Amanda Lamberti

Communications Specialist

Education
Email: amanda.lamberti@ubc.ca


Biography

Amanda began working at the Okanagan School of Education, UBC, in 2019. Previously she worked at the City of Kelowna where she was responsible  for developing strategic communications plan and delivering tactics for the Active Living and Culture Division as their Communications Advisor. Prior to that she was the Digital Communications Consultant where she was one of the project managers for the City of Kelowna website redesign launched in 2016.

She has an Advanced Social Media Strategy Certificate from Hootsuite Academy.

She was a volunteer English Teacher in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from August 2013 to January 2014.

Responsibilities

Corporate Communications, Media Relations, Social Media, Student Engagement, Student Recruitment and Marketing.

 

Should a person’s right to education end after high school? Dr. Christopher Martin’s recent book, The Right to Higher Education sets out a novel account of the point and purpose of higher education, something that has been a controversial debate both in public settings and in policy. The book has received positive reviews with critics calling it “a touchstone text in higher education research,” (Jennifer Morton, University of Pennsylvania) and a “remarkable book” that “shapes a compelling vision of what universities and colleges should be doing” (Harry Brighouse, University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Special thank you to the UK band Sea Power for the permission to use their lyrics in the book’s preface.

 

What is your book about?

 The book asks what post-compulsory/higher education in a free and open society ought to look like.

The answer is that access to education should be a basic entitlement of any and all adult citizens over their entire lifespan.

This means that our post-compulsory institutions, including our universities, should be structured in a way that reflects this right. For example, we have this widespread assumption that university places are something people should compete for, or qualify for, much like a job. One of the major conclusions in the book is that even if people should be well prepared before they access some types of educational programming, this should not be a legitimate reason to deny citizens access to a university education across the board. The university (and other educational institutions, I should add) ought to make space for those that would not “merit” access under the terms of the current system.

Who might be interested in reading your book?

The way we choose to structure our basic social institutions, including educational institutions, have a profound impact on individual citizens and society in general. Everyone has a stake in the argument. If you’ve ever wondered about what an education is for, or had thoughts about what you think it should be for, there’s something in the book for you.

More specifically, the book draws on concepts and ideas in moral and political philosophy, the philosophy of education, and social policy. People with interests in these fields may want to check out the book. In addition, because the book makes an argument about the justice and fairness of higher education, people interested in addressing social inequality and working for institutional reform are likely to find the book provocative. I’d also include anyone with an interest in higher education policy and practice. Finally, I think undergraduate student might benefit from it as well, if only because they should have opportunities to reflect on, and debate, what a higher education is about.

What impact do you hope your book will have?

 I had one main goal when writing the book, and that’s to generate some much-needed public and scholarly discussion about the core values and aims of education beyond a basic level in liberal democratic societies. I think this question is often neglected or, when it gets attention, is too narrowly framed. Let me offer one example. On the one hand, some of the public debate on higher education focuses on the university and the educational ideals that it represents, such as the pursuit of truth for its own sake. These ideals are undoubtedly worth articulating and defending. I certainly care deeply about them. On the other hand, we also have a robust and timely debate about the socioeconomic effects of mass university education and the role of elite selection on civic inequality. The role of a stratified system of education surely plays a role in economic and political inequality. There are certainly ways we can make the competition for university places fairer. I, like many, also care about socioeconomic fairness and equality of opportunity.

However, these debates tend to take the higher education system as it is currently structured for granted. What’s missing is an analysis of the value of education qua education in everyday people’s lives, generally speaking. I think starting with this larger backdrop, and working out the different contributions that a higher education can offer to people in addition to scholarly knowledge and upward social mobility, leads to a better understanding of how educational institutions can serve the interests of all citizens.

