Joao Borges shares International student experience at Peterborough Immigration Partnership panel

Guest blog post by Project Management student Joao Borges.

Peterborough Immigration Partnership (PIP) is an organization that provides a coordinated approach to immigrant integration in Peterborough, Ont. On Thursday, February 20, 2020, PIP held its annual general meeting. This year’s theme was the attraction and retention of international students, specifically through education and entrepreneurship.

I was thrilled to be one of the speakers in the discussion panel, “Global Education, Local Impact: How 2 International students have made their mark as Peterborough entrepreneurs.” 

We exchanged unique perspectives regarding the resources our community provides to assist with the integration and career development of newcomers. I spoke about how Fleming College provided me with the business knowledge and hands-on experiences to succeed as an entrepreneur with the Paper Planter project; how I was able to leverage Fleming’s resources and connections to engage with community partners; and how Fleming’s community involvement is important to attract and retain talent, generating economic prosperity.

If there is one outcome we agreed on, it is for sure that Peterborough has a strong sense of collaboration and community members are passionate to help others make educated decisions. This provides an environment for Fleming students to use their skills to generate economic, social, and sustainable impact.

I also thoroughly enjoy learning about important community change-makers. It was a proud moment to see strong Fleming College representation and, as a former student worker at Fleming International Student Services, it was interesting to re-explore the work our staff is doing to support integration and retention of skilled talent into our community.

Tracey McConnery, Manager of English Programs & International Student Services, provided us with a presentation about the important role that Fleming is playing in providing resources to international students by collaborating with important community partners, such as the New Canadians Centre, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, and Community Futures Peterborough to name a few.

Being part of this event was an awesome experience. Besides the network and exchange of ideas, I was proud to see Fleming College actively engaging with community stakeholders, and fulfilling its mission of becoming true partners in the community.

Joao Borges (centre) at the discussion panel,
“Global Education, Local Impact: How 2 International students have made their mark as Peterborough entrepreneurs.” 

Fleming Digital Learning Advisor Accepts Open Education Award for Excellence in Milan, Italy

Congratulations to Terry Greene, Digital Learning Advisor in Fleming’s Learning Design & Support Team, who accepted the Open Education Award for Excellence in Open Pedagogy on Tuesday, Nov. 26 in Milan, Italy. The award was presented by the Open Education Consortium, a global network for open education.

“It wouldn’t have been half as special to accept the award without having my daughter Hattie there with me. I was happy the ceremony was after the day of conferencing, as I had a chance to go pick her up from the babysitter and bring her to the ceremony,” said Terry from Milan, where he is spending the week attending the Open Education Global Conference, accepting the Open Pedagogy Award, networking and exploring more open education opportunities.

“Of course she totally upstaged me by running up to me in the cutest possible way as I got the award,” Terry laughs. “I made sure to pop my Fleming shirt and scarf on, so everyone knew where the best sharers of pedagogy come from!”

The Open Education Awards for Excellence recognizes outstanding contributions to the Open Education community, including leadership, resources, projects and initiatives. Terry received the Open Pedagogy award for the Open Faculty Patchbook, which he worked on through Fleming College and eCampus Ontario.

The Open Faculty Patchbook is a helpful resource written by faculty for faculty and follows the idea of being a “community quilt of pedagogy.” Individual faculty members contribute stories (“patches”) on different teaching topics and, when compiled together (like a quilt), it provides a helpful resource on how to teach at college.

“It’s the community quilt of pedagogy and, if you have enough pieces, you can try to cover everything,” said Terry.

The idea stemmed from an open education conference in Richmond, Virginia in fall 2016, which Terry attended for professional development. Keynote speaker Robin DeRosa shared her experience creating The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature, a textbook she created with the help of her students, which sparked Terry’s idea of an open textbook for faculty.

“Her goal was to save students money with an open textbook and she took it to the next level by getting the students involved in its creation,” Terry explains. “The free textbook was about American literature and her students helped create sections of it, including introductions, annotations and discussion. When you put it altogether, you have a free textbook that you could keep growing every year. And it’s openly licensed and open access to any student anywhere. Not just Robin’s.”

