Support centre opens up for graduate students in education

The Graduate Programs in Education Support Centre aims to serve as a graduate writing centre

Martin Schulte-Albert, Tory Handford, Giang Nguyen Hoang Le (Kevin) and Manjeet Gupta. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

If you are a student who is taking a Masters of Education or a Graduate-Certificate in Education, then there is a new support centre on campus specifically for you!

The Graduate Programs in Education Support Centre, located in AE 305 and open Monday through Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. aims to help graduate students in a way similar to how the Writing Centre on campus assists undergraduates and graduates in other programs.

“This is the first support centre for graduates. There is the Writing Centre for overall writing support on campus, but it is not discipline specific,” said Joe Dobson, a senior lecturer in TRU’s education department and a facilitator of the support centre.

Much like the Writing Centre, in which work-study students and volunteers provide peer-support, the Graduate Programs in Education Support Centre also uses a peer-mentoring model. However, while the Writing Centre has proven a great resource for students on campus, Tory Handford, coordinator of graduate programs in education, says that it unfortunately just isn’t enough for graduate students.

“The Writing Centre is there, but what we regularly experience is that the writing centre is not quite structured in the right way for graduate students,” she said. “It is there and it is good support, but graduate students need a different kind of support than, “What is your opening paragraph?” This is our effort to move it into a graduate writing space.”

In addition to this, the Graduate Programs in Education Support Centre is also more centrally located to many of the education program’s classes in the Arts and Education building.

Currently, there are two teaching assistants, Martin Schulte-Albert and Giang Nguyen Hoang Le (Kevin) and one research assistant, Manjeet Gupta, who assist students from thesis statements, citations, writing, developing ideas and everything in between.

While the support centre’s teaching and research assistants are also students themselves, they are all near the end of their program and as such have ample knowledge of the program’s courses and assignments.

“What we try to provide here is more catered to our own experiences in the course and the coursework. For us anyway, since we are senior students in the program, we’ve seen a lot of the projects that students have or are currently undergoing,” Schulte-Albert said. “It’s a catered experience in that matter. Since we have walked that same path, we can lead students in that regard.”

The support centre also aims to be a great help for international students too, as they face the most difficulty in graduate programs due to having to adapt to a Canadian writing style.

“For international students, most of them don’t know the writing style over here, it’s all new to them,” Gupta said. “When they have to write long papers it’s really helpful. We know how to help, it’s like peer mentoring, we know what they are going through.”

Next week, the Graduate Programs in Education Support Centre will be holding their grand opening on Oct. 19 at 2:30 p.m. in AE 305. Everyone’s invited and the centre is asking anyone who comes to bring cultural items from their home country to help decorate the space.

“We are so thrilled to have such great TAs and RAs as our inaugural group,” Handford said. “They have been so enthusiastic, so self-directed. They are innovative, they really understand what students need. Because they are all these things, we can let this be student directed. This reflects the actual needs of students than some administrative view of students. We’ve got three great people for this.”