For example, at a basic level the right to higher education isn’t about making the competition for university places more ‘level’ or fair. Rather, it requires educational institutions to find innovative ways of opening educational spaces to people that want an education, full stop. If you really want to learn, there should be a place for you. And this includes people who have interest or goals quite apart from employment credentials, as important as this may be. And we can build in the various other elements, like where we think competitive selection is really warranted or needed, downstream from this rights-based foundation.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was a student at the University of London, and working as a sessional instructor, during the Great Recession. There was a lot of talk about cuts to higher education, and the problem of student debt was very much on the forefront of people’s minds. There was this growing frustration with the growing private costs of higher education and amount of educational debt that came with that growth. This was especially the case in the UK with the increase of the tuition cap to 9,000 GBP in 2009.

If you are a student it might make sense to think ‘well, of course we shouldn’t have to pay or borrow a lot. If you want to go to university the state should help, and make these private costs more manageable.’ In fact, you might even take this idea further and claim that it should be fully funded by the state. But it’s not that simple. The problem is that the people most likely to go to university already come from a fairly advantaged background. They’re already likely to be in the middle class. If post-secondary education was free, what you would actually be doing is subsidizing the education for an already well-off group of people. That’s the worry, at least. In fact, you see this debate continuing today with some of the controversy over the Biden Administration possibly forgiving student debt for some US graduates.

It’s conflicts like this where philosophy has an important role to play. The moral intuitions that drive the debate on each side are totally understandable. On the one hand, the story we tell to young people is that a further education is really important and a good thing to pursue for oneself and for society, and then we charge them a great deal of money to get it. This seems unfair, or is at least inconsistent with the message. On the other hand, taking public money that could be put to things like health care or public schooling in order to lower the costs of higher education for people who are already doing well in life (and will do even better, once they have a degree) also seems unjust.

So it’s the moral conflict that captured my interest. My thinking was: okay, so what is it that we might be missing about how we reason about the value of higher education? How do we get out of this trap? What unexamined assumptions are we making that drive this moral conflict? The book’s argument is, in some ways, an attempt to reconcile these conflicting intuitions.

Interested in learning more?

Listen to the Centre for Ethics & Education podcast episode, “The Right to Higher Education” with Dr. Martin.

We are excited to share that Dr. Karen Ragoonaden will assume the role of Associate Dean, Teacher Education for a three-year term commencing September 1, 2022. While her academic appointment remains in the Okanagan School of Education, she is relocating to Vancouver and will be situated on the Vancouver campus.

Dr. Ragoonaden joined UBCO in 2005, was promoted to Senior Instructor with tenure in 2012 and to Professor of Teaching in 2018. As a university teacher and researcher, her focus and commitment to educational leadership and curricular innovation have been recognized by virtue of her on-campus, professional and community work relating to equity, diversity and inclusion.

In 2020, in recognition of her significant impact on the culture of teaching and learning, Dr. Ragoonaden received the Provost Office’s Teaching Excellence and Innovation Award. In 2021, she received the Killam Teaching Prize in recognition of her excellence in teaching. She served on the Faculty of Education’s Task Force on Race, Indigeneity, and Social Justice and as Senior Faculty Advisor to President Ono. Dr. Ragoonaden is currently serving as Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

As an active researcher, Dr. Ragoonaden’s scholarly interests lie in the area of mindfulness and well-being, culturally responsive pedagogy and conceptions of teaching and learning. Her current SSRHC grant (2021–24) is entitled “Mindfulness and Antiracist Education: Developing Critical Reflection.”

Original post on the Faculty of Education website.

We are excited to share that Dr. Margaret Macintyre Latta has received UBC Okanagan’s 2022 Researcher of the Year, Social Sciences and Humanities. There will be a special celebration to honour our 2022 Researcher of the Year award recipients. We hope you can attend!

Dr. Macintyre Latta is a prominent researcher transforming traditional approaches to education. A champion of interdisciplinary and community-based research, her focus is to advance curriculum as a shared participatory learning experience that inspires reconciliation. Her practice-engaged research with Indigenous, school district and community partners supports educators in decolonizing their curriculum and teaching practices.

Over her career, she has received significant research funding and demonstrated a distinguished record of research. Notably, her current SSHRC Partnership Grant, Co-Curricular-Making: Honouring Indigenous Connections to Land, Culture, and the Relational Self, is connecting researchers, practitioners, and community members to inquire into, provoke, confront and challenge the colonizing practices that influence education, while also seeking respectful ways for educators to embody and orient their curricular practices toward productively contributing to reconciliation efforts.