The idea inspired Terry to create something similar about teaching, where faculty members could share their experiences with others to help them grow. His goal is to continue building the Patchbook and add to it annually for faculty members, new and seasoned, to read.

Terry is pleased with the success of the Patchbook and never expected to win an award. He said he attended the 2016 conference hoping to bring something back to Fleming College and feels this proved successful. Now he is hopeful the Open Education Global Conference may inspire him again with something new!

Fleming faculty Liz Stone helps unveil community mosaic monument

The pebble mosaic located in Millennium Park, Peterborough, Ont., that honours sexual assault survivors and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).

A beautiful pebble mosaic honouring sexual assault survivors and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) is now part of Millennium Park in Peterborough, Ont. The monument was unveiled on Thursday, June 20, and Liz Stone, Academic Chair of Indigenous Perspectives in Fleming’s School of General Arts and Sciences, was one of many celebrating its completion.

Liz, who was the Executive Director of Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle and was involved in this project since its inception, said “Instead of feeling like an accomplishment, it felt like a start of something or continuation. I felt invigorated; it gave a lot of people a lot of energy, looking at what we did and how we can continue.”

Liz Stone speaking at the mosaic unveiling.

Liz shared that it was emotional to see all of the different pockets of her life come together at the unveiling. In attendance were family members, Fleming College students and colleagues, professional connections, members of Indigenous communities and more. “Having everyone in the same place was humbling and exciting,” she said.

The project is a collaboration between Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre, and the First Peoples House of Learning. Toronto-based non-profit Red Dress Productions, which creates collaborative art projects for public spaces, partnered to create the mosaic and provided the stones.

“By necessity, not-for-profits build relationships because there isn’t any other way to get things done,” Liz explains. “But all of our jobs should be part of relationship building.”

The Millennium Park location was chosen because of its medicine wheel garden, created years ago by a not-for-profit collective whose focus was to create meaningful and respectful relationships with Indigenous people in Peterborough. Liz shared that they were looking for a way to grow that space in Millennium Park when Lisa Clarke, Executive Director of Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, approached them to collaborate with Red Dress Productions on a Countdown Public Art Legacy Project.

Launched in 2016, the Countdown Public Art Legacy Project is a series of pebble mosaics honouring sexual assault survivors across Ontario and currently has eight locations. The Peterborough mosaic build included 75 volunteers.

“The issues that I face as an Indigenous woman, they’re daunting. They’re big and they can drag someone down,” she shared. “For MMIW, I live in a city, not on a reserve, and my last name is anglicized; if I were to go missing, I would not be identified as an MMIW. I wouldn’t be counted in those statistics unless someone identified me as Indigenous. The importance of this is that it lifts up that heaviness to see that I have help and support, and in turn other marginalized groups have help and support. For marginalized people it can be depressing, but I can use my privilege of being at decision-making tables as a superpower to help others.”

Fleming Panamá Bilingüe participant uses English skills to make a difference

Martin Gedeon Palacio Rivera, pictured in Panama at the school where he teaches.

Martin Gedeon Palacio Rivera never imagined he would have the opportunity to study abroad. But thanks to Panamá Bilingüe, Martin was able to study English in Canada and have the experience of a lifetime at Fleming College.

“I never imagined I would get to study abroad because I come from a humble family that doesn’t have money for me to study abroad. I decided to keep studying hard to get a scholarship to keep learning,” said Martin, who did receive a scholarship to study English through Panamá Bilingüe. “I never imagined that my experience at Fleming College would change my life.”

Panamá Bilingüe is an education program in Panama that promotes English language learning to create more opportunities and increase economic growth. The goal is to make Panama a bilingual country.

Martin took the Teaching Training Program through Panamá Bilingüe, where he studied English and did teacher training at Fleming College for 16 weeks (eight weeks of English language learning and eight weeks of teacher training). Martin said English is his third language and he took this program in 2016 to develop his English skills and to train to teach English in Panama.

“My impression of Canada when I arrived was incredible, especially the education, culture, hospitality, security and the environment. These are completely different from my country,” said Martin. “The most important thing for me to learn about was teaching style, methodology techniques and strategies that Canadian teachers use to interact with students.”

