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International Education

Training for Industrial Electronics Students in Ontario 2014

During the March Break, 14 third-year Industrial Electronics students, accompanied by two teachers, traveled to the Siemens training center in Peterborough, Ontario where they took the SMPI-Level 1 Instrumentation training course. The complimentary five-day training program has been made available to Industrial Electronics students for the third consecutive year.

The Siemens Peterborough plant specializes in radar and ultrasonic level instrumentation, weighing systems, and industrial communications. This valuable opportunity allowed students to experience the latest in industrial automation and control hardware, as well as the application theory for these technologies. The Siemens Learning Institute in Peterborough allows students to absorb theory and practice in a simulated industrial environment.

In their free time, students also enjoyed presentations from guest lecturers, visited the Siemens manufacturing and R&D center, and received a tour of Trent University.

We are continuing to build our relationship with Siemens. In fact, our partner graciously awarded a bursary to student Jeslan Rajendram in the amount of $500. Future collaborative projects are in progress and we hope to strengthen our ties with this world-renowned industry leader in upcoming years.

Brazilian Delegation

Vanier College welcomed three professors, Dr. Rodrigo Fernandes, Dr. Alexandre Perreira, and Mr. Vitor Lozenzo, from Brazil the week of March 3, 2014, as part of a two-year Brazil-Canada teacher training project. These professors were selected from Federal Institutes (educational institutions devoted to technical training from the secondary to the doctorate level) in Brazil and are in Quebec as guests of John Abbott College for several months. Vanier was asked by John Abbott to provide a week of training in pedagogy particularly related to the sciences and the technologies.

The delegates’ schedule was full. There were classroom observations, visits to labs and different departments, and talks with Vanier researchers and proponents of active learning. There was an amazing lunch with Vanier teachers who have been working on integrating students from different cultural backgrounds; our Vanier teachers not only learned about the Brazilian system of education but also about projects their own colleagues had initiated.

Our visitors praised Vanier. They noted that the student was central to our concerns. We were always looking for ways to prepare our students not only for university but also for their careers. They saw active learning as a way to do this. They observed that we were looking at this new generation of students and understood we must make changes in our pedagogy. They appreciated that when shown the chemistry labs, they were shown both the old and the new; they saw that we were a college in transition and they appreciated being shown that transition and not just what was new. They observed that we like thinking “out of the box”.

Many people helped welcome the delegation including Normand Bernier, Eric Lozowy, Odette Côté, Willie Brown, Tim Comerford, Quentin Van Ginhoven, Jason Duheme, Nick Rudi, Melodie Hicks, Stéphane Giroux, Rachel Jobin, Catherine Duranleau, Josée Tamiozzo, Mike Besner, Barrie Benton, Rhys Adams, Edward Awad, Kevin Lenton, Chris Hall, Marguerite Corriveau, staff from The Learning Centre, and Haritos Kavallos.

The contribution of Jailson Lima and Lissiene Nieva to the success of this week was invaluable. Coming from Brazil themselves, they were able to add a touch of “home” to the visitors’ stay with us. Michael Sendbuehler’s exploration of the links between the technologies and industries was particularly helpful to the delegates.

We are looking forward to strengthening our links with Brazil in the future.

Le Nord: Territoires et Imaginaires – Complementary Course


This complementary course co-taught by Myriam Mansour, Geography, and Catherine Duranleau, French, saw its main component, a 9-day road trip along the north shore of the St- Lawrence River, come to life during March break. During the seven classes prior to the trip, students learned about this particular territory, its inhabitants, its various cultural, social, economic and environmental characteristics/traits and issues, and particularity its literature, poetry, songs and films. This pre-departure preparation allowed students to better appreciate the Côte-Nord once there.

During the trip, the group visited various historical museums along the coast, indigenous Innu (not to confuse with Inuit!) cultural centers, art galleries and met with key players of the region. Among those were, just to cite a few examples, the director of the Tshakapesh Institute for the preservation of the Innu culture, environmental activists working for the protection of rivers and other local ecosystems, the director of GRÉNOC, a research group on the Côte-Nord literature.

Among the highlights of the trip were also intense exchanges with elementary school and high school students of two Innu communities with whom Vanier College students got the chance to mingle with through several activities, during their Cultural Week: the demonstration of snowshoe making and of caribou fat skimming, the sharing of traditional food including bannock and caribou stew, games of ballon quille in a school gymnasium, etc. In sum, the group had an absolutely memorable time all along the road: so many experiences, so much warmth from their hosts and so much acquired knowledge in such a short period of time! And, they successfully reached Kegaska, the tiny town at the end of road 138, about 1300 km from Montreal.

Our 24 students were fantastic! On several occasions, they were complimented by our hosts for their genuine interest while they were avidly taking notes and asking pertinent questions. We are very proud of them!

Brandee Diner in Belize

With support from Vanier College’s International Office and the Faculty of Careers and Technical Programs, Brandee Diner,  Coordinator of the Department of Environmental and Wildlife Management (EWM) spent one month in Belize at the Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society (T.R.E.E.S).

T.R.E.E.S is an organization dedicated to conserving Belize’s natural and cultural heritage through education, income-generating conservation-based community projects, capacity building, and local and international networking.  Brandee had three objectives during her time at the center.  The first was to set up and monitor internships for graduating students in the EWM program.  The second was to foster a partnership between Vanier College and T.R.E.E.S for the entire Vanier community to use as a hosting center for future internship placements and field courses, as well as international projects and training.  The final goal was to aid in the collection and analysis of baseline ecological data related to the migration of songbirds from North America to Belize during the winter.

Brandee’s trip was a complete success.  The groundwork has been laid for a long-term migratory bird monitoring station and two EWM students began a long-term vegetation survey as their internship project during the 2014 winter.  Furthermore, T.R.E.E.S hosted two EWM graduates in the spring of 2014 for advanced internships in ecology (GIS mapping and herpeto fauna surveying) and several more students are expected to go in the winter 2015.

For more information on T.R.E.E.S. and the center’s developing partnership with Vanier College, please visit http://treesociety.org/ or contact Brandee Diner at dinerb@vaniercollege.qc.ca.