Award Celebration

Everyone is invited to attend a special celebration to honour the 2022 Researcher of the Year award recipients.

Date: Friday, May 6, 2022
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm | Award presentations followed by a rooftop reception
Location:  Innovation Centre, 460 Doyle Ave or Online via Zoom

Register

About the Award

The Researcher of the Year awards were established in 2009 to recognize excellence in research and creative scholarly activity at UBC Okanagan.

Congratulations to Dr. Carl Ruest, Field Experience Coordinator, for receiving Patrimoine canadien/Canadian Heritage funding for two projects to run until 2024. These funds will support the growth and development of our future French teachers.

Espaces francophones

The project Espaces francophones will offer French-language cultural and social activities to students in the French-speaking minority community of UBC Okanagan throughout the school year with the goal of highlighting and facilitating spaces for Francophone socialization and exchange. This community-building effort also aims to strengthen the ties between Francophones and their cultures in the greater Okanagan region. Espaces francophones aims to increase accessibility to the various Francophone activities in the region by directly targeting students.

Teaching French in Minority Contexts

This project intends to develop a course in UBC Okanagan School of Education B.Ed. program to support B.Ed. students who want to become teachers in the French-speaking minority community. The course to be developed will support French-speaking teacher candidates in their education by offering them a French teaching methodology course including linguistic and cultural components. The first phase of the project is course development in consultation with local CSF schools. Resources will be developed and purchased to support the course. The second phase is to offer the course to teacher candidates, once each year of the project.

Ryan Bridgeo (BA ‘20, B.Ed. ’21) has a “gift for gab” and humour. In fact, prior to covid-19, he frequently performed in local stand-up shows.

“I like to joke and laugh,” he says, “I think learning can and should be fun, and I enjoy making it that way for my students.”

Bridgeo completed his Bachelor of Education in December 2020, and is now a full-time French teacher at H.S. Grenda Middle School in Lake Country, B.C., co-teaching grades 6 and 7. Becoming an educator was years in the making, and not a career he had considered when he had finished high school in Cranbrook, BC.

After graduation, Bridgeo began training to be an electrician, but within a year, he found the fit wasn’t quite for him. The company had recognized his skills in communication and he moved into a sales position; however, he quickly realized that he wanted to use his abilities in a different way.

“I didn’t want to use my skills to sell to people. I wanted to make a positive impact and create change, so I started to dive deeper into what interested me.”

Bridgeo began attending the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, BC and exploring courses that sparked his interest.

“I had long been fascinated in criminology and psychology,” he says. “How people think, the way they think, how an individual that’s caught up in crime thinks, and what could bring a person to do something like that.”

Throughout his criminology courses, he met a friend who worked at local youth transitional and safe housing, and they informed him that they were looking for more staff.

“I decided to give it try, but the tricky thing was most of these youth were 14 to 17 years old and I was only a few years older. So, who was I, a 20-year-old, to give life advice to a 17-year-old who had recently been released from juvenile detention centre? What did I know? It was an interesting challenge to navigate these conversations.”

After a couple years in the position, Bridgeo found himself wondering how he could make an impact in a different work environment.

“It was an eye-opening job and I began to think of ways that I could work with children, making the same type of impact and having the opportunity to possibly change their lives.”

Bridgeo decided to pursue a career as a teacher, and UBC Okanagan was a natural fit.

“I always loved coming to Kelowna to visit family, and I knew I’d be able to complete both my B.A. and my B.Ed. at UBCO.”

After receiving his Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and minor in sociology, he went on to the Okanagan School of Education with the intention of becoming a high school English teacher. Shortly after starting the B.Ed. program, he was surprised to be approached by a Field Advisor, Erika van Oyen, about joining the French pathway.

“I was in the French immersion throughout Kindergarten to 12 and I really hadn’t used my French in many years,” he says. “I admitted to her that I didn’t know what my French was going to be like, but she was very encouraging and supportive, and gave me some time to think about it.”

In the end, Bridgeo decided to take a chance and test his French.

