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Jane Newland receives Laurier's Residence Academic Partnership award
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Jane Newland, assistant professor of French, has received Laurier’s Residence Academic Partnership award. The award recognizes faculty members who support academic initiatives within the university’s residences.
This is the first year Newland has been involved with the new Maison Française Residence Learning Community (RLC), one of Laurier’s themed residence environments designed to extend opportunities for learning and development into residence buildings. Newland often spends evenings with students in La Maison Française, organizing academic activities such as exam review sessions and a reading club, as well as cultural events such as making a traditional Galette des Rois and game and cinema nights (in French, of course).
“All the professors in the French section have been extremely supportive of this initiative and have also spend evenings with the students,” say Newland. “We try to give students a broad range of activities, some practical for their studies and some that are more cultural.
“It was a truly lovely surprise to be awarded; I’m glad the students have enjoyed the activities we’ve been doing with them. I think anything we can do to ease the transition between high school and university is a positive thing.”
Newland recalls the moment when all the French professors went into the residence for the first time.
“I hadn’t realized how terrified some of the students were to be meeting us,” she says. “Gradually, over the course of the evening, everyone relaxed and realized we were approachable and human. It broke down the barriers. They realized we are there to help them and we don’t mind being approached with questions if they are having difficulties or issues in class.”
Another important aspect of the RLC program is getting students involved in activities on campus outside the classroom.
“I am amazed at her ability to engage students in the community,” says David Shorey, associate director of residence education. “Her leadership has supported the continued growth of Laurier’s RLC program, and provides another wonderful example of the impact a faculty member can have on students outside the classroom.”
The Residence Academic Partnership award is bestowed to one faculty member each term. Previous recipients include Bob Sharpe, associate professor of geography, Julie Pong, an academic advisor in the Faculty of Arts, Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts, associate professor in the Languages & Literatures Department, and Laura Allan, assistant professor in the School of Business & Economics.