Brigid Goitse Conteh
Where and what is your current position?
As a lecturer in the Communication and Study Skills Unit, my responsibilities are to teach Communication and Academic Literacy skill course to first-year science students and academic writing skills to post year one students. I also collaborate with colleagues designing new courses and reviewing existing courses as per the guidelines of the quality assurance structures are requirements. Lastly, as an educator, I have a civic responsibility to engage in professional and community outreach activities responsibilities in order to form partnerships between the university and the community
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
I started off as a high school teacher and now I am a lecturer, so I have been an educator all my life, albeit at different levels.
How does this job relate to your graduate degree?
The focus of my research, which was on the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning in higher learning, is relevant to what I am doing right now in my classrooms. My students and I are using ICTs for teaching and learning, for assessment and collaboration. My learning experience at the University of British Columbia, has afforded me opportunities to be accommodative of new cultures, new perspectives and innovative pedagogies that cater for students academic needs.
What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?
As a young researcher, I was motivated to pursue my graduate studies at the University of British Columbia because of its recognition as a global centre for teaching, learning and research. As an international student, I found the opportunity of being part of the UBC community exciting as it would enhance my learning and engagement in research and expose me to a learning culture that would challenge me to realize my full potential. In addition, provisions of scholarships and awards for graduate students were also a motivator for me to choose UBC for my graduate studies.
What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?
I enjoyed collaboration with students from around the world, being able to learn the different cultures and sharing my own culture as well. Although school work was hectic, I took time to explore Vancouver in order to enjoy the scenery and the food.
What are key things you did that contributed to your success?
I learnt that time management is critical for success in graduate school. Discussions with supervisors about your project is also very important so that you stay on track.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?
Graduate studies is a journey, as a graduate student, you will learn a lot about yourself and what you want to do once you graduate.
Did you have any breaks in your education?
No, I did not.
How did you find out about/obtain your current position?
Having been a high school teacher and a teacher educator for more that 20 years, I felt that I had reached the peak of my career in that environment, I then decided to change my teaching environment and explore other higher education contexts in order to position myself for advancement opportunities. My interactions with colleagues from the university exposed me to the teaching environment and the attraction was the opportunities for furthering my education. So, when a position became vacant, I applied and was accepted.
What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?
I did not manage time effectively and I had to complete my writing while I was back at work. That delayed my progress because I was not able to handle the work load. Completing my work while at UBC would have expedited my finishing of the degree.
How are jobs normally posted and filled in your organization or industry?
Jobs in my organization are posted in local and international newspapers and on the university website. candidates apply, they are then called for interviews and successful ones are hired.
What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?
Teaching 21st century learners can be challenging in that priority should be in ensuring that they are engaged in learning and teaching. Therefore, as a lecturer teaching a skills based course, it is critical that I explore pedagogies that can engage students and support the development of the academic literacies required for academic success. With the disruptions of COVID 19, and most of the learning has shifted to online platforms, it has become even more apparent that students need a lot of support in the learning process. The challenge therefore, is exploring the use of the myriad digital technologies and choosing those that can be used to effectively support students learning in contexts where the rapid transition to e-learning has highlighted issues of inadequate access to technologies and the digital divide.