Martin describes his experience at Fleming as amazing, wonderful, incredible, joyful and unforgettable. The welcoming and friendly environment on campus made it feel like home.

“I’m glad I studied at Fleming College,” he said. “The host family members I got were so kind and gave me a lot of support. The College staff members were so helpful; they worked hard with us during the 16 weeks we were at Fleming College.”

When he returned to Panama, Martin was hired to teach English at Los Hatillos Elementary School and later moved to another elementary school called Cañazas Arriba, which is where he teaches now. Martin said he is using the methodologies, strategies and techniques taught to him at Fleming College in his classroom, and shares the information with other teachers at his workplace.

Last June, Martin put his English skills to use volunteering at Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. For three months, Martin was one of ten teachers who volunteered to teach children in the camp.

“I really loved and enjoyed it. I shared this experience with a friendly and wonderful group of Arabic people,” he said.

Martin said he highly recommends Fleming College to others interested in learning English because of Fleming’s friendly and welcoming environment.

“Choose Fleming College because you will find friendly people around you,” he said. “They will help you and it doesn’t matter where you come from, they will make you feel like you are at home.”

Paramedic students will brave the cold for Polar Bear Plunge

Christian Bell, Kaitlin Glab, Demi Asselin, and Brady Wills.
Christian Bell, Kaitlin Glab, Demi Asselin, and Brady Wills.

Snow, ice and chilly weather may deter you from taking a dip in the Trent River this winter, but for a group of Paramedic students, it is an invitation to challenge themselves.

Demi Asselin, Brady Wills, Christian Bell and Kaitlin Glab are braving the cold this Saturday at Campbellford Lions Club Park for a good cause. They will be testing the waters at the 27th Annual Polar Bear Plunge, a fundraiser for Campbellford Memorial Hospital organized by the Auxiliary to the Campbellford Memorial Hospital. Money raised will go towards purchasing equipment.

“I’m scared but excited!” said Demi. “I’ve jumped out of a hot tub and into the snow before, but never a lake.”

Kaitlin, who organized the team, encouraged her friend and said it will be fun.

“I used to go to school in B.C. and I did it in October with some friends,” explained Kaitlin. “We heard about a person named Wim Hoff, who calls himself The Iceman, and submerges himself in water—so we tested it out because it’s supposed to boost the immune system. We lasted 15 minutes.”

Brady said that while he has never taken a dip during the winter, he does have wonderful memories of jumping in the lake first thing in the morning at summer camp. Brady said that the water is very cold in the early morning, even in the summer, so he’s hoping that experience will give him a competitive edge.

An article featuring past Paramedic students inspired the students to do the Polar Bear Plunge.

“There’s an article on the bulletin board (in our classroom) of Paramedic students doing it, so we want to carry on the tradition,” said Brady. “And we want to do it. It’s for a good cause.”

Christian agrees. As a former pediatric cancer patient at Kingston General Hospital, the cause is an important motivator for him. Christian is an active fundraiser, mainly for pediatrics, and recently fundraised for Make-A-Wish. Christian knows the positive impact fundraising has on hospitals and is happy to challenge himself to help Campbellford Memorial Hospital.

For those who would like to support the group at the Polar Bear Plunge, please email Kaitlin at

Tourism – Global Travel graduate cannot wait to hit the road as a Fleming Grad Recruiter

vivienne-maxwellIt is obvious what Tourism – Global Travel graduate Vivienne Maxwell is looking forward to most as a Fleming College Grad Recruiter: getting to travel across Ontario!

“I love to travel and I am looking forward to seeing the scenery in my own province for my next adventure,” said Vivienne, who will be speaking with prospective students across Ontario about Fleming College. “I’m most looking forward to experiencing new places in Ontario that I’ve never been before.”

In addition to the travel opportunity, Vivienne decided to work as a Grad Recruiter to develop her skills while staying close to the Fleming community.

“Keeping my ties with Fleming was important to me and perhaps I wasn’t quite ready to go… This position was a great way to stay connected but also move forward into a new position,” said Vivienne, who graduated from Fleming this year. “Secondly, I knew this position would help me build on professional skills, such as time management, marketing and organization.”

