SAIT Academic Faculty Association

SAFA Update

James McWilliams, SAFA President  2014 – 2018





If you have any questions or concerns please contact:

James McWilliams (SAFA President)


Al Brown (SAFA Labour Relations Officer) 

through the SAFA Office – N201 Senator Burns Building  (403) 284-8321. 


The ACIFA Conference Update:


The ACIFA (Alberta Colleges Instructional Faculty Association) held its annual Conference this year, May 15-18, 2107 in the pristine Jasper Park Lodge in Jasper Park Alberta. The Conference was hosted by Bow Valley College; and the theme for this year was “Pioneering Alberta’s Learning Frontier”. In keeping with the theme the Keynote Speaker was renowned naturalist and anthropologist Brian Keating. Keating hosted a weekly column for the CBC and has been featured on Discovery Channel. He is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Calgary. Keating’s presentation was energetic and humorous, with a superbly unique overview of Alberta’s mountain and glacier park lands. Quite impressive for those of us that have never really taken advantage of Alberta’s serene geography.

The Conference offered a melee of educational sessions, facilitated by faculty members from various colleges in Alberta. Most importantly, there were a number of SAIT Faculty members that presented some very enlightening sessions.


April 28, 2016 - Photo with Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt

Left to right:  Al Brown, Amir Fard, Tracy Fawcett, Honourable Marlin Schmidt, Candace Van Apeldoorn, James McWilliams


Scroll down for photo of Minister of Advanced Education with some of the SAFA Executive members...


Our thanks and congratulations to:-


Teela Kowalchuk, Instructor in the School of Health & Public Safety who presented the “The Locked Classroom” keeping students engaged with hands on – relevant – comprehensive and fun through modified learning.

Ian Cowley, Jen Marran, Alan MacLean, from Faculty Development Services presented, “From SME to Shining – SME”. A superb overview of best practices, supporting, mentoring and teaching Excellence provided by these facilitators, emphasizing the journey from a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to SMEs as- practicing - practitioner of research –based instructional best practices.

Sherryl Melnyk, Instructor conducted a workshop on, “The Art of Storytelling to Engage Post-Secondary Students”. A fun filled class promoting the art of Storytelling as an interactive form of expression. The workshop highlights the opportunity for the use of stories as a means of deepening students’ engagement, understanding, and retention of course materials.

Yoni Porat, Academic Services… would have us explore the “Prisoners Dilemma”. Our colleague with his unique mathematical mind had the participants try and rationalize “Dilemma”. The question the Dilemma forces participants to confront is: do we all have a rational reason to cooperate with others and abandon our short-term preferences?? No one succumbed to abuse or injury during the session??

Al Brown,  SAFAs official Labour Relations Officer gave an extensive overview on “The Duty to Accommodate in The workplace”. Emphasis on the duty of Employers in Canada (Specifically within Post-Secondary) to make every reasonable effort, short of undue hardship to accommodate an employee who falls under protected ground of discrimination within human right legislation. Insightful tips into, pitfalls to avoid, factors to look for to help you understand your rights.

I would also like to send out a personal ‘Thank You’ to two of our SAIT Colleagues that participated in a Discussion panel  on:- Academic Integrity: The Current Impact for Instructors and Students and Future Professional Implications.  Mary Marier and Jane Dieghan  from the School of Business. Their input was both valued and appreciated.


The Jasper Park Lodge staff were responsive to the needs of the Conference participants, Monday evening we enjoyed a well prepared buffet and some lively “Dueling Pianos” entertainment.  The evening gave all in attendance an opportunity to mingle, converse and catch up with old friends. Bow Valley College were attentive hosts and made everyone feel welcome.

The highlights of these Conferences for me are:  having the pleasure of meeting SAIT Faculty that I do not always have the chance to dialogue with through the year. Most importantly though, it is having the opportunity and the privilege to showcase SAIT’s faculty presenters.

The 2017 Conference will be held in Canmore; the host will be Olds College and their theme will be “Cultivating Connections”.


James McWilliams,

President, SAFA Academic Faculty Association.
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