Nevin MacLeod, Shi Jing Xu, Ming Hua Wang, Jacqueline Veres and David PotocekNevin MacLeod, Shi Jing Xu, Ming Hua Wang, Jacqueline Veres and David Potocek discuss the experiences of reciprocal learning program participants.

Chinese exchange provides unique cultural perspective for UWindsor teacher candidates

UWindsor’s Faculty of Education is offering teacher candidates a learning and research opportunity in China, sponsored by Mitacs Globalink Research Award, to ensure future teachers are better equipped to teach the growing number of new immigrants enrolling in Canadian schools.

Each year, through the Teacher Education Reciprocal Learning program, a group of UWindsor teacher candidates spends three months at Southwest University (SWU) in Chongqing, China, and in turn, a group of its students spend three months in Windsor.

Education professor Shijing Xu, Canada Research Chair in International and Intercultural Reciprocal Learning in Education, directs the program, in partnership with superintendent Clara Howitt of the Greater Essex County District School Board, SWU vice-president Shijian Chen, and Yibing Liu, dean of SWU’s Faculty of Teacher Education.

Dr. Xu says an influx of new Canadians and refugees makes it crucial for new teachers to become culturally sensitive and responsive.

University of Windsor teacher candidates who take part in the Reciprocal Learning Program participate in professional development seminars and school placements, as well as audit university classes and go on field trips in China. Dr. Xu says she advises students to go as learners first and only secondly as teacher researchers.

“Don’t go to a school with a critical eye right off the bat, because then you are not learning,” she says. “I say you must go into a class as learners first, to see how a different education system is organized and how the teachers teach and how the learners learn.”

Masters candidate David Potocek (BHK 2013, B.Ed 2014) is a graduate research assistant with Xu. He went to SWU as pre-service teacher candidate in 2014 and says the program expanded his idea of what it means to be an educator.

“I think teachers today need to be culturally aware and culturally sensitive with their students, but also with their parents,” says Potocek. “Being able to better communicate with parents will help deepen that important relationship.”

Erika Robinet (B.Ed 2015) participated in the program in 2015 and is now teaching English as a second language in Vietnam. She says she has changed some of her teaching practices after interacting with students who are just starting to learn English.

“I know to slow down my speech, choose simpler words and phrases, and use repetition,” she says. “When I go back to Canada where we have so many students from different countries who have just arrived in Canada, I think my experiences in China and Vietnam will have better prepared me as an all-around teacher.”

Robinet says before participating in the Reciprocal Learning Program, she had imagined teaching in England or Australia, but never thought of taking a job in Asia. She said the people she met through the program will be lifelong friends.

Many alumni of the program are now involved as volunteers and take visiting SWU teaching candidates on field trips and show them around. Xu says alumni support greatly enriches the program and shows how deeply affected students are by the experience.

Research built on the program is funded by a seven-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) partnership grant of $3.8 million, as well as UWindsor’s Strategic Priority Fund and in-kind contributions from Canadian and Chinese partner universities and school boards.

The University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, with Michael Connelly as the project co-director, is a collaborator university. The UWindsor research team consists of professors Jonathan Bayley, Anthony Ezeife, Geri Salinitri, Zuochen Zhang, George Zhou, Bruce Tucker and Kara Smith.

To date, five groups of UWindsor students have visited China, with a group set to travel to Chongqing in April. Seven groups from SWU have visited Windsor and nine sister pairings have developed between Windsor and Chongqing public schools.

Roshelle Mathias, Peter Polak, Brian Joyce and Andrew Braithwaite mimic sampling soup from large ladlesSoup’s on: chefs Roshelle Mathias, Peter Polak, Brian Joyce and Andrew Braithwaite have fun preparing soup for a luncheon benefiting the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Charity has campus chefs lifting ladles in soupy support

The University’s Food Services will join dozens of local restaurants in supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation by supplying its Great Soup Kitchen tomorrow—Thursday, March 31—at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts.

The University will be serving a hickory-smoked parsnip soup with celeriac, garnished with chips made of local green apples and licorice crystals, says executive chef Paolo Vasapolli.

“It’s just the sort of cause that our staff loves,” he says. “It gives us a chance to show off a bit and contribute to the community.”

The event raises funds for the foundation’s work to support research and health promotion programs to minimize the impact of heart disease and stroke. It will run 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature raffles and door prizes as well as diners’ choice of soups. Admission is $10 at the door. The St. Clair Centre for the Arts is located at 201 Riverside Drive West.