Vivienne also plans to utilize her networking skills, which she developed in the Tourism – Global Travel program at Fleming.

“Networking myself was one of the biggest lessons that I took away from college,” said Vivienne. “Due to the field placement portion of my program, I was able to build strong connections within the college and within the community that eventually led me to employment opportunities.”

Vivienne loves the tight-knight, small community vibe at Fleming, adding that, “I always knew my professors and peers personally. We built great relationships that I will continue to nurture into the future.”

Outside of her program, Vivienne also made friendships in the Indigenous Student Lounge.

“Hands-down, my favourite spot on campus is the Indigenous Lounge. Not only did I make lifelong friendships in this safe space, I learned so much about Indigenous cultures and found a place that truly felt like home on campus,” she said. “Anyone is welcome in the Lounge; it is a place to bridge the differences we share and sincerely respect one another. Sometimes school can be stressful and this environment allowed me to escape the hustle and bustle of the halls and feel at peace.”

Vivienne is looking forward to spreading the word about Fleming College as a Grad Recruiter. Her key points for endorsing Fleming include great specializations, strong reputation in many industries, and faculty who are professionals with strong networks.

“I’m constantly hearing how employers are looking for Fleming graduates,” said Vivienne. “This is why you should come to Fleming. If you’re willing to put in the work, you will be successful here.”

Alaura Jopling wants to inspire a new post-secondary beginning for high school students

alaura-joplingAlaura Jopling’s post-secondary journey did not start with Fleming College, which is why she decided to become a Grad Recruiter with Student Recruitment.

“I want to educate and inspire the young students who are starting to apply to post-secondary because, had I known then what I know now, my journey would have a completely different beginning,” said Alaura.

After graduating from high school, Alaura entered university, which she describes as very large and made her feel like a “number.” Although she did enjoy the social aspect, she struggled academically at university.

“When I got to Fleming, it was the polar opposite,” said Alaura, who took the Business Administration – Marketing program. “My favourite thing about Fleming is that class sizes are around thirty students; faculty know you by name and even get to know you as not only a student, but as a future business person. They want you to succeed– not only in your future career, but in life.”

At Fleming, Alaura said she learned about her field of study, gained hands-on experience through assignments and her Applied Project with the Innovation Cluster, and grew as a person while exploring her strengths and weaknesses.

She said her favourite spot on campus is the library, which she started using after realizing most of her classmates were studying there.

“I knew that if I really wanted to succeed, I needed to be a part of this group,” she said. “I went there almost every day– before classes, after classes and even on my days off. The atmosphere was perfect. We would study together, quiz one-another and even teach one another.”

She feels Fleming really does live up to the promise of “Learn, Belong, Become,” and thanks everyone in the Fleming community who helped her succeed.

“After having that first negative post-secondary experience, I wasn’t sure that I was going to succeed. Fleming taught me how to be confident again; how to use my own uniqueness and skills in the field, and how it would set me apart from others. I learned the best way to be me and that truly is the best outcome I could have hoped for,” she said. “The best thing I learned while attending Fleming was that I am capable, I am intelligent, and I can – and am going to – succeed.”

Forestry Technician graduate Eric Butson will represent Frost Campus as a Grad Recruiter

ericForestry Technician graduate Eric Butson is looking forward to representing Frost Campus when he travels across Ontario this fall. Eric is a Grad Recruiter for Student Recruitment and will be sharing information about Fleming College with prospective students.

“What I’m looking forward to most as a Grad Recruiter is the opportunity to help secondary school students realize their potential and share with them the opportunities to grasp that potential at Fleming,” said Eric, who graduated from the School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences this year.

Eric said he learned to embrace his weaknesses and face his fears head-on while at Fleming, which he said is the best way to grow personally and professionally.

To clear his mind, Eric said he loves visiting the Loggersports practice site, which is his favourite spot on campus. “It is a place where I spent many nights working hard to perfect my events, clearing my head and escaping the grind of academics for a little while,” he explained.

In addition to Loggersports and his studies in the Forestry Technician program, Eric also worked as a Student Ambassador for Student Recruitment, giving campus tours to prospective students, welcoming guests at Fleming’s Open House, and more.

