Relevant Degree Programs
University students and term-time work. See blog: https://blogs.ubc.ca/hardwork/
Community engaged learning in universities.
Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Requirements" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
- Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
- Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
- Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
- Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
- Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
- Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
- Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
- Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
- Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
Great Supervisor Week Mentions
It's Supervisor Appreciation Week at #UBC. Kudos to my #GreatSupervisors Dr. Alison Taylor and Dr. Honxia Shan @edstubc for challenging my thinking while supporting and sharing their wisdom with me!
Alison provides gentle guidance and support! My critical thinking & writing skills are better because of her!
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2019)
Universities underwent tremendous change and growth over the last decade triggering a rise in management and professional (M&P) staff. A combination of factors contributed to the changes including the implementation of corporate and new public management (NPM) strategies to manage and monitor specialized and growing areas in higher education. Some of these emerging areas included: internationalization; fundraising and development; community outreach; revenue generating venues; and, innovative teaching and learning initiatives. Universities began to rely increasingly on professional staff, with specialized expertise, to run institutional services and operations. The University of British Columbia (UBC), a large, publicly-funded, research-intensive university located in British Columbia, Canada, was no exception. In 2018, M&P staff numbered 4,530 members (AAPS, 2018), or 28% of the university’s reported workforce of 16,089 employees (UBC, Overview and Facts). M&P staff now makes up the single largest workforce sector at the university. This burgeoning group of highly-educated, skilled ‘new professionals’ (Gornall, 1999) is recognized by the university as a unique employee group through its professional organization, the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff (AAPS). However, despite their professional contributions to the operations and the strategic long-term mission of the university, in institutional literature these employees are bundled under the homogenizing term ‘staff’. This terminology clearly separates them from the ‘other’ employee group, academic faculty, and effectively positions them in a blurred, or ‘third space’ (Whitchurch, 2013), a conceptual place sandwiched between the unionized staff and faculty members. Through one-on-one interviews with 15 participants and document analysis, this research explored how some M&P staff members made sense of, and navigated, their occupational and organizational identities within that third space at the university. In addition, the study explores how participants coped with challenges around recognition, professional development, and high turnover. As the higher education sector continues to evolve and grow, the roles of M&P staff will also evolve and grow. This research contributes to understanding how M&P staff make sense of their positioning within the university, and in turn, how this workforce can be better supported in order to minimize the challenges they face and to promote a more productive work environment.
This formative intervention study used activity theory and expansive learning frameworks (Engeström, 2001) to examine how a working group of 12 educational leaders from one British Columbia school district co-constructed their understandings of competencies. These leaders were supporting school and district colleagues with the redesigned curriculum, originally known as the BC Education Plan (2012a) and later as Building Student Success: BC’s New Curriculum (2018a), as well as with the Ministry of Education’s revised Student Reporting Guidelines (2016). Over nine research sessions, participants explored their contexts and future-oriented visions of learning with a focus on competencies. These sessions were audio-taped; the audio tapes were then transcribed. Transcripts were initially sorted for sensitizing concepts according to the theoretical concepts of activity theory: subject, object, mediating instruments, rules, community, and division of labour. This coded data was then analyzed for themes and sub-themes reflecting needs at each state of the expansive learning model: questioning, double-binds of practice, contextual resistance, and reflection on realignments. The analysis that emerged from this process showed how participants co-constructed understandings of competencies that went beyond demonstrations of knowledge, skills, and aptitudes; instead, they focused on competencies as a collective need to honour local collaborative learning communities, co-construct diverse learning paths, and shift systemic practices toward expansive learning. Participants described the importance of professional collaboration, engagement, relationships, and new assessment models, as well as the challenges of supporting colleagues to act on their ideals and contribute to shifting district practices. This study provides a rich perspective on how activity theory and expansive learning can be used as models for understanding the complexities of systemic change in public education systems.