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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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FSSH students showcase their Practicum experiences at poster event

Fourth-year Communication student Subhanki Sivakumar says her Practicum experience provided her with many learning opportunities.
Fourth-year Communication student Subhanki Sivakumar says her Practicum experience provided her with many learning opportunities.

Thirty-five fourth-year University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Faculty of Social Science and Humanities (FSSH) Practicum students recently had the opportunity to educate others about their placement experience and its relationship to their academic studies at the inaugural FSSH Practicum Poster Day.

For their Practicums, Communication students Subhanki Sivakumar and Nabeelah Islam developed a communications and social media strategy for the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities. Their responsibilities included:

  • Attending board and town hall meetings.
  • Conducting Social Media 101 presentations.
  • Writing articles for newsletters, and letters to donors.

“Through the Practicum you develop this strong sense of accountability because you’re representing both yourself and the school,” said Sivakumar. “Often, you will take what you just learned in class that week, and apply it in your job. Every moment turns into a learning opportunity.”

“This was a chance for me to develop lots of independence and interpersonal skills,” added Islam. “I feel like it really prepared me for the real world.”

Project Restore Families Impacted By Incarceration (FIBI) was one of the community partners featured at the event. The organization facilitates the restoration of families impacted by incarceration through:

  • one-on-one support for individual family members
  • effective resources and programs
  • individual and group counseling
  • mentorship
  • workshops
  • special events

In January 2014, Project Restore FIBI received its first two Practicum students. At the time, Aisha Francis, Executive Director, was trying to establish the organization while working another full-time job. The students conducted research and looked at potential sources of funding.

“Because of the work the students did, they lit a flame under me,” she said. “I felt accountable to get myself in gear, and it gave me the confidence to leave my other job and officially launch Project: Restore FIBI in May 2014.” Francis took in two more Practicum students during the Fall 2014 semester.

“All of the students bring something to the table, and have been instrumental in building the foundation of this organization,” Francis said. “We are a team; their contributions have helped catapult FIBI to another level. It allows us to move forward quickly.”

The best way for organizations to provide a good learning experience for Practicum students is to give them some autonomy.

“You might be tempted to give the students menial jobs, but you will get a better return if you allow them to take initiative and leadership, and let them spread their wings a bit.”

The Practicum course includes a fieldwork component consisting of 100 hours of unpaid work completed during one academic semester, spread over approximately 13 weeks. Students who opt for a placement:

  • Apply what they have learned in the classroom to a real-world setting.
  • Develop and refine their professional skills.
  • Gain valuable work experience.

The poster is a visual way of communicating an original hypothesis or question that ties the student’s field of study with his or her Practicum experience. It gives students the opportunity to:

  • Discuss the underlying issues of the question/hypothesis.
  • Communicate the theoretical implications of their findings.
  • Provide recommendations.
“The Practicum Poster Day is a fantastic opportunity for our students to showcase what they have learned and observed during their placements,” said Dan Walters, Practicum Co-ordinator, FSSH. “It’s also a great opportunity to highlight all of the partnerships that have been established between the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the community.”