“Getting to show individuals that are interested in your college what makes it so special to you hardly seemed like work,” he said. “As a Grad Recruiter, I get to hold a similar position and connect with so many more prospective students on a different platform.”

So what makes Fleming so special for Eric? The campus culture.

“My faculty and peers truly wanted everyone to succeed and it was a refreshing experience,” he said. “When speaking with prospective students, the reason I believe they should come to Fleming is because it is a unique college that blends excellence in academics with a student life experience for all individuals.”

Graduation gowns and medicine wheels; why many Fleming College graduates wore a medicine wheel pin at convocation

Indigenous Student Services Coordinator Ashley Safar at convocation
Indigenous Student Services Coordinator Ashley Safar at convocation

Every year at convocation, a representative from Indigenous Student Services will stand before graduates to acknowledge that Fleming College is situated on Michi Saagiig lands and the traditional territory covered by the Williams Treaty and Treaty Number 20, and thank the Michi Saagiig peoples for allowing us to work in their territory. But at this year’s ceremonies, many in the sea of graduates adorned their gown with a medicine wheel pin to acknowledge the rights of Indigenous peoples.

At the Frost Campus and Sutherland Campus convocation ceremonies, Indigenous Student Services staff and volunteers congratulated graduates before the ceremony and gave them the opportunity to sign a declaration. The declaration states, “By signing above, I am making a declaration to move forward in my professional and personal life as a person who acknowledges the rights of Indigenous peoples and will advocate for further respect towards First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples within the territory that I choose to call home.”

Each student who signed the declaration was given a medicine wheel pin to proudly display on their convocation gown. According to Indigenous Student Services, 191 graduates signed the declaration at the Frost Campus ceremony, and 700 graduates signed the declaration at the six Sutherland Campus ceremonies.

“As a college, we are collectively striving towards creating a campus culture of one that respects and honours the First Peoples of this land. This initiative, this opportunity for making a public declaration, brings us one step closer to seeing this vision come to fruition,” said Kylie Fox, Assistant Manager of Indigenous Student Services, who said Fleming College has done a lot of great work in the past few years to ensure Indigenous students and staff feel welcome and safe on campus, and is working towards a place where Indigenous peoples will begin to see themselves represented in all areas of campus life.

Photo courtesy of Indigenous Student Services
Photo courtesy of Indigenous Student Services

“Standing in the audience this year, visibly seeing our allies in the room, it was overwhelming and extremely powerful. You could see how proud students were to show their support,” said Kylie. “Knowing that almost 1, 000 Fleming graduates are moving into the workforce with this intention of honouring the rights of Indigenous peoples, I think that gives us a lot of hope for our future and it also says a lot about the type of citizens we are fostering here at Fleming. So, miigwech, thank you to all of you who supported this initiative and to those of you who signed the declaration. Niwii Kaanaaganaa, with all of my relations.”

Indigenous Student Services Coordinator Ashley Safar said the declaration will be offered annually at Fleming convocation. “This is an idea we’ve discussed for a while because we wanted to increase awareness,” she said. “And the Indigenous Perspectives Designation has gained more momentum and more schools are incorporating it into their curriculum. There’s some growth in the college and we wanted to represent that.”

The Indigenous Perspectives Designation (IPD) is an optional learning opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, histories, traditions and contributions to our shared society. The designation is available to students in the following programs:

  • Child and Youth Care
  • Ecosystem Management Technician
  • Ecosystem Management Technology
  • Mental Health and Addiction Worker
  • Social Service Worker
  • Community and Justice Services
  • Customs Border Services
  • Law Clerk
  • Paralegal
  • Police Foundations
  • Early Childhood Education.

Graduates with an IPD have a strong foundational basis in Indigenous Studies.

Several programs are currently developing curriculum to meet the IPD requirements, and a number of programs that do not offer the IPD have included the opportunity for students to take one or both GNED courses. Some programs have modified their vocational subjects to include Indigenous content.

