Watson Chronicle


Student Opportunities and Student News

WCE Introduces Engagement Series for Extension Students

Saturday, December 03, 2022

In September, the Onslow Extension Lab introduced an Engagement Series for students in the Jacksonville area and beyond. The pilot program, led by Traci Bellas, features monthly workshops and professional development offerings designed to strengthen connections between WCE faculty and extension students.

Dr. Bellas is an instructional coach and lecturer in the Watson College. She currently manages the Onslow Extension Education Lab in Jacksonville.

“I chose to offer this series because when we reopened the Ed Lab in Jacksonville after Covid, many students commented that this was the first time they felt connected to Watson or their classmates. Many had never been to campus or met the professors with whom they learn,” she said. “Having a sense of community is important, and sometimes challenging for students who are learning remotely. My goal is to help build collaborative relationships among extension students, foster a sense of belonging to Watson and connect faculty to extension students.”

Bellas partnered with Martin Wasserberg to plan the pilot series. Dr. Wasserberg is an associate professor of elementary education at the Watson College and assistant chair of WCE’s Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Literacy and Special Education.

Ten students and six faculty and staff members attended a kickoff event in September. At the introductory event, students had an opportunity to learn about Watson events such as Praxis preparation, Walk Towards Your Purpose, and Future Teacher recruitment events where they can serve as ambassadors and meet with prospective students. In addition, surveys were provided so that future events can be designed based on students' needs and interests.

On October 24, WCE Professor Kathy Fox presented a Family Engagement seminar with hands-on activities and resources for working with families. Dr. Candace Thompson, Interim Associate Dean for Engagement, Professional Learning, and Scholarship, joined Fox, Bellas and extension students at the second event.

Proposed upcoming sessions include interviewing skills, culturally sustaining practices and career readiness.

“The energy and enthusiasm of participants was palpable and feedback has been very positive,” Bellas said. “We hope all extension students who are in close proximity to the Jacksonville area will consider joining us.”

For more information please contact Traci Bellas at bellast@uncw.edu.