SFU Campus Chilliwack

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I grabbed The Brass Ring and said, "Yes!" when Dr. Ian Allen, Professional Development Program (PDP) Director, asked if I would move to Chilliwack and launch and run the Chilliwack External PDP for Simon Fraser University. My responsibilities were administration, program design, and supervision of student teachers. In addition, I was the liaison for the press (The Chilliwack Progress) and Fraser Valley College for recruiting potential students. This assignment turned out to be the most challenging and satisfying in my 35 year teaching career.

Our SFU campus was in the two-room Camp River Elementary School in the Rosedale farming area. We started with 18 students for the 401/402 semesters, with most coming from the Upper Fraser Valley. Two men commuted daily from Vancouver. We increased to 20 students for the 405 Semester, with placements from Agassiz and Hope to Chilliwack and Abbotsford in elementary and secondary schools. Our 401 placements were in Chilliwack and, in the Rosedale area of Dutch and Danish farmers, I saw for the first time in my teaching career a whole classroom of blond heads!

The goal of our program was to properly balance the integration of theory and practical experiences. In fact, the students in this external program got more practical experience than those in other programs. SFU professors and faculty associates from the Burnaby campus, as well as Chilliwack School District #33 personnel and myself, presented workshops and seminars. There was a reciprocal arrangement for school associates to attend our workshops and for our students to attend District #33 workshops. All of our students who applied to districts beyond Chilliwack got teaching assignments for Fall 1976.

We kept a scrapbook of polaroid photos and such wonderful memories were captured, as follows: our hosting of three LOMEX (Lower Mainland External Program) groups on our beautiful campus for a picnic, which included fresh picked corn-on-the-cob and a game of baseball; our field trip and hike taking in historical landmarks, Weaver Creek spawning grounds, Kilby Park picnic on the Harrison River, Hemlock Valley, and the Hemlock Valley Ski Lodge; fresh corn-on-the-cob being our specialty and ready after workshops; and a $2 pail of fresh squirted milk from the farm nearby in the same pail that was used for the picked corn! 

Dr. John Ellis, Dean of the SFU Faculty of Education at the time, joined us one day and he enjoyed the ambience along with us. We were a very special group and all the students strived to make this campus the best around.

Joan Gideon
Faculty Associate 1975–1976