“When I thought about the opportunity to get my French to a level where I could consider myself fluent and where I could still receive my teaching certification even if I decided to go back to the English pathway – it seemed like a win-win situation.”

If you had told Bridgeo during his B.A. program that he was going to be a French teacher, he would have thought you  were the one joking, but now that he’s been teaching for more than a year, he says he would say “yes” to that French pathway opportunity every time.

“I would encourage anyone who has French speaking experience to pursue the French pathway. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to really go back and revisit your French — to finally take that French and use it like you always told yourself that you would.”

The B.Ed. program wasn’t always smooth sailing. The evolving situation with COVID-19 meant classes had to transition to online in a short time frame.

“The faculty in the program are really what makes it a great experience. I learned a lot about myself in the program. Not only was I taught valuable skills to be a teacher, but I also learned the perspectives and mentalities needed to sustain myself as an educator. The faculty supported us in ways to help us grow and find what our areas for growth are.”

For those starting their teaching career, Bridgeo encourages educators to not take things to heart when events or experiences go beyond your control.

“Teaching has lots of moving parts, and there are many things that are happening — some are out of your control. I learned from my experience working in youth transitional housing that as much as you care for your students, you can only humanly do so much. Compassion fatigue is a real thing to be aware of, sometimes you need to take a step back and take time to care for yourself.”

B.A.R.K. UBC in collaboration with Brock University has launched a new study to explore the effect of virtual interactions with therapy dogs and handlers.

There are three components to this study, all of which are completed within a single session and can be done at any time:

  • An initial online survey (five minutes)
  • Attending a small-group session (five minutes) during which participants will watch a pre-recorded video of a B.A.R.K. handler and therapy dog team
  • A second online survey (five minutes) to be completed immediately after the session

Eligibility

Participants must be:

  • 16 years or older
  • Fluent in English

B.A.R.K. does not recommend participating if you are anxious around dogs.

Participate in the study

Questions? Email bark.dogtherapy@ubc.ca.

The Okanagan School of Education’s Graduate Programs and Centre for Mindful Engagement are pleased to welcome Dr. Margaret Kovach, Professor, Department of Educational Studies, Faculty of Education, UBC to the Okanagan campus on Thursday, February 17.

Dr. Margaret Kovach will be discussing her latest book Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts (2nd edition). Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in an informal discussion with Dr. Kovach.

Thursday, February 17, 2022
4 to 5:30 p.m. PST
Online via Zoom

Register

Please register by 4 p.m on Feb 15.

About the Speaker

Dr. Margaret Kovach is of Nêhiyaw and Saulteaux ancestry from Treaty Four, Saskatchewan. her educational background includes a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Victoria, an MSW from Carleton University, and two undergraduate degrees from the University of Regina. She is the author of the book Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts (2nd edition now available). Her teaching interests include Indigenous research methodologies, Indigenous adult and higher education, and anti-oppressive teacher education. Her research is in the area of Indigenous Higher Education and explores ways in which Canadian universities can cultivate environments that enhance the experience for Indigenous scholars and graduate students. As a post-secondary scholar, her teaching, research, and writing is compelled by a particular interest in how members of university communities might work, learn, and live at the intersectionality of diversity in the service of compassionate, socially just relations.

Shirley Zouboules (MEd ’19) is a strong believer in lifelong learning. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, especially Canadian books, and taking whatever course, workshop or other learning opportunity that comes her way.

“I’ve always really enjoyed learning,” says Zouboules. “I find it just feeds me and whenever I’m feeling stressed, it may sound bizarre to some, but that’s when I take a course. I feel the need to learn so I will go search online for something new. I’m a big fan of free Moodles!”

Currently, in her second year as the Assistant Superintendent for Yellowknife Education District No. 1, Zouboules is responsible for a range of programs including curriculum, language and inclusive education. Prior to starting this position, she completed her Master of Education at the Okanagan School of Education.

Zouboules had known for a long time that she would pursue her master’s degree, but it took a few years (and some encouragement) for the timing to be right. For the last decade, she had been gathering experience and knowledge from her courses and reading, and it was during a conversation with Dr. Leyton Schnellert that he encouraged her to take all the information she had amassed and consolidate it.

