The 2021/22 academic year saw a return to in-person learning for many MacEwan University students. And with that came a wave of activity that had our campus buzzing.

Students from across faculties and schools put their learning to the test with experiments, community partnerships and extracurricular activities.

Here are some of the coolest things that happened on campus this year.

Studio skills

Students gather around a console in a recording studio

For the past four years, Craig Brenan, a professor in the Department of Music, has been running a high school youth music program at MacEwan. This year, for the first time, the program included MacEwan Youth

Audio, a class on audio recording where students learn the basics of sound recording, including how to use music editing software.

Over the course of three two-hour sessions, students performed, recorded, mixed and mastered a cover of the song “Still Into You”  by the group Paramore. Listen to a clip.

Images of recovery

The Interdisciplinary Dialogue Project (IDP) brings together faculty, students and staff from different disciplines, as well as broader community members, to explore a social justice issue.

This year’s theme was RECOVERY – participants explored different forms and experiences of recovery as it relates to individuals, communities and the world more broadly. One of the ways they did so was through a Tracing Stories, Creating Healing: IDP Student Photo Contest that had students submit photos that conveyed their experiences and interpretations around the theme of recovery. Here are this year’s winners:

Photo of a messy bed with books on it. Three dreamcatchers hang on the wall behind the bed.First place: Celina Vipond

Black and white photo of protesters. One is holding a sign that says "All lives can't matter until Black lives matter!"Runner up: Alisha Gonzalez

Close-up image of a green eye.Runner up: Kateri Kramer

Staying connected with Ukraine

Students in Dr. Michael Gulayets’s Sociological Field School class, which combines the study of social issues, experiential learning and international travel, had been collaborating remotely with a sociology class at the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv, Ukraine. They had planned on travelling to Lviv for the Spring term to study with the UCU students in person.

When the Russian invasion of Ukraine put a stop to those plans, the class shifted gears. With travel to Ukraine no longer possible, each of the students instead presented on an issue related to the Russian invasion at MacEwan’s Student Research Day in April. Topics ranged from disinformation and performance activism to use of symbols in war and impact on families.

“We had to adapt our plans, but we still wanted to explore issues that impact Ukraine, so the focus turned to matters related to the Russian invasion,” says Dr. Gulayets. “In addition to exploring social issues that impact Canada and Ukraine, the course taught us to be flexible and adapt. In our last online class together, the students from UCU shared their experiences of the war with us. We were incredibly impressed and moved by their courage, determination, and resilience.”

Reporting with respect

Bachelor of Communication Studies students in Neill Fitzpatrick’s Introduction to News Reporting Course received training on a heavy – but necessary – topic for budding journalists. Speakers from the Centre for Suicide Prevention presented a workshop on ethical and responsible reporting on mental health issues. 

“How journalists communicate about suicide matters,” says Hilary Sirman, education director with the Centre for Suicide Prevention. “Sensational reporting can have a negative effect on suicide rates, while responsible reporting can have a positive impact. This means that journalists have an opportunity to bring about meaningful change, encourage public discussion and raise awareness about mental health.” 

Read more about the workshop.

Run with Recruiters

A group of students wearing red t-shirts run in a line through a gymnasium.

Students in the Police and Investigations program are on campus early once a week from September through April sweating it out with recruiters from the Edmonton Police Service (EPS). “We’re very passionate about helping young people,” says Constable Jin Lee, who is an EPS recruiter. “They need life experience, and we are building it together starting at Run with Recruiters.”

Benefits of the hour-long workout aren’t just physical. Students hear about active EPS members’ experiences, learn about career options, work together in small teams, and participate in cognitive exercises. Sometimes that means pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone. “We often work out until we feel like we’ve hit our limit, then push a little bit further,” she says. “It shows us just how resilient we can be. Building fitness takes time, hard work and resiliency, and so does becoming a police officer – but eventually it all pays off.”

A memorable 48 hours

Eight Journalism students received a unique opportunity to job shadow the production crew of an iconic true crime television shows. When an episode of the CBS program 48 Hours revisited the notorious Mark Twitchell “Dexter Killer” case, it included an interview with Dr. Steve Lillebuen, assistant professor in the Bachelor of Communication Studies and author of The Devil’s Cinema, an award-winning book on the case.

“I’m always looking for ways to get my students involved in my journalism projects, so when CBS called to ask me for an interview about my book, I knew exactly where I wanted it filmed: right here on campus,” says Dr. Lillebuen.

Read more about the 48 Hours shoot.

A fishy development

Students aren’t the only ones who have had new and interesting experiences on campus this year. The zebrafish that have played a central role in many research projects at MacEwan over the years have also had an exciting year – they got to move to a brand new lab space.

"Opening this new lab is definitely an example of our university's teaching greatness," says Dr. Melike Schalomon, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science. "We've had a number of undergraduate students who have participated in zebrafish research, collecting data and designing their own studies, as well as presenting that research at national and international conferences and publishing their work in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The lab will allow for even greater opportunities for them."

Read more about the new zebrafish lab.

Get creative

After two years of limited time on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students were eager for hands-on experiences again, and the library’s makerspace did not disappoint. Students can now get creative with 3D printing, vinyl cutting (for stickers and decals), VR goggles, GoPro and 360 cameras, and Raspberry Pi and Arduino kits.

Learn more about the Makerspace.

Celebrating 50 … and beyond

The 2021/22 academic year marked MacEwan’s 50th anniversary. While we continue to celebrate our 50-year milestone we’re also looking ahead to the future. As part of the year’s festivities, we put together a collection of items for a time capsule that will be opened on the university’s 100th anniversary. But before they’re locked away for the next half-century, many of the items were displayed around campus.

Here are just a few of the items that will be sealed into the time capsule. Come and see them on campus this spring and summer to learn more about each one.

Time capsule items in a glass display box.

Time capsule items in a glass display box.

Time capsule items in a glass display box.

Time capsule items in a glass display box.

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