By Erik Dixon
In today’s economy, a career in adult education can take many forms. Stella Han, Academic Advisor in the Centre for Adult Education and Community Outreach (CAECO) at Brock University, started her journey in 2003 as the first international student in the Pre-Service Program in Brock’s Faculty of Education.
Passionate about education, Han has become involved in many areas at the University, including helping to guide current international students through Brock’s Mentorship Plus program.
“I have also been providing free workshops on university academic policies for Intensive English Language Program (IELP) students, to prepare them for a smooth transition to their undergraduate studies.”
After completing a MEd in 2007, Han continued to work in various roles at Brock in research and eventually academic advising. She became one of CAECO’s Academic Advisors in 2012.
Currently, CAECO offers a BEd as well as a Certificate in Adult Education, and is one of Canada’s most recognized adult education programs. Incorporating innovative e-learning technologies and the expertise of faculty and subject matter specialists, the Centre offers a robust academic program of courses.
“When I was a student in the MEd program in 2008, I worked on a project introducing distance teaching – which was still a relatively new teaching concept,” says Han. “At the time, CAECO was the only program in Ontario that offered distance teaching.” CAECO now offers learners options of engaging in small, site-based courses or entirely online courses on a parttime schedule. This allows them to balance academic, professional and personal life goals.
“When I discovered that CAECO was in search of a second academic advisor, I realized that this was the opportunity for me to work with a great team in a program I have passion for,” says Han.
“The staff in CAECO work towards one goal, which is to provide the best learning experience for our students.”
As one of two academic advisors within the program, Han works closely with current students to help them navigate the various course offerings and degree requirements, all while maintaining a personal connection that often leads to their staying connected well after graduation.
CAECO graduates apply their degrees in many sectors — business, industry, health care, government, financial services and manufacturing — where training and development require a solid foundation in the principles and practices of adult education.
Outside of her work at Brock University, Han has continued to broaden her experience in education, teaching Mandarin courses for the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN).
“The class is made up of 19 high school students and 12 adults,” says Han. “The variation among the students in age, language and culture is huge.” Han says that some of her students hope to establish businesses in the Niagara Region, and are using the courses she is teaching as a first step towards connecting with the local Mandarin speaking community.
“A couple of my students are currently studying in the Goodman School of Business [at Brock University],” says Han. “Their goals are to establish business with China or Mandarin speaking clients.”
With diverse and continually growing experience in the field of education, Han believes that education plays a critical role in today’s society. “Ideally, education should prepare and enable people to have a meaningful and enjoyable life,” says Han.
To find out more about Brock University’s Centre for Adult Education and Community Outreach, visit www.brocku.ca/education/futurestudents/adulted