Fleming College has a long history of supporting Indigenous learners and has relied on its Indigenous Education Council (an advisory committee made up of local Indigenous leaders) for more than two decades. Simultaneously, both Fleming’s Indigenous curriculum and support services have continued to grow. In December 2015, Fleming College formally committed to Indigenous education by signing the Colleges and Institutes Canada Indigenous Education Protocol, which reaffirms Fleming’s commitment to Indigenous education and provides a vision of how the college will strive to improve and better serve Indigenous peoples.

The Indigenous Education Council at Fleming College has been active since 1992. It has included representatives from local First Nations, local community representation such as local Elders and Traditional Knowledge holders, Indigenous youth and student representation; as well as internal employees of Fleming, who are all committed to Indigenous education.

Ontario Envirothon: Creating Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow

By: Laura Copeland

Allison Hands, Education Manager at Forests Ontario
Allison Hands, Education Manager at Forests Ontario

The Ontario Envirothon, held each spring, provides a unique opportunity for high school students to engage with the natural world, to learn how resources are managed, and to learn about the various careers and education pathways within the field.

“Regardless of the career path students choose after Envirothon, they will have a deeper understanding and appreciation for natural systems, and will be better able to make informed decisions about the environment,” says Allison Hands, Education Manager at Forests Ontario.

Forests Ontario has coordinated Ontario’s Envirothon program for close to 25 years, and the organization works with regional partners and sponsors – including Fleming College – to host local Envirothon workshops and competitions.

In fact, Rob Monico, with Fleming’s Office of Sustainability, participated in the Wellington-Waterloo Regional Envirothon Competition when he was in high school.

“The workshop and competition days inspired me to keep learning as much as I could about environmental issues. More importantly, I felt inspired and empowered enough to know that I could make a difference in environmental issues,” he says.

Rob’s participation in the event has come full circle. In April, he helped organize the regional Peterborough-Kawarthas-Northumberland Envirothon, which was hosted at Fleming’s Sutherland Campus. He also attended the Ontario Envirothon as a judge in May.

The Peterborough-Kawarthas-Northumberland Envirothon was a new regional competition initiated in 2017 for high schools in the area – there was no competition prior to this. A number of local organizations have worked together to launch and support this regional competition. These include Sustainable Peterborough, the County of Peterborough, Otonabee Region Conservation Authority, local school boards, and Fleming College.

envirothon-friendsThe 2018 regional competitions had 140 teams competing in total, with more than 1,000 students, teachers and volunteers participating across Envirothon events in Ontario. Winning teams from each region go on to compete at the Ontario Envirothon, which was held in Waterloo and featured 21 teams made up of 126 students and teachers.

Fleming College has hosted the Ontario Envirothon event several times at Frost Campus, and was also the co-host of the North American Envirothon championships with Trent University in 2016.

“This is an event we support because Fleming College believes in creating the next generation of environmental leaders. And, more importantly, assisting those leaders today to grow through experiential education opportunities,” says Rob.

“We have faculty, staff and students supporting this event from a variety of program areas,” adds Trish O’Connor, Director of Fleming’s Office of Sustainability. “It is also a great opportunity to showcase the wonderful natural environments at Fleming College to high school students, teachers, and the community.”

Rob explains that students take away a variety of skills by participating in the event. During the workshops and competition, students use different types of field equipment such as tree calipers, soil triangles, and dichotomous keys. Five major topics are covered – forestry, soils, aquatics, wildlife, and a fifth topic that changes every year. (This year it was climate change.)

“Teams also have to synthesize information into a coherent, timed presentation. Through this portion of the program, students develop their critical thinking, teamwork, problem solving and public speaking skills,” says Allison.

For Forests Ontario, Envirothon is a natural fit. The organization’s three pillars are tree planting, community engagement and awareness, and forest education.

“We champion Envirothon because it’s Ontario’s largest environmental competition, it promotes forest education, and it’s a really enriching experience for the students who take part,” says Allison. “We believe this competition helps to create future ‘Green Leaders.’”


Forests Ontario works with a number of partners and sponsors to deliver Envirothon. Regionally, it works with conservation authorities, post-secondary institutions, professional/industry organizations, government, and charities/non-profits. The organization also offers additional education programs, including the 50 Million Tree Program, Forestry in the Classroom, and TD Tree Bee. For more information, visit:

For more information about Fleming College’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, visit: