In #SAcdn, Articles

by Sarena Johnson

It is with extreme gratitude that I introduce our new Editorial Board today! This is a significant milestone in the development of SA-exchange into the valuable community resource it was meant to be. I’m very much looking forward to working with these talented folks, and optimistic about the upcoming school year for higher ed and SA-exchange. Our board members bring with them a vast and diverse set of skills, experiences and communities. This post is an opportunity to get to know them in their own words:

Kyle Baillie

I (He/Him/His) have been working in Student Affairs for close to 20 years, starting as a Resident Assistant and having made stops in most services along the way. I am currently the Director of Student Life & Development at the University of the Fraser Valley on the beautiful, traditional unceded lands of the Sto:lo people in British Columbia.

I did my undergraduate and graduates degrees at Centenary University (Hackettstown, NJ) and credit my amazing colleagues there with forming my Student Affairs practice and philosophy. I have also worked at Douglas College (New Westminster/Coquitlam, BC) where I was the manager of the Office for New Students, and the Director of the Centre for Campus Life & Athletics.

I am passionate about student and staff development, and love seeing and supporting people striving to achieve whatever goals they are pursuing. I classify myself as a “servant leader” with an innovation agenda that thrives on strategic goals and working with energetic people. This pairs well with my hopes for SA-exchange: There is amazing research being done across the country by some phenomenal scholar-practitioners. For me, SA Exchange provides a creative forum to balance the research, connect, and have authentic conversations about a range of topics that are core to our profession. I hope it becomes a place to share ideas, dream big and ask the what-if questions that we all have from time to time. I know there are amazing ideas percolating across this vast and diverse country we call home, I hope SA-exchange becomes a place to bring them into the light to be discussed and celebrated.

In an attempt to create some sort of work-life balance, I am married to my best friend and partner in crime, am a proud fur-dad to the most handsome French Bulldog in the world, I ski, ride all manner of two wheeled contraptions, restore all manner of four wheeled contraptions, and plays the bagpipes. Not even kidding about the bagpipes.

Melissa Warden Black

Hello! My name is Melissa Warden Black, and I’ve been working in Student Affairs since July 2014, when I started as the Orientation and Transitions Coordinator at the University of Manitoba. I have worked in event planning full-time for 10 years, at The University of Winnipeg and Red River College before the U of M, and previous to my career move into campus life, I worked in media relations. At the U of M, I am responsible for Fall and Winter Orientation, the creation and launch of our online orientation program, as well as a summer event, Head Start.

When I first came across the SA-exchange, I was actually disappointed I hadn’t learned about it sooner! I thought it was such a great initiative, and loved its purpose of speaking to issues and topics related to SA with a tone of openness and acceptance. Storytelling is an amazing way to share information, and communicate messages with meaning and impact. Since discovering the SA-exchange, I’ve been able to relate to colleagues at post-secondary institutions I’ve never met, but with whom I share a common belief or who have sparked a perspective I hadn’t thought of before. As SA professionals, it’s important to stay relevant with the emerging issues not only in our field, but also those that will impact students in ways we haven’t yet come to realize. Speaking openly about mental health, decolonizing post-secondary institutions, privilege, and issues at our own campuses is important as professionals to ensure we are best serving our students, and for our own professional development, but for ourselves as individuals as well; when I read stories here, on more than one occasion I have identified with it first as myself, and secondly as an SA professional.

I immediately knew I wanted to join the board because I’d like to see the SA-exchange reach its full potential. It is a rich resource that more of our colleagues can benefit from, and contribute to. It has the ability to be an artistic outlet as well with art, poetry and digital media to contribute to tell stories and share topics of interest. Personally, I have my own stories to tell that I hope would be of value to you, and I hope to be able to share my own artistic contributions. With fellow board members, I’d like to collaborate on ways we can extend our audience, better share relevant messages, and allow you to share your own stories. You never know how you can impact another person, and at the heart of it, I believe that’s what the SA-exchange has the power to do, above and beyond its contributions to the SA community. In 2016, I got as close to eloping as I could with my husband, Jeremy, and we have three ‘kids’; Beatrix (cat), Quinn (dog), and Embers (cat), who are all amazingly wonderful. In my spare time I like crafting, getting creative, reading, and hanging out with the hubby and kids.

I look forward to working with you all!

