Experiential learning and applied research have long been at the heart of the NBCC experience, which is built on the principle that students learn best by doing.
Training the next generation of doers requires instructors who are passionate about learning and skilled in mentoring. The efforts of one NBCC instructor were recently recognized by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF).
Michelle Robichaud, a marketing instructor in the Business department at the Saint John Campus, was named one of NBIF’s top 25 Star Mentors, earning an Honourable Mention in the competition for the Star Mentor of the Year award. Robichaud’s selection stemmed from the successful employment rate of her students – 80 per cent go on to work in marketing-related fields – and from her work in racking up 265 student experiences with 48 local organizations.
“We have done a lot of work and made significant contributions to the community,” said Robichaud of the honour. “This really tells me that the work we’re doing is worthwhile, and it gives me a renewed purpose.”
Robichaud’s submission for the award competition required pulling together information on all the applied research and experiential learning projects her students had participated in over the last six years. When she reviewed the material that made up the submission package, Robichaud reflected on the first applied research project she led.
“I knew that our students had to get connected with the community somehow, and so I reached out to my network of non-profits to see if any of them needed a social media marketing plan,” she recalled. “They saw real value in what the students provided for them.
“I didn’t even really know at the time that it was applied research!” she added. “I just knew that our students had to make connections with the community.”
Robichaud is the 2018 recipient of the NBCC Excellence in Leadership: Teaching award. From coaching students for the Vanier College Case Study Competition to developing partnerships with local employers to connecting the College with community service and leadership events, Robichaud enriches the learning experience for NBCC students and creates opportunities for them to make lifelong connections.
The Star Mentor Award is presented to staff at New Brunswick’s colleges, universities and research institutions who have a demonstrated record of training the next generation of researchers.