Conestoga news

May 23, 2024 12:06 PM

Conestoga professors contribute to wellness dialogues in the Netherlands

From April 23 to 26, three Conestoga faculty participated in a week of learning and knowledge sharing in an international study week in the Netherlands. The theme of the week was vitality, health, and well-being, and was hosted by the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences at Zwolle.

Professors Laura Turner, Amanda Miller and Judah Oudshoorn represented Conestoga at a recent international study week in the Netherlands.

Professors were invited from institutions around the globe to discuss solutions to United Nations Sustainable Development goals, with the aim of bringing together bright teaching and student minds to share knowledge on how to solve the world’s pressing issues.

Since 2014, Conestoga has had a working relationship with the university, selecting professors each year to participate in the school’s international week.

Representing Conestoga were professors Judah Oudshoorn, Human Services; Laura Turner, Health Care Administration and Service Management; and Andrea Miller, Nursing. The week included interactive lectures and workshops as well as cultural exchanges, networking opportunities, and keynote speakers. The three professors each performed workshops on an area of expertise that focused on the theme of health and well-being.

Oudshoorn’s workshops, Accountability Work with Men to End Gender-Based Violence, delved into a very serious and important topic, and he appreciated the opportunity of having a broader group and outlet for this discussion. 

“I facilitated three workshops on the topic of working with men to end gender-based violence. I was reminded that, despite different languages, cultures and ethnicities, male violence is a global concern. In fact, without these types of opportunities for knowledge exchange, we are unlikely to sufficiently spark our imaginations for the best ways to end gender-based violence,” said Oudshoorn.

“I came away with the resolve to encourage others at Conestoga College, including my Social Service Worker students, to seek out ways to learn from people of other countries.”

Turner’s workshops, Participation for All: Introducing PREP to India, focused on Pathways and Resources for Engagement and Participation (PREP) - a Canadian-authored, evidence-based, environment-focused intervention approach and the cultural and clinical implications of its introduction to a low- and middle-income country such as India.

Turner valued the quality of partnerships that she was able to build, and noted how interactions with both students and professors contributed to these relationships.

“The exchange of ideas with students and faculty was a key highlight of our time in Zwolle. We were able to learn that many of the challenges we face in our day-to-day teaching practices are experienced worldwide, and this shared understanding allowed for immediate connection and a sense of collegiality,” said Turner.  

“These conversations sparked discussions focusing on innovation in teaching and global partnerships. As faculty, we can envision the possibilities, however, it was the students who demonstrated the essence and importance of our global partnerships.”  

Miller’s workshops, An Interprofessional Approach to Health and Wellbeing, centred on team-based approaches to addressing global issues that impact the health and well-being of a population.

Miller remarked on the interactions with students, and how impressed she was with how they embraced and shared her content, as well as that of other professors.

“The students attended our workshops throughout the week, however, they also participated in a living lab where they were tasked with the challenge of developing an innovative solution for addressing one of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals,” said Miller.

“Our week concluded with students showcasing their work and inventive solutions for addressing global health and well-being issues. We were amazed to see students from around the world collaborate and action the knowledge they had gained from the workshops.”  

The faculty were chosen from a comprehensive review process and were supported by the college’s Global Initiatives office, which focuses on education abroad programming, academic and research partnerships and exchanges, as well as virtual and on-campus activities to help internationalize the Conestoga community and create new global opportunities that support student engagement and demand.

“We’re proud to send our talented professors abroad to participate in these forums and provide a platform for their outstanding work to be shared and enlighten conversations on an international scale,” said Sandra Schelling, executive dean, School of Health and Life Sciences.

“We’re also grateful for learnings, both cultural and academic, that faculty bring back from these trips and how they enhance the learning environment at Conestoga. We look forward to continuing this work with the global initiatives team going forward.”  

Conestoga’s School of Health & Life Sciences offers a range of credentials to assist students in their goal of becoming a health-care professional. The school delivers the most up-to-date training provided by expert faculty and staff in state-of-the-art facilities.

Conestoga’s School of Community Services is a leader in translating students’ passions for working with people and making a difference in community into successful careers in human services and community safety.