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STAFF SNAPSHOT: Wendy Terris Klaus, Manager, e‑Learning, School of Social Work
To Wendy Terris Klaus, the School of Social Work provides the perfect environment to succeed in her work.
“I consider myself a life-long learner, so working in an environment with other people who are interested in learning is the best possible place for me,” Terris Klaus says.
As Manager of e-Learning, Terris Klaus oversees the SSW’s Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW) and Master’s of Social Work (MSW) Distance Education programs. Some of her main responsibilities include working with professors to develop skills and confidence to teach in an online environment, assisting students and professors with Distance Education program-related concerns, and staying current in contemporary developments in e-Learning including Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. Terris Klaus appreciates the variety of duties that shape her role.
“Every workday looks a little bit different. And I think that’s the fun part of the job,” she says.
Each semester, Terris Klaus works with over 20 professors, teaching assistants, and hundreds of students from across the country alongside other staff in the SSW. She explains that her role’s responsibilities tend to follow the rhythm of the school year.
“There are different times of the year when I know my focus is going to be on different tasks that are happening in that term,” she says.
To ensure that the voices of Distance Education students and professors are heard by staff and faculty in the SSW, Terris Klaus represents the SSW’s Distance Education programs on several committees. It is of vital importance to the SSW that their Distance Education programs remain universally accessible — to ensure this goal is achieved, Terris Klaus works closely with professors to guarantee that their course delivery methods follow the most recent recommendations from Universal Design for Learning practices.
Terris Klaus keeps staff and faculty informed on changes in technology and updates in teaching online and believes staying current benefits a Distance Education student’s learning experience. To stay up to date with the latest, best practices in e-Learning Terris Klaus attends different conferences and sits in on various events offered through Dal’s Centre for Learning and Teaching.
Each May, Terris Klaus oversees the SSW’s BSW Distance Education program’s two-week in-person residency. One of her favourite responsibilities during the residency is to organize and guide students on a Halifax bus tour which has a Social Work point-of-view.
“It is a privilege to oversee this two-week residency. It’s a great opportunity to meet students in person, and to hear their stories of what brought them to higher education, and what brought them to the field of Social Work,” she says.
Terris Klaus’ fondest memories in the SSW are of moments shared with colleagues, and students. Many of her connections with students start when students reach out to her to ask questions before applying to the SSW, and continue until students graduate from the SSW’s Distance Education programs. Terris Klaus is grateful to work alongside her colleagues in the SSW, and insists that working in higher education is a team effort.
“We have an amazing staff at the School of Social Work. And we are all so dedicated to doing our very best to support students while they are in SSW programs,” Terris Klaus says.
Terris Klaus began working at Dal after completing her Master of Education degree at Mount Saint Vincent University. Before starting in her role at the SSW, she spent many happy years working in the School of Health Administration, and the School of Health Sciences. Terris Klaus explains that Dal has consistently supported her and her professional development.
“I am proud of the career that I’ve built here at Dal. I think that I’ve been a good role model for my two sons who have gone on to attend university and are now embarking on their own careers,” she says.
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In 2021 Wendy received the Faculty’s Healthy Impact Award. The award recognizes employees who have developed and applied new approaches and solutions that have had a positive impact on the Faculty of Health and the Dalhousie University as a whole.
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