“It probably wasn’t the best time, but it was a good time,” says Zouboules with a laugh. “My two kids were grown up, but I was still the principal of an elementary school. It was very, very busy, but it was really good.”

The Okanagan School of Education was a natural fit for Zouboules. She had a longstanding professional and personal relationship with Dr. Schnellert from his work with her district and was familiar with his and the School’s general practices.

“Dr. Schnellert and the School have this outlook of it’s not what we do to kids, it’s what we do with kids and one another, and it aligned well with my own personal philosophy about teaching and learning,” says Zouboules, “In addition, I was able to complete most of my courses online, making the program fit in my schedule.”

Her inspiration for her capstone project was a question she had wrestled with almost her entire life while growing up in the Northwest Territories.

“How do we help people who come to the north for education purposes really value what’s already here? What already incredibly powerful knowledge and learning is here?”

In her capstone, Supporting the Integration of Indigenous First Nations Curricula, Zouboules’s research explored the need for contextualized pedagogy. Specifically, she focused on how non-Indigenous educators could integrate local Indigenous curriculum and the importance of designing learning experiences rooted in the local environment, culture, land and history.

Her capstone also takes a unique approach in how she shared her learning journey – she wrote it as a personal narrative.

“It’s storytelling. It’s not the research or the regurgitation of a lot of other research, it’s my story, it’s my journey, and it’s very much in alignment with what the north taught me about learning and teaching.”

The north is a special place to Zouboules. She was born and raised in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories with her three brothers and her adopted sister, who is Chipewyan. As a platinum blonde non-Indigenous child, Zouboules never felt out of place in her small community. She enjoyed learning on the land and listening to the stories shared by teachers and elders alongside her peers.

If you’re thinking about joining the education team in northern Canada, Zouboules has shared some advice:

“Be humble and don’t make any assumptions. If you are coming to the north, or if you’ve recently moved here, be humble. Be humble by the land, and be humble by the people in their knowledge and powerful history. I am every day.”

While she admits the weather may be (extremely) cold at times, the people are always warm-hearted and welcoming.

“You will not find a heartier bunch of people anywhere on the planet,” she says with a smile. “They will give you the shirt off their back. I have such great memories, friendships and relationships that will never end. Even after all these years, I can still walk through local stores and have elders come up to me and say me ‘oh, you’re Jackie’s daughter!’ They know you. They never forget.”

Boundless: Transformative Education Practices and Research, hosted on Zoom, April 8, 2022, from 4 – 9 p.m. PST.

Boundless is intended to serve as a gathering space for Okanagan School of Education graduate students and alumni to present their scholarly work with our scholar-practitioner community. This symposium is an opportunity to learn together and connect socially through presentations and conversations.

Graduate students and alumni are invited to share completed projects or works in progress. Presentations may be individual or in groups. Different formats are welcome, such as panel or roundtable discussions, posters, papers, and arts-based presentations.

The deadline for presentation proposals is March 18, 2022.

Learn more about the event and find the guidelines for proposals at education.ok.ubc.ca/boundless.

While the event is open to all to attend, individuals must register online by April 7, 2022.

The event is organized by a committee of graduate students, Karin Wiebe, Camille Rousseau, Fabiam Lim and Yuki Ueda.

 

B.A.R.K. researchers Camille Rousseau, PhD candidate, and Dr. John-Tyler Binfet, associate professor, are conducting a study on canine-assisted public speaking and need grade 6 and 7 B.C. student participants for interviews. The study seeks to understand how public school grade 6 and 7 students feel about giving presentations. Student participants will be asked how presentations make them feel and what they do to prepare for them.

The interviews will take place over Zoom and will be approximately 30 minutes in length, scheduled during a weekday evening or weekend starting in February. These calls are confidential. Participants will receive a $35 gift card to Chapters.

Parent permission is required.

If interested, please contact Camille Rousseau at c.rousseau@ubc.ca with student name, school name and grade.

Grade 6 and 7 teachers are encouraged to share this information with their classes.

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