Lancers honoured at local sports awards reception

Ten Lancers received honours at Monday’s ceremony for the Windsor Essex County Sports Persons of the Year (WESPY) awards. The awards recognize outstanding local athletes, based on their accomplishments during the 2015 calendar year.

The University of Windsor swept the track and field category as Corey Bellemore and alumna Nicole Sassine (BHK 2011, B.Ed 2012) received the Dennis Fairall awards as male and female athletes of the year in the sport. The award was renamed this year to honour the long-time Lancer head coach.

For the third consecutive year, a Lancer was named the overall female athlete of the year as Canadian Olympian Melissa Bishop (BHK 2010, B.Ed 2011) took home the night’s top honour. Bishop captured a gold medal in the women’s 800m at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

  • women’s basketball coach Chantal Vallée was named the coach of the year, after leading Windsor to its fifth consecutive national championship;
  • Korissa Williams was named the female basketball athlete of the year after being named the 2015 top female athlete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport;
  • Spencer Pommells received the male hockey athlete of the year award to match a similar honour from CIS;
  • basketball rookie Isiah Osborne captured the Mickey Renaud Captain’s trophy for his time with the Kennedy Clippers;
  • all-star Leighton Speechley-Price was named men’s soccer athlete of the year; and
  • track athlete Virginia McLachlan captured the female parasport athlete award.

Find more information at

Presentation to consider research ethics in healthcare

Whether in healthcare, business or the cyber world, ethical principles are largely developed in response to actions that have come under scrutiny, says Pierre Boulos.

A learning specialist in the Centre for Teaching and Learning and special advisor on research ethics education and internationalization to the UWindsor Research Ethics Board, Dr. Boulos will join Rosalind Abdool of the Centre for Clinical Ethics for a presentation next week at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

Entitled “Research Ethics: Going into the Rabbit Hole,” the invited keynote will consider past lapses that everyone can agree in hindsight should never have occurred.

“Our goal is not to explain why they happened or how they could have been avoided, but to uncover lessons learned and explore principles which can guide us as we move forward,” Boulos says.

Presented as part of National Health Ethics Week, the event is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6.To RSVP, e-mail Dr. Abdool at

happy students

New graduate program in engineering offers to accelerate graduates’ careers

The Faculty of Engineering and Odette School of Business have launched a joint graduate program that allows working professionals to earn their master’s degree without interrupting their careers.

The Master of Engineering Management (MEM) degree is Ontario’s only weekend engineering management program. The two-year program offered on Fridays and Saturdays will help prepare students for management roles.

Graduates are ready to occupy leadership roles in multinational engineering and technical enterprises and contribute to manufacturing strategies, corporate innovation and operations management. Coursework also includes planning and executing technology commercialization and go-to-market strategies to foster an entrepreneurial spirit among MEM graduates.

The new program will commence in fall 2016. For more information, visit or contact the MEM program office at 519-253-3000, ext. 5991,

Sorority to offer training in American Sign Language

An introductory class in American Sign Language, Friday on the UWindsor campus, will benefit the world’s only institution of higher education devoted to students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Delta Zeta sorority is hosting the class from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 1 in room 1120, Erie Hall. Registration is $10, with the proceeds going to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

The class is open to the public. To enrol, e-mail or visit

Interdisciplinary student conference to showcase feminist research

Registration continues for the annual Feminist Research Group Conference, showcasing graduate and undergraduate research related to feminism. With a theme of “Intersectionality and Identity Politics,” it will take place on Saturday, April 2, in Katzman Lounge, Vanier Hall. The event is open to all students, faculty, and community members.

The day will begin at 10 a.m. with a keynote presentation by Jane Nicholas, an associate professor in the Department of Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies and the Department of History at the University of Waterloo, entitled “Intersectional Feminism at the Freak Show: History and Identity Politics.” This will be followed by lunch and research presentations from students from a variety of disciplines including psychology, education, human kinetics, social work, law, sociology and engineering until 5 p.m.

The conference will then move to the Green Bean Café at 2320 Wyandotte Street West at 5:30 p.m. for an evening social, including food and drinks and an opportunity to engage with student posters and exhibits.

Registration for students is only $15, which includes all meals and drinks for the day, including at the social, $30 for community members, and $45 for faculty members. Registration and event details are available here.

The Feminist Research Group, started in 1999, is a group of UWindsor students which encourages feminist knowledge by holding events such as inviting feminist speakers to address the wider community, organizing book clubs around feminist books, and providing opportunities for feminist researchers to share, discuss, and find support. E-mail for more information.