“The key to engagement is to remain adaptable and listen to students’ needs. The course content must also be accessible and offer opportunities for dialogue.”
Sandi Stewart, Master of Arts, Folklore Studies
Sandi Stewart started as a Teaching Assistant at Dalhousie University in Fall 2018. She holds a degree of Master of Arts in Folklore from Memorial University. Sandi has worked closely with museums and archives in Atlantic Canada. Her experience in the not-for-profit sector specifically has awarded her a fresh perspective on data management, programming efforts, and daily operations in the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) community. Her interest in developing and delivering training for museum staff and volunteers inspired her to pursue supporting courses at the university.
CEGE Connection reached out to Sandi in a virtual interview to discuss her Teaching Assistant experiences and on working within a team focused on creating memorable and valuable learning outcomes.
I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the diverse experiences and learning opportunities I have been a part of since I first began my journey at DAL nearly three years ago. I have worked with dedicated faculty and staff in courses offered by the Department of English, Faculty of Computer Science, Rowe School of Business, and Faculty of Management.
I quickly learned that courses offered by the School of Information Management (SIM) were of interest to me and I am thankful for the experiences and relationships that I have formed through SIM over the years. I have supported several core courses in the Bachelor of Management program, including MGMT 1601 (Electronic Information Management), MGMT 2305 (Ethics and Social Responsibility), and MGMT 3602 (Professional Communications Skills). This summer, as a Teaching Assistant, I branched out to support graduate students enrolled in MGMT 6735 (Public Service Leadership), BUSI 6996 (Sustainable Leadership), and BUSI 6900 (Corporate Responsibility). I am also guiding undergraduate students as they navigate Business Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in COMM 2310.
In the past, I assisted with courses in the History of Science and Technology (HOST) Program at the University of King’s College and worked closely with a talented teaching team. As I continue in my roles at SIM and CEGE, I look forward to working with both undergraduate and graduate students as they grow and flourish as leaders in their communities.
I truly believe that courses run smoothly with the help of a teaching team in which professors, teaching assistants, and markers communicate their ideas clearly and collaborate on course components throughout the term. This approach builds both a solid foundation for coursework and a strong support system for students. I appreciate those who bring different experiences and/or perspectives to a course. It is very rewarding to see students develop their skillsets and apply what they have learned, not only in assignments and tests, but most importantly in course discussions.
The key to engagement is to remain adaptable and listen to students’ needs. The course content must also be accessible and offer opportunities for dialogue. This can be done during in-person tutorials, breakout groups in Collaborate Ultra, or in the Discussions tool on Brightspace. The key takeaway here is to remain flexible. The most impactful moments for me continue to be seeing the results of collaborative learning and reflection.
I applaud the university community for coming together and embracing online learning since the pandemic. We have all shown our creativity, determination, and support for each other during this challenging time. This has also been a period of learning and reflection for many, including myself. I am grateful for the number of opportunities I have been given during this time to learn and grow in my roles and the wealth of knowledge being shared. For instance, I attended informative sessions on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), student support, and online learning during my time at DAL. These conversations are an integral part of my own learning journey.
I look forward to continuing these efforts and applying what I learn to create a welcoming space in courses.
Sandi Stewart, MA
School of Information Management
Faculty of Management, Dalhousie University
“Without the cohort of talented and dedicated TAs, the experience would have been so much harder for students and faculty members. We know that we put you through the paces this year and we are grateful for your energy and commitment.” Dean Kim Brooks