Carrie Chassels

I have been an educator for more that 25 years. My career ‘thinking around the corners’ to promote access, inclusion and youth development began with the Easter Seal Society of Ontario where I worked for five summers as a camp counsellor and then director at the Society’s camp near Kirkland Lake. In 1992, I completed a B.Ed. degree and I had the privilege to work as a teacher, curriculum leader, and vice-principal for the Toronto District School Board for almost ten years. The 1990s was a very transformative decade for public education in Ontario as human rights policies, social justice initiatives, and safe schools programs were introduced to reduce barriers to learning and to make schools more aware of, and responsive to the diverse needs of students. During the 2000s, I studied as a Ph.D. candidate and worked as a B.Ed. instructor at the University of Toronto (OISE). My OISE years provided me with tremendous opportunities to deepen my understanding of teacher and student development, and systemic and structural barriers that limit opportunities and outcomes for students who experience schools, including post-secondary institutions as sites of discouragement, dehumanization, and discrimination.

From August 2014 until August 2018, I served as Associate Vice-President, Student Affairs at Vancouver Island University (VIU). I can’t begin to express the depth of my learning at VIU. With much appreciation for the teachings of VIU’s Elders-in-Residence and the University’s other Indigenous educators, and Indigenous Elders and leaders in the broader mid-island communities, I became much more aware of Canada’s colonial history, the enduring impacts of broken treaty assurances and our country’s genocidal residential schools, and our national imperative to activate the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Throughout my time at VIU, I also valued the opportunity to build relationships with fellow senior student affairs professionals as a member of WESTSSAA (Western Senior Student Affairs Association).

On August 27, 2018 I began a five-year appointment as Vice-Provost (Student Affairs) at the University of Guelph. U of G has a long history of leading innovative pedagogy, programs, and research in Student Affairs and I’m looking forward to contributing to future initiatives guided by this strong tradition. I’m also looking forward to building new relationships with student affairs leaders in Ontario as a member of OCSA (Ontario Committee on Student Affairs), and across Canada as a contributor to SA-exchange.

Our work as student affairs professionals has changed significantly over the past decade and supporting each other is vital to our professional and personal well-being. I’m excited by the opportunities for dialogical learning and collegial support that will be fostered and sustained through our active engagement with SA-exchange and I appreciate the opportunity to contribute as a member of its inaugural Editorial Board.

Kerrin Duggan

My name is Kerrin Duggan and I’m the Coordinator, Student Life at Nova Scotia Community College. I’m based out of our Halifax Campus but I am lucky enough to get to travel across the province to our 13 campuses. I had the opportunity to be heavily involved in student government during my undergrad at St. FX University. This experience in my undergrad is what lead me to working in Student Affairs. After graduating I had the chance to briefly work in both recruitment and residence life and then found my way back to student leadership. I’m excited to join the editorial board at SA-Exchange to help create a platform for Student Affairs professionals across the country to share their ideas and knowledge. I think SA-Exchange can be a place for professionals new and seasoned to learn and share their thoughts and perspectives. I hope that SA-Exchange can continue to grow and become a strong piece of the SA Community.

Here we go!

Image result for Mohawk and HEQCO conference Tim Fricker

Tim Fricker

I joined Mohawk College in 2012 as the Director of Student Success Initiatives. I currently serve as the Dean of Students and am responsible for a portfolio of programs aimed at improving student wellbeing, learning and success. I led and co-authored Mohawk’s HEQCO funded student success research projects and I now lead the new College Student Success Innovation Centre. Prior to joining Mohawk, I spent 8 years working in student housing and residence life at Mount Royal College, the University of Guelph and Campus Living Centres. I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Windsor and a Master’s of Education in Post-Secondary Studies from Memorial University. I am also a PhD candidate at OISE where I am studying the relationship between student characteristics, advising participation, and retention.

Patty Hambler, MEd

Tansi! Hello! Greetings from the West Coast! I’m based in Vancouver, privileged to be working and living on the unceded traditional territory of the Musqueaum people. My role at the University of British Columbia is Director, Health Promotion & Education. I’ve worked  in student affairs since 1999 when I took on a Residence Life Manager job in family housing here at UBC. Since then, I’ve spent time working in student leader development, peer programs, administration, and now health education and promotion. For me, working in SA is about community building, collaboration, and contributing to the educational mission of the University. As a social learning theory nerd, I love engaging in and reflecting on the process of learning and identity development, which led me to be involved in helping to develop the CACUSS competency model in 2016. I’m excited to be involved in SA Exchange, and have an interest in exploring how this platform can help to further develop our national student affairs and services community of practice. I’m looking forward to connecting with colleagues in BC and across Canada to encourage people to share their ideas, reflections and innovations.

Cori Hanson

Hi, I’m Cori Hanson and I have the pleasure and privilege of being the Assistant Director, Student Experience & Teaching Development at the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto (U of T). In this role I work with senior administration to support our undergraduate students through policy development and programming. I’m also a PhD student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), where my research is on the Whiteness and Maleness in engineering education and the effect these issues have on the student experience.

