This year we’re taking you behind the scenes to see how PWC operates and hear from key people on the administrative and teaching staff. At and as the heart of our operation is our student advisor, Beth-Anne Chansavang, who helps students navigate the program from application through orientation and any other time in the year that students need her! We got her to sit down and reveal a bit more about her role.
What does the student advisor do?
A little bit of everything, which is why I love being an advisor!
I’m the first point of contact for any questions/concerns that the PWC students have–if I’m not the right person to talk to, I’ll usually direct you to the person that is! I’m also here to provide the PWC students with academic and general support.
Additionally, I work very closely with the Placement Advisor to ensure that students are placed with host organizations that are mutually suitable for both the student and the host organization itself. The Curriculum Lead and I also work closely together, and we both give each other weekly updates as to how the classes are going and how the PWC students are doing. We also work together to create marketing materials for the program and strategize marketing ideas to expand our program’s reach.
I also organize all of the PWC-related events, including orientation, information sessions, networking session, and holiday events. If you came to one of our open houses or attended a university post-graduate fairs, you probably met me there as well!
What are some of the more common issues that students come to you about?
If it’s in the handbook, it’s been asked, which is partially why the handbook exists!
Students are welcome to come and talk to me about (almost) anything, but some of the more common questions are usually about what Humber services are available to them and to clarify what to do about absences and lateness. Students also frequently ask me for advice about how to approach their professors regarding a variety of issues (and what the proper protocols are).
Some students come and talk to me about their workload and how to best balance competing assignment deadlines. Sometimes students also ask me how they should balance the competing priorities of school, family, and part-time jobs.
When it comes to placement time, many students stop by to ask if they think a certain posting would be a good fit for them, and I’m always happy to provide constructive feedback (and a confidence boost!).
My favourite part of my role is that some students come just to chat about the program and their lives, and I really love being able to forge meaningful connections with students because these are the experiences they’ll remember and take with them when they graduate from Humber.
Are there any things that students are surprised they can talk to the student advisor about?
A lot of students are very surprised when I say that I want them to check in with me throughout the program, even if it’s just to say ‘hi’. Many post-graduate students are coming out of a university environment where survey-classes and large lecture halls are the norm. The PWC cohort is purposely smaller than a typical post-graduate program, and this is to ensure that we’re able to provide students with the best learning experience possible and to ensure that they feel supported throughout the program.
What’s your favourite part about your job?
I’m fortunate in that I’m able to teach business English at Humber, and one of the reasons I love teaching so much is because of the interactions I have with students and the privilege of seeing students’ ‘lightbulb’ moments.
As an advisor, I’m able to forge connections with the students outside of the classroom. I’ve been called the ‘Mother Hen’ of the PWC program, and I think that’s actually quite fitting!
What’s your favourite grammar or writing rule?
Oooh, that there aren’t really any hard and fast rules depending on the context/genre! (<—notice my use of a fragment to answer a question? I’m okay with that because I’m writing in a more informal context!).
However, I really love finding and correcting misplaced/dangling modifiers–not because I’m good at correcting them, but because I am guilty of making this error, too. Also, I am loving the fact that popular usage has turned our steadfast grammar rules on their head (notice how I used a stative verb in the present progressive/continuous? Neither would most people — because it’s 2016, and our language is beautifully organic and ever-changing).
One thing that I’ve learned is that most grammar rules shouldn’t be called ‘rules’ but ‘strict guidelines’. I’ve had to tell myself not to be in love with a guideline but to be in love with writing, and I try to remind myself and students of this every day. I’m happy to work with students to make the guidelines work within their writing, or at least give them the tools so they understand when these guidelines can be broken.