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Table setting of the 40th anniversary fieldwork event.

Wrapping up forty years of fieldwork

Faculty, students, staff, and partners gathered to celebrate forty years of the fieldwork program

May 10, 2023 — 

This past week, the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management celebrated the importance of experiential learning and our Supervised Fieldwork Program on its fortieth anniversary.

On April 28, faculty, students, partners, and those who have felt the impact of the Fieldwork Program firsthand gathered to cap off the exciting festivities that have been happening on campus over the last month.

Among the guests was Jack Harper, the retired head of the Recreation Management Program, who reflected on the program’s history.


Jack Harper speaks at the 40th anniversary fieldwork event

Jack Harper

“From the beginning, we were blessed with outstanding faculty who made contributions locally, nationally and internationally through their commitment to student work, research and community service,” said Harper.

Three coordinators have led the program since its inception—Jack Lewis, Henry Janzen, and Colleen Plumton. Janzen, along with Don Hunter, was essential in getting the program started.

During his speech, Harper referred to the many accolades the program has obtained over the decades, including the Bachelor of Recreation Studies Program being ranked sixth and eighth out of 230 programs in two studies carried out in 2004 and 2008.

David Bosiak, a member of the 1983 class and Mayor of Dauphin, said the real opportunity of the program was allowing students to learn from so many knowledgeable mentors.

“But to take that and to blend that with your personality or your approach or your passion, and to go out there and find something that you can connect to, I think is truly valuable,” said Bosiak.

Dave Bosniak speaking at the 40th fieldwork anniversary event.

Dave Bosiak

Kevin Scott, another member of the 1983 class and current COO of the Deer Lodge Centre Foundation, said when he was taking Fieldwork, he wasn’t sure what the rest of his life would look like. However, the combination of the courses, the mentorship from professors, and the chance to experience the workforce through Fieldwork allowed himself, and other students, to be as prepared as possible.

“Students are articulate, intelligent, answering questions,” said Scott. “I think that’s a testament to the program.”

The celebration took time to acknowledge the support of many partners across Manitoba. Representing two 40-year partners at the event were Pat Kirby, Director of Sport with Sport Manitoba, and Jennifer Sarna, Manager of Recreation Services for the city of Winnipeg took to the stage.

Kirby said their long-lasting partnership directly represents the program’s success and the students’ abilities.

“Students come to us motivated and prepared to put all their learning into practice,” said Kirby.

Sarna said while there are direct benefits for students engaging with the workforce, the employers also have much to gain.

Kevin Scott, Jack Harper, Dave Bosniak, and Colleen Plumton pose at the 40th fieldwork anniversary event.

Kevin Scott, Jack Harper, Dave Bosiak, and Colleen Plumton

“We have so much to gain from those fresh perspectives of students,” said Sarna. “There is such an energy that students bring to the workplace that is a reminder to us all of that passion.”

FKRM’s dean, Douglas Brown, noted the vital relationship between the program and the faculty’s integrated learning approach.

Brown said that conversations about fieldwork have factored heavily in the faculty’s strategic planning for the future.

The 40th Anniversary Fieldwork Event was an opportunity to reflect on all the good experiential learning has provided its students over the last four decades. It was also a chance to look towards the program’s future and hope for another successful forty years.

Colleen Plumton, Senior Instructor and Fieldwork Coordinator closed our milestone 40thevent with these words:

Thank you to our industry partners and FKRM friends and colleagues who share their passion for experiential learning with our students.

Our students are provided with impactful work integrated learning experiences because of amazing partners in the NFP, Public and Commercial sectors, fabulous researchers, incredible Bison Sports mentors, passionate Recreation Services professionals, and dynamic facility managers.

I always say to students – Find the right fit, doing the right stuff, with the right folks and you will genuinely love what you do.

Our partners are the right fit and the right folks doing the right stuff with our students.

Fieldwork works because of you!

I thank you with all my heart.

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