On Oct. 29, University of Saskatchewan students and staff gathered in the College of Education to celebrate the unveiling of the second wall in the revisitED installation program.
RevisitED has committed to building unique displays on eight walls of the Education Building from September 2015 until April 2016. Each wall represents a specific theme, value or tradition of the College of Education.
This month’s wall is called “DiversifiED” and includes a photo arrangement featuring faculty, staff and students. Each person in the arrangement is holding up a sign that describes themselves in three to six words. Descriptions include familial roles such as “daughter, mother, wife,” while others make reference to cultural pride and gender: “proud, Saulteaux, man.”
The installation also incorporates quotes from well-known individuals like Ghandi, Pablo Picasso and Aberjhani, as well as an intricate painting by Daniel Syrnick, an arts and science student.
According to Michelle Prytula, dean of the College of Education, students can now gain an increased sense of connectivity to the college and their fellow peers.
“These revisitED walls and events are designed to symbolize the profound commitment to and value of the work and relationship that takes place between the teacher and student, family, community and society,” Prytula said in an email to the Sheaf.
With 1,607 students enrolled in the College of Education for fall 2015, there are many people coming and going from the Education Building every day. As such, the revisitED program hopes to draw the attention of students and passers-by. This was especially clear during the unveiling event, where people were encouraged to grab a cup of free coffee and share their own descriptive words on a temporary bulletin near the new installation.
Prytula believes that interacting with an increasingly broad range of people is the best way to gain an understanding of a variety of individuals and cultures.
“The more we talk in terms of diversity, the more aware and appreciative we become of one another, and the better we are able to act as advocates and supporters for all groups and individuals with whom we interact,” she said.
Prytula believes that understanding the theme of diversity is especially important for educators.
“Teacher candidates and teachers are expected to be able to differentiate their teaching and their programs to suit the needs of all individual learners in the classroom,” Prytula said.
According to Prytula, the program’s main goal is to create a feeling of connection between the College of Education and its students and alumni. RevisitED aids in the building and sustaining of that connection between the college’s past, present and future.
“I hope to help current students and alumni, mainly teachers, take another look at who they are and where they have come from, and realize how valuable they are as a student in the college or a member of our alumni,” she said.
This goal coincides with the College of Education’s recent move from non-direct to direct admission. Before the switch, students were required to spend the first two years of their program in the College of Arts and Science and the second two years in the College of Education.
Prytula argues that the former non-direct entry system did not allow the College of Education adequate time to build meaningful relationships with its students.
“That gave us only really one and a half years to build affinity and engagement and that, in my opinion, has not been enough.”
When it comes down to it, the College of Education hopes to create skilled educators who carry with them a connection to their roots.
“Our aim is to help our students realize the depth of the commitment that they are making to the child, the family and society, and it will help them take pride in the fact that they have chosen to become a teacher,” she said.
“So much is going on in the College of Education and so many reasons to revisit ED.”