Ensuring that all students can participate and learn together is part of our DNA at NBCC; in fact, embracing diversity and inclusivity is one of five guiding principles of the College’s vision statement. The leadership of several faculty members in fostering an atmosphere of belonging has earned them national recognition.
Steven Austin, a Carpentry instructor at the Moncton Campus, and the Welding faculty at the Saint John Campus are 2020 recipients of the Canadian Association for Community Living’s National Inclusive Education Award. The award recognizes an individual or team who has made a positive and signficant contribution to inclusive education in the early learning, public school and post-secondary systems. Austin and the Saint John welding faculty are the only New Brunswick post-secondary representatives among this year’s award recipients.
Prior to joining the faculty at the Moncton Campus, Austin regularly welcomed differently abled students to construction sites for work placements. Twelve years ago, he turned that advocacy into a career at NBCC.
Since then, his caring and compassionate approached has helped forge a new path for many students. With an intuitive ability to assess progress in ways beyond the mark on a transcript, he proactively seeks new and creative ways to better support his students, as well as their tutors and mentors, in his classroom.
The welding faculty at the Saint John Campus, made up of Scott Steen, Kristie McHugh, Fred Smith, Amanda Fagan, and Kelsey McKenzie, demonstrated its commitment to inclusion this academic year by adapting classroom environments and teaching styles to support a student on the autism spectrum.
Working with the campus learning strategist and the student’s tutor and family, the instructors developed alternate methods of instruction and coordinated their schedules to offer one-on-one instruction outside of instructional hours. The student’s engagement and confidence have grown, and the other students in the class have learned the importance of inclusion.
“At NBCC, we’re committed to ensuring everyone feels valued and has opportunities to add value,” said Mary Ellen Kingston-Ritchie, Director of Student Development. “We’re proud that NBACL has recognized the work of these faculty members with this year’s awards.”