Thursday, April 20, 2017

Have You Met... Stephanie Grant?

Have you met... Stephanie Grant?
Have you met Stephanie, Acting Coordinator and Community Social Worker with the U of A’s Community Social Work Team? Spend the next 2 minutes getting to know her a little better.

Where is your favourite place on campus?

I love sitting just outside the back of HUB and I guess it’s the back of Humanities as well. There’s a fish pond there, picnic tables there. I love to sit out there [and] have my lunch, watch the fish, just be outside which is really nice.

Tablet or paper?

Definitely paper. Yes, I’m not a tablet person. I know it’s not good for the environment, but I do like to write notes and go back to them to follow up. Even in terms of reading, I love to read but not an E-Reader or anything like that. I have to have my own copies of books.

Name one thing you’ve brought to work from home. 

I definitely like to have plants. A picture of my son.

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

There are a lot of things I can’t live without. I definitely love my sweets. I love donuts. Especially when I go to a meeting, I often will bring a box of donuts. Baked goods and Tim Horton's are things I can’t live without.

If you won airfare to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Right now, top of my list is Vietnam. I really want to go there. I really want to do a cycling tour through Vietnam. I’ve been reading about that and I think it would be a fantastic opportunity. It’s time and money, and having a child makes that difficult.

You can invite anyone—alive or dead, real or fictional—to dinner. Who would it be? 

I’m quite fascinated with the royal family.  I don’t agree with the whole royal family and what it means but I just think it’s so fascinating [that] we have this kind of system … and it’s still happening. So I would have loved to have met Princess Diana, [and] would probably invite her to dinner. I think there’s so much about who she was, so many questions around what happened when she passed away and the mystery around that. It seems like there’s so much that kind of goes into the “firm”, as they call it. So I’d love to know more about that.

If you could switch jobs with someone else on campus for a week, what would you do?

I really like my job so that’s hard to say. This is not really a job, but I would love to be in the place of a student again. Because a lot of the work we’re doing is so student centred having that on the ground experience of being a student of the U of A is important. I wasn’t a student here at the U of A. So I would love to see that perspective but I’d also love to see a faculty member’s perspective—to see how mental health is played out in the classroom, how faculty members see their role in mental health support for students. I am of the belief that it really takes the whole campus to support student mental health. So I’d love to experience that from a teaching perspective: what does “supporting student mental health mean” in a classroom and how logistically possible is it?  

What does “uplifting the whole people” mean to you?

To me it really speaks to that community approach to work with each other and recognising that. I really bring it back to a mental health role, so I think it means recognising that we all play a role in supporting each other’s mental health. Whether that be students, staff members, faculty members. All of us really do have a very important part in it. “Uplifting the whole people” is recognising that we can all support each other and be there for each other, and create an environment that is supportive of everyone’s mental health.

If you could solve any problem in the world, what would it be?

I’m thinking of poverty and equality, [those kinds of] systemic issues. When I look at mental health is, it’s something that affects different communities in different ways. So I’d love to look at how can we change that and how can we create a really equal playing field. I don’t know what the answer is.

What 3 words best describe your U of A experience?

Having recently moved to Edmonton, I’ve noticed that people here are so friendly, especially on the U of A campus. And I do think that people look out for each other. That isn’t three words I guess, so maybe friendly. People here are really engaged, community members are really engaged and students are really awesome in terms of being engaged. I would also say challenging. I think I’ve grown a lot as a social worker here on campus through the work that I’ve done and through the experiences I’ve had in supporting students in the campus and community around mental health. So challenging in a good way.

About Stephanie Grant

A member of the U of A since 2012, Stephanie is the Acting Coordinator of the U of A's Community Social Work Team. The team works preventatively to create a healthy environment while engaging with partners from campus and surrounding area to strengthen capacity, provide bridges to resources, and advocate for greater inclusivity. Stephanie is passionate about community development processes and believes that systemic change happens on a community level!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

1 comment

  1. Kudos to Stephanie for sharing her ideas about attending to the whole student in ways that are critical to personal and academic success. Also, for pointing out that it takes a whole 'village' of instructors and TAs to nurture holistic student success. If our students are not mentally healthy (which involves mind, body, spirit--they are not separate), then we can teach them little of lasting value. As a PhD student in Education focusing on L2 writing and as an instructor of Writing Studies 101-Exploring Writing for the past 7 years, supporting the whole student has become the most important theory behind my teaching. We all need to care more about this.


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