Jacqueline Pizzuti Ashby

"When I reflect on this journey, I see the wonderful individuals who kept me laughing, engaged, and stimulated to learn."

Year Graduated: 2013
Program/Degree: Educational Leadership EdD

Thesis: Designing for the future : A post-occupancy evaluation of the Peter Jones Learning Centre

Greetings!  I am a doctoral alumna here at Simon Fraser University, where for the past several years, I have been examining the transactional relationship between students and their learning environments.  Currently, there is a dearth of information concerning the dynamics of campus space as it contributes to student learning outcomes.   My research, therefore, has focused on addressing this area.  Specifically, I’m interested in the planning and design of non-formal learning space, and how students utilize these self-directed environments in achieving their academic endeavors.

What would you say to prospective students who are considering graduate school at SFU?

Graduate school is what you make of it.  Take control of your education and own it because the process is very autonomous and self-directed.  Fortunately, SFU hosts and supports numerous programs, associations, clubs, and events that provide opportunities for greater learning and involvement.  Explore them!  Over the last few years, I have served as student representative on the editorial board of the Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, received my Certificate in University Teaching and Learning, and participated in the SFU Sustainable Educational Ecologies project (http://www.sfu-see.ca).  These experiences have all contributed to my personal and professional growth.

What was one of your favourite classes you took during your degree and why?  

During my graduate coursework, I adopted an interdisciplinary approach and enrolled in SFU's Urban Design Certificate Program.  As a result, I took six additional courses that included design theory and practice, ecological planning, and economic fundamentals.  These classes afforded me the opportunity to engage in the development of space and structure as well as embed myself in the language and perspective of a completely different discipline.  I experimented with new methods, including the post-occupancy evaluation, in addition to creating a sustainable plan for a new university campus, and contributing to design charrettes integrating the campus with its surrounding community.

Describe the significant relationships you’ve developed with fellow students. How did collaborating with other students contribute to your education?

Learning is an exchange of ideas, often acquired through discourse.  Collaboration is the language we learn when we collectively strive to address today’s problems.  My friends and fellow students at SFU have been there, helping me negotiate certain paths and exchanges across this academic landscape.  These relationships continue to provide support, comfort, and camaraderie during the most challenging assignments.  When I reflect on this journey, I see the wonderful individuals who kept me laughing, engaged, and stimulated to learn. 

You can learn more about Jacqueline and her research here.