initiatives such as the Chemistry Research internship program, the Kinesiology Research Day, and the efforts of faculty members and the Office of Research Services to expand student access to provincial and national research funding through programs like NSERC’s Undergraduate Student Research Awards, and the MITACS Accelerate program.

Expanding opportunities for students to take part in work-integrated learning through co-op, internships, and teaching and leadership on campus. The recently revamped Co-op, Career, and Employment Services department provides many learning opportunities for students to explore possible career paths, such as the annual Job Fair and the Graduate and Professional Schools Fair.

This August we are sending a team of people from student services, career services, faculties, and the teaching and learning centre to an international workshop with leading experts in the field of learning engagement to develop concrete plans for more integrated approaches to experiential learning, work-based learning, and other inspiring and success-supporting initiatives for first year and beyond.

Continuing with the ambitious Campus Master Plan and Downtown Campus development, so that students, no matter what their field, can study and work in energizing, engaging, comfortable surroundings.  Next up: the downtown Armouries building will welcome the School of Creative Arts (SoCA) in Fall 2017. And on campus, watch for the David A. Wilson Campus Commons, which will provide the campus community with a new basketball court and performance and meeting areas just off the Sunset Avenue walking street.