Smart Start 2013

In the third week in September 2013, the University Learning Centre offered Smart Start, a week long series of academic enrichment events which featured faculty and student Q & A sessions as well as workshops in the following categories

  • study skills
  • writing help
  • technology help
  • graduate student help

In addition to these workshops, we offered a special session for mature students regarding the transition to university, as well as handy tips on resources available to all students.

At each Smart Start event that students attended during the week, they were entered to win the grand prize of a $500 gift card from the U of S Bookstore.

The lucky winner of this draw was Twilah S.  Congratulations Twilah!

contest winner


Where and When were the Q & A sessions?

Date:  Monday, September 23rd


  • Paul Hackett, Department of Geography and Planning;
  • Kathryn McWilliams, Department of Physics and Engineering Physics;
  • Jordan Sherbino, USSU VP Academic Affairs,
  • Megan Vandendriessche, Student Academic Advisor

Time:  12:30-1:20 p.m.
Location:  Arts 241

Date:  Wednesday, September 25th

  • Simonne Horwitz, Department of History;
  • Kristina Bidwell, Department of English
  • Jordan Sherbino, USSU VP Academic Affairs
  • Alex Werenka, Academic Advisor

Time:  12:30-1:20 p.m.
Location:  North Concourse, Upper Place Riel

north concourse event

Date:  Thursday, September 26th

  • Ken Wilson, Department of Biology
  • Chris Todd, Department of Biology
  • Jenna Moellenbeck, USSU VP Operations and Finance
  • Alex Werenka, Academic Advisor

Time:  11:30-12:20 p.m.
Location:  Convocation Hall

convo hall event

Students were given the opportunity to text or ask a question at these events.

Biographies of the panelists

  • KBidwellKristina Bidwell is the first Associate Dean of Aboriginal Affairs in the College of Arts and Science.   In this position, she is responsible for building Aboriginal student success and encouraging the College to engage meaningfully with Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal knowledge.  As a researcher and teacher, she specializes in aboriginal writing and storytelling in Canada.
    PaulHPaul Hackett is a member of the Department of Geography and Planning and the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit. His research mainly focuses on the historical and geographical patterns of the health of western Canada’s First Nations. Among his current projects are inquiries into the history of First Nations tuberculosis and the factors leading to the emergence of the current epidemic of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
    SimonneSimonne Horwitz is Associate Professor in the Department of History.  Her areas of research and teaching are African History and History of medicine.  Simonne did her undergraduate degree at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), Johannesburg, South Africa and her M.Sc and Doctorate at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.  She has been at the U of S since 2007 and has even learned to enjoy the Saskatchewan winters.
    KathrynKathryn McWilliams is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics & Engineering Physics.  In her space physics research, she studies the interaction of the Earth's space environment and the upper atmosphere.  She leads a team of researchers who operate radars in Canada, and she has taught thousands of first-year students in introductory courses in the Colleges of Arts & Science and Engineering.
    JennaJenna Moellenbeck just finished her degree in Human Resources from Edwards School of Business this past spring and is now enrolled in the College of Arts and Science. Jenna has been heavily involved with the University of Saskatchewan, She has volunteered at the USSU Help Centre, Orientation, Experience US and the Open House. She has been elected to represent Edwards School of Business to University of Students' Council for two years and has been employed as a student ambassador. Currently Jenna is serving as the Vice President (Operations and Finance) of the USSU. This portfolio is responsible for transit, campus groups, the USSU's budget and its operations.
    JordanJordan Sherbino is a fifth-year student in the College of Arts and Science and he has his bachelor's degree in Political Studies. Jordan has been heavily involved in student government throughout his time at university, holding such roles as Vice President of the Political Studies and Public Administration Students' Society, a Member of the Executive of the St. Thomas More College Students' Union, and a Member of Student Council with the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union. This year Jordan holds the position of Vice President (Academic Affairs) of the USSU, the position responsible for all academic matters of the Union.
    ChrisChris Todd is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology.  He wasn’t a particularly good undergraduate student and did not plan on an academic career, but found a love of research as a graduate student and a love of teaching after joining the U of S in 2005. His academic background is in molecular biology, genetics and plant biology and his lab studies the molecular regulation of nitrogen metabolism in plants.
    Megan Megan Vandendriessche Megan is a student advisor in the College of Arts and Science, specializing in changing young lives. As an advisor, she helps students identify and explore their academic and career goals, understand the requirements for their degree, and develop strategies to improve grades. Megan came here from Vancouver Island four years ago and is finishing her BA in Regional and Urban Planning in April. In addition to working as an advisor, she is also a PAL Peer Mentor with the University Learning Centre and is a member of the University Students' Council this upcoming year.
    KenWDr. Ken Wilson grew up in rural southern Ontario and his first class at the University of Waterloo had more students in it than his hometown. The transition to university was a challenge but so fundamentally changed his outlook on life that he is still "at school".  Dr. Wilson is now a professor in the Department of Biology, and finds teaching and research an incredibly challenging and rewarding career. He now teaches a class that is larger than his hometown.
    Alexandria Alexandria Werenka is at the same time an employee, student, and alumni of the University of Saskatchewan. During her first Undergraduate degree she was actively involved in most all facets of student life. She is passionate about improving the student experience and has a vast amount of institutional knowledge.  Alexandria now finds enjoyment helping students with their academics as a College of Arts & Science Undergraduate Student Advisor.


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