I arrived at BCIT in 2002 and have never considered changing institutions. I truly enjoy my work, BCIT students, and BCIT colleagues.
You may know me from various institute committees or events over the years, or because of my research work, or in my role as an instructor and program head in the Communication Department, or through my work on the FSA board of directors since 2014. I am currently the board liaison for COPTS (Caucus on Part-time Studies) and for CARAS (Caucus on Applied Research and Advanced Studies), and I am also Board Policy Trustee.
I value our members, hearing your stories, sharing perspectives, and witnessing your passion for what you do. As a board member I have seen first-hand how our FSA staff work tirelessly to support members, and how our organization protects and advocates for our members. The FSA “holds the line” when members need help, when members are in conflict with management, when departments are not consulted on academic matters, when the employer makes poor decisions which compromise our work or hurt members, as when class sizes balloon or delivery modes are changed without proper consultation. As we move towards bargaining, it’s heartening to see FSA member Colin Jones leading the charge as Chief Negotiator and fighting for Part-Time Studies members alongside all our members.
At the end of the day, despite issues, our members emphatically say they like their work; they like their students; they are ENGAGED with their work (notwithstanding the “BCIT Employee Engagement” score).
With that in mind, it’s worth emphasizing the obvious: that our work is important and that “the industry” we work so closely with at BCIT – as we teach and support students and lead projects – expects us to keep pace with best practices. Industry knows the strong case for the benefits of diversity. Studies like those by McKinsey & Company and The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, which finds that every 1% increase in diversity in Canadian workplaces produced an average 2.4% increase in revenue, reconfirm the evidence that inclusion initiatives create successful organizations. These findings apply to research too, as experts like Page and Thomas demonstrate that innovation and progress in research are propelled by diversity: for example, that diverse groups providing a range of viewpoints will consistently outperform groups of like-minded experts.
We need to support our students in realizing the value of diversity on our campuses, so they can bring that awareness to the workplace and leverage diversity on the job – this is what industry expects. We need to continue to lead the way with applied learning and applied research. And the FSA needs to continue to push BCIT to provide us with the resources needed – like admissions standards, sufficient student supports, suitable class sizes, adaptive learning models – and the innovative work practices needed for our applied learning and research, built on proper consultation – so we can meet the diversity expectations of industry. This is best practices work I am proud to be part of.
Watch Shannon’s video statement from the March 6th all-candidates meeting.