One of the first questions I usually get asked when people find out I work in engineering education is “Are you an engineer?” I’m not, my educational background is in sociolinguistics and post-secondary education. I’ve been working at U of T for 11 years and in student affairs for 7 years. After being a research assistant and an administrative assistant, I realized that while I enjoyed research the part of working at a university I loved most was the students. So I switched gears and became a residence coordinator. From there I moved into registrarial services and academic advising. My careers has taken me all over U of T, having worked in 7 different roles at 4 different Faculties, but I feel so fortunate to have had all these experiences, each one teaching me something new about post-secondary education and student affairs.

I’m thrilled to be part of the editorial board for the SA-Exchange. This feels like an exciting time of transition in student affairs in Canada as the profession grows and is (re)defined by the people who are part of it. I hope to bring my perspectives of working in a professional faculty and my career in student affairs at a large research university to the editorial board. The SA-Exchange has already become a great meeting place for people working in post-secondary education to connect and learn about practice, theory and research. I can’t wait to see how the SA-Exchange continues to evolve.

Kathy Offet-Gartner

Hi, my name is Kathy and have been a Post-Secondary counsellor for about 25 years; the past 19 at Mount Royal University (MRU) in Student Counselling Services.  I am a registered psychologist and have focused on working within and for Indigenous communities either directly in community (about 12 years) or with the indigenous students who are on campus.  Currently, I offer counselling in the Iniskim Centre, the Indigenous academic centre on campus and host a Women’s group, a drop-in gathering of women supporting women, lunch is provided, and students can come and go, and stay as long as they wish.  

I am mother to 4 incredible adults, mother-in-law to 3 members of their respective communities, and Kokum to 3 beautiful members of the Seton band of BC.  I am Norwegian and of Sami descent.

Alero Ogbeide

My name is Alero Ogbeide (she/her/hers), and I have the pleasure of being a Residence Life Area Coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, ON). I completed my undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and English at Western University whilst exploring various opportunities in residence life, student council, and orientation week. I spent a year working in Residence Life at the University of Guelph before coming into my current post. My interests outside of my work include cooking, browsing through old bookstores, playing tennis and volleyball, doing puzzles, and learning new things.

I’m really happy to have been introduced to SA-exchange because it intersects with all of the things I am passionate about: writing, student affairs, and the sharing of stories in a way that inspires and motivates others. SA-exchange presents an opportunity to continue the cultivation of an open-minded and safe space, one that can only be found in the realm of Student Affairs, and I feel so fortunate to have found such a space that aligns with my personal values and interests. Additionally, I haven’t been working in the field for very long, so I love that there is a place where I can learn from others who have had a myriad of experiences that I can learn from. I look forward to hearing the stories that have yet to be shared!

Laura Pasquini

Laura Pasquini

Hello! My name is Laura Pasquini is Senior Lecturer in the area of Workplace Learning & Performance with Department of Learning Technologies at the University of North Texas (in Denton, TX) and a Researcher with The Digital Learning and Social Media Research Group at Royal Roads University (Victoria, BC). In both of these roles I explore how knowledge, technology, and community influences our personal and professional learning. Many of my experiences within student and academic affairs, specifically with my roles in academic advising, leadership and service, career counseling, campus activities, first year experience and orientation programs, and residence life, have provided me with the foundation to explore what it means to be a professional in higher education today. As a distributed team member and online faculty, I hope to find new ways to support and reach campus stakeholders (students, staff and faculty) in digital spaces.

I currently teach and research specifically how postsecondary educators grow and thrive in their careers through mentoring relationships, on-going professional development, digital storytelling experiences, and networked practices. My interest in contributing to the SA Exchange is to put into practice and apply evidence from research to scaffold a distance learning and community building online. As I consult with a variety of education institutions, non-profit and corporate associations on the stewardship of technology for networked learning to enhance organizational culture and design, I hope to offer some insights, strategies, and pedagogy for how this community can connect and engage professionals across Canada. When I’m not researching, teaching, or consulting, you can most likely find me strumming my ukulele, boarding a plan for fun adventures, doodling my latest projects and ideas, listening to\making a podcast, or going for a run/hike with my pup, Jack. Learn more about Laura’s work and play at and viaTwitter: @laurapasquini

Auggie Senis

My name is Auggie Senis and I am the Director of Digital Marketing and Communications for Student Affairs at Queen’s University. In my previous life as an ad executive, I was lucky enough to work with some great individuals and teams that produced transformative brand experiences. The opportunity to work with an organization that closely aligns with my values and the chance to produce meaningful work is what brought me to Queen’s and Student Affairs. My interests include cultural trending, technology, the mashup of art and commerce, space science, big mountain snowboarding, personal development and discovering delicious new recipes.

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