Sheryl Cooper

"I’ve heard good things about SFU and the Faculty of Education over a number of years. I was impressed by its reputation."

Year Graduated: 2014
Program/Degree: C&I Post-Secondary MEd

I work as a nursing instructor in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Faculty at North Island College on Vancouver Island.

Please tell us why you chose the Faculty of Education at SFU for your studies.
a) Three fold: 1) I needed a Masters degree to teach on the BSN program at my college and 2) for my own personal and professional growth and 3) I love learning and being able to go into a classroom and share ideas with like-minded peers and benefit from being guided by knowledgeable & experienced professors.

b) I was excited to discover that SFU was collaborating with a Vancouver Island college to offer the MEd, which meant that I could both benefit from SFU professors and not have to leave the Island. I’ve heard good things about SFU and the Faculty of Education over a number of years. I was impressed by its reputation. Just before immigrating to Canada in 2004 I had started a Masters program (which I left half way through to move here with my family), so thanks to this opportunity I was finally able to complete a Masters degree (just 10 years later than planned!).

How has this program impacted the way you approach your profession now?

I now have a deeper understanding (and interest!) of all aspects of education from the macro to the micro level, from a social history, economic and political perspective. The program has given me increased confidence in my own academic ability. The main goals of the program were to develop our ways of being and knowing. Rather than concentrating on the art of teaching, the program helped us to develop the tools to adapt to and influence 21st century education. We also had the academic freedom to shape our own assignments/essays (by utilizing each courses’ learning goals & course materials to relate to our own professions).

What has been most rewarding about your experience in this program?

The cohesiveness of my cohort, leading to stimulating and enjoyable discussions with peers and professors. I will miss our bimonthly Saturday sessions! Coming from another country, I now feel that I know and understand so much more about B.C. and Canada – it’s past and its influence on today’s society.

The MEd program has enhanced my philosophy of active student-centred learning and further developed my ability to utilize a wide range of pedagogical strategies which foster a safe & collaborative environment encouraging critical thinking and evidence-based problem solving. It has increased my passion for guiding and enthusing further generations of future nurses & learners.

What was your research interest/concern for your comprehensive exam?

‘Identifying the challenges faced by Aboriginal nursing students and exploring potential pedagogical strategies to promote success within a small rural community college’

Aboriginal nursing students face complex and multifaceted challenges in the Canadian Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs. This is reflected by the low recruitment and high attrition rates of Indigenous students entering nursing. The author identifies and examines specific challenges, related organizational and pedagogical strategies to promote successful completion of the nursing program. An extensive literature review and discourses with nursing faculty and support staff stress the importance of meeting both practical and cultural needs of Aboriginal students, by using critical and constructive approaches at all levels of the organization and increasing collaboration with Aboriginal communities.