Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge offers some of the most extensive practicum experiences in Canada. L to R: Jaime Iwaasa, Program Specialist; Kelly Vaselenak, Administrative Assistant; and Dr. Robin Bright, Interim Dean Faculty of Education.

With twenty-seven weeks of practicum built into the Education program at the University of Lethbridge, Field Experiences is vital to the faculty. “Student teachers need the opportunity to develop their skills,” says Dr. Robin Bright (BA’79; BEd’81; MEd’88). “Practicums give them a chance to apply and practice in the field what they learn on campus each semester.”As assistant dean of field experiences, Bright oversees a small but dynamic team who coordinate between 900 and 1000 placements a year. Their goal is to balance the needs of the students with the needs of the field — administrators, teacher associates, mentors, billets and other stakeholders — in an environment that fairly, positively, and productively represents the interests of all.

“We like to give practicum students a variety of experiences,” says program specialist Jaime Iwaasa, who looks after placements for Professional Semesters I, II, and III. “Different classrooms and grades, and a chance to work within their major as well as grow outside of it. We sincerely appreciate the teachers and administrators who open their schools and classrooms to impart a wealth of experience and knowledge on our students.”

"Our zone is so large our program wouldn’t manage without billets,” says administrative assistant Kelly Vaselenak.

Vaselenak arranges carpools and accommodation for students who travel to rural communities, manages expense claims and honoraria, and organizes Ed 2500 placements for the sixty hours of practicum each student must complete before entering the faculty. Although most of their work is done by phone and email, Iwaasa and Vaselenak enjoy the friendly camaraderie of their communications.

“I want our field experience partners to know how grateful we are for the very positive relationship we have with them,” says Dr. Robin Bright. “Wanting to support our program and mentor new teachers shows how much they take seriously the profession."

"We’re always looking for more field experience partners. We encourage people who’ve never taken a student teacher to get involved and see how positive it can be," says Bright.

Writer: Elizabeth McLachlan, Photographer: Rob Olson

For more information please contact:

Darcy Tamayose
Communications Officer
Dean's Office • Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
Learn more about the Faculty of Education: Legacy Magazine (2008-2019)
Twitter: @ULethbridgeEdu Website: uleth.ca/education
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