Prof aids first-year students


(Photo by Heather Davidson)
(Photo by Heather Davidson)

Jane Newland, an associate professor of French at Wilfrid Laurier University, won this year’s residence academic partnership award due to her involvement with the residence learning communities (RLC). The award recognizes the active involvement professors have in residence communities and the work they put into student learning.

“I was surprised and overwhelmed to win,” said Newland. “I’m honoured to have won it.”

In particular, Newland got involved with the La Maison Française RLC. She said the reason she got involved was because of the work she was already doing coordinating French courses.

“Since I coordinate a lot of the first-year courses in French, I see many incoming students. Getting involved with the residence communities seemed like a great way within the department to reach out to students and help with their learning experiences.”

Newland also said that the learning communities were a good way to get to know her students better.

“It’s a great way to get to know students outside of the classroom environment, in a setting that they feel more relaxed in.”

Ashna Haji, the La Maison Française residence life don, was excited that Newland won the award.

“She is really involved with the students in the residence. She does everything she can to help students.”

Haji said that Newland was very supportive of her and the students on her floor.

“She is very hands-on in the community and organizes a lot between the students and members of the French faculty, such as exam reviews. This award is recognition of her hard work and that is not an obligation, but a choice she made to reach out to students.”

Sarah Boyko is a first-year student who lives in the La Maison Française community. She said Newland has had a positive impact on her studies.

“At the beginning of the year, I was nervous about what my profs were going to be like. Dr. Newland helped to get rid of the stigma that profs don’t care.”

“She has been very helpful within the residence. The exam reviews have been a huge help, and I really appreciate her taking the time to offer that to us,” Boyko continued.

While the award was for Newland’s efforts and achievements, she emphasized that she was not the only one that stepped in to help the students.

“It wasn’t just me, but the whole French section within the languages and literature department that helped coordinate and carry out the activities that have been going on in the residence communities … I could not do it alone.”

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