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The BAPC On Campus program is not for the faint of heart

October 10, 2014
By: 
Dr. Jeff Orr

The BAPC On Campus program is not for the faint of heart – it starts early, with an intellectually intense undertaking called residency which starts in August, and hits campus right after Labour Day for 3 weeks of concentrated class time.  This year’s residency took place in the Arbutus building, early enough that the fruit was still on the trees outside the classroom… a temptation that proved irresistible to some students. The classroom itself was also fruitful, with courses ranging through Professional Experience, Public Speaking and Presentation, Professional Writing, and Theoretical Foundations in Communication.

Maggi Feehan shouldered fully half of the classes (COMM325 and COMM300) to ensure that everyone knew from the outset how best to present their ideas and themselves. The speeches in her Public Speaking classes are the most nerve-racking 1- and 2-minute spans of many people’s year, and without fail some of the most fulfilling. Seeing what elements of your own life, experience, and learning you can communicate to others while under pressure and up against the clock is an incredible exercise in self-awareness, clarity and confidence. The results were amazing – both in their content, and the change in skill over such a short time.

Les Wiseman’s writing class is always a revelation, in part because practicing interview techniques on your instructor can reveal more background stories than you ever thought could be packed into a mere 30 years of journalistic experience. More importantly, how to ask questions, how to elicit information, and how to do primary research are skills that never get stale. Conveying the information you’ve acquired in coherent and engaging piece of writing is the basis of almost all communications work.

Michael Real took on the theoretical work of providing the underpinnings of how to think about communications and how to look for thematic explanations that underlie lived experiences. Going through a broad overview of communications theory gives everyone tools to explain some aspect of their life or their society. Having an instructor who was at The March on Washington in 1963 providing a personal perspective on the event is a profound and moving classroom moment. Having a professor who can explain the relationship between such historically critical moments and theoretical discourse is a rare learning experience.

The residency ended, as always, with the group presentations – a series of engagements that link the ideas and skills from the classes together in a longer demonstration of theoretical and practical awareness. They were an amazing exhibition of creative talent and intellectual ability! Students and instructors were equally pleased with the results, and the audience at large was definitely impressed. Great work all around!